My mother was right. | An ode to Mom

an ode to mom

“My mother was right.”

A phrase I uttered weekly throughout college while giving campus tours to potential students and their families. My mother convinced me to just give Agnes Scott a try. “Just apply, you might like it.” I was determined that I would no way, no how, be attending a women’s college. But I applied anyway.

And with pride, during every tour, when telling my story of how I came to be at Agnes Scott, I would end up telling the group my mother was right. This would garner laughs from parents and groans from 17 year olds who were only there because their parents insisted.

I’ve already written about why I ended up loving my women’s college. This post, though, is about how much meaning there was behind that phrase that had nothing to do with my education.

My mother was right. Is right. Always.

Mom

I wish high-school me knew that then.

She is right in that she has always shown strength and grace in the face of hardship or trying times.

She was right in showing me that sometimes you just have to let people be mad. You can’t change it, but you can stop talking and walk away. Letting them think they won is ok sometimes.

She was right in showing me that some Rod Stewart and peanut M&M’s can fix almost any heartbreak or disappointment.

And for the heartbreaks that those can’t fix, you can always call home.

She was right when she encouraged me to get my education.

She was right when instead of telling me what to do and saving me from heartbreak, she let me experience the fall, as it was a lesson I could only learn the hard way.

She was right when she said I’d come home a new person after my year in Mexico.

She was right the many times she’s said “It’s all gonna be ok. All good.”

She was right to teach me so many things:

From how to value integrity, forgiveness, and true kindness to how laugh at myself and be able to joke and poke and not get easily offended.

She taught me to hold hands whenever possible with the ones you love. Life is better that way.

I learned confidence and strength and that lifting others up was the best way to lift yourself.

I learned that I was born to be a mom. I learned this because I heard my own mother say that phrase and all of a sudden everything made sense. Of course, I was made to be many more things before and in addition to that. But I was made to be a mother someday.

I learned that feeling our loved ones around us and having that “knowing” wasn’t creepy or weird, it is a gift that we were given to be treasured.

Through every goal reached, every heartache, every trial, tear, and laugh, my mom is the one I can always turn to for support and guidance. She taught me kindness and grace and extended both of these to me countless times, even when I was less than kind or deserving of that grace.

She taught me the biggest lesson of all:

Love can conquer all things.

hawaii.jpg

Love wins.

My mother was so right.

“Why Would Anyone Want to go to a Women’s College?”

“Do you hate men?”

“Are you so boy crazy that you can’t focus with them in the classroom?”

No and no. But these are actual questions I’ve gotten about my time at Agnes Scott College.

Agnes Scott

The best decision I ever made.

Let me address the first question (and title of this post) with my answer of why I chose Agnes Scott College, one of the top Liberal Arts women’s colleges in the country.

Before visiting I was 100% sure that there was No-Way-No-How you’d catch me at a women’s college. I was confident already, boys in the classroom didn’t scare me. I soon realized that wasn’t the point. The type of woman who attends Agnes Scott College and other women’s colleges are the opposite of afraid.

From my first steps on campus where I was immediately greeted by some of the most intelligent, confident, fearless and together women I’d ever met, I knew that I had stumbled into something amazing. Over the rest of that first weekend that I spent at Agnes Scott interviewing, attending panels, and talking with current students, I became 100% certain that it was the college for me.

I saw that the women of Agnes Scott were there to get the best education possible- a rigorous curriculum mixed with real world experiences and plenty of extracurricular activities to explore and grow in. These women cared about my passions and my goals in life, and we were in an environment that would nurture and allow me to cultivate my interests. I knew I wanted that. I wanted to be that kind of woman.

Current students at Agnes Scott welcomed me right away- before I was even officially a student there. The entire campus community was like that, welcoming me in enthusiastically and excited about the type of woman I could become.

I wanted a place where I could focus on my education and future, and that place for me was a women’s college.

Agnes Scott Graduation

Some of the most amazing women I’ve ever met.

Was it easy? No, but not for the lack of men.
I worked harder and more was expected of me at Agnes Scott than of my friends at other co-ed schools. This is not to say that all co-ed schools are easy, as I’m sure they aren’t, but the academic rigor at Agnes Scott is not to be compared to basket weaving and cooking classes.

And men? Psh, we were in Atlanta! There are plenty of other schools around when you want to go out. Some of my best friends are men who went to Georgia State and Morehouse!

Was it fun? Absolutely.

I spent time discussing real world issues and time discussing shoes and clothes. I partied with my friends and I studied and worked and researched with them as well. The friends I made at my women’s college will be my friends for a lifetime. They are as diverse as they come with so many varying goals and dreams. And that’s the beauty of it. We laughed and cried together and experienced college life together.

I spent my four years at college surrounded by ambitious, feisty, intelligent women who encouraged and supported me at every turn.

With all that being said,

Why wouldn’t I want to go to a women’s college?

Dear Class of 2017,

Happy Black Cat!

I realize many of you may never read this, but I feel the need to write it anyway.

You are all now officially Scotties. Welcome, and congratulations! You’ve made what could be the single best decision of your life, and you are most definitely in for a great adventure in the next four years.

I know you’re all currently probably thinking you’re settled in and getting the hang of this college thing, but I hope you are all in for the ride of your life.

You are the new yellow class. A class of power, determination, attitude, and strength. Our class of 2013 is trusting you to carry on this legacy as we pass the color on to you. I know it may not seem like the best of colors (I own way more blue than yellow! Red seems more intense! Green is so pretty! I hear you, trust me) BUT let me tell you, you can TOTALLY rock yellow. It will look good with whatever skin tone. And ya know, if it doesn’t, wear it proudly anyway. Make connections with your new class, your new sisters, and the place in which you will spend your next four years.

THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH YELLOW! Think outside the box. Paint things yellow. Caution tape is yellow. Some tractors are yellow. Yellow cars exist. Rubber duckies, bananas, Pikachu, the sun, macaroni and cheese, yellow submarines, itsy bitsy yellow polka dot bikinis, MINIONS! You are creative women, you’ll get there, I promise. The quad looked great from the pictures, keep on owning it.

During Orientation, you most likely heard President Kiss tell you that you are feisty more than once, and she’s right. You’re joining the ranks of some of the feistiest, most amazing, intelligent, kind, and wonderful women I’ve ever met. With time, you’ll hear about the make up of your class (you guys are from all over!) You’ll hear about famous alums (Jennifer Nettles was a member of a yellow class too!) and you’ll hear about alum, staff, faculty and upperclasswomen who will help you get through these next four years. Listen to all of these incredible people. They’re right. Mostly. If you don’t think they are, say it. They’ll also be open to what you have to say.

Moving on in your Agnes Scott career, you will struggle. It will will hard. “It” meaning academics, mental stability, and life in general. I know sometimes being a first-year is hard. I know sometimes other years will be hard. You will probably fall and crash and burn at some point (or several). But don’t doubt for one minute that your sisters and the support system that surrounds you will lift you back up and help you get through each and every low point you face. The girls you are beginning to get close to will be the women that will be there for you no matter what, 2pm or 2am, just because you need them. They will be the women who will change the world and help you do the same. They will be the women who will cheer you on and celebrate your greatest achievements with you. You will learn, grow, and love together.

The chant that you undoubtedly heard a ton during Bonfire of “WE LOVE OUR SISTERS!” isn’t just words. I can tell you 100% that I love, love, love, the women that I graduated with. I love the women who will graduate in the years before you. They all inspire me to be better every single day.

Continue the legacy you’ve been left. Love each other. Support each other.

Agnes Scott isn’t just a college, it’s home for so many people. Treat it well.

We love our sisters. We love you already.

Sincerely,

The Valkyries, Class of 2013

From our first year to our Senior year ad beyond. These women are the best.

From our first year to our Senior year and beyond. These women are the best.

Tomorrow.

(Bare with me here, I’m on some cold meds and my mind isn’t quite at peak performance, but I feel the need to write this out tonight. Every teacher in my school is sick right now, yuck! We all shared the same germs, I suppose!)

Wow, is it the end of summer already? I guess it is, and I guess that’s why my mind and body feel so confused. I know it’s not news to anyone to hear that post-grad life is hard and confusing when you don’t know what exactly you’re supposed to be doing with your life.

Tomorrow is my last day of teaching my kiddos.

Tomorrow is move in day at Agnes Scott College for the new first-years. The new yellow class. The class that will take over what we left behind.

My heart feels like I belong there. Like that’s still the life I get to live. But it’s not. I am not supposed to be there as Orientation Council to help move in the new class. I’m not supposed to be returning for another year of classes at my beloved Agnes. I’m not supposed to be settling into Rebekah 304 with Maddie (even though I totally would still want to do this part).

This is a new phase of my life.

I don’t get to go back to that life.

And though it seems a bit silly and pretty obvious to type it out, it doesn’t feel obvious. I feels a lot harder than I expected. Giving up what I knew and thrived in has been harder than I thought it would be, simply because I didn’t realize that graduating meant living a new life. Agnes Scott will always be an important part of my life, but that’s not my life anymore.

I am no longer a college student. I am no longer a student at Agnes Scott. That’s not what my life is anymore.

I know this is getting repetitive, but I’m trying to find a way to put into words what I’ve been feeling. I’m failing, clearly, but I feel…

I still feel like a college student. I still feel too young to have already been through and graduated from college. I feel like I’m not quite ready. But then again, life doesn’t wait until your ready.

It just comes along, happens, and passes all before you know it.

However, I feel confident in my ability to take on whatever challenge and adventure comes next. Having attended Agnes Scott makes me feel ready to take on the world, albeit one day at a time. And maybe I don’t feel quite like I’m supposed to twenty-something just yet, but I feel like I have the foundation to face this life head on, and work hard to figure out what comes next.