Miss Washington Teen is going to Princeton!!
One thing that I noticed all throughout high school was that I was one of only a few students in my classes that consistently raised their hand in class. I never had any fears towards speaking in front of my peers, and most importantly, my teacher. If I were to rewind back to being in middle school, there never would have been any moment in which I was actively speaking in class and engaging with my teachers.
In middle school, I was shy, unsure of myself and my academic abilities, and I was always afraid of being wrong in class. However, going into my freshman year of high school, I competed in my first National American Miss pageant. I found the experience truly exciting and enjoyable, and my highlight was placing in the Top 15 and winning the Talent Competition. My biggest takeaway from my first pageant weekend ever was NAM's message in being confident in yourself and your dreams. I had always loved learning and being in class, but I was never confident in my abilities. This key lesson that NAM taught me kept me coming back every year and helped me bust up the courage to be a more active student in class. I learned that teachers don't necessarily want you to be right all the time, but they want you to believe in your answers.
My first day of freshman year, I introduced myself to all of my teachers and asked them questions about their class and what they would be teaching. My dream was to get the best education possible, and achieving that goal had to start with having confidence in myself and my learning at school. Over the course of high school, I participated in many clubs that were focused on public speaking and presentation. I found myself using the skills that I learned at NAM, especially from the Interview and Personal Introduction portions of competition. I qualified and won several regional, state, and national competitions for business and entrepreneurship. Additionally, I never once had fears of presenting in front of class, which greatly benefitted my in-class performance and my overall impression as a student to my teachers.
I therefore realized that the skills that I built at NAM were not only helping me succeed at the pageants themselves, but also in every other event that I encountered in my life. Before my senior year, I came back to NAM once more to compete for the Washington Teen Title and won my first pageant ever. A few months later, I found myself applying to college and interviewing for my dream schools.
In the interviews for the most elite colleges, my interviewers gave me comments about how impressed they were at my confidence, poise, and eloquence. My Princeton interviewer even commented after notifying her of my acceptance, saying that out of all the candidates she has ever interviewed, I was the only one that she ran out of writing room on in her commentary form.
I am very thankful for my experiences at National American Miss, for the lessons that I learned and the skills that I gained from this organization helped me evolve and improve in every single aspect of my life. I found myself becoming a more confident student and person overall. This led me to find success at NAM, in academics, in my extracurriculars, and everything in between. I am so excited to be attending Princeton University this year, and am so thankful that my time with NAM could be a part of my journey to this amazing school.