Ask any girl from an all girls private school, and she’ll probably tell you she wishes she had the chance to go to a co-ed school, even for a part of her high school career. For me, I had attended an all-girls school for my entire education. I probably missed out on some vital social skills, like when it is or isn’t inappropriate to show off how long you’ve gone without shaving your legs, but one thing I can fully recognize is how I would never trade my schooling experience for the chance to see a cute boy walk down the hallway.
Not only is growing up the point when we’re most vulnerable, but it’s when I needed to figure out who I was and learn to deal with growing (both physically and mentally), without being self conscious. And what better way than to surround yourself with 300+ girls in the same boat as you? (Misery does love company….)
I gained a sense of empowerment, and in a time when girls are labeled for any course of action they choose, I’m glad I was able to avoid that by growing up with people that were going through the same changes, and growing up under the leadership of female-sensitive faculty.
My school was academically demanding, and I was able to make mistakes, learn from them, and all without distraction. I was able to thrive by joining clubs without being driven by stressful competition and I was able to join community service and speak to people outside my school with confidence. I was inspired and constantly driven by my educators; it was embedded in me that nothing could ever stop me from achieving my dreams, whatever they may be. Nothing was silly or stupid, and all ideas are valid.
Self-esteem is a pressing issue for every single girl, overtly confident or not. I believe that wearing uniforms every day didn’t constrict me in any way, but rather gave me confidence- it was nice to see every one else dressed exactly like me. Just one less thing to be insecure about, especially in the era of denim on denim and crimped hair, a-la Lizzie McGuire. School became more about personality, and less about who wore what when.
Now of course, the number one complaint of any girl at an all-girls school would be the lack of boys…but is that such a bad thing? I’m sure my parents were thankful I didn’t have any such distractions, and there were always opportunities to meet the opposite sex- whether it be at dances, fairs, or even joint projects with the all-boys school down the road. There was always a way to make sure you were developing all necessary social skills. And no boy drama doesn’t exactly hurt, right?
Although it took me a while to realize what was normal to discuss with friends at school isn’t so normal to discuss with friends at University or in any outside co-curriculars (note: that time of the month is usually not), I eventually found my way. And I know that if I were to have a daughter, I would want her to be able to experience the same freedom I had growing up.