On my revisit day, while admiring the splendors of the historic school buildings, towering elm trees and excitement and fun of classroom experiences, I repeatedly asked myself the question: “Can I see myself here?”
I closely observed the female students in their spring dresses and pastel cardigans, keeping in mind that to attend Deerfield these collectively beautiful young women must also be talented athletes or artists in addition to being incredibly smart. As I decided on my school, I couldn’t have been more excited to join the ranks of the Deerfield girls.
Though I had seen the “prep” life through my brother’s school, I nonetheless felt Deerfield culture shock. Once I entered the system, I became aware of its pressures.
During Dorm Olympics I learned of the importance of being bronze, and the many ways of emphasizing this (our dorm color was white, which was great, because it made us look more tan).
I recognized the gap between the clothing I’d brought to Deerfield and what many girls were wearing. And I was genuinely mystified at the Friday night Greer scene, which to this day I still think must be a social experiment we’re not being told about.
It wasn’t long before I saw the work it takes to be a put-together Deerfield girl. So much time and energy was necessary to appear effortlessly attractive, popular, talented and smart.
In retrospect, I see these pressures most often affecting underclassman. After enough “obligatory” Greer nights of
forced and incredibly awkward interaction, many girls learn how acceptable and enjoyable a night out in Greenfield or a movie and China Gourmet with friends can be.
And after a lot of underclassman pettiness dissipated, I found myself able to discern who I wanted to be: I followed trends I liked and refused ones I didn’t.
With every new Deerfield girl I met, I learned about the great diversity of pasts and presents. Contrary to popular belief, many female students here possess varying priorities and interests, just as male students do.
Some Deerfield girls can never fit the strict stereotype because of factors completely out of their control, like race or socioeconomic status, while some who do have the means, monetary or otherwise, to fit the common mold choose to reject the stereotype, viewing Deerfield as a place to escape lifelong expectations they did not choose.
I find it hilarious when I hear complaints about girls all looking the same. Aren’t boys, in their mandatory blazers, ties, collared shirts and pants the epitome of identical?
However, if one simply tries to see beyond the exterior, he or she will find that two girls wearing similar boots and dresses can, and often do, have completely dissimilar backgrounds and interests.
Through my own personal Deerfield experience, I’ve learned an incredibly valuable and useful lesson: it is infinitely more important to focus on the kind of person one is than to focus on one’s exterior. No amount of designer clothing, jewelry or keratin treatments will solely create success in the long run.
Kindness, confidence and a genuine personality generate more friendships than anything superficial. After all, those who only care about hair and what one wears probably aren’t worth the time.
Deerfield girls are found in the art studio, on the stage, in the squash courts, volunteering at the elementary school or hiking to the rock. We are a diverse crowd, each young woman an individual with her own talents, intellectual curiosities and aspirations.
Though there are undeniable superficial trends, I hope that each Deerfield girl can be defined not by meager exterior similarities, but by the common thread of her well-rounded and unique talents and abilities.