By Liesel Haskell, 17, Louisville HS
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Liesel Haskell says a girls school was the perfect place for her, despite her mom's worries that she'd miss out on the complete high school experience.
Photo by Associate Editor Sue Doyle

My alarm clock is blaring—it’s 5:30 a.m. I jump out of bed and head for the shower. On any other day, I’d roll out of bed at 6:30 a.m. But today students from a boys school will attend class at Louisville, my girls high school. I need the extra hour to get ready.

Believe it or not primping is NOT part of my daily routine. Since boys aren’t usually on my campus, this was a special occasion and I wanted to look my best. I hadn’t been in a classroom with boys since I was in junior high, a time when I was painfully shy and too intimidated to raise my hand in class.

All of that changed, after I started attending Louisville. Without having boys around, my confidence grew. I learned not to care if I asked a stupid question in class. I didn’t worry if I seemed like a know-it-all. I became comfortable with myself.

Those junior high memories filled my head as I walked into school in my own morning daze. But then the sight I saw snapped me out of it. Instead of seeing the usual makeup-free faces, I was greeted by faces coated with thick layers of foundation, blush, eyeliner, mascara and lipstick.

On top of that, everyone’s hair seemed remarkably perfect—pretty clips, little braids and flowing curls. As I walked down the hallways, I kept getting whiffs of freesia and vanilla from every direction.

Inside the classroom, the most vocal students were reluctant to raise their hands when boys were around. Aghh! It was junior high happening all over again! It was all so overwhelming!

On an average school day, I walk around campus wearing sweat pants and not a stitch of makeup. Everyone else usually dresses the same.

I was amazed at the time and effort expended just because boys were in class. I began to appreciate the fact that I did not have to waste time every morning in front of the mirror. My mornings are less hectic, and I get an extra hour of sleep.

I love my school

When people hear that I attend an all-girls school, they immediately feel sorry for me. They’re always surprised when I tell them that I love my school and that I had to fight with my parents to go there.

It all goes back to eighth grade, when high school loomed in the near future. At the time, I had two choices: attend a girls school where most of my friends were going, or a brand new school where I didn’t know a soul. I wanted to be with my friends, so the girls school was it!

But my mom was concerned because the school was all girls. She worried that I’d miss out on the real high school experience and thought my friends talked me into attending Louisville. Plus, it would make my social life more difficult, and I was already very shy, my mom warned. "You might be missing out on a lot of fun," she said.

But I went to the all-girls school and bloomed. With time, my hand went up more often in class. An all-girls environment was less intimidating. Now that I’m a senior, I look back at those old days and realize that choosing this school was the best decision I ever made.

At first though, even I wasn’t so sure. It felt strange to not have boys around and there was pressure to interact with them. The big way to meet boys at a girls school is by attending school dances. As freshmen, the dances meant a lot to my friends and me. We talked about what to wear weeks in advance. I went shopping with my mom and agonized over which dresses to buy.

During my freshman year, I went to absolutely every dance and social event possible, because I HAD to find a boyfriend. But I never really had fun, because I was so concerned about what I looked like and how I acted there.

As I got older, my outlook on social events did a complete 180. By the time I was a junior, I no longer felt the need to attend dances. Why spend my Saturday nights feeling uncomfortable? Now I’m a senior and can’t believe how much I obsessed about having the perfect outfit.

Sometimes I miss the guys

But that doesn’t mean I don’t care about socializing with boys.

One night this year, after our brother school’s homecoming game, a bunch of us went to El Torito Restaurant. I had so much fun just being able to talk and laugh with the guys. I do miss being able to interact with them every day.

I’ve never had a boyfriend. At times, this bothers me. Watching a romantic movie or standing in line at Magic Mountain and watching people hold hands and kiss—it’s those times that I feel like I’m missing out on something.

This year, I realized how much I’ve grown when I participated as a lawyer in a mock trial team at school. My position required a lot of public speaking, something I used to dread. By that time, my confidence had been building for four years. I blasted the other side with my words and didn’t care what anyone thought of me. It was great!

Overall, my single-sex education has made me more confident. I am ready to encounter the real world. But will I attend a womens college? No, I think I am ready for the coed world.