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Tiny. This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

I never realized how small I was until I was thrust into the biggest moment of my life. I stepped in front of the center window of the White House, looked over the Great Lawn, and I became tiny. The manicured turf stretched for what seemed like miles towards the bleached center of Washington DC, and the hot sun shone off the memorial windows like a thousand eyes. My toes fidgeted through sensible black heels on the plush carpet of the East Room, trying to absorb the magnitude of the spot in which I was standing. This spot wasn't just a spot, and this window wasn't just a window. Jacqueline Kennedy, my role model, could have stood in that very place, looking out to the tourists gathering by the gate. President Roosevelt could have occupied that same spot, thinking of something far larger than myself. But the spot's heritage wasn't the root of the moment. My true tininess crashed upon me in tired feet and a sore back and new friendships and unique perspectives and late night gabbing. Girls Nation had made me itty bitty. Within the last six days, I had met 96 of the best and brightest young women in the country, all representing their states with amazing intellect and warm personalities. Through our committee sessions, elections, bills debates, and even a music video, I had been completely humbled and awed with the amount of enthusiasm they brought to debate and the conference. Though still passionate about what mattered to me, Girls Nation showed me that differing viewpoints discussed respectfully could enrich your way of thinking, and open discussion could teach you more than anything out of a textbook. While at the previous conference, Girls State, I had been a leader, Girls Nation became a place where I enthusiastically embraced being a student. How could I have ever passed up the opportunity to learn from these young women? With the physical exhaustion of the days walk and the immense gratitude I felt for every person there, I began to tear up a bit, right in the middle of the White House. But all that was cut short as the Secret Service began to herd us into place. After a quick round up, we stood on the choir bleachers anxiously. I could feel the anticipation seeping from every person in the room, including myself. Then, without warning , the doors opened and President Obama walked in. Just like that. And after the clapping subsided, I started to feel bigger, because President Obama started to speak about leadership. He told us we are all leaders, and that the future of our country rested on service minded youth like us. Though it was still legitimate to feel small, I began to doubt my time as tiny. Yes, I was surrounded by some of the most amazing girls in the country, but they were also surrounded by me. I was there, and leading through discussion and support, developing values and ideas that would shape me into a better person and better leader. From that whole experience, that amazing week, I received what could be the most profound revelation of my entire life: it's okay to be tiny, for it allows you to count your blessings, as long as you remember you have the ability to be a giant. As Ralph Waldo Emerson says, "A great [wo]man is always willing to be little".



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