Get to Know Chole McLaughlin - Distinguished Young Woman of Indiana for 2012

Name: Chloe Christine McLaughlin
Hometown:Frankfort, Indiana
College: Indiana Wesleyan University
Major: Double Major – Church Music and Christian Worship

Favorite food: Anything Home-cooked (college puts things in perspective!)
Favorite TV show: The Big Bang Theory
Favorite movie: The Italian Job
Current #1 most played song on your iPod: Don’t Stop The Madness by Tenth Avenue North
Favorite quote: “Never, Never, Never Give up.”- Winston Churchill

Plan ahead OR procrastinate: Plan Ahead
Paper OR plastic: Paper
Glass half-full OR glass half-empty: Half-full
Introvert OR extrovert: Extrovert
Cats OR Dogs: DOGS!
Morning person OR night person: Morning Person

What is your most embarrassing moment? 
At my state Distinguished Young Women Program on prelim night, I participated in the Self-Expression portion and our question was “Is the world a better or worse place to live in now than it was 50 years ago?” My immediate reaction was to talk about the Civil Rights Movement and how the world was a better place in the 60’s because people got together and stood up for something. Well, when I went up to the microphone I proceeded to say “And the people banded together in racism….. AGAINST racism.” I then smiled and completed the portion, but went back to my host family’s house thoroughly mortified. Now I look back on it and laugh, because my ability to cover my mistake was part of what helped me win the program!

If you could be any color crayon, what would you be and why? 
I would choose to be Shamrock, because one of my favorite colors has always been green, and my family is part Irish: it also can never hurt to hope for a little bit of luck.

What would I find in your refrigerator right now (if you have one)? 
String cheese, diet cranberry splash sierra mist, peppermint mocha coffee creamer, and two pears from IWU’s dining hall.

What is your biggest fear? 
BIRDS. I am curl-up-in-a-ball, cry-in-a-corner horrified of birds, specifically seagulls.

What is the one thing you wish someone had told you about college life that you had to find out on your own? 
College is hard, so much harder than I ever imagined it would be. I wish someone had told me how difficult the transition was and how much homework I was about to become enveloped in, so I could better prepare myself for it. I also wish someone would have told me that college means making certain sacrifices and choices. It is not humanly possible to join EVERY club that you want to join. I had to pick only a couple, which was new for me, because in high school I was in 12 clubs.

Describe your single-most favorite moment from your Distinguished Young Women experience.
My entire Distinguished Yong Women experience was magical, but I’m not sure any moment in my life thus far could top my experience at Nationals this summer. Don’t get me wrong, it was stressful and overwhelming, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I became so incredibly close to the other 49 girls. Distinguished Young Women really is a sisterhood of women who stick together and encourage one another.

I came into Nationals harboring the notion that I would never fit in with these girls or be able to foster any kind of significant relationship with them, because I felt different. I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived in Mobile to find that none of these girls saw the “differences” that I had been so worried about. The Distinguished Young Women from across the country only saw how beautiful each girl was in her own way. We were not unnecessarily competitive or obsessive about winning, it was about the experience and getting to know America’s best and brightest.

As I look back on those two weeks it is so hard to pick just one moment that could sum up my love for the program. So I won’t pick a moment from the weeks of the program, I instead will share about letters. After my first week at Indiana Wesleyan I was ready to come home, because college was nothing that I had hoped it would be. It was hard and stressful and I cried every night because I felt so alone and unhappy. Giving up is never an option for me, so instead I posted a comment on the National Finals Facebook Page asking for prayer and thoughts, because life was harder than I’d hoped. The next week I got two letters in the mail and a long email; one from Stephanie Brady of New Hampshire, another from Emily Thomas of Massachusetts, and the email from Paige Wilson of Kentucky (who was also my roommate!). They were simply letters of encouragement and hope and reminders of the 49 girls who love me. These letters were a reminder that I am never alone and a true testament to this program. My favorite part of this program is the promise that I never have to feel alone, because there will always be 49 girls across the country cheering me on.

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