Get to Know Madeleine Arnold - Distinguished Young Woman of Utah 2016

UT_MadeleineArnoldName: Madeleine Arnold

Age: 18

Hometown : Highland, Utah

College: Brigam Young University 

Major: Biology

What is your favorite food?  My mom makes the BEST homemade raspberry ice cream.  Nothing can compare. 

What is your favorite movie?  The Sound of Music.  Whenever I watch it (which is quite frequently), I quote/sing the whole thing.  I can’t help it.

What is your favorite Christmas/holiday tradition?  Every year right before Christmas, my family does a “Secret Sub for Santa.”  We choose a family in the community that needs a little extra help that year then pick out Christmas presents for them.  We pack the gifts up, dress in black clothes, and leave the box of gifts on their doorstep (ninja style).  Then we ring the doorbell and run and hide.  Watching their reactions from behind bushes is so priceless.  This tradition is one of my favorite parts of Christmas and such a special reminder of the reason for the season.

What is your favorite quote? My favorite quote is actually a short poem.  My grandma used to say it to my mom, and now she always says it to me.  It’s called “They Might Not Need Me” by Emily Dickinson.  “They might not need me; but they might. I’ll let my head be just in sight; a smile as small as mine might be precisely their necessity.”

What is your favorite time of year? Hands down FALL.  Being from Utah and living 5 minutes from the mouth of the canyon, I love to take canyon drives.  Driving through the mountains with the music up and the windows down surrounded by the most beautiful fall colors is PURE HAPPINESS.

Plan ahead OR procrastinate? Plan ahead

Paper OR plastic? Well, my mom has always bought plastic, so I don’t know any different.  I just got to college, so maybe I’ll get paper when I go shopping next time.  Stay tuned.

Glass half-full OR glass half-empty? Glass half-full. Life’s better that way.

Introvert OR extrovert. Extrovert

Cats OR Dogs? I’m allergic to both.  I know– SO SAD.  But dogs.  Who can help but smile when there’s a cute little puppy around?!

Morning person OR night person? Definitely morning.  My friends all tease me because I cannot stay awake through an entire movie after 9pm to save my life.

What is your most embarrassing moment? When I was in third grade, I was performing in a piano competition.  I was a small third grader, and when I sat on the very edge of the bench, my feet barely reached the pedals.  I was playing Chopin’s Nocturne in C# minor.  The floor was extremely slippery, and as I played, the bench started to slide back further and further.  It didn’t take long before I was standing at the piano.  I played those final runs standing up, finished my piece, and bowed.  The whole audience was smiling, but I was HUMILIATED.  Looking back, it’s kind of funny.

What would we find in your refrigerator right now? I JUST moved into my apartment for school and have yet to go grocery shopping, so all that’s in there is some yogurt and baked beans… Let the starving student days begin.

What is the one thing you wish someone had told you about college life that you had to find out on your own?   I’m brand new to college, and I’m meeting new people who don’t know anything about me.  One thing I hadn’t realized about college, is you have to/get to kind of start over.  Fresh start, clean slate.  No one knows I’m the Distinguished Young Woman of Utah or the girl that plays the piano. I’m just Madeleine– a new face and a new name.  I hope that as I gain a new reputation here that I’m known for my kindness, my happy disposition, and the way I treat others.  I want my identity to come from who I am inside and the way I live my faith.  College is a great time to do a little soul-searching to deliberately decide who you want to be and make some progress on the path to becoming the best version of yourself.

What is one goal you have set for yourself and achieved? What is one goal that still remains to be achieved?  One goal I’ve set for myself is to do something every day that scares me.  This has been my motto for the past year.  Especially with my involvement in DYW, I’ve had to do an infinite number of mock interviews, speak in front of people, meet with important adults, perform in front of lots of people, answer onstage questions, and on and on.  I’ve had such wonderful opportunities, but they weren’t always within the walls of my soft and cozy comfort zone.  One of my family mottos is “Arnolds can do hard things.”  I love that.  Growth never came from comfort zones, and in stepping out of our comfort zones, we often expand them.  This is something that I’m still working on.  I just turned 18, and apparently becoming an adult isn’t like flipping on a light switch where everything all of a sudden becomes easy.  This might not be a goal to be checked off a list when achieved but rather a mindset to maintain.  A goal that I have yet to achieve is to become a regular journal-writer.  That is definitely something I’ll be working on starting NOW.  There. It’s in writing.  I’m committed.

Sum yourself up in three words. Optimistic, kind, driven.

Describe your single-most favorite moment from your Distinguished Young Women experience.  It is so hard to choose a single experience to share, but one that touched me very deeply happened on the final night of the national program.  The top ten was announced at the top of the show that night, and we had just finished performing our talent, fitness and self-expression one last time.  We had walked off stage and were standing in a circle waiting for awards.  One girl suggested we offer a prayer.  We had prayed together multiple times before performances, but this time we expressed gratitude for the incredible opportunity we had been blessed with and for the strong bonds and friendships that had been created over those two weeks.  It was a time where I could acknowledge God’s hand in my life and thank Him for leading me down this path.  Then all 51 of us hugged and cried until we were called on stage one last time for the awards.  That moment was such a special one to share with my beautiful, distinguished sisters.

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