Taylor Anderson

12/19/2023

With a smile stretching from ear to ear, it's hard to miss junior Taylor Anderson.

That smile is a reflection of what's inside of Anderson as well. "I find it important to make others happy because a simple smile can change someone's outlook on their day," she said. "Even when people are enduring many challenges in their personal lives, sometimes a simple distraction or reminder that they're noticed is all that's needed."

The way that Anderson exudes kindness comes naturally to her. "I rarely ever think about things that I should do to bring happiness to those around me, but some things I do are: just smiling, always starting conversations and always finding a way to make someone laugh," said Anderson.

Even on a rough day, she still has the motivation to be happy. "My friends and family play a huge role in my happiness. Considering that everyone has bad days, and even though it's in my personality, sometimes I'm just off and need a boost," she said. "I can always count on friends and family to support me, keep me grounded and remind me of the good things."

While her friends support her on her bad days, more often than not, Anderson ends up being the listening ear for her friends. "I'm often helping my friends and peers, whether that involves letting them rant to me or offering advice," said Anderson. "The best advice I've given was, 'It's okay to not be okay'."

It's not surprising that Anderson describes herself as, "bold, bright and blunt." She explained, "I consider myself bold because I have an extremely outgoing personality that allows me to be loud, talk to new people, and do things that may seem out of the ordinary. I chose the word bright because I have always been told that my personality is very compelling and I want to share the way I feel among those around me. I also smile a ton, so I feel like that adds to the bright side of me. I also consider myself blunt because I'm always saying what I'm thinking, and I wear my emotions on my sleeve. Even on tough days, my blunt/straightforward personality shines through and people can usually tell how I'm feeling."

Anderson's happiness has not come without challenges, though – and she acknowledges that getting through them made her who she is today. "The biggest challenge in my life was my mental health struggles due to my personal life situations, but I am continuing to be able to overcome these issues by connecting with/ learning about myself, cherishing time with peers and counseling," said Anderson. She doesn't let these challenges or problems in her life get her down, in fact -- she has a process to deal with the things that upset her in her life. "In the case that a bad situation comes up, I attempt to separate myself to think clearly and rationally to take action to find better alternatives," said Anderson. "I find it important to maintain composure and not affect everyone around me if something makes me upset."

A source of inspiration for Anderson and her happiness is her mother. "I look up to my mother a lot," said Anderson. "She encourages me every day to be better, stronger and to keep trying no matter what." She noted that she has found a "new respect and appreciation for my mom," based on how her mother helped her through issues and did not allow her to stay down – but made her get up and keep going. "She made it adamant for me to get help and better myself," Anderson explained. "I've learned so much from her because she's very open with me about life struggles and I believe that has helped me with my maturity in certain cases."

Anderson has lots of goals and aspirations, both for the future and for her high school career. "Before I graduate from high school, I want to take a psychology class, peer tutor or get to Sectionals/Regionals in track," she said. In addition to that, she plans to be either a registered nurse or do something with social work, but whatever she decides to do, she wants to be able to help people. "A legacy I want to be remembered for is always trying to improve, not only improving myself but the people and places that surround me," she added. "I just find it important for everyone to find those couple of things that they enjoy, to brighten up life."

A quote that has stuck with Anderson and is an important part of who she is states, "If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." Anderson explained, "I resonate with this quote because life is not easy, but if you teach yourself how to change your outlook on things, it aligns with your goals and the things you focus on. Whenever you only search through good in the bad, the good is all you see."

Story by Connor Burress