NORTHERN VIRGINIA -- After a whirlwind year as the youngest Miss America ever, Teresa Scanlan, now 19, faces life as a "normal" college student.
Well, sort of. CBN News' Wendy Griffith caught up with the ambitious student on the campus of Patrick Henry College, a small Christian college in northern Virginia, popular with homeschoolers.
Wendy Griffith: "Why did you choose Patrick Henry College?"
Teresa Scanlan: "I actually wanted to go to this school since I was about 7 or 8 years old. I'm the middle of seven children, my mom homeschooled all of us, and I started to see the kind of impact this school was having."
Scanlan is studying government and plans to pursue a career in politics.
Scanlan: "So this semester it's been U.S. History, history of Western Civilization. I'm also taking a constitutional law class; I'm on the moot court team and a research and writing class that is required for freshman."
From Miss America to 'Normal'
Griffith: "What's it like to go from being Miss America to a 'normal' college student?"
Scanlan: "It's been an interesting transition of trying to balance college student by day Miss America by night. I guess, just last weekend I was in Omaha speaking at a convention, came back for a couple of days, yesterday, went up to New York to speak at a fundraiser, came back, got back at two in the morning, went to classes this morning and then leave for Cincinnati tomorrow. So it's been interesting."
Griffith: "So, so much for being just a normal college student?"
Scanlan: "Here, I am a normal college student and I love that. It's something that I haven't had in a very long time."
Griffith: "And of course, we have to ask boys... What about boys? Is there a young man in your life?"
Scanlan: "There is not, and honestly, coming here, I decided the best thing to do would be to completely stay detatched from anything of the sort and focus on having good, honest, deep friendships for these four years. I won't nearly be ready for a serious relationship or marriage until I'm in law school or beyond."
"My dream, I guess, has always been that I will simply be best, best friends with a man and that he'll propose and we'll get married, no dating required! Honestly, that would be my ideal."
Eyes on the White House
Although just a freshman, Scanlan is already charting out her political climb, which includes a Harvard Law degree and a potential run for the White House.
"I certainly hope to be running in 2028 (when she will be 35). My plan following law school is to hopefully go back to Nebraska and begin my political career there," Scanlan said. "I definitely believe and am passionate about serving those people who have made me who I am. Hopefully, I will be governor of Nebraska one day."
"Obviously I've seen that God has other plans for me than I have for my life, if Miss America was any example. I know I need to continually be attuned to that but currently, that is the goal. It has been my entire life," she said. "If you asked me when I was 7 years old what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have said: a lawyer, judge, president and a Supreme Court justice."
Virtue Is the Foundation
Scanlan believes America needs to elect people of integrity to political office.
"If people can realize that virtue is the foundation of a society and a government, we would see some dramatic changes," she said. "And through looking at the history of other civilizations and other empires and countries, you see that when virtue starts to crumble everything else falls apart as well."
Scanlan explained that the spiritual climate at Patrick Henry is a far cry from what she experienced during her reign as Miss America.
"And being immersed in the realm of media and the celebrity realm, it begins to skew your perception and begins to chip away at your morals and values and standards," Scanlan recalled.
"And I found myself compromising in many areas that I absolutely regret and I've been since convicted about it," she admits. "And to be in an environment where you are inspired and encouraged and challenged by those around you every single day to be a better person...it's about, wow, there are still people in this world that truly care about holding themselves accountable to the highest standard possible and that could not be more important than going into a life of politics and law."
Griffith: "What's the best advice you can give to others?"
Scanlan: "Whatever you do, serve other people because many people don't realize it, but the more we try to focus on ourselves to make ourselves better people, it actually has the opposite effect," she said. "If we can instead focus on others, invest in others, do what we can to use our gifts and our talents to reach out to others, make a difference in someone else's life, the return is incredible."