Print

E-Mail Story

Comment

News Letter Sign up


I delight in the truth


July 10, 2018

1 Image

It was shocking to me when I got the invitation for my 15-year college reunion. Had it really been that long? I had attended the five-year, at which point I was fresh out of graduate school and living in a sad one-room basement apartment in the middle of Denver, where we kept the windows open and the whole place was covered in a layer of street dust at all times.  I had a job I didn’t hate, which sounded more important than it was, but I was also a baby. Of course, I would have railed against anyone who said so.

 

I loved Bryn Mawr College at that point because I was still very close to the people with whom I went to school: genius women who have moved on to get their PhDs, MDs,  JDs, to have significant jobs with prestigious universities and research facilities, publications and nonprofit organizations, and even the NYPD.

 

This year, I felt less connected to my class and yet more determined to attend. Sure, I have a few very close friendships that have endured the tests of time and distance, but the sense of community I felt in the early years post-graduation had dissipated. I hear from some people regularly, but most, not at all. I keep up with their social media, and so know their accomplishments, their couplings or searches for partners, their professional lives and exactly what types of debauchery suits them best. But we don’t talk.

 

Sharing an education from this institution brings even strangers together; friendships that did not stand the test of time become almost incidental in the face of the college’s cumulative, historical student body. My love for Bryn Mawr extends beyond the years in which I attended, stretching back to generations of previous alumnae, and those generations of women who will come. I can only imagine what their personal lives on campus must look like, but I know for certain that the education they receive is one meant to provide them with leadership skills and self-confidence, to imbue within them pride in being smarter than the average bear rather than being ashamed for knowing too much, or being too forward, or not staying “in their place.”

 

I wore a T-shirt in high school that said “A woman’s place is in the house. And the senate,” and I was lucky enough to be surrounded by men and women who supported my fledgling feminism. I was encouraged even then to be loud and to be opinionated, and never to quiet myself in the presence of men. Women’s college seemed like an obvious choice, and it has changed the way I interact with the world for the better.

 

In my classrooms here, where most people have never heard of my alma mater, I make a point of balancing the space given to all students, regardless of their race, ethnicity, sexuality or gender identity. Having attended a college bent not only on educating but also on empowering the gifted, all-female student body, I find myself loyal to the institution — regardless of the nauseating pile of student loans I accrued as a result of attending — in a way that transcends the personal relationships I had there. My education has made me smarter, yes, but also more compassionate, stronger and more connected to the experiences of other women.

 

Sometimes people think women’s college graduates live in bubbles and emerge unable to reenter the world of men. But post-graduation, the transition, while not easy, has gone pretty well. I have slipped into mainstream society like onto a train at rush hour. People are vying for space. While I’m literally smaller than most of them, and the world has tried to convince me that I am also metaphorically smaller than they are, I hold my own, knowing myself to be deserving. Bryn Mawr also taught me about privilege, and to do my best to make space for those who haven’t been given the chance to do so themselves, and so sometimes, between stops, I’ve been known to throw an elbow.


Print

E-Mail Story

News Letter Sign up

Bookmark and Share
« Previous Story | Next Story »
 

COMMENTS

http://www.connectstatesboro.com/ encourages readers to interact with one another. We will not edit your comments, but we reserve the right to delete any inappropriate responses. To report offensive or inappropriate comments, contact our editor. The comments below are from readers of http://www.connectstatesboro.com/ and do not necessarily represent the views of Publication or Morris Multimedia.

You must be logged in to post comments.  [LOGIN]



You must be logged in to post comments.  [LOGIN]