Truthfully, I did not apply to Barnard because it’s a women’s college – I applied in spite of it. Luckily, the school had enough positive aspects to outweigh this negative. Surrounded by only women, 24/7? Ew, no thank you. I agreed with the sentiment that, in this day and age, women’s colleges are somewhat irrelevant. If women no longer need to attend female institutions to achieve higher education, then why would they? There are hundreds of perfectly good co-ed colleges in the world! Yet in only one year at Barnard, I’ve learned my lesson: women’s colleges are not only relevant, but necessary in today’s society. I could tell you the facts – that while only 2% of women graduate from women’s colleges, these graduates comprise over 20% of our congress; that women’s college alum include the likes of Emily Dickinson, Hilary Clinton, Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City, anyone?), Meryl Streep, Barbara Walters, Nancy Pelosi and hundreds of other household names – but instead I’ll explain my own experience at Barnard, and why attending a women’s college is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
One of the most overused, age-old arguments against schools like Barnard is one you’ve probably heard before (I certainly have): a community of only women is unrealistic – it’s nothing like the real world. (News flash: neither is regular college!) The logic is, “how can women successfully assimilate into the work force, where men are not just present, but dominant, if they’ve spent their days surrounded by other women?” Believe it or not, 81% of women’s college graduates reported that their college was extremely or very effective in helping prepare them for their first job, versus 65% of women who graduated from public universities. Yes, I’m surrounded by a lot of estrogen, a lot of the time. No, I don’t feel as though the lack of men is leaving me ill-prepared. Rather, I feel confident and ready to speak my mind, thanks to the simultaneously nurturing yet challenging environment. I never feel as though I’m in competition with my classmates, because I have the opportunity to speak in a free space, without feeling as though I’m being judged or criticized. Every class is an ongoing discussion between peers and professors alike. While this may be possible at co-ed universities, studies have shown that women are less likely to speak up when they are outnumbered by men. Women’s colleges teach leadership and confidence through active participation. (And believe it or not, “women’s studies” isn’t the main focus of every class – and when it is, we analyze gender roles from every side, including the male perspective!) After four years of this, you can imagine that graduates emerge empowered and ready to take their seat at the metaphorical table.
Romanticism was an artistic and intellectual movement originating in Europe in the late 1700s and characterized by a heightened interest in nature, emphasis on the individual’s expression of emotion and imagination, departure from the attitudes and forms of classicism, and rebellion against established social rules and conventions.
Happy birthday, Emily Dickinson (b. 10 December 1830)
On this day (10 December) in 1830, Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Dickinson was a witty and popular student at Amherst Academy and at Mt. Holyoke but was viewed as somewhat unconventional. She made a few trips to Philadelphia and Boston but rarely left Amherst. She preferred her home, where her stern lawyer father, invalid mother, spinster sister, and domineering brother created a colorful, if oppressive, family life. In 1858, Dickinson began collecting the many short poems she wrote into small, hand-sewn books. In 1862, she wrote an editor at the Atlantic Monthly, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, to evaluate her work. He felt her work wasn’t yet ready to publish but became her mentor, and the two corresponded for many years.
Dickinson had only one romance that is known about today, with Judge Otis Lord. Although it looked like the two would marry, the romance ended. Dickinson was increasingly reluctant to leave the house after 1862 and would often decline even to see visitors. Although she wrote 1,775 poems, only seven were published in her lifetime. All were deceptively simple, endless variations on the same pattern. Dickinson died at the age of 56.
In 1890, thanks to her sister’s efforts, Poems by Emily Dickinson was published, followed by more volumes over the next 60 years. In 1955, The Complete Works of Emily Dickinson was published. - history.com
Cornelia Maria Clapp was an american zoologist born in 1849. She graduated from Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, where she started teaching mathematics. She earned a Ph. D in 1889 at the University of Chicago. At Mount Holyoke she became a zoology professor in 1904.
Her legacy is her influence as a teacher: she didn’t publish many works during her career but worked on giving opportunity to women through education.
Mount Holyoke Seminary was started by Mary Lyon in the early 1830s. Now, Mount Holyoke College. The first of the seven sisters, and for 100 years more graduates of the college went on to receive PhD’s than any other college in the world. South Hadley Massachusetts.