me, begging this incurably obtuse garbage conglomerate of a website on bended fucking knee with tears streaming down my face: please for the love of god consider that ur tendency to subconsciously categorize lesbians as being uniquely prone to meanness and oversensitivity might be partially because u are trained, socially, to see us as shrieking unfeminine caricatures rather than full fledged people with complex emotional lives
a rando, stumbling across my humble post with their eyes blissfully closed to the vast and terrifying world of context-appropriateness: but what about my great-uncle’s nephew’s brother-in-law’s first cousins “roommate” from her time at vassar, who showed up at our family reunion wreathed in foul black smoke and shorn of hair and spent the evening spitting poison onto the hors d’oeuvres and calling my great great grand-papá a cuck
I firmly believe in the metaphysical experience of staying up all night every once in a while in an academic capacity. It is nothing like staying up all night to go to a party, or to go to a party after going to a party, which I have done before…The night is much shorter, paradoxically, than if you were doing it voluntarily. First it is one o'clock, as it frequently is, and then it is three-thirty and finally, much later, it is five and then suddenly it is ten minutes past seven and all the other people are beginning to crawl out of bed having slept all night, a fact which you scorn, and are looking simply terrible, – much worse than you, and you have the feeling that life has been passing them by whereas you, YOU know the value and meaning of everything. Knowing how long the night is, exactly, and how much can be accomplished in that time, and what time the sun comes up in the latter part of May, is a little bit like knowing how long life is.
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.
August has, for the past 4 years, meant returning. It has meant homecoming. It has meant fresh starts, new pens, and blank pages.
August has come to mean, to me, Vassar. And now, suddenly, it doesn’t.
When I graduated (a whopping 2.5 months ago), it felt right and good and true. I was ready. It wasn’t until August peaked around the corner that I felt like something was missing.
You, luckiest of all the most lucky in my mind, are about to set foot on my favorite place, and I envy you beyond reason.
I challenge you to try more do more be more than you think you can.
Stay up late, talk to those kids down the hall, experience the end of an all nigher from the library, the Rose Parlor, your dorm room. Lie awake on a Saturday night and listen to all the comings and goings of the quad. Kiss a stranger. Kiss your best friend.
Follow the 2 week rule.
Go to the bridge next to the willow on Sunset Lake, lie down, tip your head over the edge, and enjoy.
Spend all day on the quad. Listen to a new favorite song, make a new friend & watch the shadows grow long.
Get a solid crew together for breakfast.
Get a solid crew together for dinner.
be brave. be nervous. be fucking terrified.
Visit people in their rooms, share your clothes, walk to Acrop at 3 in the morning.Take more pictures than you think you need to.
There’s a quiet nook next to the Shakespeare garden…spend an afternoon there alone. Bask in those fleeting moments of privacy.
Say no to things, to people, to projects.
Fight over which one is the best dorm (Davison, obviously).
Watch a lightening storm from the Earth Circle.
Leave messages hidden in books in mailboxes on trees.
Come up with a code.
Relish in the talent of others. Don’t be afraid to take on leadership roles.
love and love and love until you think you can love no more.
surprise yourself by loving again.
Speak up in class. Don’t be afraid to let someone change your mind. Take a pie from the deece and eat it in the orchard. Get lost on the farm. Sleep outside. Watch the stars.
Dance. What you feel, when- and wherever you feel it.
at the mug
in the villard room
for flypeople/hype/on tap/shakers
alone. in a crowded room. in the dark.
Be wild. Be uncertain. Be committed. Be there for others. Be generous, and be so often. But be selfish sometimes. Be good to yourself.
Get off campus.
Recognize that nothing is perfect. Don’t be afraid to point out the corruption, the hypocrisy, the unrealistic idealism. Fight for the changes you believe need to happen to make things better.
Collect something… bottle caps, ticket stubs, dried flowers. Mark the passage of time with something other than deadlines.
Eat good food.
Be comfortable in your body, somehow.
Listen to music when you shower.
Make sure you don’t remember Freshman/Sophomore/Junior/Senior year because so much has happened, not because you drank any single one of them out of your brain.
Spend the next 4 years learning Vassar and build for yourself the most amazing group of friends anyone can ask for. Hold each other up hold each other together. Be sensible and crazy for one another when you need to be. Be vulnerable and let them see you. Truly you. At your best and your worst and anything in between. See them back. Laugh often and loudly.
And then, when you’re not quite ready, just because you can, move in with strangers.
Fall in love with them.
That’s what I did, and it worked out pretty damn well.
Vassar is where I discovered myself, found my soul mates, and learned to chase my dreams. She is responsible for who I am and who I will become.
So take good care of her. And she’ll try her best to take care of you, I promise.
Have a great 4 years you lucky little turds. I’ll see you on the other side.
10 yrs ago I met these polite Columbia grads. A few months later we went up to Poughkeepsie for a show and they made me come with them to a Vassar party afterwards. And this happened. (via @krisirvingchen)
12: (Copied from KP’s ask) I really like my Crime-Mom Annie and I really like Ari’s best attempt at a brooklyn accent. I also like Ember a lot although, that may be Flechette talking.
18: I do think that Vassar and Flechette would be good friends. And I was never really on board the Re/ix train. I guess I don’t really have any good crackships
20: (Also, as it happens, copied from KP’s ask) Actually, both of my main OCs sing. Vassar sings because the only thing he knows how to do is make music and he would rather sing than face any of his problems. Flechette sings because she only recently started listening to music. She is very self conscious about her own singing.