From Our Readers Ever Wonder Who Runs The World? Let Me Tell You From Our Readers

Girls, that’s who.

And I’m reminded of this fact of life everyday that I step on to the campus of the all-women college campus that I attend.

Reactions people have when I tell them that I attend a women’s college:

Anonymous friend: “Those exist still?”
Boyfriend: “It’s a goddamn Menstruation Camp.”
Cynical Middle Aged Man: “There are men in the real world, ya know. How are you going to interact with them in the real world if you don’t interact with them in college?”

I was honestly dreading the fact that I’d be constantly surrounded by a steamy cloud of estrogen for the next four years of my life, but figured that I would eventually get over it, or worse, become a part of it. As I took the twenty minute drive to the college for my first day of classes I felt like I was descending in to a hell where the devil had been overrun by a bunch of overexcited, super empowered young ladies. My gut feeling was so utterly correct.

Looking at the campus and buildings themselves you wouldn’t be able to tell that the school was single-sex, but a closer look makes it more obvious. Instead of keggers and frat parties, students spread around fliers for weekly movie nights, karaoke parties, ice cream socials, “water pong,” and Bingo nights. Every first year student is required to take an introductory course entitled “Women as Empowered Leaders and Learners.” The restrooms on campus are the only restrooms I have ever encountered that have fully stocked and operating tampon dispensers. If there is a school-wide event, there is a Glee soundtrack playing constantly through the speakers. Or Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’. Or the Glee version of Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’. I’m dead serious.

By far the most fantastic situation I have ever encountered at my college is a dance. A dance, you ask? What could be so fantastic about a college dance? Let me tell you. The ladies that attend my college were loaded on to buses and driven three hours to New York’s West Point Military Academy to attend a 1950s-themed sock hop of sorts. Perfect. Comedy genius. The school that might as well have “girl power” printed on every class syllabus was shipping their students off to mingle with some of the finest men in America. Attire was semi-formal and if you planned on wearing a skirt/dress, it was expected to be knee length. A jazz band would provide the evening’s entertainment. We young’uns were expected to dance the night away at our only co-ed event of the school year. Needless to say I didn’t go. I know, I know. How could I have turned such a riveting event down?

Despite these crazy antics, I’m pretty glad I chose to attend the school. The quirky situations we’re all presented with as modern women actually add to the charm of the school itself. It’s pretty cool to not feel the pressure that often comes along with having to impress the opposite sex. (Upon being asked what she likes best about attending an all-women college, one of the classmates in my “Women as Empowered Leaders and Learners” course answered, “Well, it’s really nice not to have to wear makeup every freaking day.” To be honest, it’s kind of refreshing to not hear giggles or see boys shift awkwardly in their seats at the mention of menstrual cycles.

You can read more from Christina Raus on her blog or follow her on Twitter.

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  1. I went to a women’s college, and it baffles me that 1. you seriously only have one event a year where you’re allowed to mix with guys and 2. the best thing someone could think of was not having to wear make-up?!? Also, it’s sort of sad that women are still wearing make-up for men. You should wear make-up because of how it makes YOU feel, not to impress someone you’re trying to attract. Then again, I guess as a first year you have a lot to learn. That sounds so condescending, but it’s really true. I credit my experiences at Mt. Holyoke for making it possible to be who I am today. I think the most powerful thing about attending a women’s college is the subliminal messages you receive every day. Who is the person always getting A’s in class? A woman. Who is the leader of your student government? A woman. Who started an awareness campaign to reduce the college’s carbon footprint? A woman. When you attend a women’s college, you are surrounded by women leaders, which makes it almost a non-issue. You assume that women will naturally be the leaders of anything they choose to be, which is a powerful feeling to bring with you to your post-college world. Men still tend to dominate classroom discussion, so going to a women’s college will allow you to find your voice and become even more confident sharing your ideas and opinions. When these things become your norm, you’ll keep them with you out in the “real world.” Of course these things are possible at a co-ed school, but a women’s college particularly fosters this kind of confidence and self-empowerment. And, ok, I won’t lie- being able to use both the men’s and women’s bathrooms is really nice. Just don’t forget (like I did) that men will actually be using them on a night when there’s a large party.

  2. that sounds a lot like the dead poet society’s girls school :D
    i find it very interesting and would really like to see one in “real life”.
    but what’s with the giggling? I go to a normal university (we don’t have college in germany) and although there are some very girly girls a lot of them don’t giggle or care about make-up or impressing guys. i mean, really! it’s uni. they’re supposed to be grown up

  3. How could the “most fantastic situation you encountered” be a dance you didn’t even attend?

  4. I went to an all girl high school and loved it, but by college (in Australia we call education institutions after high school universities or technical school) I enjoyed having guys in my class because they had different experiences and views.

    Are there single sex high schools in America?

    Single sex high school are quite popular in Australia. A quick Google says the proportion of students attending single-sex secondary schools was to 41% of boys and 45% of girls in the mid ’90s, and I think that figure would’ve stayed quite stable.

    Studies have shown that these students tend to do better than students in co-ed schools, but it’s skewed because more what we call private schools (where the families pay) are single sex then state schools (where the government pays the majority), so there are other factors at play.

    I found the all girl high school a wonderfully supportive place… where we could be as daggy and as nerdy as we wanted. We sang a lot of pop music and made a lot of references to ’80s and ’90s teen movies.

    And we had a lot of bake stall.

    And yes, it was really nice not to have to wear makeup every day.

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