is the life of a student constantly defending their chosen discipline of study and fighting off the stereotype that they are an angry, hairy-legged lesbian (I mean I am… some days… most days?? but not the point…)
*WGS: women’s and gender studies
But in all seriousness – it means so much more to me. I am thoroughly in love with my education. My professors are amazing and inspiring, and my readings each week offer new perspectives and critiques for me to consider and I am constantly challenged to not only think differently, but to live differently. Honestly, women’s and gender studies is making me a better person.
However amazing and transforming it may be though, it is also tough. Classes that seek to push you to analyze and critique every aspect of the society you grew up in and are currently living essentially ask you to question all you’ve ever known. And yes, it’s a good thing, because awareness is the first step in creating social change.
Yet, I find it very intense. I often get stuck in a thought spiral of introspection and self-reflexivity. This is usually a process that happens after every class, and sometimes, it is hard to dig my way out of that mindset. It’s a productive way to think, at first, in small doses – because I do reflect on where I can better myself – but it is also overwhelming when I can’t find my way out of that questioning.
My mind, after class, resembles something of a chaotic school of fish, each thought erratically zig-zagging, so fast I can’t even track it. I want to stick my hand in the water, grab a fish, grapple with it and shout who are you and what do you want from me? Maybe this metaphor makes no sense. I’m trying to articulate what is a very complicated headspace, and probably failing. But just writing this out is just as well.
I would like to digress from the very small, negative aspect of my major though. Because really, it isn’t negative, but how I handle it sometimes is. I am thankful that I leave class with a brain buzzing with questions. Learning to curve and control this, to draw boundaries for my own thinking, my overthinking, is something I am working on.
I am so excited by my academic career. Every minute in class solidifies where my passions and interests are and that this, academia, is what I want to pursue in life, if not just for the next several years. My professors bring fresh, energizing, and liberating ideas and perspectives to the class and provide a great foundation to build my own critical thinking from.
I have a lot of ideas, a lot of opinions, and having an education founded in feminism is teaching me that I am not the only one experiencing the issues I do; to question the status quo; to value experience as knowledge; to understand that life and oppression is never as simple as it appears; and best of all, that seeking to question, to understand, and create dialogue is how change is made and ideas are transformed to be inclusive, holistic and considerate of the diverse world we live in.
Feminism gives me hope. My education gives me hope. It gives me hope that as I arm myself with knowledge and awareness, I will be able to competently address bigger issues and work to revolutionize the world around me.
I’m sorry for all the cheese – but I finally feel like I’ve found my place, my “calling”, my career, and it feels pretty damn good.