This reflection on my undergraduate years is dedicated to my fellow Smithies.
Although these past four years have been extraordinary, I am not really sure what particular thoughts to share with you in order to accurately portray how I feel about my time at Smith. All I know is that the greatest lesson that I have gained from my overall experience at Smith College is the importance of taking action for the sake of my happiness and personal growth. (When I am referring to Smith College, it is not the institution that I am crediting my personal growth to, but rather the space that it provides and the people who it attracts that have a huge impact on me.)
From living on my own, I learned that happiness is a choice that only I can make. However, I also quickly learned that the path to being happy is not always easy to take. In fact, the pursuit of happiness tends to demand a lot from me but being at Smith has conditioned me to take part in so many new experiences that getting out of my comfort zone has become second nature. With each new experience allowing me to know a little bit more about myself, I became more confident in pursuing the moments and relationships that I want to have in my life.
As an economics major, I often joke about how often I make decisions based on the idea of scarcity of resources. But you can’t deny that it’s a fact that given their limited amount of time and energy, people choose to be with who they’re with and do what they’re doing based on what they think will provide them optimal utility. I am no exception.
Choosing to invest my time into attending a women’s college – more specifically, Smith – has been one of the best decisions I have ever made (and yes, I’ve obtained much utility out of this decision). The returns that I received were so much greater than I expected. After all, I was constantly surrounded by women who are not only intelligent and ambitious, but also humble, down-to-earth, funny, caring, kind, and inspiring.
Also, let’s not forget how socially progressive many Smithies can be, on and off campus. As a matter of fact, it is the knowledge that I’ve gained from my socially conscious collegiate peers that empowers me to actively engage in dialogues that I find important to always be involved in, especially dialogues that pertain to race, class, sexuality, gender, feminism, and other identity and social issues. Smith women have taught me to stand my ground and share my voice for the sake of others who could not.
I have said this many times before and will say it again; knowing who I know now, I don’t think I could be happier investing my time and energy anywhere else.
So, when people ask me how I could “stand” spending 4 years living in a women’s college, my automatic response to them would be, “How could I not?” Especially after reading the what I’ve already written for this blog post! My question for you is, “What’s so wrong about attending a women’s college?”
What I find so problematic about our society nowadays is that our perspective towards life are so skewed by heteronormative and amatonormative ideals that oftentimes, the value of friendships and solitude tend to be overlooked as a result. Being at a women’s college allows me to appreciate the relationships that I have and hope to continue having after graduation, not the relationships that others expect me to have. We need to start thinking about what we can do for our own personal growth and if it means being in an environment that may be different from what we’re used to growing up, then we need to be more open-minded to it. Being open-minded to veering off the traditional path is another lesson I learned at Smith.
Through the connections that I’ve made and through the space and time that I’ve given myself to reflect at Smith, I have seen and felt more than you will ever know and to put them in words wouldn’t capture any good portion of my journey. In other words, I don’t think I’d ever feel satisfied describing my Smith experience with only a few paragraphs.
And you know what? That is okay.