It’s almost the end of my first semester here at St. Kate’s and I have to say that I am definitely not the same person I was when I first arrived on move-in day. Being at an all-women’s institution has really opened my eyes to the problems that we as women face in our society. After being here for three months, I use a different lens, so to speak, that I view the world through; the issues that arise within our society are more obvious to me now as well.
One of the greatest things about being at an all-women’s institution such as St. Kate’s is that I am free to express my opinions and beliefs without fear of criticism and am able to discuss important issues with other fellow Katies. Not to mention I have learned more about what it means to be a feminist. St. Kate’s is a place where you are pushed into thinking more about the world around you and grow stronger as an individual in the process. However, I am not the only one who has been dramatically changed since coming here.
Shelby Batterson ’18 says that attending an all-women’s institution has reinforced her belief in feminism and allowed her voice to be heard.
“(St. Kate’s) has made me more of a feminist that’s for sure, it has also showed me that I can be more of myself because I don’t care about what boys think anymore and I feel like women are a lot more respectful of each other and respectful of themselves because we are accepting of the fact that we are just people instead of trying to beat each other out for men or boys, or prom dates,” said Batterson.
However, there are some minor drawbacks to going to school with only women.
“I’m really confused on how I’m ever going to get married if I can’t meet a boy in college because it’s where everyone meets their husband…another drawback is that there is hair everywhere,” said Jade Rundquist ‘18.
It is obvious to many other students that there is a shortage of testosterone here on campus. However, that is not always a bad thing. St. Kate’s alum and professor Kate Glassman feels that being in a male-free environment makes it easier to talk about issues concerning gender.
“It’s very different living in a singular gendered dorm and coming to those classes with just those voices. It’s a lot easier to bring up topics that are sort of gender sensitive in the classroom and actually have a debate about them without feeling like our voices are being silenced or that we have to still be modulating what we say around those in the class,” said Glassman. “If we want to have a discussion about the patriarchy it’s a lot easier to have that not get shut down.”
For Glassman, attending St. Kate’s is an experience that still affects her today.
“I think it’s actually made me aware of what I value in life because it’s so easy to come into a school like this and say I’m not a feminist, I’m just here for my education, but having that be part of the focus of my education has basically changed how I approach the rest of my life and making me more aware of the world in which I live, in the world in which I participate in, and the best ways in which to effect change especially as a woman in the society that we live in and I don’t think I would have gotten that from anywhere else, especially a co-ed college,” said Glassman.
The St. Kate’s community is unique because it is truly a place where women are free to be themselves and grow as individuals, as well as having many like-minded individuals in close proximity.
“I feel like I can be more of myself here because I don’t have to worry about boys judging me…and not laughing at my funny jokes because girls laugh at my funny jokes…I also appreciate women more because I’m surrounded by people that mostly have the same ideas and views as me,” said Rundquist. “My learning environment is better because I’m surrounded by people who are like minded, and I have women in all my classes and women are much more rational no matter what anybody says,” she added.
For Rhiannon Shepardson ’18, coming to St. Kate’s has sparked her interest in a variety of topics and feels like her words are heard by others. By attending an all-women’s institution, she feels that:
“It’s opened new pathways of thinking in a sense because I don’t have to worry about my opinions being invalidated by that of men which is something which happened a lot in high school,” said Shepardson.
Ask any St. Kate’s student how attending an all-women’s college has affected her and you will get a wide variety of answers, but one thing is for certain: we are proud to be Katies. As to where all of this hair is coming from, the world may never know.