It has come to my attention that there is some confusion about how I spent my time in college. While my friends learned to be accountants, engineers, and nurses, what exactly did I do?
I never once pulled an all-nighter. I made a lot of tea that I didn’t end up drinking. I talked on the phone a lot with my mom. I took Pilates at 6 a.m. I went to karaoke night on Tuesdays.
I started college as a writing major. This means that I read a lot of books about the generalized trauma of being human, the brutal inevitability of love, and goats. And I wrote a lot of personal essays about my parents’ divorce.
I did work hard — perhaps contrary to popular belief. My friends were supportive when I told them about my plans to write the next Great American Novel, but I could tell by the quiet gleam in their eyes that they were thinking about the waitressing jobs in my future.
Because my initial major wasn’t useless enough, I added Women and Gender Studies sophomore year. I’d identified as a feminist for many years, but I didn’t have a lot of friends who would claim the F-word with me.
I found incredible community in my gender studies classes. We were more than just classmates. We were part of a movement. Our classes were based on theory but also activism. We weren’t just studying a thing of the past — we were creating a thing for the future.
My “regular” friends didn’t really understand what went on in those classes, but they were good sports when I asked for help on projects. They even let me interview them about their sex lives for my documentary about slut-shaming on university campuses.
Overall, my friends were open and generally supportive — even when confused by my sudden bouts of rage.
Now I am a few years out of college, trying to figure out my grand life plan. I’m determined to use my degree in a meaningful way, but I’m finding it difficult. Luckily, I have friends to remind me of my potential.
Here is what my friends think my college education has qualified me to do:
- Ruin all viewings of The Bachelor with unwelcome feminist commentary.
- Say the word “vagina” in public places.
- Make protest posters with glitter paint depictions of ovaries.
- Diagnose chlamydia.
- Bring up the patriarchy when we were just trying to have a nice lunch.
- Argue about the pay gap with Zoe’s new boyfriend.
- Have lesbian sex.
- Teach Pilates.
- Overuse the words “heteronormativity” and “systemic.”
- Buy my own damn drinks.
- Kill the mood at Super Bowl parties by talking about toxic masculinity.
- Wear sleeveless shirts in the workplace.
- Get a sugar daddy — but in an empowered way.
- Start a mommy blog as a single childless woman.
- Inform the group that homosexual behavior does, in fact, occur in nature i.e. bonobos.
- Do aromatherapy.
- Whisper about the difference between BDSM and abuse during the premiere of 50 Shades of Grey: The Final Climax.
- Repel men.
- Compose angry Tweets.
- Share unprompted facts about the suffragettes.
- Bemoan the pitfalls of abstinence-only sex education while tipsy at a birthday party.
- Go to gay bars.
- Mutter depressing statistics about sexual harassment.
- Make powerful statements about salads and self-love.
Here’s what I’m actually doing:
- Living with my mom (and loving it) and applying to useless graduate programs. I am also keeping up with Pilates.