The state capitals, how to write an essay, the lyrics to Remix to Ignition. I’ve learned a lot of important things in my educational career so far. From the tangible and concrete to the purely theoretical, my time at Drake has allowed me to expand my intellectual horizons. And while I’ve had the opportunity to experience a wide range of academic subjects, I can confidently say none has been more important that my foray into Women’s and Gender Studies.
If you’re picturing barefoot women parading around in the grass, reading Gloria Steinem, you’re completely off base…okay, so maybe not completely. But the point is that Women’s and Gender Studies at Drake is complex and multi-faceted. It’s more than reading the theory of Betty Friedan, Simone de Beauvoir, and Judith Butler. It’s Beyoncé, it’s Portlandia, it’s Britney Spears. Issues of feminism and the performance of gender are in the very fabric of our culture, economy, and political system.
It wasn’t until I came to Drake that I was really able to grasp that truth. Until I took classes about Women’s European History, Feminist Theory in Popular Culture, and the Salem Witch Trials that challenged the way I thought about gender and made me question my own thoughts and beliefs. I really can’t overstate how important this has been in my college career. I mean, after all, what is higher education for if not to provoke growth, spur discussion, and develop new perspectives?
Now, Drake is not Oberlin. The University strives to prepare students with a mix of liberal arts skills, but also focuses heavily on professional preparation. And while that’s great and important, I think it can sometimes take too much precedence. You’ll have the rest of your life to work in Excel spreadsheets, memorize chemical compounds, or refine your journalism skills. But you may only have one opportunity to have a big, fascinating discussion about what gender means, where our ideas originate from, and the reality of equality.
Sorry if I’m a liberal arts student cliché right now, but I firmly believe that Drake would be an even better place to learn if everyone had the opportunity to experience at least one Women’s and Gender Studies class. I mean, it’s not my job to tell people what to learn, but I guess I’m telling everybody what to learn right now. As a senior, I have that authority, right? So do it. Take a Drake Intro Gender Studies class. And watch it transform the rest of your life.