This week, I will be talking about a few reasons that make the women’s college experience so special and, oftentimes, even an advantage. I think it’s safe to say that a lot of Scripps students would admit that they never thought they would attend a women’s college. Personally, I grew up with older brothers. I grew up in a male-dominated household, I attended male-dominated schools, and I repeatedly took classes with male-dominated curriculums. Thus, I grew up with a lot of mansplaining and brushing off of female ideas. Even though I thought I was as feminist as could be, looking back now as a women’s college student, it’s wild to realize how much I didn’t pick up on.
In the 21st century, going to a women’s college often has stigmas attached to it. People might think that we’re basically a convent. Or perhaps we’re all combat boots wearing, bra-burning, and angry. Little do they know that the bra-burning is only on Tuesdays, duh! (Just kidding.) The reality of it is that the female identity is more nuanced than just two stereotypes, and I think Scripps does a great job of proving that there is no “wrong” or “right” way to be a woman.
Of course, it’s important to acknowledge that Scripps students are not all women! Scripps students’ gender identities are broad and diverse. You might be thinking, “So then is Scripps really a women’s college?” Scripps, in particular, is inclusive of multiple gender identities. However, in addition to that, Scripps particularly highlights the female gender identity. Whereas, a co-ed institution probably wouldn’t.
Now the million dollar question: Why should I consider a women’s college, particularly Scripps?
A Supportive Community
People sometimes think that just because we’re a women’s college, we aren’t competitive. After all, competitiveness is a traditionally male trait. However, we are! We’re just competitive in a different way. Yes, Scripps students are all incredibly intelligent, ambitious, passionate people. What I was immediately struck by as a first-year was the support that came hand in hand with that competitive drive. I have never met a Scrippsie that didn’t excitedly tell you all about their latest project, research, internship, etc., if you asked.
No one hoards resources or information! It’s super common for Scripps students to post about opportunities on their social media accounts and in Facebook groups. Their posts are more often than not accompanied by “If you have any questions or need help, DM me!” Personally, I wouldn’t have half the accomplishments on my résumé if it weren’t for this sense of support and sharing of knowledge/experience among Scripps students!
Sometimes, people ask me about rivalries between Scripps women and women at the other 5C campuses. There isn’t any! Going to a co-ed school doesn’t make you any less of a feminist. The ~#WomenSupportingWomen culture~ between the Claremont Colleges is strong!
Own Your Intelligence
Ah, the precarious balance we women often face with being intelligent and being seen as too intelligent. No such thing at a women’s college.
At Scripps, one of the first things first-years learn is that they don’t have to apologize before every question in class. Scripps faculty and upperclassmen actively reassure first-years that asking a question is not a sign of stupidity nor is it a burden to those around you. Scripps cultivates an environment where you’re encouraged to seek more knowledge. Chances are, someone else in that room had that same question! And that person is me, if we’re in the same science class. Haha just kidding! Mostly…
With that in mind, if you know your stuff, go for it! Everyone around you wants you to feel as encouraged as possible to own your intelligence! At Scripps, your peers will never make you feel forced to dim your own light. Shine as bright as you want! And allow others the space to do the same! I’ll never forget the time I went to a presentation about Venezuelan politics as a first-year on campus and a random man (not affiliated with the 5C’s) started mansplaining the content to one of the presenters, a literal expert in the field. The presenter was a Scripps alumna and the confident look in her eyes as she smiled and absolutely owned his non-question… priceless! I don’t even remember what she said, but witnessing that immediately drove home to me that one of the reasons she had such confidence to not take this man’s nonsense was because she had attended Scripps.
As I have repeatedly mentioned, Scripps has an incredibly encouraging and supportive community. Well, you might think, “The real world isn’t always like that. Isn’t it a little unrealistic to become accustomed to such an environment?” True, the real world is sometimes less than ideal. However, no one can take away the confidence that you build at Scripps!
As you go along your college career at Scripps, you’re collecting tools. One of those tools is the confidence to advocate for yourself. I mentioned before that you’re never shut down at Scripps for asking a question. Well, we carry that along to off-campus classes/clubs where we might suddenly find ourselves in a male-dominated environment. In my experience taking off-campus classes, I have noticed that Scrippsies tend to raise their hands and speak out more than non-Scripps female students.
I used to be kind of shy before attending Scripps. But, catch me in class now raising my hand with no hesitation! In addition, I took a page from that Venezuela presenter’s book and have carried my toolbox with me outside of Claremont. At internships, for example, I found that I was still behaving as the same confident Scrippsie! My supervisors picked up on that and, as a result, I ended up getting assigned as a project leader on multiple occasions and given authority to supervise my co-interns. If you told my 16-year-old self that I would be given the reins like that as a college student, I wouldn’t have believed you!
Society often sells us a lie that we, in turn, internalize. The lie is that an environment with no cisgender men is somehow lacking or “less than.” Obviously, that’s so not true! Even as an Admission Ambassador, I’ll sometimes get questions from parents that sound something like, “If you were accepted to all these amazing places, why would you go to Scripps?” Translation: why would you willingly go to a place with no cisgender men?
I hope that after reading this blog post, you’ll see why I’m always able to easily answer this question.