This is my last post in the 7 post in 7 days challenge hosted by Jen at Conversion Diary.
For this post, I actually found an old draft that I think is still worth publishing.
When I read the article “6 Reasons to Not Send Your Daughter to College” I was furious. The worse part was that the author claimed to be a devout Catholic trying to plead with people to understand. As a college student, a girl, and a Catholic I knew I had to read it. And as I did, I knew I had to write something in response not just to this article but to this notion that it’s pointless for girls to go to college because they’re just going to get married.
There’s so many things in the article that I could comment on. The author makes a lot of claims: that it will be impossible for a girl to stay pure, that she won’t learn skills that will help her as a wife and mother, that as a “responsible, organized, smart” woman she will attract the wrong sort of men. I wrote down about 20 quotes from the article that were especially frustrating. But let’s just take the basic premise: that women shouldn’t go to college because they’re going to get married and college doesn’t prepare them for that.
Now, let’s set aside the fact that many great Catholic couples met in college. Why should a God-fearing Catholic woman who knows God is calling her to marry, go to college?
I’m not sure where God is calling me, but for a moment let’s pretend that I know I’m going to get married, have children, and stay at home with them. (Sounds great to me. It’s a real possibility too.) So, if I know this is what I’m called to do with my life, why would I bother finishing college? I should just drop out now. Actually, maybe I should never have gone at all. Or as the article says, maybe my parents shouldn’t have “sent” me to college.
But the author fails to recognize what college is about. I am learning so much. Just look at this post from last May (after I’d finished only one year of college). I’d done so many things, received so much enrichment, made new friends, grown as a person (especially in terms of independence and assertiveness) and enjoyed every minute of it. Intellectually, I’ve challenged myself and developed even more as a thinker. I’ve read and analyzed some pertinent works in my literature classes, taken an entire class on Christian morality, read some of Aristotle’s work, been in a choir class, went two days without some technology as part of an ethnographic study, learned what the word ethnographic means, and generally been enriched.
One could argue this won’t teach me how to change a diaper or scrub the kitchen floor. But those are things I already knew how to do. Going to college means I’ll be better equipped to help my high schooler with their homework. I’ll be able to better articulate to my 4 year old the truths of morality. I’ll be able to have conversations with my husband about the merits of the 1818 text of Frankenstein over the later (highly edited) edition. I’ll know basic psychological principles (such as operant conditioning) that I could employ on my children. I’ll be a better citizen, a better wife, and a better person.
Of course, this is all supposing I willbe a stay at home wife and mother and that I’ll never have to work. But perhaps my husband can’t find a job. Perhaps he gets injured and can’t work for 18 months. Or maybe his income simply isn’t enough for our growing family and we have to do what we can until he can find a higher-paying job. It would be beneficial if I could go to work in these cases and help him and my family.
It’s ridiculous to me, especially now that my head has cleared, to think for one second that women shouldn’t go to college because it won’t benefit them as the future wives and mothers of the world. I think it will. You see I’ll be a person who must make moral, informed decisions regarding her children. I’ll be an educator for my children whether I homeschool them or not. I also won’t just be a wife a mother. I’ll be a thinker. A voter. A cultural critic. A Christian.
Knowledge is power. Don’t try and tell me otherwise. I’m not some radical feminist. I would love to stay home with my kids and take care of them. I respect all women who do that. That’s what my mom did for years and I benefitted so much from that. But a solid education can make you a more critical thinker and the college experience can shape and develop your character. I’m not saying you have to go to college to be a good mother or a good citizen or even to be a critical, intelligent thinker; but the experience of living on my own, the person I am becoming, and the opportunities I have had both inside and outside of the classroom are things I will never regret no matter what that article says.