The Transition From Sisterhood To Co-ed

Location: 
Pace University
United States
US

When I originally arrived at Pace University NYC, I was dreadfully nervous about not just the curriculum, but about the transition from a small all-girls high school (Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart) to an even bigger coed college where not only would I have to share a classroom with boys, but an entire floor as well. In high school, I had never once associated myself with boys, not even outside of school. The only reason I had a date for prom was because he was a friend of a friend, and even then our interactions were very brief afterward so socializing was going to be a really big problem for me. This was the negative side effect of surrounding yourself with only strong women for a majority of your life. It makes you somehow feel as if the opposite sex is some kind of foreign creature that you have to tread carefully around.

Before I could’ve just worn pajamas and no makeup to school whenever I wanted with ease because I knew my girls understood, but now with the boys, I felt the pressure to try harder when it came to my appearance. I thought I had to comb my hair a certain way, choose a cute outfit, insert contacts, and put on a whole face of makeup every morning in order to satisfy their expectations of the stereotypical girl in order give a good impression. This state of mind only lasted a week before it went downhill. Picking a nice and different outfit from my limited wardrobe (i.e the struggles of a residence student), caking my face, and putting on contact lenses in my eyes became annoying and unnecessary as time went on. It was not until I started waking up earlier than usual for my new and bothersome morning routine that reality finally hit me and my feministic upbringing kicked in. What the hell was I thinking? Why did I wake up that early to get all dolled up for the opposite sex? The only person I should have been trying to please was me. The boys had nothing to do with my education and could care less about what I did. Therefore, I did what any reasonable girl would do at that point and said, “screw it” and got my ass right back into bed to sleep for an extra half hour in peace only to wake up well-rested, go to class in sweatpants and glasses, and be fully myself for the first time in what felt like forever.

After doing this, the boys basically became like background music in an elevator-irrelevant (until they actually caught my interest). Boys no longer seemed like aliens, but as normal people trying to do the same thing I was there to do, learn. This led me to actually talk to some boys on my floor and actually value them as friends without the uncomfortable feeling of pretending to be someone I’m not. I was happy to be able to talk to them and see things from their perspective when it came to certain things-like politics, classes, and people-only to find out how much we had in common. Boys no longer seemed like rare creatures that I had to please but normal human beings that I was grateful for being a part of my life. I came to love them all as extended family, especially when they accepted me for being me. Thus ending my awkward transition from a private sisterhood to an open integrated community and starting a new chapter in my life.