One of the best thing about Saint Mary’s is the environment of an all women’s classroom. I’m not afraid to raise my hand and speak my voice in class, and I know that that is a trait I am going to take with me when I enter the workforce.” I’ve heard you say it before. I’ve actually heard a lot of Saint Mary’s seniors say it. And to be honest, I’ve never thought much of it. I never found much truth in it. I talk the same amount here as I did in my co-ed high school. I didn’t notice a difference. I wasn’t automatically empowered in the classroom just because I held the title of being a Belle. All of that changed this semester.
By some twist of fate or luck or divine intervention or whatever you want to call it, I was enrolled in multiple classes this semester with a mixed demographic of freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. My gen-eds freshmen year were all freshmen and my classes abroad were with the same twenty sophomores, so this was an experience I wasn’t used to. I had no idea what to expect. Two months into the semester I can honestly say I have learned more from the seniors in my classes than I have in any classroom lecture, paper or test. It has been one of the most defining experiences in my time thus far at SMC.
Having classes that include freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors has allowed me to witness the transformation of a Saint Mary’s student. Freshmen are timid and anxious. Sophomores want to talk, but struggle for the right thing to say. Juniors are still figuring it out. But seniors, seniors have it all together. See, you can raise your hand with every question and offer an insightful opinion on any class discussion…even when you didn’t do the reading because you were at Finny’s the night before. And when you talk in the classroom, people are actually listening to what it is you have to say. You know who you are and you aren’t afraid to let that show in the classroom.
What I’m trying to say is thank you. Thank you for inspiring me to speak in class and teaching me that my opinion matters too. Thank you for showing me what I am capable of becoming. Thank you for showing me, first hand, what it means to “be Saint Mary’s.”
Photos provided by Claire Condon