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The 5 Reasons Why You Really Need To Take A WGSS Class At UConn

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus. 

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

College is one of the busiest seasons of your life — any one of UConn’s approximately 20,000 undergraduate students can vouch for that. Between major and minor credit requirements, gen-eds, extracurriculars, and hanging out with friends, every student is some level of swamped. It can feel hard to find the time to breathe, let alone squeeze in yet another class. But trust me, taking at least one Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Class (or WGSS, pronounced wigs, in case you’re wondering what that one kid in your anthropology class is actually studying) during your time at UConn is an absolute must. Whether you’re an engineering major or a pupil of the puppet arts, WGSS is worth your time and I’m about to present you with five types of proof.

1. Critical Thinking; AKA, Question Everything

One of the first lessons in any WGSS class worth its salt is to think critically about everything; gender biases, social hierarchies, the hit summer blockbuster Barbie. The truth is almost always subjective, and opinions can only be formulated after every aspect of the issue in question is considered. Not only can this lead to some pretty astonishing personal revelations — not to mention valuable ammunition for the upcoming holiday debates with your grandparents — but it’s also a valuable skill that will benefit you in any career. To the skeptical computer science major behind the screen, I say: yes, even you. Everyone, regardless of their potential future profession, should be able to make informed decisions about the state of our world — and WGSS is a great place to start building that mentality.

2. The Development of Empathy; Be Nice!

One of the core tenets of the WGSS discipline is intersectionality: “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender,” according to Oxford’s English Dictionary. In simple terms, this means that a WGSS class will teach you some new ways to care about people regardless of who you are and what your background is. Learning to truly see others, and developing the genuine desire to do so, will undoubtedly benefit your relationships with future friends, family, and coworkers — not to mention impact how you interact with the people around you in the present!

3. Unique Perspectives on History; or, Enough About the Founding Fathers

In the American school system, history lessons, even interesting ones, can start to feel a little repetitive. Yes, it’s important to understand the past, but why do some curriculums act like that means obsessing over George Washington’s teeth? Spoiler alert: they weren’t actually made of wood. 

Taking a WGSS class will provide you with a more holistic view of yesteryears, delving into the stories of women, people of color, and the queer community (and people who were all three!) across time. WGSS professors will also take the time to review the narratives of nations outside of the United States and Western Europe. As you learn about the similarities and essential differences between humanity across time and space, you’ll reframe the way that you view our current society. By studying these histories, we can all learn how to build a better future and discern what this “better future” actually looks like.

4. Communication Skills; Speak Up!

WGSS classes not only place an emphasis on listening skills, which are eternally important, but also on being able to clearly convey difficult concepts and perspectives. In any given WGSS class, you’re bound to receive both writing and speaking assignments and are encouraged to work and communicate collaboratively. You’ll cooperate with strangers, compare ideologies, and be forced out of your comfort zone one way or another. While this can be a little intimidating, being able to advocate for yourself and others is key in both personal and professional settings. Practice makes poised, not just perfect. After a few nerve-wracking presentations, you’ll be able to use your voice like never before!

5. Empowerment; as in, There’s No Power Like Girl (or Girl-Associated) Power!

One of the final beauties of WGSS classes that I’ll bestow upon you is this: in learning about the inequities of our current global society, you’ll be able to identify the myriad of ways in which it can improve. Whether that means investing in activism, graduating to the workforce with an eye out for inequality, or just taking time to show people respect, your time spent in WGSS will give you the critical thinking skills, empathy, base of knowledge, and confidence in your capabilities to put in the work. A semester-long Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies class has the power to empower you, regardless of your background or your future. I urge you to give it a shot.

Moira Thidemann is a sophomore at the University of Connecticut studying English and minoring in History, with concentrations in Literary Histories and Legacies, English Teaching, and Writing and Composition Studies. She interned for the Connecticut Writing Project in the Spring of 2023. In her free time, Moira enjoys nature walks, reading, baking with friends, and discovering new music.