You are about to leave for Smith College! Congratulations! I know the summer has dragged by, but it’s finally time to leave. As I enter my, your? our? last semester at Smith, I wanted to give you some heads up about what to expect.
First of all, Carol Christ. She’s the president of the college and she is going to give a speech when you first arrive starting with all the amazing things your classmates have already done, including something along the lines of finding the cure for cancer. She will end the speech by telling you that you belong here. I know it doesn’t sound like it, but believe her. You do.
First, some bad news. You came to Smith because of what You’ve heard about house community, among other things. You are going to be sorely disappointed. The clique in your first house will make you miserable, make you question your self-worth and eventually you will move out. That sounds terrible, I know. I’m not going to lie; it was awful. But from this experience you learned not to go along with the herd and more importantly, gained several life-long friends. You and your sophomore/junior year roommate are going to be best friends forever.
You’re also going to have a really shitty first semester academically. You can handle it though, I promise. You’re going to get a D in calculus. I know, you think You’re a math major, but that’s not going to happen. More about that in a minute. Yeah, mom and dad are going to FLIP OUT. After 16 years of sending you to schools without grades, suddenly they care a lot. Believe it or not, by the time you graduate, you are going to have a working relationship with them. you’ll actually call them more than once a month!
There is so much good news and so much to look forward to. You’re going to become a SWG major. What even is that, you ask? Well, just you wait. But remember how you read Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique last year and found words for things You’ve always known? It’s going to be like that for the next four years. This major is going to give you the skills and vocabulary to do the work in sexual violence prevention and education that you want to do. Yes, that is going to become much more than a pipe dream. It’s going to become your life’s passion. Junior year you wrote your own curriculum for high school students, and this past summer you put it to use when working with young women who had been sexually trafficked.
You’re going to have your first girlfriend in just a few months. Don’t get excited — that turns out to be just as shitty as the rest of your first semester. BUT, it finally answers the question You’ve been asking yourself for ages.
You’re going to fall in love. It will take several mistakes. The feelings you have for that guy you fell for this past summer? Those will completely pale in comparison to what you feel for this amazing, beautiful and intelligent woman. You’re going to have your heart broken real bad. you’ll survive that.
You’re going to learn how to write a paper. You’re going to learn to manage your anxiety. You’re going to learn more about sexuality than you ever thought possible thanks to this genius named Emily Nagoski. You’re going to take classes with “lesbian” in the title. You’re going to watch waaay too much Law and Order: SVU and pretend it’s for academic purposes.
You’ve learned a lot about yourself in the past three-and-a-half years. But I’m not going to give away all the surprises. Remember to have fun. Get sleep. Eat well. Try not to break too many hearts. Spend quality time with your friends even if you have homework due. Spend quality time with yourself even if you feel like you should be elsewhere. Get ready for four awesome years.
P.S. Don’t chop all your hair off. You’re not going to be recognized as a queer, even with short hair, and that’s fine. You’re eventually going to learn to embrace your femme identity. What is that? Wait for your SWG classes. I’ll just say look forward to: rainbows, nail polish, dresses, bow and glitter.