The Ursuline Chronicle:The student news magazine of Ursuline Academy

The Ursuline Chronicle

While Beside the Lamp of Learning

Nina Kegelman, Senior Editor

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I was recruited to write for the Ursuline Chronicle way back in junior year when senior editors were looking for some new members to keep the club going once they graduated. Even though I don’t consider myself a “Newsie,” per se, I have strong opinions and am willing to share them (preferably through writing), so I gave it a shot.

Now, 75% of the time I spent in the joint Newspaper/Yearbook club meetings was merely “brainstorming” (a.k.a. “coming up with some pun or joke that was really irrelevant to the success and completion of the next issue”). Regardless, it’s a high school experience I’m incredibly grateful to have been a part of. Here’s why.

A few months ago, we had a pretty special club meeting where we focused on topics for our next issue. Everyone brought in some food, and we ended up having a really productive and cooperative discussion about the content we were working on. We took a break to watch the basketball team’s state championship spirit video in the gym, and when we came back, we talked some politics and went about our day.

A seemingly everyday moment at Ursuline like that one club meeting is low-key kind of feminist. As a senior who has been at Ursuline since 4th grade, the inevitability of my co-ed college life is looming over me and making me realize the ways my fleeting single-sex education has empowered me. Meeting with the Newspaper/Yearbook gang and seeing everyone’s opinions validated, homemade goods shared, and ideas fired away without hesitation, I felt nostalgic for the high school life I was still a part of. (Yes, this happens when you’re a senior at some point).

As an Ursuline girl, alumnae and female role models have warned me and my classmates before about the struggles we’re bound to face as women entering the “real world” after years of being in the Girls Only Zone. Going to class with boys who interrupt us in the middle of a thought only to paraphrase our words, professors or bosses who might have unrealistic or demeaning expectations of us, and all the challenges of being a woman or a mom in the work world are all experiences bound to frustrate us after graduation. We might not ever have the safe space of being surrounded by girls 8 hours a day, 5 days a week again. ***I do recognize this experience gets crazy and annoying at points, but try not to take it for granted.***

It’s unrealistic, but I wished I could’ve recalled and cherished all of the memories I have from Ursuline where my classmates and I felt completely free, affirmed, and strengthened by our femininity/the lack thereof and the sisterhood of our shared experiences in this Man’s World. Being the political, economic, legal, and cultural minority, our “isolated” education is all the more precious.

I’m really not trying to make this a feminist rant or argue for the superiority of single-sex education. Rather, I want to point out that there have just been great opportunities given to us by our position here in a supportive, progressive community where women are encouraged to help and support each other and pursue our interests no matter how unusual it is in the “real world.” Because it’s normal here.

I took AP Calculus BC this year. I don’t even want to pursue a career in physics, engineering, or anything remotely calculus-related. I wasn’t doing it to make a point or become Lindsay Lohan in Mean Girls or anything, but I certainly felt confident in my abilities in math to be curious and willing enough to keep studying it at a higher level. What I didn’t even consider was how girls are typically underrepresented in Advanced Placement math and science courses by up to 10,000 boys consistently. (Civil Rights Data Collection) Had I not gone to school at Ursuline where I’ve felt empowered in all areas of the curriculum since the age of ten, would I still have had the confidence to take that class? (Probably yes because my dad is a calculus teacher regardless but I can’t know that for sure).

Going to school at Ursuline, in addition to all the great and fun UA things we experience, we’re raised to take a shot at things without many of the typical societal judgments that come along with opposing genders in the classroom together. By no means am I saying that men and women are incapable of learning from and with each other. And, like all schools, we still have progress to make in ensuring all our students feel supported and united as women. The last thing we need in this world is the women to turn on one another.

But when we show up to college expecting men to treat us with the same respect we’ve learned from our faculty, staff, administration, and peers at Ursuline, we’ll be making monumental steps towards creating a more inclusive and egalitarian world for future generations of girls to come.

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The Ursuline Chronicle:The student news magazine of Ursuline Academy
While Beside the Lamp of Learning