YOUNG VOICES: Single-gender college allows focus on studies

2014-03-06T07:05:00Z YOUNG VOICES: Single-gender college allows focus on studiesBy Lauren Coppinger nwitimes.com
March 06, 2014 7:05 am  • 

Of the five women’s colleges in Indiana, only two are still in operation: St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, and St. Mary’s of the Woods College in Terre Haute.

While the popularity of single gendered educational institutions is declining, the experience I’m gaining at my school only rises. I am a rising senior at the former Saint Mary’s College of Notre Dame. I work in the admissions office as a tour guide, and because of that, I get the question a lot more frequently than other girls: “Why would you choose an all-girls college? There’s no boys!”

Prospective students usually ask this question, rather than her parents. In actuality, that fact is not entirely true. My college has a 99 percent female student population. Meaning, while there are no boys who live on our campus, there are boys that come to take classes from other campuses in town. However, their presence does not go unnoticed. Oftentimes, boys’ presence on campus is an odd thing to see. If there are five boys in the dining hall at dinner, it’s a lot.

It’s a common understanding that college is usually the time where girls find long-standing boyfriends, maybe future husbands, and start building their lives. I understand that attending an all-women college hinders me from doing so. But, in the largest and most important ways, I’m also building my life. Just minus the boy part.

And any of the girls here will tell you, once you take out the equation of “boy,” life becomes a lot easier, for two main reasons.

Males mature slower than females; this fact is scientifically proven. (Women are always two steps ahead, and science says so. Remember that, boys.) With only girls in the classroom, lessons, discussion and understanding move faster. When things move more quickly, a lot more can be learned in the same amount of time.

The absence of the male gender on campus also takes away the stress of dressing up to impress them. There are no girls in competition here; there is no one to compete for. All of the time spent fretting over boys’ opinions is spent on thinking about the test next week, the prospect of going abroad, the senior composition project, etc.

Personally, I adore my college and its atmosphere. I’m surrounded with like-minded people, learning is more quickly facilitated, and dressing up is only on a want-to basis; it's any girl's dream.

A single-gender college or institution isn't to be tossed aside for the mere fact that it isn't co-ed. The benefits might outweigh the glaring negative. They do for me.

Lauren Coppinger, of Chesterton, is a junior at St. Mary's College in Notre Dame, Ind. The opinions are the writer's.

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