The Future is Looking’ Bright

This is the “now what” of senior year. The dooming questions that we have been hearing for years. Most of the time when I tell people what my major is

My New Backyard!!!

they get that glazed over look. They ask what I’m even going to do with that and how I just “made up” a major. Little do they know that I developed my own criteria that is unique to me and my experience!?

Women’s Health is my program. Each class was hand selected to create a program that was perfect for what I wanted to do with my life. I’ve always had a fascination with childbirth and mothers and children. Am I going to be a midwife like I once thought… maybe! This is still something that I am so passionate about and would be so happy doing.

However, I have just went through the college selection yet again, but this time for graduate school. About 9 months ago I had a “ah ha” moment. This same moment I longed for for years before I found IDS. I have

Me at a College Fair for PSU

constantly been trying to fit into a box that I just don’t fit into. I had the first part of my “ah ha” moment working in the Admissions Office for the past three years. The actual moment didn’t happen until this past summer.

I have worked in the Admissions Office since Sophomore year. Meeting families, giving tours, and spending just about every single Saturday waking up at 7:30am to stand on stage and talk about Plymouth. But, honestly I wasn’t even sad about it. I loved waking up and feeling the crisp Fall air on my face in October on my walk to the Silver Center because I felt like I was making a difference. The people that I have met and the places I have been able to go with Admissions changed my life, literally. So I got to thinking. How could I combine my passions for admissions, the college journey and my love for working with families all into one? School Counseling is what I was left with. (Well it was a bit longer of a process than that..)

Once I figured this out all of the pieces started to come together. I would spend my late nights at the HUB Info Booth researching grad schools and programs. I became a master at excel comparison sheets and fluent in the admissions jargon. The GRE was the brunt of it. Basically the SAT for grad school, except worse. After I took that test I had narrowed the search to three schools, two states, and one economically struggling person (me).

I have been so fortunate to have been left with making a decision of where to go. I was really hoping that I would only get into one school or have the answer come to me in a dream or something, but that was not the case. The

Finally made it on top of Boyd

pro con sheets were endless, the emails from schools repetitive and still there was no clear choice for me. This was until I got a call from my boss in the Admissions Office. He asked me to come in because we needed to talk about something. Of course being the anxious person I am I thought he was mad at me for skipping my office hours that week. When I walked into the office everyone was minding their own business as I walked down the hall, as I turned the corner everyone shouted “congrats!!” and gave me a cupcake and some super sweet gifts for getting into Plymouth’s School Counseling Program.

So, I guess in the end the decision was made for me because that same day I went to Jim and Denis’ house for pizza and to do my laundry (these are the men who’s house I stay at all the time and watch their dogs). They had known that I was applying to Plymouth and were excited for me, but didn’t know that I had gotten in yet. They asked me over dinner if I was interested in moving into their guest house in May to watch the dogs for the summer while they traveled and said that I was welcome to stay for the next two years if I ended up attending PSU.

I am truly blessed with the amazing and kind people I have met here at Plymouth and I am so excited for what the next two years bring. But, there is always things to do. My next mission is to lock down a grad assistantship, and hopefully it could be something career services related. It sounds corny, but I love proof reading resumes, cover letters and relishing in the experience that others have when they get their first job, or into grad school!

The future is looking’ bright people, and I don’t even want any sunnies.

Cassidy: The Feisty Feminist in Us All

My friendship with Cassidy started during my first few weeks of college. We both had jobs at the SAGE Center (sexuality, anti-violence, gender, equality) and had many things in common. We soon became best friends and attached at the hip. I remember our first meeting like it was yesterday, we had a staff meeting and as I was walking up the sixteen steps to the SAGE

Cassidy and I this past December

Center I could here the cackling of a laugh. When I rounded the corner there was a young girl with a tight blonde bun on the top of her head. She was wearing light wash jeans with one hole in each knee and a pair of beat up Converse sneakers. I took the only open seat in the small living room like office, which happened to be right next to her. When I sat down she perked up and basically shout-talked to me. “Hi! I’m Cassidy!” And that’s all it took for me to make my best college friend.

Cassidy worked in the E part of the SAGE Center. All of her events and

Some of the SAGE Center crew

outreach consisted of bringing awareness to the Wage Gap or Reproductive Rights. She held many bake sales where men had to pay $1 for a cookie and women got it for 75 cents (for a bit easier change purpose). This might sound silly, but it was Cassidy’s passion to create equally opportunity and rights for women.

I called Cassidy Sunday night, mostly just to catch up and ask what time she was coming to pick me up next Sunday to hang out, but to ask her if she was interested in participating in an in-depth interview for my blog. She was really excited to help out, and I especially wanted to talk to her because she is the person that got you so involved in equal rights.

Cassidy grew up in a very small town in Northern Maine, where she admits she didn’t really experience sexism. In high school she was on the wrestling

Cassidy wrestling in 2012

team, where she does say that some boys did refuse to wrestle her because she was a girl. She tried not to have this keep her down since she was pretty badass at wrestling.

She says that she got really involved with her job at SAGE. This is where she, like me, really started to learn about all the things happening in the world and not just the gossip of a small town. She said that at first she became invested in feminism and equality because it was her job, but then she just wondered why she hadn’t always felt that these issues were important!

In our friend group Cassidy was always known as a die hard feminist. She would shut down hate like no ones business and would typically get into debates with other friends or complete strangers in the dining hall about oppression and sexism. This was just part of her charm and something that we all loved having her around for. She is the type of person that could just meet you and would stand up for you.

Today, Cassidy works as a Social Studies teacher in Southern New

Lavender Graduation 2016
Cassidy was awarded the Ally of the year

Hampshire. Her middle school classes are filled with young women that, I bet, look up to her so highly. She says that her reasons for being a feminist change at times.

“At first I was one for my job, then I was one for me, now I am one for all of those who cannot be.”

Her female students are one of the groups of women she is a feminist for. She tells me over the phone that the things that these girls can say about themselves and others are awful. “I want the girls in my class to realize that they have the potential to achieve the same things in life as the boys in my class do.”  She tries her best to make the history of Ancient Rome relatable to today by talking to her students and comparing history to modern day.

We went on to talk about her past and made some connects to feminism. “Mulan was always my favorite movie growing up. She is just such a badass that I always looked up to. And she saved all of China from the Huns as a woman! The men were only able to help when they dressed up like women.”

While we were on the phone Cassidy talked about the importance of Planned

Cassidy’s Tweet Interview

Parenthood and how making birth control safe, accessible and affordable is so important.

Cassidy recalls her time at Plymouth State and the Women’s Studies courses she took here. Here she took Women in World Politics, were she learned about other countries and the rights that women have there. “Some countries have had several women presidents, countries that American’s view has second class. Why is America so scared to have one?”

In this class Cassidy learned a lot about Intersectional Feminism. This is what Cassidy is fighting for now.

Keep killing’ it best friend!

The Science of Social Science

Women’s studies. The first words that come to mind to many of my peers are;  man hatter, feminist, no career, foolish. Others may say; passionate, multifaceted, complex and interesting. Women’s studies are one of those majors or minors that leave people a bit confused on what your goal is.

When I decided to declare a minor in Women’s Studies my mother asked me not to tell my father, because he wouldn’t understand. This is very discouraging to hear as a child or a student. Thinking that the work that I was doing and the studies I was interested in were not important.

I soon learned that Women’s Studies was a multidimensional discipline. The

Taken from Flickr

courses ranged anywhere from foreign policy studies to gender and sexuality. I found a common theme in many of my courses, being the social sciences.

History, sociology, and political science are some of the reoccurring topics within the program. I started my Women’s Studies exploration in Women and World Politics followed by American Women’s History and Sociology of the Family. All of these courses fell into different sub-departments, but embodied the social science discipline.

Social Science: a branch of science that deals with the institutions and functioning of human society and with the interpersonal relationships of individuals as members of society.

As I dig deeper into the logistics of social sciences in the world and at Plymouth State I realize how interdisciplinary it already is. There is business, education, history and language to name just a few of the many subjects that are considered social sciences. Social sciences have been around for centuries. The earliest recollection of studying social sciences begins in the Enlightenment.

“The development of social science subfields became very quantitative in methodology. The interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary nature of scientific inquiry into human behaviour, social and environmental factors affecting it, made many of the natural sciences interested in some aspects of social science methodology.”

 

Plymouth State has had a Social Sciences department for many years. I called the administrative assistant of the department to ask some questions. She was unsure of the exact date that the department started, but did lead me to Dr. Chong to find some answers. “He has been here from the start.”

According to the December 2016 addition of the Plymouth Magazine Dr. Chong has been teaching at Plymouth State since 1966. The department developed overtime, classes were added and dropped to the majors and

Taken from Plymouth.edu

minors within the department. Today with the new Cluster Approach the department will see itself in a few different “clusters”. Almost every single cluster has a major that is encompassed by the social science department.

All of the courses that I have taken at Plymouth have been highly discussion based where the class sits in a circle so everyone is equal. The professors I have had have all been strong women who are experts in their field. All of them have sparked my interest in Women’s Studies and encouraged me to never take “no” as an answer. I could easily say that these women have opened my mind to so much more, so thank you Dr. Shirley, Dr. Upham-Bornstein and Dr. Yap.

How Did I Get Here?

I came to Plymouth State to become a teacher. I wanted to be a health teacher and make a difference for the future. I stated by taking my major courses in health education and took an introduction to feminism course, The F Word, as a general education requirement. I finally felt like I was enjoying my course work. I started to add some Women’s Studies courses into my schedule. I soon realized that I was immersing myself into my Women’s Studies courses and was having a hard time staying as motivated in my Health Education courses. When the time for student teaching came around I found myself in a constant state of panic, literally. Mornings that I had to go to the public school I was very anxious and very unhappy. I soon was able to put all of the pieces together; I was not meant to be a classroom teacher. I work extremely well with small groups of students where I can be with them for more than forty minutes a week.

When I was 3 or 4 I was very fascinated with child birth. My mother had a bunch of home movies of child births and we would watch the show Bringing Home Baby on TLC. I would sit in the front of the TV with wide eyes as the mother was giving birth. Afterwards I would play mommy and midwife with my mom. I would put a baby doll

Jenny, Lucy and I at the Horse Barn

under her shirt and have her pretend to give birth while I pretended to be the midwife. I could play this game for hours. My mother said that the glow in my eyes was truly beautiful when I would watch the shows with her. She soon became pregnant with my sister and I would also love to accompany her to all of her doctors appointments.

This mixture is what led to me to Interdisciplinary Studies. I was able to combine my passion for women’s studies and my knowledge of health education. One day I hope to become a midwife, which is very much women’s health.

The following courses included in my contract are many of the courses offered by Plymouth State University for a Women’s Studies Minor. HE 4100 Women’s Health Issues, was an online class that explored many of the women specific diseases. There was a large focus on menstruation, menopause and breast cancer. SO 3070 Sociology of the Family, not only went into depth on the family dynamic, but had a large focus on motherhood. In PO 3350 Women in World Politics we covered the economic, social, and political rights and contributions women have made all over the world. HI 3350 American Women’s History, and PS 3200 Psychology of Women covered the waves of feminism and how it has affected women throughout the years. All of these courses fall into all different disciplines because Women’s Studies is an interdisciplinary minor. These courses have taught me so much about women in many different aspects and every course will contribute to my degree in Women’s Health. It may not seem like knowing about the women leaders in Latin America or about the journey to the right to vote would make me a better midwife, but it does. I know the stories of women all over the world, about their birthing experiences and their reproductive rights. Not one story of a women in today’s world is shaped without the stories of the past. Having all of these disciplines of knowledge is what truly will make me a well rounded student.

I was once a Health Education and Promotion major, so I do have many health related courses. The following health courses cover a variety of different material, but actually all have an outlook on women’s health. HE 3710 Sex and Family Living Education looks at the history of sex education and the child birth experience. HE 3200 Stress Management compares the different types of stressors there can be between the sexes. In

Blood Orange- Courtesy of Ayla Steere’s Breakfast

HE 2400 Physical Activity and Health we conducted fitness tests on one another for data and by doing so came to conclusions about the capabilities of different ages and genders capabilities for our class. I took PE 2850 Critical Health at a different college and transferred it to PSU. In this course we had a large unit on birth and reproduction. This may have been my first spark of interest in Women’s Health. I also took HE 3220 Applied Nutrition for Healthy Living. In this course we explored how diet and exercise affect ourselves, and the differences between gender and diet. We also studied diet in children and pregnancy. Lastly, is HE 3240 Health Promotion Program Planning and Evaluation. In this course we were all asked to design our own educational program for the community in the field that we were working in. Programing and education may one day be a part of my career.

Although all of these courses and more are required for all Health Education and Promotion majors there is no degree that I could receive that has a focus on women here at Plymouth State. This is another reason that I

My Graduates Day Card

chose to be Interdisciplinary Studies major; I wanted to leave college with a degree that I was passionate about and proud of. These health courses cover a variety of different material, but actually all have an outlook on women’s health.

Some of my other courses fall under disciplines that are not stated as Women’s Studies or Health Education. MA 1900 Statistical Literacy in Today’s Society was the quantitative reasoning course I was required to take as health major. This course has proven to me to be very helpful. Within my other courses of study there have been many different surveys I have looked at and been able to analyze. SW Health and Society is an example of a health course that is not the typical health course. This course looked at health care across the world and not just where I live. Health is a very global topic. CM 2910 Human Communication and Conflict is a communication course, but is very relevant for anyone going into a field that requires any interpersonal skills. Lastly is EN 3580 Eating American Literature.  This course is an interdisciplinary course which looks at the relationship of American’s and their food. This is not only related to health immensely, but also to women in regards to hormones in food and puberty.

With all of these courses I will be more than capable to enter a post graduate program that focuses on women’s health. There is no other major at Plymouth State that could prepare me this well for my future.