This isn’t my first time taking Intro to Women’s Studies. Once upon a time, before Covid-19, I took this class in person. But I withdrew from all my classes halfway through the semester because I was struggling with my mental health. And thanks to this class I took way back then, my professor at the time pointed me to the resources that jump-started me on my journey. This class is more than learning about history through the lens of women and LGBT+ people, but it’s a place to be seen and heard. I’ve always been interested in learning about women’s rights and LGBT+ history but never had the time or space for it. With the election of the 45th president, it was clear to see that these issues aren’t some out-of-reach smudge on our history that lives in the past but its part of the history we make today.
I’ve heard of the name Angela Davis in presentations students would make about African-American writers for Black History month and be curious about her work. But I never had the time to read it for myself because I always focused on my school work more than my personal interest. So aside from the fact that this class is one of my personal interests but I also had the pleasure of reading Angela Davis for the first time. My heart fluttered when I saw her on the syllabus and I was more than happy to order her book for next day delivery. Not only did I enjoy reading her work, but I also used it in some of my other classes this semester.
Being a part of this class wasn’t without its challenges. Sitting in front of a computer at the end of the day for three hours was intimidating and challenging for me. I would’ve loved this class to be twice a week instead of once a week. If it was twice a week, each class would be shorter which for me would be more manageable. And also I would’ve seen the people in this class twice a week instead of once.
Everyone’s presentations were amazing. My fellow students showed some real talent with their projects. The thing about group projects is that they usually turn out so awkward and it’s clear to see who did all the work and who didn’t. But all these projects were gorgeous. Each one was visually pleasing and very informative. Everyone cared so deeply about what they were talking about and it showed even though we couldn’t see their faces. I would sit on my bed looking at the slides and the pictures and colors. My favorite part was that they clearly practiced giving their presentation and if they didn’t then that’s even more impressive. I could never be as articulate as they were off the top of my head with no practice. I, unfortunately, wasn’t a part of any group project but that’s okay. I struggle with deadlines and groups in general. To feel the weight of other people relying on you to do your part is a lot for me at the moment.
But the most important point about this class for me was the causal engagement. As I said before the idea of a three-hour class at the end of the day was so intimidating, most of the time I didn’t want to go. But I never regretted going after the class ended. We all cared about each other and made the class personal. Because these issues that we’re learning about are personal, they’re personal to us. They’re not theories in a textbook or stories from the past but in some way, they applied to our lives. And by making it personal we were also learning from each other.
This class has been amazing and I’ve learned more outside the lessons than inside them. The information was great but the idea of a group of women coming together at the end of the day to encourage each other and lift each other up while collectively raising our awareness of women’s rights, that’s priceless. There will never be another class like this one. I hope everyone had an amazing semester as I did. Challenges and all.