Well, I really do not know. When I was in college, I was pretty irritated by the fact that WCC did not admit men. It cannot. Simply because it is the Women’s Christian College. But today, when I read a few posts on same-sex education, it got me thinking again. Like Chandni and Sunita, I too was a vigorous advocate of co-educational schools for much of my life. But now, I am not so sure. What sporadic blogger said in her post is quite true.
“We are who we are, largely because we studied in an all-girls institution. And by that, I mean, we grew into people who are confident of their, our, ability. In several co-ed colleges, one sees that very few girls ever occupy union positions. If they do at all, they are elected into positions that are traditionally seen as a female domain-cultural representatives, literary representatives.”
This, to a certain extent is true. I studied 14 years in a co-ed school. Three years in a women’s college instilled the confidence that 14 years of co-ed failed to do. I was always rather talkative, but college channeled that urge to talk into something constructive and made me a debater. Now, let me say that any college could have done that. But the fact that I was accepted for what I was in WCC made a huge difference. Let me give you a rather personal example here. When I was in school, I was constantly judged on how I looked, how tall, how fat, how thin, how beautiful I was. I was judged on what boys (immature and even superficial young men) thought of me. If the class “cool guy” thought I was not worth talking to, nobody would. Not even the equally “un-hep” reject of the class. I stepped into college with a lot of apprehension. I constantly looked over my shoulder to see who was scrutinising my actions and judging my appearance. To my utter surprise, nobody cared about what I wore or how fair or how dark I was. To them, to the hundreds of girls I was surrounded by every day, I was normal. For the first time in life, I felt at home.
This was a personal experience. I will not say that co-ed is bad. But I would like to disagree with one point that Chandni makes. She says,
“In college we found girls who were 18 plus, behaving with the opposite sex, in a fashion that we did when we were 13. You know, the whole excitement and hype regarding “boys” when the hormones are in full swing and you suddenly see the “pests” with new eyes!”
Uhm…I do not agree. At 18, girls are not all that mature. Maybe growing up in a co-ed environment makes girls more confident. But, crushes do happen. At 18 or even at 23. Judging a girl as immature because she crushes on a cute guy is not fair. I blushed like hell when I first went out with my boyfriend. And I was at the ripe old age of 23. Hell! I still do sometimes. So?
I admit, at WCC, we definitely were excited at the prospect of culturals because they meant that guys would come. But we were barely out of our teens for goodness’ sake! And we were women. Of course we wanted them to come to college. As someone points out in the comments section, not all women from all-girls’ institutions behave like blubbering idiots in front of men. Some co-ed girls do so too. I think it’s hardly fair to blame a type of education system for that.
I just think that each has its advantages. I for one loved my time at WCC. I could do what I pleased (as long as Mrs. Phillips didn’t hear of it). I did not care a damn what I wore most of the time because we were all women. I have friends who used to turn up to classes in their nightsuits and pajamas because they woke up at 8:25 for an 8:30 class. It’s all fun. The shopping, the gossip, the late-night secret chats over cell-phone (because my hostelite friends had sneaked it in without the warden’s knowledge), everything was fun.