Women's Studies  Interviews

 
 

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dotWhat to Expect

Women's studies majors study feminist issues from a historical, sociological and cultural perspective. They may study subjects such as the evolution of feminism, or the media's portrayal of women.

For Veronica Leandrez, who took women's studies at Tulane University in New Orleans, the major was the only one that allowed her to learn about various areas of study with a woman's perspective in mind.

"What other major allows you to take a look at sociology, history, literature, feminist theory, film criticism and science all under one degree?" she says.

"It is also a major that allows for self-growth and self-improvement. It constantly challenges previous notions about almost every facet of our lives, and it has helped me to know more clearly who I am," she adds.

Leandrez says she most appreciated the small classes. "It also helps to know that the professor knows you're a human being and not just another student ID number in their roll sheet. It makes for a comfortable environment where sharing ideas and opinions is welcome."

The amount of work required in a women's studies program can be overwhelming at times, Leandrez says. Professors assign many articles the students not only need to read, but also understand and process so they can participate in an intelligent discussion during class.

"But professors are almost always understanding in that regard and are willing to cut some slack if they know that you are trying," Leandrez says.

Another challenging aspect of the women's studies program involves the research. Since it is a relatively new field of study, students may have a difficult time finding information for a research paper or project, Leandrez says. It's also exciting, though, to realize students are like pioneers in a new arena, she adds.

How to Prepare

Jodi York took a certificate in women's studies at the University of San Francisco. She suggests students study abroad. "I decided that I couldn't afford it, and I've regretted it ever since," she says. "It's a great opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture, the more different, the better."

York also recommends taking classes in a broad spectrum of areas. Her philosophy classes, which she took against her will, were invaluable in honing her ability to think critically about ideas and formulate a good argument.

Take classes that are writing intensive, she adds. "Most people express themselves in writing very poorly; people who can write well get promotions," she says.