My story of applying to colleges is a bit different than most. Not because I am some exceptional student that was accepted by every school that I applied to, but because of the sheer number of colleges I applied to.
From my adult students, I hear hectic work stories and anecdotes about their spouses and children, and I've congratulated them on birthdays and babies. And yet, all of this takes place in my linguistic comfort zone, not theirs.
Disappointment in my fellow Smith students is an understatement. While I applaud the fervor of this activism and deeply believe in the power of protests to enact change, the negative responses to Madame Lagarde were misguided and mishandled.
It is still so new that we, as women, have a strong voice. It needs to be heard and not suppressed, no matter how much we may disagree with some of the voices. The movement to suppress women's voices is alive and strong.
These protests are not about the individual speakers themselves. And they're most certainly not just about commencement speeches. This is our generation of young people sending a clear and strong message that racism, bigotry, civil and human rights violations receive no honor from us.
Despite the progress women have made in the last several decades, they are still treated like second-class citizens in all the ways that matter. Caring about the equal treatment of women in society doesn't make people feminists -- it makes them good humans.
Last fall I asked several high school girls why they decided to attend a women's college and shared their reasons in a blog post. For this blog post, I thought it would be fun to re-visit with those students to see how their first semester at college went.
Women's colleges provide an empowering environment for their STEM students. Disproving all the silly myths about women in science, these young women focus on what they want: the best possible environment to pursue their career dreams.
Yes, it sounds like a cliche. Sure, there are things about my experience there I don't miss. But it gave me a full two years to discover the kind of person I want to be, in a way that staying in the U.S. wouldn't have done.
Commencement speakers are traditionally expected to tell graduates how to go out there and climb the ladder of success, but I want to ask you, instead, to redefine success. Because the world you are headed into desperately needs it.
At a time when colleges and universities need to be doing much more to support trans youth and create change that makes our educational institutions safer for all students, Smith College is broadcasting a statement that a box on a form can trump an individual's own expression.