Steam of Consciousness Sunday: Steeped in tradition

Yesterday I went back to my alma mater, the Women’s College of Brenau University for the annual May Day Alumnae Reunion Weekend. Yes, let me be clear- we’re aware that it is April. There’s a reason behind all of it, but that is not the point of the story, so we will save the explanation for another time.

May Day weekend is my absolute favorite Brenau event- both as a student, and now, as an alumna, too. The campus is bright and beautiful, full of excited woman of all ages. The oldest alumna in attendance this year graduated from the women’s college in 1944. 60 years before I started my college career.

It is a day full of togetherness, sharing in the rich history of tradition that our beautiful college holds in our hearts. We see and hear from current students about all that is going on at the shcool, about their experiences, their favorite new memories. As I sit back and listen to these tales each year, no matter how hard I try not to, I can’t help but feel the tears well in my eyes.

Not out of sadness, no, but out of joy. Joy that no matter what happens, what changes, Brenau is still Brenau. Brenau is still helping women to find their voice, feel included, learn how to be strong, independent leaders and thinkers. Brenau is still a beacon of hope for women when all over the country and world others are trying to push us back, hold us down, reclasp the chains of oppression.

In a world where women are again having to fight for the right to care for their own bodies, and fight for equal opportunities in the workplace, there sits my alma mater, beautifully nestled into the heart of Gainesville, GA, reminding the future leaders of our businesses, our country, our world that they can do it. Just because they have a vagina, is no reason to stop trying, stop working towards change.

Brenau was a wonderful place to matriculate during my undergraduate education. Brenau taught me not to be afraid, to try something new, and to never give up. Despite the ups and downs that I certainly experienced there, if I had experienced them anywhere else, and had anyone else standing behind me during those times, I don’t know that I owuld have come out with the same confidence that I did today.

So this weekend I celebrated a sisterhood. A family. A network. I celebrated an organization, steeped in a rich tradition of changing women’s lives since it’s inception in 1878. From the Georgia Baptist Female Seminary of yesteryear, to the multi-faceted university that I graduated from, Brenau University is a place and institution that I will always be proud to be a part of. It has definitely shaped me into the woman I am today, and it makes me so happy to see other women continuing to have that same expeirence year in and year out.

This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post, hosted by All Things Fadra. To participate yourself, visit Fadra’s site to learn more and link up!



8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gina
    Apr 15, 2012 @ 17:03:28

    Sounds like an incredibly special and positive weekend. Great way to start a week. BTW, my first thought was “Hey! It’s April!”


    • ashlee2012
      Apr 15, 2012 @ 22:04:53

      Haha that is most peoples’ reaction! Brenau used to be on the quarter system, and so they were still in school well into the month of May. Now that most traditional schools are on the semester system, trying to organize such a big event in may would completely interfere with finals and graduation, both of which typically fall by the first weekend in May, and after that the students are back at home!


  2. Erin O'Riordan
    Apr 15, 2012 @ 18:49:31

    I, too, went to private Christian denomination-affiliated women’s college. I know well that in the single-sex education environment, if there’s a club to be founded, then a woman founds it. If there’s a petition to be circulated, women draw it up, circulate it and sign it. If there’s a charity drive to be organized, women organize it. The women’s college is a microcosm run entirely by women of various ages and backgrounds, a wonderful lesson in female leadership.


    • ashlee2012
      Apr 15, 2012 @ 22:03:37

      I couldn’t agree more, Erin! I was trained beyond belief in how to plan, organize, budget, market, recruit- so many skills that have helped me immensely in both my personal and professional lives. I got so much out of my time at Brenau, I wouldn’t trade it for anything!


  3. Rachel
    Apr 16, 2012 @ 09:14:02

    Sounds like it was a fun time! It is great to be able to relive your experiences, not just thinking of the memories. ๐Ÿ™‚

    visiting from SOC


    • ashlee2012
      Apr 16, 2012 @ 21:18:34

      Thank you, Rachel! I completely agree, it’s a completely different type of experience being able to relieve one of my greatest memories each year, and watch hundreds of new young women experience it, too!


  4. Fadra
    Apr 22, 2012 @ 00:28:11

    That actually sounds really nice. While I got a good education, I feel contempt for my alma mater. In retrospect, I probably would have gone to another school if I had the chance again.


    • ashlee2012
      Apr 25, 2012 @ 07:02:35

      I’m sorry to hear that, Fadra! I manage to love Brenau 99.9% of the time…until I open my student loan bills each month. Then I have a quite colorful set of descriptive words I prefer ๐Ÿ˜‰


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