Yesterday could have been any busy Monday. My medical social worker self spent the day faxing paperwork, calling insurance companies, communicating appointment times, listening to colleagues’ frustrations, and talking to patients and their families about what’s next. From the hospital I drove to the grocery store in beautiful Oregon weather, with the sunroof open and my grocery list compiled. The young female grocery store clerk asks if I have birds, I tell her about our solo bird- who Jeremy’s recently re-named Buster P. Kublahay the 4th. She shares with me the story of her long lived parakeet, I’m glad she took the time to talk to me. I drive home, only to have a grand idea that I must share with “my best woman” aka maid of honor. I check the mail; the mail box is stuffed.
Fast forward to me sitting down for dinner and opening my mail. Chatham University (formerly Chatham College for Women…) had sent me a nice sized envelope with a letter explaining the May 1, 2014 vote to go co-ed. Did you know the state of Oregon was only 10 years old the year Chatham was established? I’m excited because I found the reply card my Chatham sisters had been filling out, the purpose of the card is to inquire about our willingness to volunteer at Chatham University. My purple markers are brought out and I contemplate writing a draft first before I mess up the card. Instead I focus in.
I’ve acknowledged I’m back in the stage of anger, utterly disappointed that my Chatham sisters and I don’t have the opportunity to work with the administration creatively to save women’s education at this university. Sad that we’ve found ourselves on the sidelines re-grouping to organize an entity that is separate from the college we loved and admired. The social worker in me is thinking I’d love to start a grief support group for these women that goes beyond the online forums and strategizing we’ve been doing.
The social worker in me says, advocate for the rights of the vulnerable. Yes, women are still a vulnerable population, paid less and ranked lower than their male counterparts in so many areas I am not going to tackle that list. My social worker self says, Jasmine you are grieving the loss of an opportunity you wish and dream for women. It is why I love the establishment of education for girls worldwide. Much of what I believe in today is based on an environment that encouraged me to dig deep, always ask questions, and strive for a life I continue to dream about. I’ll always love small class sizes, the opportunity to have discussion with people I admire, and I’ll always support my women friends to acknowledge their fear but don’t let it hold them back from dreaming and DOING.
It’s Tuesday morning. I’m going back to my happy place. Their (Chatham University’s) vision changed, mine didn’t.