Or did it while you were a student? What is your definition of success? Is the Wellesley media projection of WWW(WomenWhoWill) overwhelming you? Did it overwhelm you? I’m reminded of the Rilo Kiley song “Picture of Success”—- “i’m a modern girl, but i fold in half so easily, i’m not scared of the picture of success.”
Share your thoughts.
I’ve always vehemently hated it. The major problem for me is that it conflicts with the stated purpose of a liberal arts college — to value learning, now, for its own sake — by emphasizing the future, what type of career you will have, and what your tangible achievements will be. It also seems to tacitly imply that achievements aren’t worthwhile unless they are “in the world” — which always struck me as a dig against academia, or at least the standard caricature of academia as an ivory tower divorced from the “real world.”
To put my concern another way: shouldn’t a liberal arts college function as an important holdout against our culture’s pathological compulsion to produce “profits” and “results”? In theory, a liberal arts college is one of the last institutions that allows you to avoid a results-oriented framework; it’s a place where education is valuable on its own terms and not valued as a mere instrument for some future aims. Wellesley’s “women who will” mantra explicitly rejects this, telling you that your education is a mere instrument to aid you in “making a difference,” whatever that actually means.
That said, what does “making a difference” mean? Mussolini made a difference. So did Ted Bundy; so did L. Ron Hubbard. I admit my examples are polemical. But I do think there is an important point here: by omitting any sort of value component this phrase seems to broadly encourage Wellesley alums to achieve some sort of fame, recognition, or influence, no matter how problematic — or just socially useless — that influence may be. We see this in Wellesley’s obsession with highlighting the achievements of alums in fields like advertising, banking, and branding; the real social benefits of these fields are questionable, but Wellesley doesn’t care, because these people have “made a difference,” ie, they have money and high-resolution photos of themselves.