I transferred to ENC for my sophomore year and attended VIP weekend; this was a time of excitement and desire to get to the classroom. My most vivid memory from that weekend was when another VIP attendee looked me directly in the eyes and said, “I’m just hoping to find my husband, and if I don’t it’s a waste of 4 years.” Gawking, my friend and I said to each other, “Well, we’re just hoping for a degree.”

Every female that says college is only useful for finding a husband makes me cringe inside. I often think of the countless women who, no less than 100 years ago, would have given anything to go to college and get an education.

It’s been exactly 70 years since Harvard opened its medical school doors to women. It’s been zero years since women globally were allowed the same universal education that men are.

Women have come a long way, but not far enough. When we belittle our gender’s need for education and boil our self worth down to simply finding a mate, we are voluntarily contributing to years of institutionalized oppression.

Today, there are still millions of women and young girls around the world that are denied an education because of their gender. In recent years, we have seen 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai get shot in the head for advocating access to equal education for women and girls in Pakistan.

American women are far more educationally privileged than millions of other women, and to enter college with the sole purpose of finding a husband is a waste of the educational opportunities given to us by generations of women.

Now, this is not to say you cannot come to college and meet the person who you wish to marry. This is to say that college should not be a place where you pay thousands of dollars to find a man, ignoring your opportunity for intentional education.

The “ring by spring” and husband searching mentality is why groups like Women in Science, a group on our own campus, exist.  Women should be attending college for the sole purpose of mastering what they love, whether it’s English or Chemistry or Education, because that’s what college is truly about.

Yousafzai said at a Girl’s Summit in London, “Traditions are not sent from Heaven, they are not sent from God. It is we who make cultures and we have the right to change it and we should change it.”

Years of tradition claim that a woman should attend college and find a successful husband. It’s time to change that tradition. Women should attend college to academically succeed for themselves and forget about any kind of “success” gained in finding a partner.