Elysha attended Smith College in North Hampton, MA from 1993-1997.
I attended St. Joseph's University in West Hartford, CT from 1996-1999.
Both of these institutions of higher learning are women's colleges, though St. Joseph's recently decided to admit males beginning next year.
Elysha attended Smith because she is a woman.
I managed to attend St. Joseph's University thanks to the exploitation of a loophole.
I was a student at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, but Trinity is a member of the Hartford Consortium for Higher Learning, a college consortium that allowed students at any consortium school to take classes at any other consortium school.
Included in that consortium was St. Jospeh's University.
What normally happened was a Trinity student would discover that he or she needed a specific class that wasn't available during a particular semester. Rather than waiting to take the class or overloading their schedule in a coming semester, the student would find an equivalent class at one of the five consortium schools and take the class there.
When I was in school, the average Trinity College student would never take a class at a consortium school. Most would remain at their home school for the duration of their college career. But occasionally a student would take advantage of the consortium in order to fill a need.
I merely took advantage of this consortium arrangement to a degree never before seen. While earning an English degree at Trinity, I also enrolled in a full degree program at St. Joesph's University simultaneously, earning an education degree as well.
Thus I earned my education degree from an all women's college, where I sat in undergraduate classes every day as the only man.
It wasn't easy. I was also enrolled in an English degree program at Trinity, so I was taking a lot of classes in two different schools while also managing a McDonald's restaurant full time and tutoring students in the Trinity College Writing Center part time. But if you've dreamed of college for all of your life, and you've overcome homelessness and an arrest and trial for a crime you didn't commit, you feel fortunate to be able to work so damn hard.
My presence in those St. Joseph's classes didn't sit well with everyone. You presumably attend an all-woman's college to avoid having men in your classes. To find me sitting in the back of every one of your classes was frustrating to some, but I made some great friends, too.
It was quite an experience, and it proved very helpful when I became an elementary school teacher and had to work almost exclusively with women. I learned to operate productively in an all-female environment as one of handful of men. I learned to keep my mouth shut more often than it was open. I learned to collaborate. Listen. I discovered ways to forge positive working relationships with people who were not overly enamored with me.
I also used my degree from an all-women's college when trying to impress Elysha as we began dating. Knowing how much she adored her experience at Smith, I hoped that this commonality in our educational background might appeal to her.
I needed all the help I could get.