I grew up knowing that after high school, you went to college, though neither of my parents were college educated, it was what you did in my home. My sister (three years older than I) was in college as was my brother (one and one half years older than I) My dad had picked schools for them but his health was failing and by the time I was looking at schools he was not able to be very active in the process. Considering tuition, I looked only at VA state schools being a VA resident. I had looked at several when I visited the MWC campus and knew it was here I wanted to go. The fact that it was all women was a little daunting having been in a large coed public high school, but I knew there would be men around. My major interests were home economics and horseback riding. MWC had both.
I was blessed that though my parents had three children in college at the same time, they had planned very carefully and paid for our educations. I had been in a college prep curriculum in high school (though it wasn’t really called that at that time) so my friends, male and female were all pretty much college bound.
I was thinking very seriously about teaching, which required a college degree.
Classes at MWC were very serious, some more so than others. Being a home ec major, most of my classes had long hours of labs as well as the lectures. The home ec curriculum required a lot of chemistry so more lab hours. And of course there was all the liberal arts basic required classes. The main teaching style I would say was lecture. There was very little “group” work. There were no large lecture halls, just classrooms.
There was a dress code. Pants were hiked to the knees and covered with a trench coat if you went out of your dorm room! The one exception was the riding students. (No, we didn’t ride side saddle!) We were even allowed in the dining hall in our riding attire if our riding class ran up against meal times! (You tried to plan that!) However, we had to sit together at a corner table! Did they think we smelled badly? Everyone with few exceptions dressed nicely for class, library, meals, going out on campus, etc. The 60’s was the era of Madras, Weejuns, (a brand of leather loafers) wrap around skirts, and little triangular headscarfs. No one wore long (maxi) skirts nor extreme mini skirts. In the winter, everyone had a camel colored wool coat with a big beaver collar.
Each Freshman Class was “treated” to several “mixers” to which invitations had been sent to UVA, Randolph-Macon, Ashland (all men at that time) and probably several other places. The mixers were dark and the music was loud so there was little conversation. Each dormitory was “guarded “ by a “head resident” who had a suite on the main floor near the entrance. Men would arrive at the “front desk” and be announced on your hall by P.A. “Lois Rucker, you have a caller.” Blind dates were very common. Most of my dating in college was going to party weekends at UVA, Randolph-Macon, and W&L (all men at that time.) There was a road through the campus, and on Saturday and Wednesday afternoons, men cruised through “checking out the scenery!” Many of the women went on dates locally but others will have to address that. Men could be on campus and in the parlors of the dormitories but not in the living areas. To my knowledge, these rules were followed.
Unless your home was within 20 miles of MWC, students were required to live on campus. We did not have married students with very few exceptions. I knew one Marine wife who was a lot older than we, living with her husband at Quantico, and who was seeking teaching certification. The only other exception I can recall was a woman old enough to be our grandmother who was in a French class with me. I don’t recall her marital status, but she did not live on campus.
“Fun” was described in many different ways. I enjoy just visiting with people. During daylight hours in descent weather, I would go to the stables to ride. There were always Bridge games to be found in the dorms, especially in the evenings. I also enjoyed knitting.
There were very few cars on campus among the students. Only seniors were allowed to have a car. We walked everywhere; downtown, to the malls on Rt.1, and on a really bold day we would walk to the Hot Shoppe which was on Rt. 1 across from the hospital. This was a long walk along a busy highway as this was pre- I 95.
We did not have phones in our rooms. There were two phones on each hall in the dorms. One was a campus phone and the other was a pay phone. Each evening, a room was responsible for “phone duty,” on a rotating basis, for a three hour study “quiet” time. Of course we did not have cell phones; everyone wrote letters! Consequently, the Post Office was a very popular place.
We did not have TVs, microwaves, or computers in our rooms. We felt we were blessed to have a manual typewriter and a hotplate popcorn popper! I was a sophomore when the Beatles emerged. My freshman “little sister” (assigned through the YWCA) did bring a tv from home to see the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. I was one of about 25 crammed into her room that evening!
Breakfast and lunch were cafeteria style with the lines going into the kitchen. Dinners were sit down with table cloths and napkins at assigned tables and served family style by student waitresses. Three meals a day were included in the residential tuition and most students ate in the dining hall with only an occasional exception.
I would say that academics and social were balanced. I personally have always felt that half of the college education is dorm life.
There was a campus movie offered most Saturday nights in GW auditorium. I felt the choice of movies was poor. Most of the movies were philosophical with big messages, just what a college girl without a date on a Saturday night wanted to see! I was not aware of partying on campus.
The dorms were grouped by class. Whether this was good or not, I really don’t know.
After graduating, I lucked into a job teaching in a private pre-school just out of Fredericksburg on a farm. I lived with the family on the farm and taught in the riding school which was there also. I rode a lot and trained horses.
Junior year at MWC I started dating one of my best friends from high school who had gone to GWU in DC. He continued on at GW in the Medical School. We were married when he was two years through medical school. We have two adult daughters and are approaching our 44th anniversary.
When our second daughter entered kindergarten, I went to work in an OB/GYN office doing insurance relations and coding. After 29 years in the medical office, I decided that was enough.
I have never used my Home Ec major in the working world but my MWC liberal arts background has served me well as a wife, mother, and in the jobs I have held.