Bethany McComis, ’09
Cum Laude. Phi Beta Kappa. Peggy Clark Kelley Design Prize. Yvonne Sarah Berhnhardt Buerger Prize. Dean’s List. STRIDE scholar. High-school valedictorian. White, heterosexual starving artist. Poor and proud recipient of serious financial aid.
My family swears we’re middle class, but by many of my fellow Smithies’ standards we are poor. (And a few of my peers let me know it!) Financially, I had two options for school: ivy league/seven sisters, or community college. At the top of my class, I could have gone ivy league, but Smith was my first choice. Among other things, I was drawn to its diverse, eclectic, and eccentric student body, and, of course, its need-blind admissions.
I will be absolutely honest: my Smith experience was very mixed, and I was not always comfortable as one of the “poor” kids on campus. I met my fair share of Spurzems. That said, I was fortunate to meet some truly amazing young women (not to mention amazing professors), who challenged me, and changed the way I think.
Smith has a great art collection. It has many beautiful buildings, all with terrific names. Smith does not yet have a class of 2017, and it really needs intelligent, passionate, and engaged students to keep it going. You’re not going to find a healthy, vibrant student body within a single social strata. You can’t, and don’t deserve to, attract that kind of student body with racist, classist bigotry.
One of the best things about Smithies is that we don’t waste our voices, and we speak up for ourselves whether we’re invited to, or not. So, thanks for reading. Solidarity!