Sarah Akakpo is a second year student majoring in Gender and Women’s Studies with a certificate in Studio Art. Sarah started out in the LGBTQ+ Studies certificate and decided to pursue the GWS major this year. Find Sarah’s reflections on GWS and her academic choices below.
Why did you choose Gender and Women’s Studies?
I started out as a Biology major taking mainly STEM classes, but I wasn’t very happy. Last year, my only saving grace was my GWS 200 class that I only took for humanities credits. I don’t want to sound cheesy, but taking GWS 200 changed my life. When I first got to college, I had no idea there was a department dedicated to the study of gender, sex, sexualities, inequalities, and all of the things that I find fascinating. Where had GWS been all my life? After completing GWS 200, I knew I really wanted to continue taking more GWS classes and fewer STEM classes.
People around me had noticed that I wasn’t happy with my major and suggested that I switch, but I had been dead set on one life plan since the beginning of high school; any changes to that plan sounded catastrophic in my head. Ultimately, after a lot of thinking, I made the decision to switch my major to GWS. Now, I can say that it was one of the best decisions of my academic career.
Have GWS and/or LGBTQ+ Studies courses changed your approach to your involvement (on or off campus) during college? If yes, how?
GWS has definitely changed my approach to my involvement on and off campus. I’ve gained the ability to talk confidently about topics that people don’t often discuss like sex, sexuality, gender, and inequity. I am able to educate other people and myself. I often find myself sharing things I learn in classes with my friends, my mom, and even in discussions in other courses. It feels much easier to speak out for social justice and feminism in a world where these things are being actively thwarted. In the future, I hope to get even more involved by joining clubs like PAVE or Sex Out Loud.
Have your GWS and/or LGBTQ+ Studies courses changed your plans for the future? How?
My original plan for the future was to go to medical school and become a doctor. My plans have changed, but not too much. Now, I am working towards the BSW program. After that, I hope to complete my Master’s in Social Work. I want to work with teens and people with rehabilitation and/or mental health needs.