WHAT SHALL I DO WITH MY B. A.?
WOMEN and THEIR WORK
GERTRUDE E. S. PRINGLE
As Told by Some Representative Canadian University Girls, Who Are Graduating This Year, to
HUNDREDS of our Canadian girls have been attending university and eagerly absorbing its fascinations in such varied forms as lectures, gymnasium work, dances, sports, and debates, all of them interesting, although perhaps the “residence” part with its warm intimacies will linger longest in the pictures of memory.
Meantime Summer beckons with alluring hands, and joy is widespread, for change is ever youth’s delight. While the majority of the girl students will spend their Summer at home with their respective families, those who must work, even in the summertime, have formed various plans. Guests at fashionable summer resorts will find themselves waited on at table by learned young college graduates. In anticipation of such a summer work program, one girl student, who happened to belong to a family of social prominence, went to inquire about the remuneration given to college women who engaged as waitresses in a certain lakeside hotel.
“Would it not be embarrassing if one should meet one’s friends among the guests?” asked the inexperienced maid-
“Oh,” was the condescending reply, “I don’t think you would be troubled that way, our rates are quite high.” Tourists on lake boats will be giving their orders at meals to young women medical students who will be hopefully ready to render first aid in sudden cases of illness. In the book department of large stores you are likely to have a college girl ask what she can do for you. Other graduates will combine nature study and a remunerative outing by picking fruit in the Niagara Peninsula, while some will go as far afield as the Okanagan.
Some Prosaic Posts
MORE prosaic are various clerical posts waiting for other varsity girls. Some are in offices and some in the Parliament
Ruildings, where “rafts” of figures in connection with the examinations must be properly classified and tabulated. Maidens who have already acquired stenography will substitute in business offices while the regular occupants of the posts go a-holidaying. The standing of Canadian universities is high, and some of its women graduates will take up positions in American universities. Among those athirst for further knowledge and greater honors are several who will proceed to Oxford for two years of study in order to gain the Oxford degree, which has only recently been granted to women, and St. Hilda’s in that town of famous associations will be their alma mater.
In the pursuit of dentistry, considered peculiarly a man’s job, a girl student is expected to head the list, as she won highest and second highest places in her previous years.
But what about the girls who are graduating this month with their B.A. degree? What are their plans? How will they use their four years’ acquirement of knowledge? Such were the questions I asked a number of representative university girls, and their answers were as varied as were their looks.
Candid brown eyes in an oval face, delicate features, a slight form vibrant with energy, and a personality that responds to life as an Aeolian harp to the wind, and overflows in sympathetic contact with her world—that is Helen, whose election to the head of an important organization of college women proves her great personal popularity.
“What shall I do with my B.A.?” repeated Helen questioningly, all vivacity and interest. Her wide-open eyes smiled appreciatively as she said: "Well, the first thing to understand is that my family sent me here. It was not my idea, although I never objected to it, and have just loved college, especially residence life, and now I’m terribly sorry it’s over. During all these four years I’ve tried to
plan what to do, but with my degree in sight I haven’t decided yet. Of course I am looking forward to spending the Summer at home with my brothers and sisters. We are a big, old-fashioned family, you know. In fact ‘we are seven.’ ” Helen’s thoughts had flitted to her western home, and she was silent a moment as she visualised it. Then she continued her speculations. “I might take a business course and go into the commercial world. But that would be a long, long way from attaining the dream of my life, which is to live in Greenwich village. I may get there yet,” she laughingly declared, “but it’s a long way from the Golden West. The worst of it is that the family won’t let me go anywhere unless I have something definite in view. If I had a job to go to it would be different, but I see no chance of being allowed to wander off in search of life and adventure. Oh, I suppose I shall have to take some cut and dried, hole-in-the-corner work, but anyway you know what I would yeally like to do.”
Always Longed for a B.A.
THEN entered Cordelia who has clearcut ideas as to her future, and seemed to have been born with the nucleus of the scheme of life she is now following. Cordelia, who has a high, intellectual forehead, a large, finely formed head, clear, direct young eyes and a good color (can you see hqjj?) has specialized in household science:
“From the time I was a tiny girl in our little home town,” she said, “I always determined to gain my B. A. I don’t know how I got the idea really, for my only sister, who is older than I, went to boarding-school. However, it was only because I insisted on it that I was allowed to go to high school, which I felt would lead me to University and to my beloved degree. Now on the brink of getting
it I think less of my store of knowledge j than when I started the course. You j know what I mean. I have found there is so much to learn that it overpowers me. The little I know compared to the sum total of knowledge is so staggeringly small.
“However, I’ve been accepted by a large New York hospital, and will take a four months’ dietitian course there in the Fall. My Summer will be spent with my people. My sister is in charge of settlement work, and 1 will be the only girl at home. After gaining hospital experience I hope either to go on to my M.A. degree—that is, if I think it will be a help—or to laboratory work in connection with household science. I’m certainly going to make my career hinge on my work in household science, which is one of the finest things a girl can take up, and offers splendid openings.
“You know,” she remarked reflectively, “that is one of the advantages of an honor and special course. It gives one a definite opening. In the future,” she continued in her practical, sensible way, “I see myself doing scientific research work in a laboratory, and look forward to this with joy. Isn’t it strange how ignorant the vast majority of people are of the work done in connection with household science? They seem to think it’s only cooking,when itis really a chemical study and analysis of food in relation to the body. So I look forward with great confidence and hope to my career in household science.
“You see,” she concluded, “I’m not the matrimonial type.” (She is not to be trusted). “Then 1 think there is a need for girls to forge ahead and payback the State for theiy education instead of sitting down and waiting a few years until someone comes along to marry them."
Journalism Her Goal
WHEN Emily came forward one saw first a pair of shining eyes that lit up a gentle, serene face. Nut brown hair softly framed a low, broad forehead, the chin curved prettily forward, her nose had a slight upward tilt, and her mouth was both determined and sweet. There was something baffling about this girl. Because she travels in an orbit of her own ahd leads utterly.an inner life explains her air of gentle detachment. She is companionable, interesting—yet elusive. She is the kind of girl no man would ever feel absolutely sure of because she is so detached, and consequently she will keep a secure, though effortless, hold over her man. Quite frankly she told of her aims:
“All through my college course I have had journalism in view, and I am feeling a little discouraged because at the present time there seem to be so few opportunities. I taught high school before I came to college, and on going in for my degree was not quite decided whether to continue as a teacher or to take up journalism. We have a Press Club at the University and have heard different speakers there, and while they all endorsed journalism as a good thing for women, when it came to brass tacks and a definite job they were not so encouraging. So as the financial returns for teaching are pretty good, and I have my professional training, I will stick to teaching for a while.
"Before I came to college I realized only the delightful side of journalism. Now I can view both sides and on the whole it seems to me the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. So I’m satisfied with my decision. But isn’t it strange how many girls give up teaching j to go into clerical work? One girl I know who did is now at the dullest kind of routine work in an office and she actually prefers it to teaching. I cannot understand her point of view. To my way of thinking, teaching is a worthwhile job, quite apart from its financial reward.”
In bonnie, wholesome Jean, Scotch ancestry peeps out in her sandy hair, fair bright complexion powdered with tiny freckles, and forehead prominently developed above the eyes, indicating that her reasoning faculties are above the average. Jean tells her story with decision and emphasis: _
"I’m going into teaching because it’s something solid, something one can depend on, and if one should want to change, one can. I had considered journalism,
but there did not seem to be any openings. From what I have learned there appears to be a prejudice in some newspaper offices against women. At any rate the field is very limited. I think I shall go West as soon as I get my certificate.
I will have a High School Teachers Certificate, with English and Spanish as my specialities. I chose Spanish because it seemed to have a flavor of adventure about it. But, honestly, I feel the best thing about the degree is the outlook it has given me. It got me started, so that now I will read for myself, and explore the wonders of our literature.
“Probably much I have gotten out of my course will never repay any financial returns,” concluded Jean with Scotch thrift, “but it will add immensely to one’s enjoyment of good books and art in every form.”
The Appeal of a Library
TF YOU should happen in a public A library this summer and see there a young girl with a sweet, serious face, pretty blue-grey eyes, and dark, thick bobbed hair, that will be Madelaine who, after graduating this June, has decided to take a three months’ training course in one of our Canadian libraries. After this she expects to obtain a position in the public library of her home town, where a vacancy hinging on orange blossoms and confetti is anticipated.
“I’m so fond of books. Nothing appeals to me so much,” explained the dainty maid whose experience of life has so far, one would surmise, been confined to lessons, examinations and brief holiday periods.
What makes a girl choose law as a profession? Victoria, who, after graduating, is going to study for law, says she decided she wanted a profession, and law was the only one that appealed to her. Her mouth, wide, flexible and well-shaped, surely denotes fluency of language. For the rest she has deep, blue eyes, etched brows (not shaved ones please) vivid color, and a nose indicative of initiative and leadership.
“I really chose the profession of law by a process of elimination. Going carefully over a list of possible occupations I kept striking out all those that did not appeal to me. No teaching for me, thank you, for I’ve no patience with children. I’m really shy of them, I think. Then while a business career rather attracted me, I find there is more standing accorded to a profession. Anyone can be a stenographer. And that reminds me, I tried to work in shorthand and typing at a night schooi twice a week last winter, but had to give it up, as it was physically too much on top of my other studies.
“For a year,” continued Victoria, “I will work at anything that comes along in order to make money. I would' like to get into the civil service if I could make it. After that I shall go for three years to Osgoode. I am only nineteen now, and there is plenty of time.”
A Musical Ambition
WHEN Marie appeared with her beautiful thickly-lashed dark eyes, olive skin and features and body modelled on noble lines of amplitude, one thought of the tragic muse, of paintings by Old Masters, of altars in dim cathedrals—and knew that her depth of feeling must find expression in some gift. And one was right, for Marie, although specializing in Latin and Greek, avows that music is the passion of her life, and the other subjects are merely taken up as a means to an end.
“The height of my ambition is to be a great accompanist,” she confessed, “but before that can come to pass many steps must be taken. I shall have to provide my own musical training by earning money, and to do this I will teach. In the fall I will attend the College of Education for a year and train for teaching, and as I am a specialist in the dead languages that will qualify me for a high school post, and I will have the opportunity of continuing my music in spare time.
“Looking into the far-off future I have an inward vision of playing accompaniments for celebrated artistes. And that is the extent of my ambition. Teaching, with me, is more or less a means to an end, but I do think it’s a big thing, and it is not going to suffer because of my interest in music. I feel sure I’ll
be all the more successful as a teacher for having a counterbalancing interest outside of my work.”
Rosalind proved a decided variation from the others, for she is a blonde, not the pale, colorless kind but a very vivid, rosy-faced, navy-blue eyed, and thickbobbed, fair-haired young woman. Regarding her over-flowing vitality, full figure and good height, one thought of the poet’s line: “A daughter of the gods,, divinely tall and most divinely fair.” Rosalind does not register great concentration on any given line of endeavor, for she is mentally at the chameleon stage and reflects many phases of life., one following another so quickly as to make her appear changeable. It is not so much changeableness as that she responds to life as viewed through an impressionable nature—with which she combines a great love of experience and « disdain for the old beaten track. So when she contributed as her idea of a career, “I think I’ll get married and have six children,” it was a safe guess she was feeling bored with examinations and so was re-acting to the most distant point of contrast.
Ideas in Her Bobbed Head
ROSALIND’S bobbed head is full of ideas, and her strong personality imbues them with reality. She likes to be thought frivolous, but has her thoughtful moods. In time she will settle down to domestic life and have little fair, blue-eyed cherubs. Meantime she enjoys revolting at accepted standards.
Asked to outline her plans after graduating, Rosalind said: “When I started my four years in Arts it was with the idea of going into medicine. I have already finished three years in medicine, these running concurrently with Arts, and if I want to complete my medical studies I will require three more years. However, I .have become rebellious at the thought of three more years of study, and think I would rather get my M.A. This I hope to attain next year as a result of following research work, which interests me very much.”
“That is, provided you don’t end a possible carreer by getting married,” I interposed. ,,,
“I think the only way I’d ever marry, she replied, “would be by eloping with someone I cared for just on the spur of the moment, although it would be against my real conviction, for I consider it is dangerous to marry for love. Marriage" should be a matter of prudent arrangement, based on knowledge and common: sense. No, I wouldn’t go so far as to let the State arrange marriages, that would be too socialistic, although I used to bean ardent socialist when I was young, she must be twenty-three at least. “Have you read Cole? He is rather amusing, you know. I’m just getting over a love affair. The examinations: are to blame. One’s mind must have" some relief. Last year I re-acted by bobbing my hair, but this year T ve cut other people’s hair. So sensible too. I wish we all wore short hair and breeches,” Rosalind well knew how becoming such a costume would be to her.
“Oh, la, la, there are so many distractions at Varsity, the various interests knock one’s continuity of purpose to1 bits. I’m a bit lazy too, I guess. Anyway we are all completely mercenary, she ended with a mischievous light in her blue eyes. “We all want to make money, and so we choose the job that pays:
Last of all came a girl who frankly avowed she was domestic. Doubtless many of them were at heart domesticbut would not confess to it. Annette, tall, slender and dark, with a most attractive aír of individuality, settled
her career in a few words.
“As soon as I get my degree, I shall do a lot of shopping here, then go home1 and complete my trousseau. It will be a rush, but I do want to be a June brido and go to Niagara Falls, New York and Boston on our honeymoon—quite the conventional sort of trip, I know. Domesticity has no terrors for me. I shall love housekeeping, even to baking andl marketing and everything that goes withit. And my college work has taught meexecutive methods that will be a help.” Decidedly Annette feels satisfied with her choice of a vocation, and doubtless in time the rest of them will be converted to that kind of a career also.