College Lesbianage: Meet The Class Of 2016

It’s that time of year when all the little undergraduates all over the land embark upon their collegiate journey, full of hope and dreams and anxieties and confusing feelings about girls. This can be an especially monumental journey for young queer ladies, as often college is their first chance to really be part of an LGBTQ community, as well as it being their first chance to act like total morons without supervision.

Starting in the fall of 2009, Autostraddle followed Lily through her first two years at Barnard in the original College Lesbianage, and this year we’re seeking to re-invent the Lesbianage tradition a little untraditionally — we’re gonna follow six entire girls on their college lesbianage journey!

We’ve got Nita from North Carolina, who’s trying long distance with her girlfriend while launching her collegiate career at UNC-Greensboro. Sunny is traveling all the way from Bangkok for what she’s heard is a mega-gay environment at Ithaca, and Lillian is following in her Dad’s footsteps from Santa Monica to his alma matter, Vassar College in upstate New York. Kelsey, a self-proclaimed nerd and “bisexual pansexual queer 4 on the Kinsey scale,” is on her way to Bryn Mawr from South Setauket, NY. Lastly but not leastly, we’ve got Kate (from Minnesota) and Claire (a Canadian living in Phoenix), both starting at Wellesley in Massachusetts this week.


from small town North Carolina to The University of North Carolina – Greensboro // Greensboro, NC

On Thursday, August 16, I said goodbye to the small town I’ve lived in my whole life, my parents, and moved into my dorm room at college.

And I know it’s a big deal for everybody, but this was fucking huge for me. I’m an only child. I’ve lived in one place my whole life. College is this great big huge mindfuck for me.

Wait. Let me explain. (Not that it isn’t a big deal for everybody, but an explanation is still in order).
So here’s the thing. I’m Nita. I’m 18, and I’m from a very small town in North Carolina, where the population is only 5,000 people and there are probably three stoplights. I’m completely, totally, and utterly gay. My state is known for fried chicken, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and the unfortunately passed Amendment One.

And I’m currently attending the University of North Carolina at Greensboro—UNCG, affectionately known around here as “UNC-Gay” due to our vast queer population and 2:1 girl-to-guy ratio.

I would be happy about the large dating pool, but I’m in a committed relationship with a lovely girl named Rachel (we celebrated our one-year anniversary July 15). She’s a little bit of a goofball, but she’s the sweetest, most considerate person I know—she deals with me when I complain about meaningless shit, she’s always ready with an encouraging text message, and for my graduation present she filled a jar with little notes for me to read when I’m sad.

Anyway, Rachel’s finishing up her senior year of high school this fall, stuck at home with her passive-aggressive, homophobic parents (Rachel’s mother is an expert in snide remarks—I once invited Rachel to church with me and her mom asked if we were going to get married, then replied “Oh never mind, you can’t”). I’m not thrilled about the hour and a half separation from my girlfriend, but we’ll manage. We usually do.

So, what am I looking forward to in college? The (very) obvious answer right now is joining the Pride group on campus, and finally getting to meet more people like myself, as currently I feel like the only lesbian in the 27591 zip code. Hell, I think I am. I’ll also probably be involved in the Wesley-Lutheran group on campus (free food! Plus, I totally believe religion and sexuality can coexist in one person. I’m proof) as well as the theatre department—our auditions are this Tuesday. I’m almost-sort-of-kind-of prepared.

As far as other basics go, I’m a double major in Drama and Sign Language Interpretation, a lover of all things English (including my girlfriend), a tea drinker, a writer, an actor, and a Tumblr addict. I’ll most likely be documenting my college experiences and other interesting shit: dealing with keeping up the 3.3 GPA required to stay in the Honors program (and my possible lack of a social life because of it), my now long-distance relationship, and balancing my religion with my sexuality, among other things.

Oh yeah, and whether UNC-Gay really lives up to the reputation that precedes it. Because if it doesn’t, well, at least I’m out of Wendell.


from Bangkok to Ithaca College // Ithaca, NY

Will I capture the attention of my fellow queers when I stroll down the halls in my Tegan and Sara shirt?

Will my roommate voluntarily shave my alternative lifestyle haircut to keep it tidy every once in a while?

Will I have a friend I can glance over at when my gaydar goes off?

These are miniature concerns that have been enveloped in my mind as I began my search for colleges last fall. Inevitably, they’ve become things I worry about more and more; seeing as I want my years of studying in college to be nothing like high school, where I had a limit to the amount of radio waves of Gay I could omit.

Oh, and if getting ready to radiantly express my sexuality for the first time isn’t enough, I’ll also be living in the U.S. for the first time ever. That’s right, I’m a born-and-bred Thai from
Bangkok–a cosmopolitan city abundant with members of the LGBTQ community–about to move to another lively place with queers (fingers crossed). But let’s not get stuck on culture shock; I frequently travel and I’ve been to the U.S. before. Les (I mean, let’s) talk about college I’m going to attend.

As tempting as it was to go to the west coast (where I was accepted to Chapman University)–to Ilene Chaiken’s magical Land of the Lesbians–I decided on Ithaca College. Among many factors like location and majors, community was an important one. The school boasts about their LGBT outreach programs and is, I quote, “home to a diverse, vibrant, and engaged community”. I was comforted to hear that Ithaca would provide me with a diverse community not only in terms of culture and race, but also in the realm of sexuality.

But a few words on the school’s website weren’t enough for me. I had to know from a reliable source–a gay woman on the internet who has been to or studied in Ithaca, New York. Y’know, someone I could relate to. I got on Google, typed in the search box “Ithaca College Autostraddle” and BOOM: the headlines “The Lesbian Insider’s Guide to 40 LGBTFriendly College Campuses” and “Gay-Friendly Universities That Are Actually Friendly To Lesbians” poped up. I was ecstatic! Though Ithaca College wasn’t actually named on either of the lists, the city of Ithaca itself is said to be extremely accepting. I’d love to have a surefire way of knowing (like Smithies do, for example) but I’ll have to stick with reading personal opinions for now.

Not bad, right? Especially the one about Ithaca being the island of Lesbos. In a few years time, maybe I can have my own “great return” there. (The Odyssey, anyone?) Overall, I’ve had a fair share of comforting words from alumni who seemingly had a great time at Ithaca College. With that, I’m set to begin my first year as 18-year-old international freshman Sunny, ready to engage in full-gear G-A-Y. For now, I’m happy and I feel secure about living there (though I don’t know my roommate yet). I will certainly join as many LGBT activities as I can and be the spontaneous-but-cautious adventurer that I am. And boy, am I excited to meet other gays.

Until then, I’ll be spending my last few days as a high school graduate and college newcomer saying goodbye to friends, finally watching Arrested Development, and making nostalgic playlists of old Britney and Black Eyed Peas. Cheers.


from Santa Monica to Vassar College // Poughkeepsie, New York

I am absolutely horrible at introductions but I suppose now is the appropriate time for one. My name is Lillian and in a little over a week I will be leaving my monotonous life in California for Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York.

I’ve always dreamed of attending Vassar College, which is where my Dad went, back in the late 70’s. When I was a kid he’d tell me stories about the pranks he pulled with his Vassar friends, the silly three-item dress parties they’d attend and their futile attempts at picking up Sarah Lawrence girls — Animal House-style. (Hello, Dad, Vassar was practically an all-girls school back then, you could’ve spared yourself the road trip.)

His stories alone got me excited to go to Vassar, but knowing Vassar is super LGBTQ-friendly makes it even better.  It’s so tolerant and progressive that the Vassar rendition of “Shit [college] Kids Say” is filled with stuff about the heteronormativity (or –ness?) of Disney Princesses and how pants and even mayonnaise are social constructs. After watching this video and laughing hysterically, I knew that Vassar was definitely the right choice. I mean Meryl Streep and Lisa Kudrow went there, I don’t think I could’ve gone wrong there.

In the last few weeks I’ve learned who my new roommate is and where I’ll be living for the next year (I’m living in the same building that my dad lived in. MAIN represent!!), which makes me excited but also worried. It wasn’t awkward coming out to my friends at home, how will I come out to my roommate and other new people? Facebook-stalking has lead me to suspect that my roommate is straight, but I won’t know until I meet her. Regardless, anybody going to Vassar knows it’s reputation within the gay community and I’m sure there will be  plenty of opportunities to meet allies and other girls like myself.

Despite living in the super-tolerant city of Santa Monica, I’ve actually only ever met the GBTQs. Never any Ls. It’s time to meet more women of the lesbian persuasion, stop caring about being a lesbian archetype or gay poster child and just start being the person I was born to be.

I feel that a college-induced identity crisis is coming on and that these worries are not just pertaining to my sexuality. I’m known to freak out about my racial identity occasionally, but I think I exhausted myself with that during senior year, dealing with the Common App and all the talk about affirmative action. I don’t want to feel pressured to join a group in college that separates people by racial background because I had enough of that in high school and it makes me angry. (and maybe you’ll complain that I’m being a hypocrite because I want to join the queer coalition which separates people by orientation instead of race. And to that I’ll reply that I just want to meet some ladies. I get it if you’re into ethnically based clubs but they’re just not my thing.)

Frankly, I’m tired of people trying to pigeonhole me into one race and then bombard me with club pamphlets.

News flash: I’m mixed. I’m White, Black, with a bit of Cherokee sprinkled in and God knows what else. I hope that in college I can look past all of my high school anxieties and see myself as just Lillian and not how society sees me/wants me to be.

It’s time to say adios to the shy, reluctant and rather angsty high school Lillian and let the more confident and spontaneous one come to life. This is the girl who says yes to writing for Autostraddle, who signs up for a PoliSci class when she knows it may very well bore her, and who doesn’t spend her time stressing over trivial things like what her major should be, or how she’s going to remember how to speak English when she is taking both Chinese and French next semester.  This is the girl who is thinking about taking up ice skating again or writing for The Miscellany (Vassar’s newspaper), who is going not going to be a total mess during the first weeks of college. The time has finally come to dust off a shelf and put old Lillian in a box made of memories only to revisit her on a nostalgic rainy day.



from South Setauket, NY to Bryn Mawr College // Bryn Mawr, PA

Labels are useful because they help us quickly understand and judge others—and ourselves. But actually I hate labels. The earliest one slapped on me was ‘nerd,’ because I spent more time staring at a calculator or physics book than a cell phone. My collection of labels has grown to include: high school graduate, soon-to-be Bryn Mawr College freshman, English and creative writing major, bisexual pansexual queer 4 on the Kinsey scale. And the newest, most terrifying one: Adult.

Beyond the legal privileges, I’m not even sure what ‘adult’ means. My parents let me sip wine at dinner, without me asking for a taste. I’m going to a gay club with my friends, taking my road test, starting an internship. And, of course, I’m moving out in two months. But I’m not grown yet. I have one foot in childhood and one in adulthood, too afraid to take that step, because what if the grass is greener on the side I’m leaving? My parents haven’t forced my foot to move yet — whether because they don’t want me to leave or because they know I’m not completely ready, I don’t know. I’m still allowed to fight with my sister and cry in the car because I’m too afraid to come out to my relatives.

I chose Bryn Mawr because I felt at home on campus and they have amazing English and science departments, not because I wanted a supply of gay girls larger than my high school’s 20-person GSA. Which is good because, contrary to the popular (mis)conception that women’s colleges are a plethora of lady-lovers, I’m not finding very many. I’m sure that once I move in I’ll see the alternative lifestyle haircuts from miles away and follow the stereotype-trail to the den of queer girls sharing horror stories about their ex-girlfriends, but right now it’s very Where’s Waldo.

My life hasn’t yet been that different because I’m queer, and I’m lucky. My parents accept me, my friends watch Brokeback Mountain with me, my classmates don’t make homophobic comments to me. But there’s a reason why my GSA friends and I ship Sherlock and John with flagrant disregard for canon; why, during a 12-hour movie marathon of Lord of the Rings, we never stop looking for the homoerotic subtext. We were trying to normalize ourselves in a world where we are not considered normal.

Still, despite my worry that finding a real live girlfriend is about as likely as marrying Olivia Wilde, I’m excited for college. The uncertainty is the best part. For all I know, I’ll step on a butterfly on my first day and the world will explode.


from Minnesota to Wellesley College // Wellesley, MA

“Just because you’re at a women’s college, don’t worry. You will absolutely still have a social life! You will have a boyfriend! Don’t worry, you will!”

When I arrived at Wellesley for a campus tour in June of 2011, my mother and I were taken to a lush sitting room in a stately admissions building and seated on a couch across from the admissions counselor, who was very blond and wearing pearls and emphatically assuring me that I would have a boyfriend. I was stunned. I don’t want one, I thought. I wanted to go to a women’s college so that I could be safe being gay and maybe also have a GIRLfriend. What is this bullshit? On a TV screen mounted on a bookshelf, I watched three intelligent, hardworking Wellesley women get off a bus, throw their backpacks to the ground and leap into the arms of their waiting Harvard boyfriends.

What the actual fuck, I thought.

All supposed heteronormativity aside, it’s become clear in the past year that the students are fairly liberal and gay-friendly. It seems the admissions office just wants to lessen the appearance of women’s schools as lesbian feminist communes, which also doesn’t feel great, but at least it’s not indicative of the student body as a whole.

So here I am, packing my new towels and sheets into boxes and duffel bags and heading off to Wellesley College. I’ve been assigned to the dorm farthest away from everything, I know only one person — Claire, fellow lesbianage writer! — and I’m getting alternately more excited and terrified by the hour. I feel like I’m supposed to be an adult now, but I don’t have a damn clue how to go about it. I’m not even sure how to describe myself. Up until now, I was trained to do so through my achievements – here, do you want the spiel? I can do it in one breath now, after three months of practice. Ready?

“Hi, I’m Kate, I graduated high school with highest honors, I took two years of classes at the University of Minnesota while I was still in high school, I’ve played the piano for fourteen years and the flute for nine, I’ve been in 16 school-sponsored plays and ten outside productions, and I’m heading off to Wellesley College in the fall to pursue a double major in English and Theatre…no, Wellesley, not Wesleyan…it’s right outside Boston. It’s an all-girl’s school…. a boyfriend? Oh, I’m sure I’ll be fine; I’m going to college to study, not to get married…no, really. I’m serious.”

And the conversation deteriorates from there.

I understand that not being able to define (or even coherently introduce) myself is a normal problem for most eighteen-year-olds, including femme-presenting lesbians who like books and languages and theatre. If I wanted to really do some self-searching, I suppose I could say that I chose a women’s college so I could be around people who could maybe help me put some words to my identity, but that might also be total bullshit. Maybe I just finally want to have some lesbian friends and get laid.

Goals for the Year:

1. Figure out how to get around Boston on my own.
2. Get into the Shakespeare Society. I’m not kidding when I say that one of the reasons I applied to Wellesley was because of their Shakespeare Society. It’s like a sorority, but where everyone loves Shakespeare. I think I’ve waited my whole life long for this. The best thing is, I think Wellesley may be the one of the few places where Goal #2 won’t actually interfere with Goal #3, which is:
3. Lose my virginity.
4. Achieve all aforementioned goals with a minimum amount of stress/crying and a maximum amount of sleeping. This one is going to be the hardest to achieve, because I like to learn things the hard way.

I hereby promise to document my experiences living in an all-female environment, making friends, getting super fucking scared and also having tons of fun.


from Canada to Phoenix to Wellesley College // Wellesley, MA

Soon I’ll be frantically packing all of my belongings into cardboard boxes and shipping myself across the country. My alarm clock will be wrapped in my pajama pants, and I’ll likely forget something vital like my toothbrush. I’ve moved ten times in the eighteen years I’ve been alive, but I’m finally striking out on my own.

My name is Claire, my preferred pronouns are she/hers/her, I am a brunette for now, I love cats with a passion usually only found on the internet, and I think maybe one day I want to be a lawyer or do things to make the world suck a little bit less. For now I’m living in Phoenix, Arizona, but I’m actually Canadian. There’s a surprising amount of Canadians in Arizona, sidenote, but they’re mostly all old people.

Right around the time that I started losing my baby teeth I started to tell anybody who would listen that I was Going To Go To Harvard. Once I finally started applying to college and realized that these days to get into Harvard you have to have been writing Tony-winning plays at four years old and splitting atoms at six, I started looking at other options. This fall I’ll be shipping all of my possessions, minus my beloved cat Sammy, to Wellesley College. I’ve heard reports about Wellesley being the most conservative of the seven sisters. Judging by my incoming freshman class’s facebook page, Tumblr, and the two gay girls I knew who went to Wellesley, it’s chock full of queermos and feminists, which will suit me nicely!

I’ve never really had a queer community. When a very sweet older gay man at a graduation party told me that lesbians make great mothers, I almost burst into tears. It was one of the first times that I’d ever heard someone say something explicitly positive about the queer community outside of the Internet. So I’m super excited to be going to a school where actual queer things happen and are supported by the administration. I’ve heard tell that there’s something called Dyke Ball that happens in the spring? If there’s dancing, count me in. I will shake my groove thing like the awkward white girl that I am. I, like Lily before me, am excited to do queer things like bring a ladydate to dances! I would like them to be an actual ladydate this time, instead of the queerplatonic date that I brought to prom two years in a row.

At the same time, though, I’m terrified of college. I feel like everyone will probably be really smart, knowledgeable about interesting things, well cultured, and have really shiny hair. I generally count the day as a success if I don’t wake up looking like a cockatoo. If you think I’m just being a baby, an official list was just released of the various accomplishments of our incoming class. We have students who have blogged for HuffPo, taught themselves Arabic, worked at Obama’s inauguration, built a pipe organ, and started a national nonprofit for educational reform. My summers babysitting are starting to look really paltry in comparison. I’m proud to be going to school with such ridiculously talented people, but I’m worried that once I get there I’ll find that I’m way, way out of my depth. I would like to stand out for something like having cool hair or saying something smart, not for crying in class.

But at least everyone I’ve talked to online seems really nice! I can safely say that sometimes talking to strangers on the internet is a good idea and introduce you to people to eat lunch with during the first week. I’m going to try to avoid crying, in class or otherwise. I’m going into this experience thinking positively – there’s no way it can be any less gay or more conservative than my high school. I cannot wait to set out, and I’m even more excited to be sharing it with you! Hopefully some of you have some handy tips for me when the snow starts falling, because I will not know what to do with myself. Snow, like women, is gorgeous, but also scary if you don’t have a lot of experience with it. Will I need special shoes? Only time will tell!

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Lesbianage has written 9 articles for us.


  1. This is so adorable, all of it. 2 things –

    Sunny – I went to Ithaca for 2 years before moving to NYC. I lived in East Tower. Take a class in the music dept, and say hi to Patrice Pastore for me. :-)

    Lillian – I spent a few weeks at Vasser a few summers ago for New York stage & film, and stayed in the loveliness of Jocelyn (sp?) Dorm? Have a great time. And get to NYC as much as possible.

    Good luck, little darlings!

    • I just graduated from one of the other 7 sister schools! And don’t worry the queers seem hidden at first at an all women’s college but you will find them I PROMISE!!! Good luck Ladies!! Makes me miss college alot!

    • I always forget you transferred to NY the very same year I transferred into Ithaca. :) Also, re: Ithaca. SO GAY!

  2. Reading this almost makes me wish I was 18 again. Good luck everyone, I’m looking forward to reading about your college experiences!

  3. OMG LILLIAN. We’ll put you on the queer lady party list and getchu some Ls for you LGBTQs right quick.

  4. These girls are going to get so much action, surely no better pick up line than ‘You may recognise me from Autostraddle’s College Lesbianage’ exists? If it does I really want to know it.


    Ahem, yes. Bryn Mawr is exciting. Don’t worry, there are plenty of queers. And many many nerdy queers.

    Hope your customs week is going well!

    • A giant ANASSA KATA to Kelsey!! Please don’t worry, Bryn Mawr has plenty of queers, plenty of nerds, plenty of queer nerds and nerdy queers. You will find your people.

      Class of ’94, English major

    • ANASSA KATA KELSEY! obviously i have a gigantic soft spot for a fellow mawrter WITH MY LANTERN COLOR NO LESS (LIGHT BLUE THE VERY BEST) but you are all adorable. welcome to autostraddle, we love you so much.

      and welcome to bryn mawr, it is SO MUCH QUEERER THAN YOU EVEN KNOW. just you wait, honey. just you wait.

      • I’m chiming in with all the other Mawrtyrs – anassa kata, Kelsey! When I clicked the link to see where the six of you were going, I thought ‘How cool would it be if there were a Mawrtyr?” and lo and behold! And a part of Kate and I’s daughter class! I will so vicariously through you because I miss that place terribly.

        Yes, as Kate and Kathryn said, Bryn Mawr is VERY queer. Sometimes it takes the freshwomen a little while to come out (lol pun) of their shells, you’ll find lots of action! Saying you’re from Autostraddle will be an awesome pick up line. (Hey Kate, too bad you started this after graduation…)

        • oh honey, as if i needed to use autostraddle as a pick-up line order to get action at bryn mawr :P still had sex in every academic building hehe.

          • i don’t even care that this comment made me sound like the douchiest sexball of all time

            i am so proud of the fact i had sex in every academic building i don’t even care

    • Thank you all! I’m loving Bryn Mawr so far and, even though Customs Week is pretty overwhelming, I’m really enjoying meeting everyone and doing all kinds of fun stuff. :)

  6. All of these girls are really attractive and funny and smart and I have tiny crushes on all of you and want to sit in your dorm rooms with you watching Lip Service and eating popcorn? Anyway. I’m looking forward to hearing more from all of you beautiful people!

    • Okay, guys – I totally forgot to credit my photographer. The pictures of me with the rainbow on my arm and dancing were taken by the awesome Maddi Raineri, and took place at my summer job where I teach German.
      Thanks for all of your awesome comments!

  7. “Once I finally started applying to college and realized that these days to get into Harvard you have to have been writing Tony-winning plays at four years old and splitting atoms at six, I started looking at other options.”

    This might have made me crack up kinda-sorta-a-lot.

    Good luck, y’all! You’re all going to have an AMAZING time at your respective schools. Now, go rah-rah it at orientation and spend all your money on pointlessly expensive textbooks.

  8. All of you are around 5000x more adorable than I was when I started university. Also, WHEN DID I BECOME SO OLD.

  9. This is so awesome: also uh, if anyone reads this: how do you people figure out what you want to do in college and also life: i am like “WHO EVEN KNOWS WHAT IM GOING TO DO” and I’m like my 2nd semester in college.

    • I say do what you like! And if you start liking something else, do that. I went with picking a major in sophomore year, then realizing junior year I liked something else more and switching to that. No decision is final. I work with three people who got bachelor’s and master’s degrees in unrelated fields and then went back for another bachelor’s later to become scientists and those people are the best. You have plenty of time.

  10. I am so bummed I decided not to apply for this. Too bad there aren’t any Smithies.. ah well, I guess I missed my chance. Good luck to all you other first years!

  11. This is fabulous. Congrats to you all on getting into great schools! You all sound like wonderful, smart ladies whom any other lady-lover would be lucky to spend time with.

    To the Wellesley freshies/first years: Wellesley rocks. There’s lots of queers on campus; Boston’s awesome; professors are great; and you’re going to work your ass off in your classes.
    Advice if you want it: Go to Fall Fling to join some orgs and watch the performances (shout out for Yanvalou!). Don’t go to Remix unless you *want* to flirt with awkward MIT grad students. Do go to Dyke Ball (although beware the ticketing drama). Check out the “50 Things to Do Before You Graduate” list. And Claire: yes, you need snow boots. And probably a warmer coat. :)

    You’re all going to have a fucking amazing time. I’m kind of jealous.

    • I’m taking Claire shopping for winter clothes – we Minnesota girls know how to handle snow. :)
      Thanks, Sara! I get more excited by the minute.

    • Thank you, Sara! I’m loving it more and more every day here.
      Also, Kate, I am going to freak out when we get snow for the first time. Be prepared.

  12. Wellesley kids – Make sure you hang out at Olin (my alma mater)! It’s super awesome (great parties), there ARE lesbians there (*cough*), and you can take really really good design classes. Seriously. Take a design class at Olin. It doesn’t matter if you care about engineering, the design process relates to everything – particularly User-Oriented Collaborative Design.

  13. SHERLOCK AND JOHN FOREVER. I mean… well, I don’t think there’s actually anything else I can mean by that.
    I also received the “you’ll definitely be able to have a boyfriend” comment while touring a girls’ school (Barnard in this case) and felt very cynically bemused. But good luck to all y’all first years, and I will definitely be applying to join your Lesbianage ranks once I finally escape boarding school in May.

  14. Too cute, all of you. Brings me back 10 years to first year orientation at Wellesley. Now I’m happily married to my wife and working on my PhD. You are exactly where you should be and you will have a wonderful amazing experience, even if it doesn’t happen overnight. Enjoy.

  15. For all that freshman year at college was six years ago, I feel like I am experiencing many of these same emotions, which is slightly comforting and slightly worrying, haha. I’m also entering a program at a university this fall (and moving tomorrow oh my GOD), though it’s grad school, and wondering if I’ll be able to build/find queer community in a new place, esp when I never have before, and never had a girlfriend or a very gay life. It’s University of Washington and it’s Seattle, so I’m hopeful, but also really nervous. I can definitely identify with a lot of the feelings on this page. Good luck to all of us! :)

  16. Lillian – my sister also moved from California to attend Vassar (class of ’09)! She LOVED it. And she lived in Main. She tells me women’s rugby is the place to find the ladies (if you can find one that isn’t dating another rugby player), although, you know, I feel like you could have predicted that one… ;)

    • Hey that’s cool. I feel like everyone has some relative that went to Vassar. I’ve seen some pretty cute girls on rugby and I even thought about joining but remembered that I would probably get dismembered so…

      • go to a practice for the team. you’re going to feel a little dismembered after your first tackling practice, but if you have good coaches, they will teach you everything you need to know to get back up and ruck like a beast! I joined rugby and found it to be the most accepting group of people at my university. LOVE LOVE LOVE! Also, ruggers know how to party hearty, so if you’re looking for a social life outside of classes, rugby is where it’s at. Plus….all of the lesbians! :D Have fun!

      • YAY i graduated from vassar in 2011!!! i’m pretty convinced that it’s the greatest place in the world so i hope you love it with all your heart!! where are you living!? omg i lived in jewett and it was so very nice but also a little too quiet sometimes… but kinda worth it for the nice bathrooms. also you should totally play rugby because their coach is hysterical. i played volleyball and worked in the athletics department (gay right?) and the rugby coach cracked me up at work. oh my god. im so excited for you.

  17. Aw, the two Wellesley firsties make me all nostalgic for my first year there, over a decade ago now. As far as being queer at Wellesley goes, it’s an absolute blast–ignore the lame admissions video. (Also, I was put in a dorm wayyyy far away from everything, possibly the same one as Kate, and switched to the Quad as soon as I could. It’s livable though.)

    • I’m in McAfee, was that yours? I don’t mind terribly, I like walking here all over the gorgeous campus.

      • Nope… Dower!

        I did live in McAfee for two summers, though, as well as a summer in Freeman. The walk from the New Dorms to the rest of campus is really nice, though. The whole campus is lovely! I’ll be visiting Swelles again in the fall, for the first time in a few years, and I can’t wait to traipse around aimlessly again.

        Also, I have no idea what your interests are but I highly recommend taking a literature course in the Russian Dept. (especially 251, 19th c. Russian Lit). I discovered that department my sophomore year and it is a hidden gem.

  18. Was I the only one worried about how close that ice skate blade was to Lillian’s face? Please don’t hurt your face, Lillian!

  19. Aww, these young college freshmen make me feel so old. Undergrad was a good time. So easy and carefree – especially since grad school seems to be a mix of hard partying during the weekend/breaks and reading for 6 hrs a day to prepare for classes.

    I’m looking forward to reading their experiences and getting sentimental.
    Also, a plan to lose one’s virginity – just let it happen. It’s best not to plan these things and to let it happen organically.

  20. “I feel like everyone will probably be really smart, knowledgeable about interesting things, well cultured, and have really shiny hair.”

    Here is a secret about college that I have learned… almost every single person is sitting there like “oh man oh man i’m not as cool as these people i’m freaking out!” Like seriously. Nobody thinks they have their shit together for college! (The only people who think they ARE cooler than everyone else are douchebags, and you don’t want to talk to them anyway). Seriously it’s great because at first everyone will latch onto each other and eat together and everything, and then over a few weeks people start to realize that they don’t have to be Themself 2.0 and start coming to class without makeup and generally chilling out!

    I just started my second year, can you guys tell that I really really love college?

    But seriously the bottom line is it’s going to be amazing, you’re going to be amazing, and also Rachel Maddow.

  21. This post inspired me to finally make an Autostraddle account. I’m currently a senior in High school and I can’t wait to go to college already. I look forward to reading these, especially Lillian’s (Vassar is my dream school! well Vassar and Smith, lol)

    P.S.- Claire is adorable and has awesome hair, just sayin’

  22. Kelsey — welcome to Bryn Mawr! I’m a professor in the English department (on leave next year, though . . .), and we are just so pleased to have you. Have a wonderful freshman year, and feel free to get in touch even though I’m on leave. Happy to treat you to a coffee in beautiful Philadelphia.

    • this is my favorite comment. i’m officially Really Upset that i did not go to bryn mawr you guys seem like the cutest.

    • Hi Professor Schneider,
      Thank you so much! I’m considering majoring in English, and I can’t wait to meet you once you get back from leave. I would love to go out for coffee once Customs Week ends and my life gets a little bit less hectic!

  23. Thinking about Wellesley now…

    Reading this made me miss Wellesley even more than I do already. I remember being so excited to get away from my small high school, graduating with people I’d known since elementary school. While my school had a fairly liberal political climate, there was absolutely no LGBTQ presence, I was not out to anyone, and I felt pretty lonely. I think I spent my senior year spring before Wellesley daydreaming about having a girlfriend, as sad as that sounds!

    During Spring Open Campus, I struck up a conversation with another prospie, and we spent the next few days together doing all the activities (i.e., going to the million and one panels). As we were eating lunch at the campus center, we saw two girls walk by holding hands. My fellow prospie turned to me and said, “Did you just see those girls? That’s so weird.” My bubble deflated a little bit.

    Wellesley is very queer-friendly. But I am so very awkward, I didn’t “look gay” enough for it to be obvious, and I found it hard to feel comfortable enough to come out. I missed my chance during orientation week, when people were just getting to know me. Because, “Hi, I’m ____, and I’m gay!” didn’t sound quite right. Neither did, “I love that we have unlimited ice cream in all of our dorms, and by the way, that girl using the waffle machine is really cute.” And since I had never been in a relationship with a girl (or anyone else, for that matter), I couldn’t just slip in “My girlfriend…” or “My ex-girlfriend…” into a conversation.

    And for me, the longer I know someone, the harder it becomes to tell them. First year, sophomore year, junior year – still didn’t happen. It took me until senior year to be out at Wellesley. And it took me until senior year to go to Dyke Ball because none of my friends (all straight) wanted to go. Sophomore year, I even mustered up the courage to reserve a Dyke Ball ticket in the middle of the campus center, and I remember being irrationally terrified that people who knew me would see me. I still wonder what I missed out on, friendship-wise and relationship-wise, as a result. I’m happy (and somewhat jealous) to see that today, there are incoming first-years who seem so confident in their sexuality and will probably have a great time at a welcoming place like Wellesley.

    A huge part of this comment seems so depressing, but I didn’t mean for it to be. I am excited for Kate and Claire. I hope you both end up loving the school as much as I do. :)

  24. this post is so good i am so excited for all of you i miss college and i hope you all have such a good time oh my gosh i am giddy with excitement now seriously can i be an undergrad again?!

  25. There’s a place called Bryn Mawr in the US? I didn’t realise welsh got any further than to our borders, let alone across the Atlantic!

  26. Lillian! OMG can we go skating together please!
    Figure skating lesbians are rarer than unicorns!

      • one of my best friends is a figure skating lesbian, there’s more than two of you out there! :)

      • Lillian I am also a figure skating lesbian! We should hang out and take pictures for Autostraddle of us skating like the true champs we are.

  27. Nita – If UNC-G doesn’t live up to all the queerness you had hoped, might I suggest hopping the HEAT bus (or whatever they might be calling it these days) over to Guilford college? As an alum, I can tell you that I had a great time there. And check out the Queer Allied Resource Center (QUARC) if you get a chance (if it’s still open)!

    Otherwise, I feel as though I was a piece of all these women yea back in 2006 when I made the big move into my first dorm. I miss being young and carefree :( Enjoy your time in college ladies!

    p.s. Join the rugby team if you can!

  28. Hi CLAIRE AND KATE !!!!!!!!!

    I love the rest of you too, but I’m not about to MEET you AAAAAh

    maybe my enthusiasm results from having spent the summer totally completely pretending to be straight in the middle of a small Middle Eastern city, but I remember first year yo and you two are going to rock it. I had the same feeling about that batshit list of amazing people, it’s cool but also kind of terrifying -you’ll forget it as soon as you show up, and you’ll forget about fancy shoes, is something that is definitely… true. And your showing up has actually happened already! I’m flying back to campus tomorrow! I’m so excited!

    Down to business: Shakes is awesome! the ice cream is awesome! the lake, and the views, and the architecture is pretty much awesome! Dyke ball is amazing but kind of overwhelming and something you should absolutely do at precisely your own comfort level! Our queer community runs da house! Another thing that doesn’t get a lot of attention because we’re really kind of wacky is Cafe Hoop, where I work, which is located in the basement of the campus center and is the queer, womanist, mildly political but not exclusive or judgmental, safe space cafe where we serve you great music and sometimes great food, and almost never great coffee but we’re working on that! haha. Bring your beautiful souls and your friends and come meet us! We want to make you feel welcome! We have so many feelings! Wellesley is going to be the best part of your life so far! It certainly has been, for me.

    xoxo see class of 201….6 ( ????) soon!!!

  29. Hi Kate and Claire (and all the others)!
    I’m so happy that you’re coming to Wellesley this year! I’m a senior and the president of Spectrum, which is a big queer social org on campus. I’m glad that the slant that the admissions office puts off about the student body didn’t deter you, and there are students and groups on campus working with admissions trying to change this. Wellesley is VERY queer friendly and liberal, and a very very fun place to be gay.
    There is a Dyke Ball, but we’ve been working on reclaiming it as a queer event so it will be undergoing some major changes in the next few years, making it even more awesome and queer. There are tons of queer orgs on campus, and we have a great adviser, Leah Fygetakis, who does amazing things. Speaking for Spectrum we’re looking at making some amazing programming this year. We will be at Fall Fling on the fifth so be sure to come up and sign up for our email list and to meet the other E Boarders and me. Also be sure to join our Facebook group so that you can stay up to date on what’s going on.
    Other than the “officially” queer things, pretty much everything on Campus is queer friendly, and Claire if you’re looking for dancing there is pub nights every Thursday where there is lots of queer people and lots of dancing, some of it awkward.
    Anyways, I should get back to packing because I move in tomorrow. I hope you are having fun at Orientation and I’ll see you on the fifth! I’ll be at Spectrum’s booth, and we have a giant rainbow flag so we should be easy to spot :)
    Welcome to Wellesley!

  30. Good luck to all of you ladies!!! Reading all of this makes me a little nostalgic for my own freshman year. I just graduated from the University of Delaware (not too far from Bryn Mawr!) and still working on campus. Seeing all of the new kids on campus is cute, and I love people watching for some gaybies (just saw two walk by from my perch at work in the Student Centers!!!). Good luck, again! I hope you all have tons of fun. You’ll find your place, whether you’re looking for it or not. The queer community here fell right into my lap, literally with handbills and a feather boa at their annual drag show!

  31. Dear Kate,

    You are going to have a blast. The Shakespeare Society is so happily gay and amazing.

    Dear Claire,

    Your hair rocks.

    Dear both of you,

    You’re making me feel so much better about my alma matter than anything I’ve read in the last five years has. Stay passionate, focused on what you came to Wellesley for, and find out who you are beyond high school. Bon chance, mis amis!

  32. the comments are literally just as good as the post. am i a big weirdo for loving college so much? do i look like one of those b-list actors who peaked in high school and is awkwardly trying to relive the ol’ glory days? i’m just so happy for you guys, everything is so new and fresh, and the comments are so welcoming and sweet, ugh you guys are gonna have THE BEST TIME.

    • I’m so convinced that’s going to be my life. I graduated in May and am terribly afraid that nothing will compare to the past 4 years.

  33. swoon yall are so cute! I’m excited for perspectives and observations on how it rolls along as the year passes.

  34. i’m jealous, i didn’t know this was a thing! i totally could have written for this aww it looks awesome!

  35. Sunny- I went to Ithaca College! I liked the college… I LOVED the town (hence I stuck around for five years afterwards.) Go to the farmers’ market! Eat a burrito! Tell the tall man and the woman with dreads selling burritos that Robin says hi. And if you have a class with Brian Karafin, tell him I say hi, too. Have a class with Brian Karafin. What are you studying? What kind of music do you like? What do you like to do? Ha, I feel like I want to instruct you to do all of the things that I love doing in that town. =p

    I think you can get in Felicia’s if you are under 21, and they have live music at least twice a week and the owners, Amelia and Leah, are fantastic people. The Gimme coffee next door on State Street is also a great place to hang out.

    Ithaca is a fantastic town to be queer in. And just a beautiful, fun place, especially in the summer. In so many ways I felt like I was able to un-clench and blossom more into myself there. Enjoy! Radiate you!

  36. Nita! I go to UNC Asheville. It’ll be cool to see you write about what UNC-G’s like for queer students and what Pride’s like.

  37. “Snow, like women, is gorgeous, but also scary if you don’t have a lot of experience with it. Will I need special shoes? Only time will tell!”


  38. Oh, I almost forgot, check out The Shop…. coffeeshop on East Seneca St. not far from the commons. They have lots of live music and other events, and since it’s a coffeeshop, it’s not off-limits to the under 21’s.

    The Oasis might be a fun spot. It has the advantage to ICers of being on south hill, unlike everything else. It used to be Common Ground and was this great lgbtq-friendly, intentionally multi-cultural place that really did have a mix of people and lots of great dancing. I think since changing owners and names it has tried to keep the same goals and vibe. Before I was out to anyone I randomly went to a drag king show there and had a night that was one of those “I really can’t keep denying this and shoving it away” nights.

    • No one goes to Oasis except people in their mid-fifties who like to square dance. It hasn’t been “Common Ground” in over 4 years (when they used to have LGBT-themed dances).

      Gay places/places-where-the-gays-are in Ithaca:

      1. Everywhere in Ithaca
      2. Gimme Coffee
      3. “The Commons”
      3. The Shop
      4. Felicias Atomic Lounge
      5. Ithaca College
      6. Stella’s Bar/Cafe

      Again, the whole town is really, really gay.


      • yes, #1. I was trying to think of the wonderful things to do socially in Ithaca on one hand and the ones that who lead you to be likely to meet other gays/queers on the other and then I realized that the two categories are basically the same, really. :)

        If you like to play sports: softball. And… go to roller derby bouts.

        If you need a part-time job while in college and can/want to go off-campus, the jobs that will lead you to feel like you are connected to the community (both larger Ithaca community and queer):
        Gimme barista
        Greenstar Co-op cashier (you can be a sub for this, too.)
        farmers’ market food vendor, especially macro mama’s or solaz burritos.

  39. Hey Claire,

    I’m from the Phoenix area too and just wanted to say congrats on making it to the East coast. I’m a sophomore going to a top school on the East coast as well.

    Not sure about you, but I went to one of AZ’s middling public high schools and I too, was afraid everyone would be so much smarter/cultured/etc. than I was. Convocation made me wonder how I even got accepted. But you know what? Sure, there are the standout players who have patents and started a non-profit but there’s also a ton of people relatively like you. And yes, classes are hard but they always will be and it’s more about finding your rhythm between work and fun.

    Being on the East and at my school has really allowed me to experience a ton of new things through the people I’ve met and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Good luck!

    • Hey there fellow desert-dweller! Thank you. I am so, so excited to be on this Coast- everyone is amazing so far.

  40. Ahhh I want a college do-over. This time I want it to be in the USA, and I want to be very very gay there.

    Wish I’d paid more attention to those Bryn Mawr pamphlets someone gave me when I was 16. What could have been!

  41. Word of advice to warm/milder weathered folks who are jumping into snowier regions of the country for college (or other reasons!) … BOOTS! These ones!

    I highly, HIGHLY recommend Sorel boots, the Tivoli’s are particularly awesome. Super warm, not at all bulky, and really cute! They come in lots of colors and are often on sale! Stay warm this winter my friends!

  42. Also! Love the representation of Theatre kids in this group of girls! Enjoy college theatre! Immerse yourself! Try something new! Act, design, try lighting, learn to paint, don’t miss out on the awesome opportunities you have! Even as a non-theatre major, my involvement in theatre in college got me a number of kickass summer jobs (theatre jobs=lots of gays!).

  43. I don’t think I’ve ever really felt old… … …

    until this post.

    (graduating in 4 weeks woohoo)

  44. Seriously wish that I’d applied to showcase the wonderful gayness of Canterbury, England. These ladies are perfect.

  45. wow this looks really cool, i actually just read all the previous ‘college lesbianage’ posts and got super inspired to start a blog to document my experiences at the school i’m starting in less than a week!

    (also to sign up to autostraddle, long time lurker here)

  46. Reading this is making me wish I went to one of these schools.. I just started graduate school at the new School for Social Research in NYC!! .. Anyone going there? It’s great.. I love New York City!

  47. kelsey! no worries, the queer kids will start popping up like daisies any day now. especially if you take english classes. english house was built on a foundation of queerness. anassa kata!!

    <3britt 2011


    The rest of you sound pretty friggin’ amazing, too, so this is so exciting!!

  49. Kate, as a former Shaker i can assure you that the accomplishment of Goal 2 will lead directly to the accomplishment of Goal 3. Have so much fun and kick some butt at teas!

  50. This was amazing, Good luck to all of you.

    Reading this makes me question my chosen not-at-all-very-gay university.. Ah, transferring sounds really good right about now.

    From a fellow class of 2016 attending school in NY.

  51. Autostraddle, Class of 2016 (aka, an overwhelming amount of cute).

    “I feel like I’m supposed to be an adult now, but I don’t have a damn clue how to go about it.”

    Kate, i am certain i have said the exact same thing before. In retrospect, before i started thinking of myself as “an adult”, it had never really registered to me that i was living: the commitments and responsibility were minimal, so everything was always a whirlwind. It had always seemed that I was preparing for life or, rather, going through the motions of preparation.

    Even in college, it was happiness and rainbows and skittles. It was only after hitting some rocks that i realised, the only person responsible for my life is myself, and that to me, was the transition into adulthood. So i started “living”, rather than just existing.

    I hope you enjoy the best years of your life!

    P.S: You will have no difficulty with Goal #3.

  52. Am I too old to have crushes on all of you? You’re just all so adorable and smart and I know you’re going to have the best college lesbianages. Lillian, your hair is like my hair, which makes you the hottest. And Kate, I gotta say, sex and Shakespeare are some good priorities.

  53. Reading about people across the globe with the same thoughts as me has made me loads less anxious :D i’m bisexual and from London, starting university in England at the end of the month. I’m breaking up with my girlfriend, moving away and looking for a (non-virtual!) queer community… *gulp*. Luckily my college has already sent me details of their lqbtq undergraduate brunch, so it’s looking up :) good luck to you guys

    • Reading about people only a couple of hours away with the same thoughts as me has made me loads less anxious about starting uni!
      I’m also moving out at the end of the month, breaking up with my girlfriend and hoping to find an awesome queer community.

      Good luck to you, the autostraddle lesbionage queers and everyone else in the same position!

  54. @Nita,
    I hope UNCG treats you well! <3 from a first year masters student at AppState – not too far from your small town in the middle of nowhere! ;)

  55. Hey Tori! My best friend is at AppState, actually. And for clarification, I grew up in Wendell, about 30 minutes east of Raleigh. :D (According to the 2010 census, our population is actually 6,035 people. Yikes. o.O)

    And Dani–have you checked out Pride yet? :D Sooooo many lesbians.

  56. Nita, I made it to a couple of Pride meetings last semester, but Wednesday was a really bad day for me. I’m planning on trying to go this Wednesday though.

  57. I’m sure many years from now I will read one of these and feel old.

    Right now I’m watching a preview for a movie that comes out Fall’13.

  58. As awesome as it was meeting all of these freshmen at once, maybe it would be a good idea to spread their actual updates around, instead of all of them updating at once.

    Just saying, this means more frequent college lesbianage for the rest of us. :D

  59. I’m currently sitting in my brand new apartment (or, you know, room), in a brand new city, in a brand new country. I’m so scared and excited, it feels like my heart might burst out of my chest at any moment.

    I’ve moved from a relatively small city to a rather big one, but inlike a lot of people, it seems, I have left my queer community behind. I was lucky enough to have a great (and quite gay) group of friends and an amazing (ex)girlfriend all though high school, and now I’ve encountered two brand new problems: how to meet girls and having to come out all over again. I was bad at coming out the first time, I simply did it by having a girlfriend. I am so used to everyone just knowing, and here, no one knows. I look fairly straight to the untrained eye; after becoming comfortable with my sexuality, I started dressing and acting a lot more feminine. I don’t need everyone to know, but I am getting so tired of the instand anxiety attack right before I tell someone, even if it’s just a casual reference to my ex in a conversation.
    I guess what I’m trying to say is this: if anyone knows any queertivities in Copenhagen, hit me up.

  60. I just fell in love with Kate.

    Hi Kate will you be my friend?!!!?

    I am a high school sophomore and I visited Wellsley this April break. My new favorite standup comedy bit is imitating the admissions woman. Good grief.

    Anyways, I 100% identified with your intro/story/life plan/everything about you in general

    Though college for me is a little far away I am pretty committed to an all women’s college (Smith and Wellesley are sticking out for me) so I am SO SO excited to keep updated with your experiences!!! Can’t wait for more!

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