As the year has progressed, I and the six other postgraduate girls with whom I am sharing this experience have become increasingly aware of the reality on this campus: postgraduate girls are ignored and marginalized at Deerfield Academy, especially in comparison to our male counterparts.
As a newly-admitted postgraduate girl last spring, I spent a thoughtful period of time deciding whether or not I should attend Deerfield in the fall. On the one hand, I was never asked by a university, coach, or anyone else to take a postgraduate year. I also considered how difficult it would be to join a senior class that had already spent several years together.
I gave it thought, but after witnessing my former school accept and integrate postgraduate hockey players year after year, I was not concerned. With the added element of Deerfield’s sophistication and size, I anticipated that feeling included at Deerfield would not be an issue.
But somewhere between then and now, I realized I was sorely mistaken. Deerfield’s social exclusivity and tradition of celebrating postgraduate boys has left postgraduate girls at a deficit from the first day they step foot on this campus. Deerfield has not seen a class of postgraduate girls this large in many years, and because of it, our community is not used to having non-male, non-athlete postgraduates and ultimately neglect doing our part on the inclusion side of things. We have to change that.
At the beginning of the school year, we had a lot of curious people reach out to us. They would ask us: “What sport are you here for?” “Who are you being recruited by?” Eventually, these kinds of interactions faded away to feel fake, and over time it became evident that people were not talking to us to spark a friendship.
They saw us as one-dimensional, defined only by the college we would attend and the activities we participated in.