Creating my own story: Catholic women's college students narrating their lives

Kathryn A.E. Enke, Kelly T. Winters, Rebecca Ropers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Given the complex and gendered messages college women receive about their future professional and personal lives, a woman's college experiences play an important role in helping her make difficult life choices. In this article, we present a narrative analysis of the envisioned futures of students at two Catholic women's colleges in the Midwestern United States. Participants drew on a number of narrative themes when creating their rhetorical future lives, including sequencing or juggling multiple priorities, opting out of future work or family roles, using overarching principles to make decisions about future roles, and maintaining resistance to planning. Our findings suggest that holistic understandings of students' experiences must consider the complex ways in which identities, such as gender, are positioned within social narratives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-496
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of College Student Development
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2013


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