Francesse Lucius graduated with her BA in Women’s Studies in 2009. Currently, she is an attorney with Children’s Legal Services / Department of Children and Families.
I became interested in Women’s Studies in high school when I took a class on Women’s Studies and Literature. I had just moved to Florida from Haiti and had an amazing English teacher who inspired me to fully live my potential. In her class, she had us create a booklet of our life, career, and personal wishes for the next 10 years. This project prompted me to research colleges. I decided on the University of Florida because their pamphlets were nicer and it is the best school in the State. I looked at majors and minors offered at UF and to my surprise, the school offered a major in Women’s Studies. It was a sign!
I still have my 10-year wishes booklet. About five years ago, I found it in my mom’s garage and my tears would not stop flowing. I tell this story because it reflects my experience as a Women’s Studies major at UF and the idea that representation is important. When my White high school teacher taught a class focused on feminist writers, the majority of whom were Women of Color, that was all I needed to imagine myself leading a well- meaning life and reaching higher. This is the same experience I had in my Women’s Studies classes at UF. The work was difficult. The curriculum was heavy. But, I loved every book, every lecture, and every discussion on intersectionality, biopolitics, food politics, and reproductive health. I felt empowered, I felt strong, and I had endless opportunities to serve my community and make a difference.
After graduating from UF, I obtained a position with a domestic violence shelter in South Florida. After a year, I enrolled at the University of Miami School of Law. My background in Women’s Studies set me apart in my classes. I had developed strong critical thinking skills and a self-reliant and humble attitude that contributed to my success in Law School. I was able to look past the fluff to focus my decisions and thought-processes. The road to my Women’s Studies degree was not smooth. It was full of uncertainty. My first semester, I was advised that I would not find a job with the degree and should double- major in Political Science. I also was unsure about job possibilities, but once I entered the job market, I realized I had something that most other applicants did not: I had extensive experience through internships as well as my classes such as my service- learning class with Professor Anantharam.
Today, I’m a Florida licensed attorney and in my work, I continue to use what I learned from my Women’s Studies degree. My work involves families, children, community partners, extensive trauma and everything that comes with tragedy. It is pivotal that I have an understanding of intersectionality and community advocacy to best serve the families in their time of need. My advice to current majors is to capitalize on the rich opportunities that the Women’s Studies major provides and to connect with the local community because these opportunities boost your thinking, skills, and résumé.