Document Type


Publication Date



Higher Education


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.