Lesson #100: Surviving Tough Times

by Rachel on August 25, 2011

For my 100th lesson, I’m sharing wisdom from the desk of Bonnie Bucqueroux, a woman who probably has a million lessons to teach us. Bonnie was my JRN 101 professor and was the one who encouraged me to start blogging and to challenge the crap that needs to be challenged. Her influence is seriously the reason this blog even exists. I could go on and on and on about how much Bonnie means to me, but let’s just get to her lesson, because I think then you’ll just get it!

Yesterday was the 16th anniversary of her stepdaughter Kim’s death and each year, to remember her, Bonnie does something positive for young women. This year, it’s an article about how women can survive the tough times that could very well lay ahead for us. Watch the video for more details from Bonnie herself.

And then read the article: Advice for Young Women on Surviving Tough Times.

It’s long, but so worth putting some time into reading. Some of my favorite points:

Make children a choice. Building a healthy and sustainable world benefits from encouraging women to use their nurturing skills in ways that may not add to the number of children already here. That requires making it socially acceptable for women to parent other people’s children who need a full-time or part-time helping hand.

Start your own business while in school. In the old world, you earned your degree and someone eager for your talents gave you a job. In the changed world, there will be far fewer slots waiting for you. Your best bet may be to launch your own business, by yourself or with talented classmates, while you are still in school. The business can complement your major, so that even if it does not provide you a full-time income, it can serve as a calling card to persuade a future employer you know how to hustle.

Hire your friends. Spread the wealth, or at least your pennies. Not only are friends likely to give you a good deal, but helping them means they will remember to help you.

Reclaim the domestic arts. The consumer culture did its best to persuade young women that progress meant avoiding “women’s work” in the home. But as our “modern” lifestyle runs up against obvious limits, knowing how to garden and can your own food could become critically important skills. The same for knitting, crocheting and sewing your own clothes.

There are a lot more in the article and all are inspiring and will probably make you think about the future in a way you haven’t before. It was a reminder to me that our generation has been lucky (spoiled) and I’m not sure how well we’d do taking care of ourselves if we really had to. I’m not sure we even think about that kind of thing.

Read the article, pass it along to other women (and men!) in your life, and let’s discuss in the comments!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sarah August 25, 2011 at 10:52 am

I’m right out of college, so all this is really relevant! How do you always DO that? Keep ’em coming, and thanks.


2 lucy August 25, 2011 at 11:40 am

This is so wonderful, thank you so much for sharing, Rachel!


3 Rachie G August 25, 2011 at 11:59 am

Thanks for linking, watched the video while at work and she has great ideas! I can see why you were inspired by here, only hope I can be that kind of professor for the students I work with.


4 Kate August 25, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Rachel – THANK YOU. This is an amazing post. I read the article and watched the video – what an amazing speaker, I can only imagine how wonderful she is in real life. I am absolutely passing this on to my other strong female friends – I just graduated college and I am headed to medical school, and I think that this is a message everyone needs to hear!

I do believe women have a role in shaping the world that comes ,we are deep thinkers, planners and have the power to effect change. And right now we need to change the belief of high impact life to the “treading lightly” philosophy she speaks of. But I think the most powerful way to effect change is to be an example for other women, to live the beliefs of protecting the world and living a fulfilled life through compassion and passion. Through the power of example, and living joyful lives, other women will follow.


5 Rebecca August 25, 2011 at 7:53 pm

What is it with professors named Bonnie at MSU?! I’m a recent Eli Broad graduate in hospitality business and our school has a prof who goes by Dr. Bonnie and she’s the most brilliant woman I have ever met!


6 Emily August 25, 2011 at 11:25 pm

Maybe it was just me, but especially for a professor whose voice is heard and under scrutiny in a high level intellectual arena, I felt like some of her points about women, particularly in the first minute or so, were distinctly politically incorrect–not that women aren’t traditionally associated with “domestic” fields, as Bonnie says, just that we don’t have to necessarily confine ourselves to those fields in order to make a difference (no disrespect to the predominantly female health blogosphere intended), or even that these traits are somehow engrained within us (social construction of gender, anyone?). I respect her support of female independence, she just seems to put a huge emphasis on how being female underlines everything we do. I suppose there was just a bit too much emphasis on the female part of female independence for my taste.


7 Kariesha August 26, 2011 at 3:45 am

She is very inspiring person! She’s a good model to all of us. Thank you Rachel for sharing this post and this video.


8 lisa August 26, 2011 at 11:05 am

I had to print out the post to read it, partially because I’m old school like that and partially because I really wanted to highlight some points that hit home for me. Although I’m a bit older than the targeted age demographic, I really feel like this was a powerful article for women and men. I have a feeling I’m going to get sucked into reading as many past postings as possible on her blog. Oh well. It’s Friday. I don’t have to be productive at work on a Friday, right?


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