A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Senior to Senior

It is uncommon for different generations to interact and communicate with each other, due to the apparent disparities in trends, childhood, job expectations, and more. Each generation has encountered different events in their lives, and because of this it can be eye-opening to unveil the experiences of a senior in high school, and a senior in life.

Elizabeth Conboy, a resident at the Belmont Village Senior Living of Johns Creek, and Northview senior Aanya Gorai shared their experiences in life during an interview at the senior living home.

Conboy was born and raised in Long Island, New York, but she had a difficult time growing up because she had to face the pressures of both her parents and her school to conform to the expectations society held for women back then. Conboy revealed that she was not a cooperative student, because she refused to go along with the demanding nature of her Catholic school.

“I was definitely not with the norm I didn’t pay attention to convention too much and that drove a wedge between my parents and myself because they were extremely conventional,” Conboy said.

Gorai admits that Northview does not present these specific pressures that Conboy had to face in her Catholic school. The challenges Northview presents match the stress that came with the expectations Conboy was held to, however in more of an academic sense.

These restrictions followed Conboy to college, as she wished to become a veterinarian, however, the mindset of the 1950s prevented women from pursuing this career and many others. Since Conboy aspired to become a veterinarian, she applied verbally to Cornell University, but there were no women in veterinarian school.

“I was applying in 1955, and it was very gender unfriendly,” Conboy said. “When they told me no women were veterinarians, I said, well good then I’ll be the first!”

Gorai, who recently applied and will be attending the University of Chicago for the upcoming year to study economics and math, acknowledges that she has not faced this gender barrier during this process due to the shifted mindset created over time.

Conboy eventually achieved the position of a veterinarian’s assistant, however she had to surpass a few more obstacles after college. Conboy repeatedly emphasized that she does not care about convention, or in other words, conforming to the societal expectations held for women then. As a result, in addition to being an assistant, she had several different types of jobs. These included being a stewardess, during which she developed a love for traveling, and a swimming instructor, building off of her athletic childhood.

“I’ve been very fortunate in my life. I was very lucky to have been given the opportunities for success in my various jobs, mostly since I didn’t give a damn about convention. I wanted to do the best I could do in what I wanted to do,” Conboy said.

Conboy’s parents felt that her dream to become a veterinarian and successive job as an assistant strayed too much from the traditional path women were set to follow in that time. Gorai can also relate to the expectations that family can hold, however for her they are unintentional.