(six) or how i walked in the rain for 10 blocks

I am so happy that I am thesising on something that I enjoy and care about. I have known so many people who have ended up hating what they were researching. By the end of the experience, they wanted nothing to do with their topic, their major, or any of their professors. I’m really hoping that this won’t happen to me, but as of now, I don’t think it will.

As I continue to formulate my thoughts and ideas, my thesis topic will expand, alter, and change. I’m really excited to change along side my project, and I’ve already noticed that my train of thought has begun to go down several different routes. To spare you all the specific details, my area of research is focusing on queer history in Philadelphia starting in the 1950’s until present day. I am focusing on the William Way LGBT Community Center as a physical space in which to anchor my thoughts. I find memorialization through structure a really fascinating topic, so I’m looking into the ways that the physical building has impacted the queer community, as well as the mainstream heterosexual narrative of history.

I’ve started to accrue large quantities of reading materials, but rather than dreading them, I’m really enjoying them. I’m currently reading Marc Stein’s City of Sisterly & Brotherly Loves, and as I get further and further into the text, my interest grows. I think I enjoy being able to recognize the places the text is referencing, as well as the literal queerness of the work.

Today, I woke up at about 6:30am to prepare myself for my long day ahead. It was miserably cold and raining (of course), so SEPTA was late to take me into Philly. I arrived at the center, met the archivist, who then took me upstairs to the archives. I spent the next five hours stationed at a desk and chair pouring over old clippings from newspapers, flyers, meeting minutes, and other paper materials that told the story of how the center came about.


(Above: my work for the day! I went through every single piece of paper in these folders and took detailed notes. I opt for pencil and pen over computer any day.)

I found some really interesting facts about queer Philly that I otherwise would not have known. For example, briefly the center was called “Penguin Place” after a march organizer compared queer rights to giving rights to penguins. Bizarre, but thee community took with it and ran. The history of the community center is long and hard, as one would expect. Having survived governmental pushback, the AIDS epidemic, a fire, and economic issues, the center has made it to a permeant location, housing a library, archive, and community center space.

IMG_6148-1 IMG_6147-1  (Above: Images of some artifacts. The top one reads “Black, lesbian and proud!” while the bottom one reads “Health care is not a right just for the straight and the white”)

All in all, my research today was a success. Bob, the archivist I met with today, was so helpful and kind. He pointed me in the right direction to begin my work, and would give me more things to go on with. I really appreciate that, as the archive houses a lot of materials, and it would take forever to go through.


IMG_6149-1(Above: More of the archive!)

Before I left my research for the day, I had to snag a photograph of my favorite wall decoration, featured below. It depicts two men on a porch in rocking chairs, with a dog. They look like they’ve lived a long life together. The caption shows one of the men leaning across to the other man, and asking,  “Were we gay?”


(five) or how the office of residential life will always be my favorite

By far, one of my favorite things about Bryn Mawr would be the Office of Residential Life. This is my second year being a Hall Advisor for the college, and although my reapplication came from wanting to be an HA again, a huge part of it also came from wanting to work closely with Angie Sheets and ViAnna Bernard, the Director and Assistant Director, respectively.

IMG_6124(Above are ViAnna and Angie during the senior cruise last year. I think this photo about sums up their relationship.)

Being in college, I’ve grown to love certain professors, facility, and staff as friends. With Angie and ViAnna, I’ve been blessed to also consider them role models. Whenever anything horrible happens (and in college, it seems to happen more frequently, with greater urgency, and in emotional isolation than when living with my parents), they are always the first ones I try to seek out for advice and comfort. Although at first I was a bit wary to let my ‘bosses’ into my personal life, I realized that their check in’s came from a place of caring and compassion, not a technical formality that they had to get out of the way before business began.


(Although business does begin! Above are my two favorites doing hard work at their cozy office spaces. These are not posed. They only cleaned off their desks briefly before allowing me to do a quick photo shoot.)

I know that Bryn Mawr has always prided itself on being an environment where students form close relationships with members of the administration, but I didn’t realize how true it was. Honestly, I cherish and value my relationships with ViAnna and Angie along side relationships I have been forming since childhood. There is something about knowing that even if everything feels really horribly, I have two amazing mentors at arms reach who really do care about me as an individual, and constantly encourage me to put myself and my needs first.


(Also it’s really great if you need a laugh because Angie and ViAnna are a hoot. I’ve cried multiple times from laughter- and trust me, that’s really a cure all.)


(Plus they always have candy in their offices. ALWAYS. No matter what, and no judgements. Is it 10am on a Thursday and you’re eating a snickers? No problem, no questions.)


Overall, I’ve learned how to be a stronger leader, a better person, and hopefully a role model myself through them. All in all, I’ve learned from ViAnna and Angie to do all things with love.

(four) or how i made it through college with four hair ties

I remember being in elementary school, and all the teachers warning the students not to share hair ties. They were afraid of the spread of childhood lice, but also the woes that children will create when someone borrows something and then doesn’t return it. It’s interesting that now as an adult, I seemed to have survived my college experience with only four hair ties. That’s right- four. And somehow, they seemed to have multiplied themselves. You see, it goes something like this:


I have four hair ties. Meera borrows a hair tie, I borrow one from Caroline. Caroline borrows one from Meera. Emma gives me a hair tie because she swears that she borrowed one from me, and didn’t return it, so here you go. Meera returns my hair tie, and Kate returns one to Meera, who gives it to Emma, who gives it to Caroline, who gives it back to Meera, who gives it to me. Kate sees me messing with my hair and lends me a hair tie to pull it back during class, and I forget to give it back, so now I have 7 hair ties.


I really am digging these weird college dynamics where once you misplace something it doesn’t just disappear into the stratosphere, but rather, into the hands of another person who uses it with the intent to pass it along to another person when they come into need. Wouldn’t it be interesting if we applied these same principles to other aspects of our lives?


(three) or how fall came for Kate


I have been so lucky to make such amazing friends in college. I’ve heard horror stories from friends who stayed in Florida about terrible freshmen year encounters with people they thought they would be friends with, but by the third week of classes, realized that they should probably do without. I can rant and rave about how amazing the people I actively select to keep in my life are, but I think that would be a little bit too sentimental for the internet. So instead, I’m going to share why I’m thinking about friends today- it’s Kate’s 21st Birthday!


(Above- Kate and I!)


Brunch is very much a thing here at Bryn Mawr. It’s my personal favorite meal of the week, because you can grab a plate full of raspberry white chocolate scones, a cup of tea, and plop yourself down for two or so hours without feeling guilty because it’s brunch and what else should you be doing?

Kate wanted to go to a nice restaurant called White Dog Cafe for her special day, so we all took a break from the Mawr and made our way out to Wayne.


(Above: Ellen and Kate)

It was so nice to just take a break from everything, and all of us got to sit back, relax, and celebrate a special day with a very special person.
IMG_6095IMG_6093(Above and Below: Kate and Meera)

FullSizeRender-1The food was delicious! As were the non-alcoholic beverages (it’s still thesising time!) I’ve only been to White Dog twice, and the ambiance is really precious. They decorate the restaurant with realistic painting of dogs. It may seem cliche, but they somehow do it in a really tasteful way. I’m sorry this isn’t very convincing, but you really must believe me.



HAPPY BIRTHDAY KATE! I love you lots, and hope that your birthday was just what you wanted. I can’t wait to see what this year has in store for you- hopefully it’s half as good as you are <3


Today was super cool. I have *~* officially *~* started my thesis writing process. I’m focusing on LGBTQIA* spaces in Philadelphia, so I spent part of my morning in the archives of the William Way LGBT Community Center! I was so happy- John, one of the people running the archives, was so kind and helpful. Honestly, even though writing a thesis is a super daunting process, meeting up with him gave me a renewed sense of vigor that I had thought I had lost. I regret not taking photos of the inside to show you all, but it didn’t seem like the right time.

IMG_6077IMG_6075 IMG_6073

So instead, I captured a bunch of rainbow flags, and tried to capture the rainbow glass above their bright red front door! I really hope you can see it- it was really quite beautiful. The center itself seems super cool, and I really hope that the more time I spend there, the more time the staff will allow me to explore. They had this really pretty ornate door in the back, and I’ve made it my personal mission to see what’s behind it. Probably nothing special, but I won’t know until I know.

I spent the rest of my morning wandering back to the train station. SEPTA has new trains! They’re so clean! So nice! It was an enjoyable ride back to BMC in solitude, something I feel like everyone needs every once in a while.

I spent the remainder of my day in my carrel in the library. I’m legitimately blessed to have a Carpenter carrel with one of my close friends, Lillian. She and I decorated it with postcards of classical artwork, and it really is a lovely place to sit down and study. Our carrel overlooks the ledge of the library, so we have lots of natural lighting and a physical location that makes it seem like our carrel has more depth than it actually does. I’m super happy to study in it. To any underclassmen- try to get a carrel. It’s fun to decorate and makes leaving textbooks in the library so much easier. I’ve designated it as my thesis spot, because I feel like I need to have my room be more of a relaxing place this year. In addition to housing our textbooks, school supplies, and miscellaneous papers, Lillian and I also have colored pencils and a stuffed animal to make our time spent there a little more enjoyable. Would also highly recommend investing in fun things, as sometimes work overwhelms your thoughts and you just need to relax for a bit.