(thirty) or frazzled again

…And so it begins once again! I made myself an attainable schedule in order to get a really big head start on all of my work. I know that the end of term will be really chaotic because of my thesis, so I’m trying to get some of my final papers done ahead of time. I’ve given my thesis a bit of a break because I need to let it sit in my mind for a bit, so instead of working that, I’ve begun researching and writing my other papers that are course finals. I know that it’s super early to begin working on them, but I also know that I will really thank myself at the end of term when I can just focus on physical exams I have to take and the submission of my thesis.

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So once again, I have stationed myself at my beloved carrel to sit down and really get some work done. I also need to figure out what classes I’m taking next semester, which is frightening (my last semester here…). I’ve snuck in a sealed container of fruit so I don’t need to go to the dining halls for lunch (I pinky promise I won’t eat in the library!!!). I also have all of my supplies right here, so I really have no excuse to go and get other things. Now, it’s just time to focus on what I have to do.


So naturally, I’m writing a blog post. 1. Because it’s fun to write, but also 2. Because I think BMC has a stigma around our work culture. From my experience at Bryn Mawr, I have found that students always feel the need and the pressure to be working. As someone who lives by that statement, I would agree completely. It makes it really hard to enjoy the “down time” you have- if you can even consider something down time. We have a campaign to combat this notion; “self care.” However, if you need to plan your self care time down to the minute, is it really self care?

For me, personally, when I have to plan to self care, it makes me more stressed.

What if I’m not doing this right?/What if I’m not relaxed enough to get the benefits of self care and I’m actually wasting time?/I have so much work that I could be doing/Ok, I think this is enough self care for the week.

As silly as it may sound to an outsider, that’s our culture. I’ve been actively trying to combat these things in my personal life, but it’s hard when you’re in an environment that prides itself on productivity. So, this is my active way of doing something that I enjoy (blogging) when I can be working something that really doesn’t need to get done right now.

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It may sound hypocritical- Blogging is still technically part of my “work” that I need to do, but it’s a different kind of work. It’s a fun two hour break where I sit with my thoughts and write about whatever I’m thinking. Usually, it’s school related, but other times I can focus on an event that brought me particular joy. Just focusing on those things helps to combat this stress culture that BMC propagates. And you know what? That makes me a happier person, and right now, I think everyone needs to focus on the little things that make them happy.

Even if it seems insignificant, something that brings you happiness is something that you should keep around- if it’s a person, that 15 minutes you take to play on your phone, reading a daily devotional, eating that special piece of candy- whatever! So think of something that makes you happy, and try to enjoy that one thing today.

(twenty nine) or rittenhouse square farmers’ market

One of my favorite things to do on a Saturday afternoon is go to the Rittenhouse Square farmers’ market. I’m a huge sucker for farmers markets in general, but today it was especially beautiful. The leaves are in the midst of changing colors, so the sun reflects through them like a million little rays onto the sidewalks. Plus, Rittenhouse square itself is really nice- the park is surrounded by trees, and it has a fountain in the middle of it. Little kids are usually at the fountain trying to climb the lion statues, watched over by anxious parents. Once, I saw a little kid trying to climb the lion statue, and the family dog rushed over to him and pulled him down. It was super cute. Anyway- farmers markets!

I really like the idea of being able to buy affordable, natural, and locally-grown food to support farmers in my area, as well as eating what is naturally in season, so the farmers market provides the environment in which to do so. Unfortunately for me, some of it is really unaffordable, but usually the plants and produces are well priced. Even if I’m not going to make a purchase, just walking around and looking at all the stalls is really relaxing.


Pam and I decided to talk a walk this morning through the market, and just browse. It was an ideal day for a walk, and we lazed around for a long time. Pam bought me a little cactus- he’s about the size of a cotton ball and I am so excited to add him to my ever-growing collection of plants on my windowsill. We went shopping for a friends birthday gift, and she got a cup of coffee. Overall, it was a quiet and low-stimuli day.


PLUS I got to pet this little dog friend!! His name is Moose and he is a puppy. He is really friendly and likes to chase leaves. He licked my hand, and then let me pet him. His owner said that he’s a silver lab, which I’ve never heard of, but apparently Moose will grow to be about 70lbs which I think is pretty big. He wasn’t shy of the small crowd that gathered around him.


I would love love love love love to have a pet when I graduate (Effy is mine, but he stays in Florida) but I’m afraid that apartment life may not be the best thing for a doggy or kitty. Either way, I want to do some research on what animals local shelters have before I make any decisions about getting an animal. Pam and I go back and forth between wanting one, so we both have taken it as a signal to wait until we’re 100% sure. Pets are like having kids, in my eyes- you have them and you love them unconditionally and they are part of your family.

(twenty eight) or grace’s bday

Tonight I got to spend a very nice night out with my best friend, Grace! Grace graduated last year, and has since moved out of Philly. Although I miss her horribly, I’m so lucky to be able to still stay close to her. This weekend she turns 22, so she came in to the city to celebrate.

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Grace, in addition to some friends she brought from home, Pam, Gabby, Xiu, Ellen and I went to a restaurant called “Max Brenner“- a chocolate themed restaurant and bar. I had never heard of it before, but Pam said it’s a novelty in Philly. Immediately entering the restaurant, you could smell chocolate. Honestly, I’m not sure if they piped the smell in through the AC vents or if it was real from the cooking, but it smelled delicious. I can totally see why Grace wanted to go there.

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After a nice dinner and conversation, Pam and I headed back to her home. The weather has been really amazing recently, so the walk was beautiful. I think this may be one of the last warmer nights of fall, so I was taking it in as we walked. Philly is so beautiful at night. It still has the city sounds, but it’s a much softer type of noise than other cities I’ve been to. Usually other cities have lots of yelling and loud noises, but instead Philadelphia creaks and you can hear wind rushing between buildings. I honestly just really love this city, and am so happy that I go to a school so close by.


I’m taking a break from homework tomorrow- I spent all of today studying in Pam’s house, and then I live tweeted the second episode of stranger things (follow me! @amotte_). I honestly have been pushing myself really hard to get school work done (which is good- being productive!) but also, I need to have some time to just sit back, relax, and really feel GOOD about relaxing. I’m happy to be in Philly with Pam tomorrow to just explore a bit and treat ourselves to some much needed “us” time.

(twenty seven) or SEPTA strike

First off, let me begin by explaining what SEPTA is. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is a series of trains, buses, trolleys, and subways that run all throughout Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties. It’s a pretty easy service to use, and as someone who comes from an area of little/no public transportation, SEPTA feels like a dream. According to folks from areas that actually have public transportation, SEPTA is trash and is not an effective mode to get around. To each their own, I guess. Regardless, SEPTA is the cheapest option I have found to get me into Philly and I really like it.

It’s been in the news recently that SEPTA workers have gone on strike. As someone who wants to remain aware of the happenings of my community, this blog post will be a learning experience for all of us as to what is going on.

The first article I’m reading is titled “DESPITE FINGER POINTING, SEPTA, UNION RESUME TALKS”. It seems to say:

  1. It sounds like the strike is surrounding the cost of benefits for SEPTA workers
  2. The strike is headed by a union
  3. People are getting really, really upset
  4. SEPTA wants to offer the union a current earnings cap on pensions and enhance that benefit by 8%, along with a pay raise, but union members must pay more for their healthcare.

My take away from this is that this strike is regarding economic disparities between SEPTA and union employees.

On to the next one!

After randomly clicking, I’ve selected “Latest SEPTA strike updates: Nov. 3, 2016” because HORRAY! Today is November 3rd and maybe this will be more informative.

This article:

  1. Showed us a photo of someone driving a bicycle on the highway??? This is apparently a very literal statement about individuals who have to go to work and have no other way.
  2. SEPTA is considering requesting an injunction to force workers to come back for election day- without transportation to polling places, people can’t vote.
  3. A direct quote from the article reads, “Late Wednesday night SEPTA’s board chairman Pat Deon put out a statement accusing the union leadership of prolonging the work stoppage even after SEPTA made an offer that, Deon said, addressed many of the workers’ requests. Thursday morning, the Transportation Workers Union Local 234 fired back. The local’s president, Willie Brown, said in his own statement, “Deon’s idea of bargaining where he tells the public half-truths about what’s on the table while telling the union to take it or leave it won’t get us across the finish line.””

This article was really enlightening to me as to how many people are impacted by this- obviously public transportation serves, well, the public. But think about it:

  1. How will children get to schools?
  2. How will employees get to work?
  3. How will voters get to polls?

Schools, jobs, and voting are going to continue whether or not SEPTA is up and functioning. For people, especially children from low income families whose guardians are not available to drive them to school, how can we expect students to be able to literally get to school and learn?

On the other hand, labor unions are intended to represent their constituents, and have gotten some very real results, such as improved wages, improved workplace, and a shorter work week.


As per usual, I think this issue is on a grey-scale of morality, with no side being totally right. In the mean time, I’m going to try to learn more, and I’m going to go to http://www.septa.org/realtime/status/system-status.shtml to watch the updated train schedules.



(twenty six) or anne hathaway

Today Anne Hathaway came to Bryn Mawr! Unfortunately, I was working at the office of Residential Life, so I didn’t get to see her arrival. Regardless, it was really cute to see everyone’s excited chattering over social media about getting to see “Princess Mia.” She came to rally young voters to vote for Hilary Clinton, and gave a short speech about the importance of being politically active. Apparently Donald Trump had also been in Pennsylvania within the last couple of days, so my area has been really lively within the political arena lately!


…But I’m stressing out over school work and right now this upcoming election is not helping to share any space within my mind. So instead, I’m going to try to actively focus my attention on 1) doing work and 2) taking care of my self! Last night Pam came over and kept me company while I studied. I unfortunately have a lot of things that have piled up, so I’m working on getting them completed. On the bring side- my best friend Grace, another Bryn Mawr graduate, is coming in this weekend to celebrate her birthday. I get to see her so infrequently that when she does come it’s a huge deal. It’s really weird to have friends who have graduated and left, and then are able to come back to visit, but life continues without them.

It’s not necessarily bad, per say, but just different. Part of it is extremely bittersweet- looking around and seeing a space and being reminded of a memory that will never be once more with people who have already gone! But regardless, I’m excited to venture into Philly this weekend, get some work done, and hide from politics for a bit.

(twenty five) or stressed out soundtrack


Step One- Make your Playlist

I find that whenever I have papers to write, I do a lot better when I’m listening to the same songs over and over and over and over. I honestly have no idea why this is, but I’ve read some sketchy-at-best online articles about why this could be a thing. Regardless, I am here to share with you the list of songs I’ve been playing on repeat for the last couple of days!

  1. “The Greatest” by Sia
  2. “Closer” by The Chainsmokers
  3. “Famous” by Kanye West
  4. “Headlines” by Drake
    1. (ALSO it’s really hard to find Drake’s newer songs on youtube and this makes me really sad)

Step Two- Find a spot and camp out

Again, I like the library. It’s hidden away where people can’t bug me unless it’s an emergency. Regardless, find your spot, bring all of your things, and plan to be there for a couple hours. I usually bring all of my chargers because camping out is what it sounds like. I’ve seen people bring blankets, food, slippers, a carton of cigarettes, you name it, people have done it. Don’t take shame in whatever you need to bring to accomplish your work!

Step Three- Invest in a snack

As the above may insinuate, you’re gonna be somewhere for a while. While some people like to take breaks for meals, I find that this disrupts my flow. YES I recognize this may not be the *best* habit, but for all the bad habits, I think eating goldfish for a meal is probably on the lesser end of this spectrum.

So get yourself a snack that you can eat without making a mess or taking time to assemble it. I tend to like goldfish mostly because they’re cheap, they come in bulk, and they have a rainbow variety which makes me feel good about myself.


One thing I really struggle with is finding a stop when I’m writing. I’m the kind of person that likes to get work done and BE done. However, for longer papers, this isn’t an attainable goal. When you’re working, make sure that you stop and stick to that stop. You need to listen to your body/mind and really feel out what it’s trying to tell you.

My freshmen year I wrote a 10 page paper in one sitting and felt horrible. Compare that to my sophomore year when I wrote a 15 page paper over the course of a week and felt significantly happier. Not only did I feel emotionally better, but my writing reflected this. AND!!! Even though my freshmen year I had a lot of extra time on my hands because I technically finished my work earlier, I ended up stressing about not having anything to do. Compare that to sophomore year when I had an even stream of work to do, I felt like I wasn’t forgetting anything and was on top of my work.



Everyone has their own ways to get things done, but if you feel like you wanna give my method a try, good luck, and happy writing!