(fifty seven) or saving professor nolan

I’ve talked about Professor Bridget Nolan before on my blog, but now I’m dedicating a whole post to her. She’s been at Bryn Mawr for three years, each year having been told she was only going to work for the year. Well, students have fallen in love with her, and she’s fallen in love with us right back. Since her initial hire, she has been offered two more 1 year contracts. Unfortunately, the end of this year is approaching, and as a senior I really am nauseated by the idea of losing another amazing professor because of factors outside my control.

Let me begin by telling you about how I met Professor Nolan- my junior year, one of my friends told me that she had just had the best class taught by the best professor, and I needed to take a class with her. Apparently, she was only here for a year, so I needed to sign up FAST or my chance would be gone forever. Having always wanted to take a sociology class, my decision was pretty simple, so I signed up for an intro level course taught by Nolan.

The class was amazing, but what really blew me away was Professor Nolan’s dedication to her students. She was accessible in ways that other professors wouldn’t even consider (TWO office hours?? Times picked by STUDENTS?? unreal). She would take time out of her non-working times to come and help students who were struggling learn in ways that made sense to them. She made classes interesting, but also made classes hands on in a way that helped students who would have otherwise fallen silent be able to participate. Plus, she really cared about the personal lives of her students. When I was anxious in class, she made a point to talk to me afterwards to see if she could do anything in the classroom to help me out, or outside of it.

As time progressed, she was offered another one year contract. Students would FLOOD to her classes just to try to get a course taught by her. Yes, she taught basic intro level sociology classes, but she also taught classes such as “Sociology of Harry Potter” and “Sociology of Terrorism and Counterterrorism.” I was lotteried out of her classes because so many people wanted to take them. Classes are always filled to the brim with her, and she always handles the classroom with poise and grace.

PLUS she used to work for the CIA which is pretty cool. She’s super open about her career choices, and her life path. As a stressed out senior, I appreciated being taken into her office, given a piece of chocolate (gluten free and vegan options also available) to talk about the stress of the future and what the sam heck I can do about it. She’s always been a strong supporter or me, but she’s been just as strong and active in other peoples lives.

I love Bryn Mawr, but BMC won’t be the same without Professor Nolan. I’m happy that she was here for my senior year, but I want to be able to pass on the same learning and networking opportunities I had to other students. Part of me is really sad, but the other part of me wants to be able to help Professor Nolan, and maybe pay back 1/2 of what she’s given to me.

(fifty six) or gardens

My mother is an excellent gardener. Ever since I was a little child, she was able to coax flowers out of the earth like no one else. Having come from Michigan, she explained to me that the environment of Florida was a little different, so she had to try harder to grow things. But- boy did she ever.

She’s a fan of bright colors and indigenous plants, so she would go out of her way to find things that blossomed.

Being surrounded by so much greenery as a child didn’t escape me- although I love Florida, endless rows of Palm Trees soon began to lose their charm on me. Whenever out of state friends would come, I wouldn’t give a second glance to whatever they were oohing and aahing about- chances are, I had seen it a million times, and I’d see it a million more. Everything, that is, except my mother’s garden.

I took this love of plants with me to college. Unfortunately, growing plants inside a dorm room is quite different than growing plants outside with expose to lots of sun and rain. I tried my best, and although I’ve had a few seeds that never sprouted, plants that died immediately after purchase, and a questionable fungus infection, my plants seem to be doing well.

My orchids are even blooming! This is a second successful season, so I’ve given myself an honorary green thumb.

I am a bit worried about my cactus- it’s surviving in the winter because its safe from the outside, but it’s not getting enough sun daily for it to really thrive. I’ve converted my desk lamp into a symbolic sun for the little guy. I’m hoping that although the light doesn’t produce the same effects as sunlight, the heat from the bulb will at least do the plant some good.

All in all, my mini-garden doesn’t hold a candle to my mother’s garden. For now, it makes me think of home, and it makes me happy even when the weather outside is wild. It’s quite a nice sight to see when I come home after a long day, and it feels good to know that I’m taking care of something.

(fifty five) or a collection of memories

Descending back into time, I have collected memories to share with you that represent my college life. Each photograph represents a time period that has stuck in my mind for good or for bad. Some you may recognize from other posts, but others you haven’t seen before.  Hopefully, other BMC students have little collections of things that help them look back on memories here, too.

(fifty four) or thoughts on my weekly reading

I read quite a few articles this week for my classes, but one that really stuck out to me was from Queering Pop Culture by Nikki Sullivan. Not gonna lie, I was so excited reading it because it was making me think of other things that I had learned, and it was a really good piece that brought a lot of things together for me. It talked about theory, and Laura Mulvey’s Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, which talks a lot about male gaze, which has sparked some really great conversations surrounding queer gaze…any way!! It was a super interesting reading, and I highly recommend that you read it.

As I was reading the beginning of this piece, I was thinking about this quote;

“To live (as I understand it) is to exist within a conception of time.

But to remember is to vacate the very notion of time.

Every memory, no matter how remote its subject, takes place ‘Now,’ at the moment it’s called to the mind.

The more something is recalled, the more the brain has a chance to refine the original experience.

Because every memory is a re-creation, not a playback.”

David Mazzucchelli, Asterios Polyp


I was fascinated with the idea that every memory is a recreation, therefore challenging the idea of time and how we create things. Sullivan brings up an excellent point by writing that, (in regards to queer characters) “…through our very ‘reading’ of them we actively (re)create them.” The idea of passive reception is complicated by the very notion of the way that we interpret our information. Therefore the idea of a queer lens only exists within our individual memories, creating solitary experience of queerness. By producing an individual meaning and identity, we are creating our own understanding, which still exists within a solitary realm. Through this, we bring back our personal experiences and biases into conversation with another person’s memories (I.E. their own solitary realm)- which recreates a recreated character.


The chain of thought here would be Person A and Person B read about Character C.


Person A interprets Character C and reimages them to be Character D.


Person B interprets Character C and reimages them to be Character E.


Person A and Person B talk about Character D and Character E together, thereby producing Character F.


Recreated characters (Character F), in turn, can be more easily queered because they have components from Person A, Person B, Character C, Character D, and Character E. This depth is intensified as conversation continues and Characters are continuously recreated.


It was super fascinating to me, and I found that it opened a lot of intellectual doors for me. Hopefully you read it, and feel similarly, too!

(fifty three) or gentle ways to show yourself compassion

I’ve sat here for over an hour trying to piece together words or similar expressions to describe how to show oneself compassion; the highest form of resilience when faced with adversity. Unfortunately, I don’t have the words or the capabilities to truly express how I show myself compassion. So instead, I’m going back to somewhere simpler, and relying on something my mother used to read to me to get across how I’m feeling, and what I’m thinking.


Guess How Much I Love You

By Sam McBratney

Little Nut Brown Hare,who was going to bed, held on tight to Big Nutbrown Hare’s very long ears.
He wanted to be sure that Big Nutbrown Hare was listening.
“Guess how much i love you,” he said.
“Oh, I don’t think I could guess that,”said Big Nutbrown Hare.
“This much,”said Little Nutbrown Hare,stretching out his arms as wide as they could go.
Bid Nutbrown Hare had even longer arms.”But I love YOU this much,” he said.
Hmmm,that is a lot thought Little Nutbrown Hare.
“I love you as high as I can reach,”said Little Nutbrown Hare.
“I love you as High as I can reach,”said Big Nutbrown HAre.
That is quite high, thought Little Nutbrown Hare. I wish I had arms like that.
Then Little Nutbrown Hare had a good idea.He tumbled upside down and reached up the tree trunk with his feet.
” I love you all the way up to my toes!” he said.
“And I love you all the way up to your toes,” said Big Nutbrown Hare,swinging him up over his head.
” I love you as high as i can HOP!” laughed Little Nutbrown Hare,bouncing up and down.
“But I love you as high as I can hop,” smiled Big Nutbrown hare-and he hopped so high that his ears touched the branches above.
Thats good hopping,thought Little Nutbrown Hare.I wish I could hop like that.
“I love you all the way down the lane as far as the river,” cried Little Nutbrown Hare.
That’s very far,thought Little Nutbrown Hare.
He was almost too sleepy to think anymore.
Then he looked beyond the thorn bushes,out into the big dark night.
Nothing could be further than the sky.
“I love you right up to the MOON,” he said,and closed his eyes.
“Oh,that’s far”said Big Nut Brown Hare.”Thats is very far.”
Big Nutbrown Hare settled Little Nutbrown Hare into his bed of leaves.
He leaned over and kissed him good night.
Then he lay down close by and whispered with a smile,”I love you right up to the moon-AND BACK.”

 I think overall compassion to oneself is complicated, and made even harder by extraneous pressures. So many factors constantly and forcefully push back, so it’s hard to recognize that you’re allowed to show yourself these things. I think this is something I need to remember as I go throughout this year//life.

(fifty two) or senior schedule

The time has come- I just confirmed my enrollment in my last ever BMC classes! I’m really excited because these courses really appeal to me, and I think it’ll really make me feel good about my last semester here.

Post Colonial Literature

According to the syllabus, “This course will survey novels, poems, plays and movies produced in countries breaking free of British colonial rule in South Asia, Africa and the Caribbean–and a couple works about a country breaking free of French rule in Algeria.  The goal of the course is not to study some ideas already embodied in texts; rather what I hope we will discuss are the ideas and feelings in each of us which are brought up by the works we read or view and by the ideas we discuss.  Hence attendance and participation in class are important.” The course is taught by Professor Tratner, who I really like. He’s a really intelligent professor, but he also allows students to explore alternative and sometimes pushing-the-limits explanations for phenomena. He always thinks outside of the box, and I appreciate that. We’re going to be reading quite a lot in this class, but one of the texts is Thomas King’s Green Grass Running Water which I heard was amazing, but I never got a chance to read.

Sociology of Harry Potter

According to the syllabus, “J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series is a worldwide phenomenon that has sold hundreds of millions of books and been translated into dozens of languages. Over the last decade, academic studies of Harry Potter have taken root in English and Theology departments, but very few sociologists have taken a scholarly look at the rich society Rowling has created. This course will introduce students to the fundamental concepts of sociology using the lens of the Harry Potter series. We will explore questions of hierarchy, inequality, terrorism, consumption, race, class, and gender, and we will discuss the ways in which stratification in the wizarding world compares and contrasts to similar issues in the Muggle world. Class discussions and exercises will assume that students have read all seven Harry Potter books.” This course is taught my the love of my life, Professor Nolan. Having lived at Hogwarts the last four years, I only find it fitting to end my time here with a class centered around Harry Potter.

Queering Popular Culture

According to the syllabus, “From Billie Holiday to Billy Joel, American popular culture has historically served as a rich site for the cultural production of queerness. This course explores queer forms of popular culture such as blues music, lesbian pulp fiction and drag shows, as well as the various modes through which queers have historically appropriated, redefined, and transformed mainstream cultural texts, from The Wizard of Oz to Harry Potter. Drawing on a wide range of texts including music, movies, magazines, novels, television and social media, we will ask how popular culture serves as a privileged site for the development of particularly queer modes of performance and spectatorship. Rather than taking “queer” to be a self- evident category of sexual or gender identity, we will explore the ways in which queer indexes a complex relationship of opposition, appropriation, and disidentification with cultural norms.” This course is taught by Professor Butler-Wall. Although I’ve never had her as a professor, I was told that I need to take a course with her before I graduate. She was also the second reader for my thesis, so I took that to mean that she and I have similar academic interests, and we would be a good student-teacher match for each other.

Independent Study

I’m probably most excited for this course. Although all of my courses are going to be intellectually stimulating, I some how convinced Professor Ignacio Gallup-Diaz (also the light of my life) to meet with me for a one-on-one session to discuss ideas, history, and everything that lies in between. I feel so honored to be able to take this course with him, not only because it’ll just be the two of us, but because I look up to him on so many different levels. I’m equating it to when Harry and Dumbledore would meet, minus the whole lying/death/secrets thing.



Honestly, I don’t think I could have a more perfect academic schedule. Granted I’m working four jobs on top of it, but I know that I’ll be able to manage, and leave with a BANG!

(fifty one) or welcome back for the last time

I’m back! After an amazing break back home in Florida, I have ventured back to Bryn Mawr for one final semester. Getting back into my room, I realized how quickly I was able to fall back into my rhythm here. Not even an hour into returning to campus, friends stopped by to say hello and check in with me. Residents on my hall peaked their heads into my room to see how my break was. My emails were flooded with things that I had to do, and had been delaying until I returned to campus.

My home away from home for these last four years has always been Bryn Mawr. Now coming into my familiar hallway, I feel as if I’m stuck in an in-between. I’ve started looking for jobs, and possible places to live in May. Maybe this has contributed to my being feeling pulled between places- or maybe this is just how every senior feels when they return for the last time. It’s quite an odd feeling, but one that isn’t necessarily bad. Arguably, I will return to Bryn Mawr again as an alum, but this will be my last time returning to BMC when I can still call it my home. Maybe I’m outgrowing it a bit, or it’s outgrown me. Either way, I know that soon we will have to part ways in the most bittersweet celebration of achievement- graduation.

I have so many things that I’m looking forward to doing this semester. I’m excited for my classes (which I’ll share with you when they’re finalized!), and seeing my friends, and doing the senior things I won’t be able to do for much longer. But once again, with every memory made, I have the tiny voice in the back of my mind reminding me that the end is quite near, and it’s not as far away as I feel like it can be.