(eighty six) or how to survive finals week

Spring Finals are a few short days from being here! I decided that it would probably be best to write this blog post before the stress kicks in, versus afterwards, when it’s too late. On that note, here are my top 5 tips on how to survive finals weeks:

  1. Set up a schedule. By this I mean a schedule for your body, not for your mind. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, making time for meals, and taking breaks throughout the day. The in between time you can use to study, but I found it super helpful to have allotted times to do basic human necessity things- otherwise I forgot, or I prioritized other activities (studying) above them.
  2. Have a wind down time before you go to bed. This is one I’m still trying to implement in my daily life, but when I’m able to successfully do it, it works wonders. Don’t stop studying at 9pm, and then immediately hop into bed. Take an hour off to shower, get ready for bed, and then do something calming that can soothe your mind before you sleep. I’ve found that if I just hop into bed right after studying, I have a hard time actually falling asleep because my mind is still focused on work.
  3. Find spaces where you feel good studying. Maybe your room is feeling a bit smaller than it ever has- It’s time to find a new spot to camp out and study! Carpenter has amazing lighting, the campus center always has background noise and people in it, Canaday will be open 24/7! Think of things you need to do your best while studying, and then find a spot that fits that description.
  4. Do one (OR MORE!!!) nice things for yourself a day. Again, I have a tendency to be very goal-oriented. This is really good for productivity and getting work done, but it has a tendency to leave me feeling drained. I found that a good way to combat this is to do something that is totally “YOU” focused. It can be as small as taking a walk, or something as big as taking a day off. Regardless, when you do something kind to yourself, you’re able to refocus later.
  5. Remember that at the end of the day, it’s just an exam period. We do put a lot of pressure on academia, but we (I) need to remember that it’s just an exam period. So many other things matter besides this, so if you feel yourself slipping reach out to your DLT, your dean, counseling, Public Safety, or any other resource this campus has to offer us!

Best of luck to everyone, and you got this! I’m sending you love and positivity.

(eighty five) or love to the alums

This is an open and honest love letter to the alums of Bryn Mawr College:

My dear Alums,

Even though I may not know you personally, I know that you are willing to reach out to me and send me support and advice. From little letters of encouragement to offering me places to stay in my future travels, you all have become a giant blurry figure wiling to welcome me to a home away from home with open arms. Some times your love is tough and I recoil at the sound, but then I see the kindness welling up inside of you, and I let down my defenses to see that you’re offering me a pearl of wisdom you have learned years before I have.

Through time, treasures, and talent, you continually give to back to your community and allow the current students the opportunity to learn and grow. Although sometimes we are at odds, we know at the end of the day we all share a deep and immobile bond that unites us together. Although we are now at many different stages of our lives, I truly treasure the stories you have offered up to me about your life, and the future you have made for yourself.

Recognizing that Bryn Mawr isn’t perfect, many of you have tried to remain in contact with the institution to create change for the students that came after you. For that, I am very thankful. From networking, to emotional support, to something as small as wishing me well on my tough days, it seems that this group of intelligent people who have passed before me are always looking out for me, and the next steps I take in my adventures.

Soon I will be one of you! I hope that I can seamlessly transition into your status just as you have. I would be honored to be another support for a future Mawrtyr who is a bit lost and lonely on their path through college. I am excited to continuously help, protect, and encourage others – just as you have for me.

All my love to you,

Angela Motte ’17

(eighty four) or the moving blues

Tomorrow Pam and I begin the process to move into our new apartment. I have two weeks of classes left, one final to go, a job to find, and a house to make a home. This feels very much like the way my undergraduate career should end- a little uncertain of the future, but still pushing through to get to the finish line. It’s like I have all these ideas of the things I still need to do in order to make the pieces fall together, but I’m missing the pieces!

Right now my room is divided into two sections- packed and to pack later. I have a lot of my decorations still hanging on the walls, which at least keeps my room feeling like a home. However, I’m trying to sell and/or get rid of a lot of extra stuff, so I feel like I’m living in a half lived in space. Plus, I had a corner of my room overflowing with boxes and bags I need to bring to Philadelphia. So that just makes it feel cluttered and messy- not the ideal place to be living, or doing things in. Again, the end of the year always brings about boxes and moving, so I’m just doing everything a bit early.

My two weeks of classes are going to be fun I think. Being me, I’ve finished my finals super early (except the one final exam that will be released on the last day of classes). I’m not particularly focused on the last two weeks per say, rather I’m just kind of going through the motions and enjoying the time I have left here. It’s very bittersweet and anticlimactic. Part of my expects some secret knowledge to be passed down to me on the last day, but the other part of me realizes that secret knowledge has been given to me slowly over the course of four years.

I’m excited for the next adventures I’ll be starting, but a part of me is mourning the loss of my Bryn Mawr home.

(eighty three) or break from the norm

This weekend was absolutely amazing. Pam and I have been quite busy because we’ve been preparing for our move, I’ve been preparing for the end of term, and Pam has been packing all of her things into boxes. With all the things that we have going on, we’ve been a bit busy to say the least. Part of me is so ready to take the next step and see what adventures await me, but the other part of me sees all that I need to do in the short amount of time that I have left. Although it feels impossible, I know that I’ll be able to make everything work out. Right now, I’ve begun the process of boxing up my room. I hate, hate, HATE living in a space that no longer feels like my own, but again, this is the big brand new approaching closer and closer to me.

 

Today we took the day off and got to enjoy Philly. We went all over (we walked a total of 15 miles this weekend!! This is a lot for us!) and were able to enjoy each other’s company. Below you will find photos of our adventures.

 

(eighty two) or room draw

For someone who’s never technically been a part of room draw, I do know quite a bit about it. For those of you unfamiliar, room draw is the process that undergraduates go through in order to have housing for the upcoming school year. A multi part process, room draw tends to elicit fear and stress from its participants. However, having worked in the Office of Residential Life, and as DLT, I have gained some important knowledge that I would love to pass on to others. For this, I have created a ROOM DRAW SURVIVAL GUIDE listed below. Good luck!

  1. The Office of Residential Life isn’t out to get you. The number that you have received was created by a computer algorithm. We don’t sit around a circular table with all the names of the students and say “Ohhh, this one sent me a nasty email, let’s give them 333” or “This one was really super sweet, I’m feeling a 20.” When you fill out the online form that says you will be living on campus, you are entered into a computer system that piles everyones name together, and then randomly spits out a list. Unless you have won a priority number (say, going to Plenary and winning spot 7) your name has no weighted value within the computer’s system. So don’t worry! You aren’t on a “bad” list up in the office.
  2. Read Angie Sheet’s Emails. I know this one feels a bit self explanatory, but she includes the dates things happen. Even if you skim over the email pay attention to the dates things are due/happening. The last thing you want is to miss a day when you were supposed to be somewhere or do something.
  3. Ask upperclassman who had your number/around your number where they were able to live. Realistically room draw is a toss up and up to trends in social patterns. With that being said, you should still peak around to see who had close to your number and where they’re living now. Were they a rising sophomore with a 300 number but got an amazing room in Rock? Ask them how. Did they pair with upperclassman friends? Prepare ahead of time so they knew how to work the system? Figure out what they did (or didn’t do) and learn from it.
  4. Single Occupancy- Print out the room layouts. PRINT OUT THE ROOM LAYOUTS. Get a old binder, hole punch the layouts. Order the layouts from favorite to least favorite dorms. You will be going to choose a dorm before you choose a room, so make sure that the dorm you chose into has lots of rooms that you like in it- within reason of course. If you have the last number in you class and you’re trying for a single in Pem East I would highly encourage you to look elsewhere. At the front of your binder have two pieces of blank paper. Label one “Favorite Rooms Across Campus” and the second one “Favorite Rooms in (DORM YOU’VE DRAWN INTO).” Go through all the rooms on campus you think you would like to live in, and rank them. If you see a pattern, i.e. most of the rooms are in Merion, try to draw into Merion. Once you’ve been to dorm draw and have drawn into the dorm, find your adjusted priority number. Let’s say your adjusted priority number went from 234 to 29. Find 30 rooms and rank them 1 to 30. Put those on your second blank sheet of paper. When you go to room draw, cross out the rooms that get chosen before you. That way, you are able to follow along with the person leading room draw, and you’re able to get the best room out of the list you’ve made.
  5. Multiple Occupancy/Hall Groups Tips. Make sure you want to live with these people. It’s important because you’ll be seeing more of them. Figure out your adjusted priority numbers, and do the same advice as above. The only difference is now you need to talk about it with other people, and make compromises.
  6. RELAX- YOU WILL HAVE A ROOM! Regardless of what happens, you’re still a student at Bryn Mawr College, and you will be given a space here. Sure, you may be stuck in a closet room on Denbigh third, but it’s only for a year. The older you get, the more weight your numbers will be given, and the better rooms you will get.

 

Sending you love and well wishes!

 

Please click here to see BMC’s Official Room Draw Informational Site

(eighty one) or particular risk

One of the perks of having a best friend who does theatre is that you always get to see really cool shows to support them. In this case I am referencing Ellen Cohen, actress and singer extraordinaire. I went to support her last night by seeing Bryn Mawr’s original Particular Risk, a piece that was devised by the actors partaking within the show. It was really, really good.

I liked the feel of it- it was kind of like Stranger Things music meets The Breakfast Club style. That’s probably a horrible interpretation of it, but to each their own. Regardless, I thought it was very cool and the vibe it gave off was spooky but not scary. Which- to me, an easily frightened audience member- was the perfect balance of “This is spooky and I would like to keep watching” and “This is scary and I think I see an emergency exit.”

I thought the set was super cool. It was a raised platform that divided the space into zones, with the actors coming from all around the audience. It made you feel like you were ghosts watching the events unfold rather than a viewer just watching them from the sidelines. I liked how they used both the first and second floors of the Hepburn Theatre- that again created some very cool use of liminal spaces.

I also want to give a huge shout out to whoever did lighting. They did an excellent job with creating emotions, and highlighting certain parts of the show. Having been an ex-theatre performer, I had a huge appreciation of whoever sat down and planned all of the lighting.

I have a really cool video of Ellen to demonstrate the lighting but unfortunately the file is too large to upload. It’s a bummer because Ellen has a beautiful voice, but I’m going to try to paint the picture for you anyway:

Black stage, two spot lights, one on Ellen, one on another character. Ellen emerges from the darkness, and begins to sing. Beautiful.

(eighty) or how to senior year

I’ve been doing some reflections on my senior year, and I wanted to share some things that I think helped me have a great year.

  1. Make friends with staff/faculty/administration. Like actual friends. I think this is my most important take away. You’re a senior now- you’re already foot in foot out, so might as well strengthen the bonds that you have. Your professors are (shockingly) actual people who do fun and exciting things! Try to get to know them as a person rather than the individual who is in charge of your grade. You already have the same intellectual interests, so try to remember that soon you will no longer be a student (you will be a glorious alum) so it’s ok to talk to them about things other than academia. Ask about their cats, for example. If they have more than 2 you know that you have some real relationship potential there. In all seriousness however, I have been lucky enough to have made amazing connections, and I find them to be some of my most loving and supportive relationships.
  2. Recognize that you’re leaving soon. I think this is a point that I personally had a really easy time with, but some of my friends did not. Try to enjoy the time that you have left here, but remember that very soon it won’t be your campus in the same way anymore. You can get involved for your alma mater in other ways- Philanthropy is a huge option, through volunteering your time or your money. But for now, try to remember that this is temporary and soon you will need to find a way to give back in other ways.
  3. Job search early. Or apply for things early! Even if you’re graduating in May it still feels really good to practice writing cover letters and editing your resume. You need to be super proactive and take charge in this regard, so I find that the more you do it the better. Plus, you’ll be able to improve your networking ability which is always an amazing skill.
  4. Spring Clean. It’s time for new adventures, which means that you can finally recycle that “What to do in Bryn Mawr Town” pamphlet they gave you your first year here! Go through your stuff, and pursue things. Sell things you’re never gonna use again, donate things, recycle (or trash) things. It’s going to feel so good when you do it, plus you really don’t have the space for it to bring to wherever you’re going next. Granted, I’m not telling you to throw away your freshmen year dried flowers, but take a serious look at the things you never use anymore.
  5. ENJOY THE REST OF YOUR TIME HERE! Go to the keynote speakers, go to LILAC to talk about your future, enjoy the dining hall special meals! Do the things you’ve been meaning to do for your time here but kept saying “It can wait”- you can’t wait anymore. You just gotta do it and enjoy the experience. Or don’t enjoy the experience, but at least you did it and tried!

(seventy nine) or last spring reflections

I think my last Bryn Mawr Undergraduate Spring has sprung! It’s been quite rainy here, but it’s only been paving the way for the flowers and the buds to burst their way through the ground. One of the things that I love the most about Bryn Mawr is the foliage that appears in the spring, and in particular, the cherry blossoms.

I know that the pathway from the Pems to Rock get a lot of attention because they’re a beautiful row of cherry blossom trees that suddenly erupt into color all at once, but this spring I’ve been paying particular attention to the solitary Cherry Blossom tree that stands by Rhoads. A few days ago I was exiting the dorm through the back way- the door that leads closest to the library (next to the outdoor trash heap)- when I felt a sudden gust of wind that brought a shower of little petals down on me.

I think it was one of the prettiest things that have ever happened to me at Bryn Mawr. I was surrounded by little pink petals dancing in the wind. Moments like this make me super sentimental and appreciative for the beautiful campus that I get to call home. Talking to alumnae, a lot of them have expressed a sort of compassion for these trees. After four years of awe, I understand how hard it must be to leave them. I’ve been basking in their beauty for a while now, but I will soon have to give it up.

My freshmen year I remember walk ing through the Rock Row late at night. It was like a million little stars were flickering on the branches of the trees.

My sophomore year I had a picnic under their blossoms, picking out petals that had fallen in my lemonade.

My junior year I watched the cherry blossoms freeze over as we got a strange second winter. The flowers bloomed in the snow.

And this year, my senior and final year, I was given a windy hug by the little pink petals that seemed to have followed me through out my four years.

(seventy eight) or finals

Around the beginning of April every year, I begin to feel the need to work on my finals. As with every other year, I have begun to feel this feeling. I’m not sure why or what prompts me to start working ahead, but I just do it. I think being an HA and knowing that finals week is hellish for a lot of my residents encourages me to get everything done that way if something horrible does happen, I’m done with all of my work so I can be available for someone who needs me.

This year I’m doing the same thing. It’s also nice because for the first time I’m doing finals that aren’t just exams or written work- I’m producing a movie. Granted I have 0 experience with film making, and yes, I don’t own any equipment, but HEY! I can do this because I can do anything if I try long enough. And try long enough I will- I’ve already spent an hour trying to figure out how to use “iMovie” and upload videos from my cell phone onto my computer. It’s looking good so far.

I think that by pushing myself to do something out of my normal, I’m stretching myself and my comforts. I’m actually really worried about this film because it does have the potential to go up in flames. But here I am regardless working on it and trying to make it something that I feel good about turning in. I’m hoping that my professor feels that way too, not going to lie. But we shall see.

Another cool thing I’m doing for finals week is making a workshop. Again, this is really out of the ordinary for me because I haven’t done this for a final before. I’ll be presenting to the Junior History majors, so this is also my excuse to try to convince them to produce some sort of thesis for the department next year. I’m hoping that my workshop will show them that you don’t need to write a paper or use traditional methods to get information across to a group of people.

Anyway, I’m a bit nervous about my execution of all of these things, so wish me luck.

(seventy seven) or garden party grief

So far I’ve asked three lovely people to garden party for me. I have one last person, my hellee Mackenzie, but I am stumped on ideas. Every idea that pops into my head doesn’t feel special enough. When Mackenzie asked me to hell her she made a scavenger hunt which ended in her room with a cake, sparkling cider, and roses. I want to do something just as meaningful and thoughtful as she did for me! I’ve known her for three years, so I know what she likes and doesn’t like, but everything I come up with pales in comparison to how amazing she is!

Part of me wants to do a scavenger hunt just like she did for me, but I also want to give her something new and special. I think I’m going to end up making a movie of all of our memories together- that way she can watch it at her leisure, but she also has a special something that she can keep forever.

Regardless, I’m really excited to ask her, and I can’t wait to graduate!