I have been waiting to save this story for my last blog post, because I am a believer in things that come full circle.

I didn’t want to go to Bryn Mawr, Bryn Mawr wanted me to go to them. I don’t know how they found me to be honest. But they did- having sent me about a tree trunks worth of informational flyers and mail, they finally reached out to me using a human being. The admissions ambassador was sweet, and very kind, and seemed interested in me as a person, even if I didn’t decide to come to BMC. We would email back and forth every so often, her usually giving me helpful hints on how to apply and reminding me that it would all work out. I mentioned very briefly that I ran, and she immediately put me into contact with the cross country team, who sent me love and support as I applied for colleges. Realizing that I had a small close knit unit who seemed interested in me attending this far off institution, I decided to give it a chance. So- I looked more into the all-girls school that was smaller than my public high school. It was ranked very highly, seemed to have a good community, and was out of Florida. Check, check, check. I applied and I waited.

I got in.

Jump to April 2013, a miserably cold day in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and an even colder day for me- having just spent the early morning hours flying from Miami to Philadelphia. I arrived later to the campus than expected because the taxi driver had “gotten lost”, and had taken the longest way possible to campus to hike up my bill. Already car sick and dreading the campus tour, I yanked out my overnight bag, and entered the admissions office. I wish I could tell you that the Spring flowers were in bloom, and that the admissions office was warm and nice and it was love at first sight, but it was raining, I was alone, and I was already dreading the next 24 hours. I was realizing how far away PA was from my home town, especially all of my friends who would be staying in state to go to some of the largest schools in the country. I reminded myself that I had gotten a nice scholarship, and that made this school an option for me, and I needed to suck it up and get through it. Plus my parents loved it. Having been college educated themselves, Bryn Mawr had always been a name they had associated with success. So for them I needed to pretend to entertain this as a possibility.

My hosts arrived soon afterwards. First years living in Brecon, they seemed to bring a bit of life into the otherwise empty campus. They huddled me under their shared umbrella, and walked around the campus holding me close, telling me about locations, classes, their experiences, where they were from- all while carefully guiding me around puddles and adjusting themselves to protect me as the rain fell harder. I didn’t think they did it on purpose to impress the admitted student (me), I think they did it because it was their personalities to want to help others. We slowly approached Brecon, and they helped me to their room, where they had built me a makeshift bed. Realizing that I didn’t have much with me in terms of bedding, the two women had reached out to their hall mates and had gotten an extra comforter, a squishy yoga mat to be used as a mattress, an extra sheet, two extra pillows, and a stuffed animal for me to use (just in case).

That night was spent sitting in their room as waves of people came to greet me. It was the most bizarre feeling- like a family member that had been long gone had been returned, and all of the extended family was coming to welcome me back home. It was like everyone knew that someone new was here, and they were happy to have me here, asking me questions, answering the things I brought up, making sure I was comfortable, bringing me things they thought I would need. As the night wore on, my guard lessened and lessened, and I became less afraid of this unfamiliar place. My hosts were with me the entire time, and they made sure that I knew I could be alone if I wanted to be (I didn’t).

The next day I was greeted by another round of students who wanted to know if I wanted to join them for breakfast. The night had brought about another wave of anxiety, so being a bit more shy I agreed, but didn’t do much talking. I think they picked up on that, making sure that I had space to myself but still felt included. At the time I didn’t know how they could pick that up, but I soon realized it was a trait most Bryn Mawr students had. They walked me to the class that I would be sitting in on, promising me that they would come back for me once it was done.

They did. They were on time, and waiting for me when it was over. They were asking me how it was, gossiping about the Professor and lovingly teasing him. The little promises kept made me feel good, and the class itself had seemed interesting. It wasn’t so big and scary and unknown anymore- it seemed a bit more like home. I wanted to feel at home here, and I did as I walked alongside complete strangers laughing at something that had happened days before. If I could melt into this world, I would have done it in a heart beat. Everyone seemed so nice and kind and put together, and here I was- just a nervous little senior who wanted to get out of Florida so badly, but still couldn’t decide if she had it in her to leave home and everything behind.

But would I really be leaving home if BMC became my home?

On the airplane back to Miami I cried. I knew that I only had one choice and I would forever kick myself if I didn’t go to this mysterious place tucked away in the Philadelphia suburbs. I felt that I was leaving one home for another, and I didn’t know if I had it in me to leave my life behind, especially when everyone at home were continuing on together. It was like I was going left, when every one else was going right. Despite my worry, I knew it was the right thing to do.

I can tell you all about the journeys I had, the people I met, and the person I’ve become at Bryn Mawr. I can tell you about the strength I have gained and the independence I’ve accumulated. I can tell you about my accomplishments and my failures, and how this small historically women’s college has shaped the being that I now inhabit, but unfortunately this story is about leaving Miami for Bryn Mawr, and now leaving Bryn Mawr for an even lesser unknown. You see, I’m leaving home again. This time, for the last time. My childhood home still exists in the memories of my mind, and the physical space of my parents, but I know when I leave Bryn Mawr, it will never be the same. Constantly changing with the students who come through it, Bryn Mawr will mesh and mold to their needs. The finality in which I leave is heart breaking- having chosen to leave my homes in the past, I knew I could return, but not now.

With time, I expect the sadness to fade away a bit, but I still expect to look back on Bryn Mawr with fondness and a wish to close my eyes and be back walking alongside complete strangers laughing at something that had happened days before, realizing that I was at the top of the world, crying happy tears in a cramped flight back to Miami, realizing that for the first time I had a home that wanted me long before I had wanted it. In the end, leaving home has never been so hard.

(eighty nine) or falling into place

In eight days I will be walking across the stage on Merion green and accepting my diploma. It seems surreal to me, but as the days count down closer and closer, things have began to fall into place for me. I have successfully moved all of my earthly belongings into my new apartment with Pam. I still have my bedding at Bryn Mawr/am living out of a suitcase, but it feels good to have everything I own in one spot without worrying about moving out on the day dorms close. My apartment feels like a cozy little haven to me, completely full with all the things I love, most importantly all of the plants I’ve been growing over the last couple of years.

I officially accepted a job and will be beginning May 15th, just two days after graduation. Although the turn around time is quite quick, I find that I am already looking forward to my next big adventure, and see myself getting excited at the prospect of working. Although I’m sure I’ll wish I had a few days to relax and take to myself, I have the personality that makes me want to do things and keep going, so I think in the long run this is really the best option for me. The people that I’ll be working with seem very similar to me, and although I don’t want to jinx it, I think we’ll get along very well.

To top it all off, I was awarded the McPherson. I am so incredibly thrilled that I was chosen out of all the deserving and dedicated candidates- it honestly feels like a dream. I hope that my experiences and time served with the Bryn Mawr community has positive impacts on future generations, and hopefully makes things a bit easier for future Mawrtyrs.

All in all, everything is beginning to fall into place. After a year of trying to get things in order for my future, my future is finally here- it’s looking bright, and I’m looking forward to it. For the first time in a long time I feel content with every aspect of my life. Although it’s going to be taking a big change, I am looking forward to what life has in store for me and the people that I care about.

(eighty eight) or may day

Yesterday was my last ever May Day as an undergraduate. I think out of all of my May Days, it was by far the best. Unfortunately for me, the last couple of May Days have been bit dreary- my freshmen year it was about 50 degrees and raining, my sophomore year my girlfriend was running around so I couldn’t spend much time with her, and my junior year it rained so hard the ground was turned into mud within about ten minutes of the day starting. With this being my history, I didn’t have high hopes for this tradition.

I had always heard wonderful stories about how other class years had sunny, warm, beautiful May Days, where you would bring a picnic blanket out onto Merion green, eat some snacks, and listen to music. Those seemed like far away fairy tales, as I would gaze out from whatever common room was open to my friends and I, watching the rain hitting resilient classmates in white apparel. I had enjoyed all the other traditions afforded to me, but some how May Day would always end up in ruins- wet, cold, and slightly miserable. It felt more like we were going through the motions than actually enjoying this day for us. This year, however, was the first year that is was decently sunny and warm enough to go outside!

My friends and I got an excellent spot right near the stage, we opened up out snacks, and laid out in the sun. People would stop by and stay with us for a bit, would leave to go play the games, come back with more food, etc. For the first time, I had a really enjoyable May Day- and thank goodness too because this was the last chance I had! I got to get a glitter tattoo, get a soft pretzel, make arts and crafts, and really enjoy all of the fun games that the Students Activities office had put together for us. Pam and I bopped around all day, enjoyed the breeze and company of passing friends.

PLUS I got to participate in another tradition- ringing Taylor Bell to signal that I was done with all of my undergraduate work. I think I was the first person to ring the bell- I’m not 100% sure of course, but I’m going to go with it.

It was really nice to also see so many Alums coming out. It seemed to me that this year a lot of alums from a wide variety of class years had come to join us, so that was really cool. They also had their own alternative alum step sing while the undergraduates were having their own, which I think is both respectful and really good for them to have a space that they can participate in.

As school draws to a close I’m a bit sad and a bit tired, but I’m excited to relax and unwind before we all graduate.

(eighty seven) or last day of classes reflection

Yesterday was my last day of Undergraduate classes at Bryn Mawr College ever. Wow. I’m not even quite sure where to begin. Part of me is feeling nostalgic for the time that I’ve spent here, the friends I’ve made, and the things I’ve learned. The other part of me is just so excited to be done- as much as I love BMC, I am excited to be entering a new part of my life where when work is done, work is done for the day. Overall, it’s an interesting mix of conflicting emotions. Regardless, the last day is done, and here I am, snuggled up in bed, listening to the birds outside of Rhoads chirping, and the geese squaring every so often. I feel like for the first day after my last day, I’m off to a really good start.

Part of me wonders if I spent the last four years doing things “right.” I recognize that nothing can ever truly be “right”- luckily we don’t live within a binary, but rather a spectrum of being. However, everyone always says that undergraduate will be the best years of your life! They felt pretty great to me, but I suppose a bit of me is hoping that things can only go up from here, rather a slow, progressive downward spiral into adulthood. I’m hoping that the more I live, the more I will incline into pure bliss (A girl can dream can’t she?)

Anyway! May Day is coming up, and as much as I’m looking forward to it, I’m really looking forward to a time when I can sleep in and go to bed early. I think that will be my reward to myself- getting a long and good night’s sleep.

(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.