Advice from a Senior

Recently a Mawrter from the class of 2018 reached out to me after having met me at an information session and later reading my blog (shout out to Lizzy!) She asked me for some advice going into her first year so I thought I would share it all with you!

It’s okay to say no: During my first year, I joined every club and activity I could to try out lots of different things but I ended up getting overwhelmed and feeling guilty so that I had to say yes anytime someone asked for my help. Make sure to reach out for support, take care of yourself, and communicate your limits when you feel like things become unmanageable.

Apply for summer funding after your first year: I didn’t know much about summer funding when I was first year so I ended up going home and doing an unpaid internship after my freshman year. It was a rewarding experience but it also would have really helped if I had been paid. Bryn Mawr recently streamlined all of our funding for internships into a center called LILAC so make sure to take advantage of them! They also can help you with resumes, interviews, and other useful job skills.

Be on top of long-term assignments: What has kicked me in the butt almost every semester has been time management in terms of long research papers. I developed a bad habit of starting my 10+ page papers only a week or two before they were due. I would excitedly collect all my resources months in advance but weekly assignments would bog me down and I would end up pulling all nighters to finish my papers. This made it really hard for me to thesis last semester. I suggest making a schedule for yourself, making appointments with the writing center to have someone look over your papers (and to give you an internal deadline to turn in a draft), and working closely with your professor to give yourself extra accountability to stay on track.
GO TO PHILADELPHIA!: I can’t stress this enough! I hear many seniors say that they’ve never been to famous Philadelphia landmarks even after four years which makes me really sad. Philly isn’t the most glamorous city but it has a lot of culture and things to do. There’s lots of great restaurants to try, neighborhoods to explore, parks to picnic in, concerts to go to, and places to see! My top picks of places to visit would be: Philadelphia Art Musuem, Reading Terminal Market, Philly Magic Gardens, free concerts at the Piazza in Northern Liberties, going out to top restaurants during Philly Restaurant Week, East Passyunk, taking a mural tour, and going to First Friday in Old City to see the galleries and the old historic buildings.

Use your resources: Bryn Mawr works really hard to make sure you’re supported during your time here. Personally, I have a hard time swallowing my pride to ask for help but I would have improved a lot more academically (and probably even socially) if I had reached out more to my resources. People will go the extra mile to make sure you succeed here so sometimes you just have to trust them.
Have your own experience: Somewhat hypocritical since I’ve just sent you a list of recommendations but I think it’s super important that everyone experiences it themselves. Sometimes upperclassmen can be cynical about certain things but don’t let their negativity bring you down. Try and go to every tradition if you so choose because then you can decide for yourself whether it’s something you like or not. It can be easy to disengage and spend a lot of time skyping home but it’s important to put yourself out there or else you might regret it once you’re almost about to graduate. Many people have transformative experiences here and come out of Bryn Mawr as very different people than when they started. If you put yourself out there, you never who you might meet or what you might discover about yourself.
Anassa kata 2018! I’m so proud to be passing on my dark blue color to you!

Welcoming Back Sunshine

This weekend has started to finally feel like spring! I tried to be out and about as much as possible this weekend to take advantage of the good weather. I went out both nights to delicious restaurants with friends followed by top-notch ice cream to celebrate the fact that’s it’s finally warm enough to be socially acceptable to eat ice cream all the time. Today I had to catch up on all my work but it was a million times better thanks to the sunshine!

Flowers blooming near the Labriynth

Flowers blooming near the Labriynth

One of the reasons I decided to come to Bryn Mawr was because the weather was beautiful when I came to visit and I could picture myself lazing about in the grass reading a book. I got my first sunburn of the year today while laying on a blanket doing a reading for class. Athletics was also selling Chipotle burritos for 1 dollar and Tea Club was giving our authentic Chinese tea so a majority of the day was spent eating, drinking tea, reading, and having long conversations while laying outside. The whole campus has a new energy now that the sun has finally come after such a long winter.

A view of the sun setting from my room

A view of the sun setting from my room

I’m also very lucky to live in a room in Denbigh with a great view of campus to observe the sunny campus in all its glory.  It also gets good natural light because I have three windows that stream light into the room making the room feel open and even bigger than it already is.

My room on a sunny day

My room on a sunny day

One of the favorite parts of my room is how close my bed is to my windows. I love being able to do homework and relax while watching the world outside. I have a spectacular view of Taylor Hall and the iconic Senior Bell. It’s also a central part of campus so I get to see everyone on campus scamper about from class to class. Everyone else was pretty glum when it was raining last week but I found it rather soothing to sit by my window and watch and listen to the rain. Sitting on my bed by the window is a perfect spot to reflect and process after a long day. This view will be one of the things I miss most about my senior year.

My favorite spot to people watch and reflect

My favorite spot to people watch and reflect

Next to my bed is a list of names of everyone who has lived in my room before, dating back to the 1800s. It’s crazy that so many different people have lived in the same space as me and there are so many more to come. When I leave this room, I will be leaving Bryn Mawr, which is heartbreaking, but it’s comforting to know that I will forever be connected to whoever lives in my room after me and looks outside their window like I once did.

Spring Break

Spring Break seems like a distant memory now but it provided a much needed break full of friends and good food!

The week started off with a venture into the city with my friends Hayley and Esty to do a restaurant review for our Writing Taste class. We decided to go to go to an upscale comfort restaurant on South Street. Some dishes were fantastic such as the tamale fries: mesa sticks that you could drip into sour cream and salsa. Overall, the meal was heavy to the point of making us all feel a little sick. Although the meal was a disappointment, it felt exciting to go “undercover” to a restaurant and be a real investigative reporter.

Tamale fries, deviled eggs, and scratch biscuit

Tamale fries, deviled eggs, and scratch biscuit

For the rest of the week, I tried many different cuisines with several different friends due to the dining halls being closed. In the course of a week, I had Dutch, Ethiopian, Indian, Malaysian, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, and Mexican cuisines which were all delicious.

Halo-halo: a Filipino dessert filled with mango ice cream, custard, jellies, red bean, and ice.

Halo-halo: a Filipino dessert filled with mango ice cream, custard, jellies, red bean, and ice.

I had the chance to meet up with my friend Grace in New York City and spent two days in DC with my friend Bekah. In addition to eating lots of good food, I had to chance to see lots of new places. In New York City, I got to walk along the High Line Park: an urban park created from an old elevated railway providing great views of the city. I also got to visit Chelsea Market: a fancier New York version of Philly’s Reading Terminal Market with lots of food stands to choose from. In DC, it was a beautiful day so we visited the Smithsonian Zoo for free and saw Bao Bao the baby panda. Afterwards we waited half an hour to try the famous Georgetown cupcakes. We were exhausted after running around and taking buses and the metro everywhere but my chocolate lava cake cupcake made the experience worthwhile.

High Line Park: the architecture built around the park reminded me of Denmark

High Line Park: the architecture built around the park reminded me of Denmark

I also got to see some of my friends who graduated last year! We caught up over meals and they gave me some valuable insights onto my senior year. It’s reassuring to remember that there is life outside of college. As sad as I am to leave Bryn Mawr, it’s good to remind myself that there are lots of things to look forward to as well.

Catching up with my friend Duong over brunch

Catching up with my friend Duong over brunch

I ended the week by having St. Patrick’s Day Dinner dinner with my friend Elizabeth and her family. We had traditional Irish dishes like corned beef and cabbage and sang Irish songs together. I don’t get to see my family very often since I go to school on the other side of the family so it always means a lot to me to get to spend time with my friends’ families.

Now that spring has ended, there are less than two months until I graduate. It’s hard to believe so now I’m going to try my best to make the most of what little time I have at this place I’ve come to call home with the people who’ve become my closest friends.

 

Happy Moments

The start of the semester was a little rocky with all of the snow days and power outages, but things are finally starting to look up! There’ve been a lot of things to love about my last semester of senior year, so I’d share some happy moments that have happened thus far:

  • I am going to Indonesia this summer! I was selected as a Critical Language Scholar so the U.S State Department will be fully funding me to study Indonesian language and culture for ten weeks in Malang, Indonesia. It was a tough decision because I now must give up other opportunities, but after talking with many people I trust, I feel I’ve made the right decision. The way someone put it to me was, “Once you graduate it’s easy to get settled and comfortable; take the opportunity to travel while you can!” I can’t wait to see my Indonesian friends, visit the bi-co students who are doing the same program I did in summer 2012, improve my Indonesian, make new friends, and see new places!
My friend Tiwi and I in rural Java, Indonesia

My friend Tiwi and I in rural Java, Indonesia

  • I absolutely love my classes this semester! I was originally going to take a class at each of the Quaker Consortium schools, but I made a last minute decision to take classes I was truly passionate about over ones that would have been a little more practical. I want to spend my last semester studying things that make me happy and having less commute time means I can spend more time with the people I love. One of my classes this semester is very unique. It’s called Writing Taste: an English class that explores the philosophy and sociology of food. Our class is co-taught by a Swarthmore and Bryn Mawr professor so we split out classes between the two campuses. Five of our classes are taught by a famous Philly food critic so we get to learn the basics of food journalism along with some amazing opportunities like receiving money to go to a restaurant of our choice to do a restaurant review and go to Fork, one of the best restaurants in town, with our class.
Cheese filled "gnudi" at Fork: so delicious

Cheese filled “gnudi” at Fork: so delicious

  • Making time to get off-campus! The upperclassmen spend so much time preparing for Hell Week for the first-years that we sometimes forget the importance of getting off-campus to clear our heads every so often. It can be hard to motivate yourself in the winter when it’s so cold, but it’s worth it! On Tuesday, I went to a local restaurant with some friends for delicious chips and strawberry jalapeno salsa and drinks. The next night I went to see Young the Giant with my friend Prianna at the Tower Theater, a convenient train ride away. It’s nice to remind myself that I’m adult and I can go out and have fun even on a school night!
At the Young the Giant concert

At the Young the Giant concert

  • I started my Teaching and Learning Initiative partnership! In this program, students are paired with staff members and we each get to teach and learn a skill (and get paid to do so)! I am teaching my partner arts and crafts that she can do with her three year old daughter and she is teaching me how to cook. It’s a wonderful collaboration and I’m thankful for the opportunity to get to know my staff partner so well since we may not have met otherwise.
Making savory crepes for our partnership

Making savory crepes for our partnership

  • Our newly elected President Kim Cassidy hosted a carnival pop up event! She has been hosting surprise one-hour fun sessions for the whole campus throughout the year. She has done everything from skee ball to lego building to s’mores and now a carnival! There was cotton candy, popcorn, games, prizes, balloon animals, and temporary tattoos administered by the lovely Communications staff. These events are a great way to bring the campus together and get to know our beloved “KCass” a little better!
My temporary tattoo from the carnival

My temporary tattoo from the carnival

  • I got to help make Filipino food with Barkada, the Filipino student club, this past Friday! I’ve never had Filipino food because Filipino restaurants are rare in Portland and Philly so I was excited to try something new. We made a sort of egg roll called lumpia, both fried with meat and not fried with vegetables. We also made a dessert called turón, a fried pastry with jackfruit, plantains, and brown sugar. We also got to snack on Clover chips and try different Filipino sauces to dip our creations in. There was also a Wii to play Just Dance so it was a fun afternoon for everyone! Afterwards, the Community Diversity Assistants hosted an event where students were able to write down microaggressions they had experienced in the classroom to help develop a diversity curriculum for faculty and staff. 
Homemade FIlipino food

Homemade FIlipino food

Now there’s only a week until Spring Break! Good luck with midterms, Mawrters! I’ll be spending lots of time in Philly in addition to visiting some friends in New York and DC and next week so I’m excited to relax next week.

Behind the Magic

When you’re young, the whole world seems magical. Hearing stories of Santa Claus; going to Disneyland; everything seemed fantastical. There was a deep mystery to the world and my brain was free to create grandiose explantations for how things worked. One I reached adolescence, I was disappointed to realize that my childhood experiences were made possible by people, not magic. I felt frustrated that I had lost my sense of innocence because I felt as though I could no longer dream or wonder. I’ve come to realize over the year that the hard work others put into making an experience special is more magical than I ever could have imagined.

Bryn Mawr’s traditions often work like this. Nothing can capture the awe you feel during the swinging lights of your first Lantern Night or the excitement to wake up at 7AM to have strawberries and cream on May Day during your first year. When you are an upperclassmen, you realize just how much work goes into making these traditions so special. Lanterns must be ordered, food must be catered, emails must be sent; the administration, traditions mistresses, and student body must sort out all of the details. It can be extremely stressful to plan these events, but it’s all worth it when you see the first-years’ eyes light up in joy and remind you of your own experiences. It makes you appreciate all the work the upperclassmen did when you were a first year student and now you get to pay it forward.

Bryn Mawr is a community like none other and I’m proud to be apart of it. I have seen true magic in the overwhelming love and effort put into making this place so special. One of my favorite parts about Bryn Mawr is the active role that each class gets to play to make traditions happen. Thanks so much to the Hell Week committee, the traditions mistresses, dining services, housekeeping, facilities, Student Activities, and all the upperclassmen who worked so hard to ensure the new members of our community are welcomed during Hell Week. It’s painful to think about leaving in a few months but I have complete faith in the classes below me to make sure Bryn Mawr becomes a home to every new student, staff, and faculty member.

Power Outage

Last Wednesday, Mawrters woke up grumbling that our fourth day of classes was being cancelled due to “falling tree branches” due to the ice storm the night before. At first, people laughed it off since it seemed like a trivial reason after all the snow we had gotten before. All of us quickly realized it was no joke. Famous trees on campus became unrecognizable when sizable branches slammed to the ground and blocked roads and paths. In the beginning, most people were relieved to have a little more time off of class but around lunch time, the whole campus lost power and things got very real. I was abroad when Hurricane Sandy hit, so this was my first time experiencing a blackout with the whole campus.

The daytime wasn’t so bad because my room has lots of natural light because it looks over Denbigh Green. I was able to get lots of arts and crafts finished (upperclassmen and alums will understand the necessity of a creative study break) and spent time with a friend working on her applications. During the night with no power and internet, my hall residents and I made the most of it. We played cards, including two of my favorites: Mao and Jungle Speed, and ran around playing Sardines, which is reverse hide and seek where one person hides and everyone has to hide with them when they find them.

I am incredibly thankful to all the staff that worked so hard to feed us and make sure we got power, wifi, and heat back as quickly as possible. Dean Heyduk stayed into the night just so he could keep us updated on the power situation to make sure we were all safe. This will always be my favorite thing about Bryn Mawr: everyone in this community will do everything possible to take care of your well-being and support you.

Although no one likes to be without basic amenities, nights like these are incredibly important for hard-working Bryn Mawr students. When there’s no way to do homework, write papers, or study, everyone just has to relax and enjoy each other’s company. We all need a reminder that our studies are incredibly important but at the end of the day the friends we make and the communities we form are what shape us most and what we will carry with us long after we graduate.

What Are You Doing Next Year?

As a college senior, the only question people really want to ask me is, “So what are you doing next year?” I’ve been coming closer to answer as my interest in social work and college access has been growing, but I am still uncertain. My typical answer is, “Whatever I get accepted to!” I know for certain I won’t be going to grad school immediately. I’d like to get a few years of firsthand experience to get a better idea of what I want to do exactly before dedicating so much time and money to graduate school. Most of the professions I am hoping to go into (social work, non-profit work, student affairs, being a school counselor) also seem to have grad students who are a little older with more life and work experience.

I am mainly applying for fellowships because they typically carry a degree of prestige that adds an extra boost to a resume; many of them will help with housing/transportation/other costs; and they have built-in communities because other recent grads do these programs and you have a network of alums to connect with. I decided to post some of the different things I’m applying for you all to get a sense of the options for Mawrters after graduation and to see my progress along the way.

Fulbright: An initiative from the U.S government to promote relationships between countries and build cultural understanding by sending recent grads and grad students abroad to do research and teach English for a year. I applied for an ETA (English Teaching Assistantship) in Malaysia and got recommended by the U.S Fulbright committee. Now I am waiting until April to hear back if I’ve been chosen by the Malaysian Fulbright committee. I would be in Malaysia from January to November 2015 helping teach English in a primary or secondary school in rural Malaysia.

Philly Fellows: This is a program I’ve wanted to apply to for years! Started by a Haverford alum, Philly Fellows places recent grads from Philadelphia and Philadelphia colleges in capacity-building roles in non-profits in Philadelphia. The program is through AmeriCorps but offers housing that five to six fellows share in Northern Liberties, South Philly, and West Philly. I’ve been working with many different non-profits in the Greater Philadelphia area throughout these past four years so it would be amazing to work full time with an organization working to make a positive impact on Philly communities. Applications are due Feb. 9th and I will hear back around March.

College Possible: An AmericCorps program that works to increase college access for low-income high school students in Portland, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia. I am most excited by their position as a resource for low-income students transitioning to college. I have an interview in March in Philadelphia for this program and should hear back in April about whether I get in.

Princeton in Asia: A program based out of Princeton University that sends recent grads to Asia to work in NGOs or teach. My top choices for placements are Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia because I can use my Indonesian language skills there. I had an interview at Princeton University the weekend before classes started and I should be hearing back in March.

Critical Language Scholarship: This is another program sponsored by the U.S government but only for the summer. Thirteen languages are designated as “critical” by the U.S government so they pay for college students to study abroad and take language classes. I applied for the Indonesia program and was selected as a semi-finalist! I will hear back in mid-February as to whether I was selected or not.

PULSE: This is essentially Philly Fellows but with more of a faith based aspect and centered in Pittsburgh. Applications are due in early March. My friend and fellow Mawrter Joey Nyame currently serves with Pulse this year!

Peace Corps: Since the ’60s, Americans are paid to go abroad to improve foreign relations and carry out development projects or teach throughout countries in the Global South. I will be applying to Peace Corps if none of my other options work out because Peace Corps has a rolling deadline so I can do it any point and the program has a very long turn around (people usually go a year after they have been selected due to medical screening). I would prefer to be in Southeast Asia but I am eager to be abroad in capacity so I am flexible with my placement.

Any advice from alums who have done these programs? Or any suggestions for similar programs?

Weekend Winter Wonderland

This past weekend was jam-packed but one of the best in a while. Most of Thursday and Friday I spent getting ready for Art Club’s Studio Soiree event. We decorated the studio with snowflakes and paper lanterns to give the studio a cozy ambiance. Despite the rainy weather, we had a good turnout. People came together to munch on fancy treats like cream puffs and crackers with brie; and drank spiced hot cider. The mood was set by our amazing violinist and my friend Yue Xiu, who serenaded the studio with her beautiful melodies. It was a great night of craft making. We made holiday cards, pomander balls (oranges with cloves poked in that you put in sock drawers to make things smell nice), and decorated cookies! This was our third annual Studio Soiree and I’m happy my last one went so well. Afterwards, I went with some friends to the Bryn Mawr Concert Series to see Alex Winston. There was a small group of people who came but the people who did had a lot of fun because of Alex WInston’s energy and overall adorableness.

All decorated for the Studio Soiree

All decorated for the Studio Soiree

The next day, after a morning of volunteering, plans got shifted out of place for my friend Megha’s surprise birthday. She was supposed to study with me as people set up but since she had a lot of work and her books were at home, she just wanted to go home and due work. Her friends and I quickly gathered our wits to come up with an alternative plan to still surprise her. Luckily, our friend Linh was able to get Megha into the city while the rest of us ran around buying supplies, food, and drinks for the occasion. Her housemate let us into the apartment an hour early so we could help finish the cake and do final preparations. When Megha arrived home, she was definitely surprised and thankful. We even had her friend Lisa skype in from abroad! We ate South Indian and Chinese food and indulged in some coffee chocolate cake for dessert. It goes to show how important it is to appreciate and celebrate your friends even when you’re stressed from finals! Afterwards, I met up with some friends to forget the cold weather and enjoy a tropical paradise themed Senior Cocktails. Again, a low turnout because of the weather and people doing work but I had a ton of fun taking pictures and being silly with my friends.

Delicious South Indian food and Chinese food for Megha!

Delicious South Indian food and Chinese food for Megha!

The next day, I went out with two friends for my first dim sum experience! It ended up being quite an adventure because once we arrived in Philly; it started snowing! I had heard that the forecast included snow but I had assumed this would only be a couple of flakes. Turns out we got several inches. I only had Converse on which was pretty uncomfortable but my friend Heidi was only wear Tevas and a sweatshirt in a rush to make the train. We made it to the restaurant but had to wait nearly an hour because our friend was caught in awful traffic due to an accident caused by the snow. Once we finally got to eat, I was so excited and happy as new and tasty food arrived at our table. I felt a little queasy from the greasiness from many of the fried dishes but I left full and contented. The trip back was quite an adventure. I was lucky to be able to make my train but friend Duong who was driving back to Kennett Square, which is normally a one hour drive, took four hours to get home because of the snow. I am just glad she was okay and wasn’t in an accident!

Ocean City Dim Sum

Ocean City Dim Sum

The snow can be dangerous and a hassle but it always makes campus look magical. It was fun to see my first year students get so excited about the snow because many of theme are from places like California and Texas so they had never experienced real snow. Snowmen and snow angels soon popped up everywhere on campus. Being a grouchy senior, I spent most of my time enjoying the snow from my carrel in the library but drinking hot chocolate while watching snow fall outside was a relaxing break from paper-writing.

View from my room

View from my room

Mawrters Just Wanna Have Fun

What do Mawrters do when they aren’t in class or doing homework? Going to a women’s college/liberal arts college, our fun looks a little bit different from what you might find at a large university with Greek life, but we definitely know how to have a good time. A typical weekend can involve a wide spectrum of things. Most of the time, I go to a free event within the Tri-Co such as a culture show or concert, some nights I may stay in and study, others I will head into Philadelphia for food and drinks or an event, once in a while I travel to New York or D.C for the weekend, sometimes I’ll go to parties on campus or within the Tri-Co, sometimes I’ll stay up doing arts and crafts and listening to music in Arnecliffe studio, and sometimes I stay in with friends and watch a movie.  The beautiful thing is that these are all acceptable ways to have fun on the weekends; there is no hierarchy of having a good time at Bryn Mawr, which I appreciate. No matter what you like to do, you’ll find something you enjoy doing especially since there are always events going on in the Tri-Co for free and our close proximity to Philadelphia adds an unlimited amount of possibilities. Here are some snippets of how me and my friends have taken breaks, de-stressed, and had fun this semester!

Mawrters go to concerts off campus, like Vampire Weekend and Sigur Ros at The Mann Center in West Philadelphia.

Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend

We go into Philadelphia for Restaurant Week to get three course meals for fixed prices at Philadelphia’s best restaurants. Here’s us at Sampan: a Thai fusion restaurant where we got to share seven courses!

Restaurant Week at Sampan

Restaurant Week at Sampan

We play giant games of chess and Connect Four, paint ceramic owls, and zipline through campus. Our Student Activities Office hosted this event. They are wonderful and plan lots of fun events and trips, such as going to King of Prussia Mall, visiting museums, or even a giant game of bingo where the grand prize winner won an iPad mini!

One of my first years zipping down Merion Green.

One of my first years zipping down Merion Green.

We hold teas on self-care that involve nail painting, face masks, and video games!

Denbigh 3rd "Self Care Sleepover"

Denbigh 3rd “Self Care Sleepover”

We celebrate each others’ birthdays with ice cream cake and our neighbors on the hall.

Happy birthday Xiu and Weiss!

Happy birthday Xiu and Weiss!

We dress up for Halloween and go out together.

Denbigh 3rd Halloween

Denbigh 3rd Halloween

The seniors get to dress up fancy for our first Senior Cocktails (four themed parties held throughout the year only for the senior class.)

Elizabeth and I dressed up at Senior Cocktails (Photo Credit: ER'14)

Elizabeth and I dressed up at Senior Cocktails (Photo Credit: ER’14)

To give you a glimpse of what the weekend looks like for a Mawrter, here is my upcoming weekend schedule. On Friday, Art Club is hosting our Winter Studio Soiree in Arnecliffe Studio. There will be winter crafts, live music, and fancy food! Afterwards, Alex Winston will be performing in the Campus Center. Saturday, I will be volunteering, celebrating a friend’s birthday, followed by our second Senior Cocktails (tropical paradise themed!). The next day, I will be attending a special dinner for everyone who participated in SGA or on an appointed committee for the past year. It will be super busy but lots and lots of fun!

Last Fall Break Ever

Happy 50th blog post to me! This week, I’ll be taking it back several weeks to talk about my Fall Break experience. I stayed around the Philadelphia area but I still managed to keep myself incredibly busy. On the first weekend, my friend Megha and I went to event in South Philly hosted by the Mural Arts Program’s Southeast by Southeast initiative, a year-long public art and community building program for Bhutanese, Burmese, and Nepali immigrants (more information can be found here: http://muralarts.org/southeast). We had the opportunity to screenprint shirts with Bhutanese designs, eat Burmese food, and take a free mural tour. I love South Philly for the food and diversity so it was great to get more of an insider perspective on the neighborhood. Afterwards, Megha was kind enough to host me at her apartment in Overbrook for the week so we got to hang out and cook for most of the week together.

Screenpainted shirts

Screenprinted shirts

 

One of the Southeast by Southeast murals

One of the Southeast by Southeast murals

The rest of my week was spent doing the Effective Grantsmanship course, sponsored by the Civic Engagement Office, and the Job Boot Camp course that Bryn Mawr offered over break for no cost. I spent the first two days learning the basics of writing grants, an essential skill as someone hoping to go into the non-profit world. We did a variety of exercises to practice finding and funding grants and got to hear from people who worked at non-profits, foundations, and higher education funding offices. I was really thankful to be able to develop a tangible skill for next year, especially as I start to apply to jobs.

The Job Boot Camp was taught by the amazing Meredith Meyers, a Wharton professor who teaches the Management, Entrepreneurship, and Finance workshops over breaks for students to introduce them to business. I had previously taken the Management workshop, so many of the things we discussed were review for me, but it’s always really useful to get help on resumes, work on public speaking, and practice interview questions. On Thursday night, we had a networking event with Bryn Mawr alums and faculty. I had the opportunity to speak with a school social worker who I now get to extern with during winter break! The Job Boot Camp has inspired me to meet up with my friend Megha every week and go over job applications and resumes to keep each other accountable and support each other. I will try and do a blog post about some tips for applying to jobs in the vein of my previous post on summer internships.

During my down time after my classes, I relaxed with friends by going into the city. One night we headed into West Philly and got cheap Korean food at Koreana Restaurant, a favorite among Penn students. The next day, I saw Noah and the Whale, a British indie band, in South Philly with two of my friends. It was exactly the kind of concert I loved: happy music you can sing along to, a small, intimate venue, and an enthusiastic but not-too-crazy crowd. It was also a great time to just appreciate the fall weather!

I took a fall photo walk of campus

I took a fall photo walk of campus

I ended the week with a trip to visit my friend Duong in Kennett Square. I have experienced suburbs and cities in Pennsylvania but this was the first time I had gotten the small town experience. It was weird but fun to drive around everywhere. I got to see the rural autumn landscapes everywhere we went which was beautiful. We spent the weekend doing fun and relaxing activities: cooking brunch, going shopping, eating cheesecake, and working in cute coffeeshops. The highlight of my trip was going to Linvilla Orchards with two other Bryn Mawr alums. I got to complete an East Coast tradition for the first time: picking apples! We also got to dine on fresh apple cider doughnuts, drink cold and hot apple cider, and I purchased an apple pie to share with my hall when I got back to Bryn Mawr.

Getting excited for apple picking

Getting excited for apple picking

Overall, it was a much more eventful and fun fall break than I expected! Too bad real life doesn’t give fall breaks!