Yesterday, the sun finally came out and it was warm enough to walk outside without a jacket. I was walking from Brecon, my dorm on the opposite side of campus to catch the van heading to our service event gardening in West Philadelphia. Sometimes the walk can be a bit of a trek if it’s snowing or raining but yesterday I couldn’t be more grateful for the chance to walk outside. The buds of flowers emerging from the ground and seeing every corner of campus engulfed in sunshine brought a new hope and energy to both the landscape and myself. I had a surge of happiness run through me as I passed by so many friendly faces that I knew from various contexts on campus, lazing about outside enjoying the nice weather. The cherry blossom trees are beginning to bud so I can’t wait until everything is in full blossom so that it finally feels like spring, meaning time for picnics and photo shoots! In that moment, I was just overcome with euphoria to be surrounded by such a loving community, a breathtaking campus, and realizing what a privilege it is to be here.
This past weekend to me represents the diversity of activities that an average Bryn Mawr student engages in and really solidified what makes this place home for me. On Friday, I attended the Civic Engagement Office’s Pop Up Cafe where we ate fresh-baked goodies and drank chai smoothies and hot drinks while chatting with students and faculty from throughout the campus about civic engagement opportunities. After having dinner at Haverford with a group of friends, I went to see Free Energy and New Politics (a Danish band actually!) at a concert in the Campus Center with another group of friends. The next morning, I was off to West Philadelphia to lead a service event doing an urban gardening project with other Bryn Mawr volunteers. Later that night, I went to see an amazing performance by Mayuri, the South Asian fusion dance group (in which one of my fellow bloggers, Isha Pandya ’15, is actually a part of!) The dances were incredibly choreographed, the movies they showed in between were hilarious, and the costumes were beautiful! I’m so glad I got to go since I had wanted to see Pulso Latino, one of the other dance groups on campus, the night before but it conflicted with the concert I went to. Afterwards, I spent the night having long, intense conversations with one of best friends from home and one of my best friends from Bryn Mawr; a wonderful way to rejuvenate and reflect on everything that has been happening the past semester.
It also got me extremely excited for this summer since I will be living in Philadelphia, possibly with one of my closest friends from Bryn Mawr, and my best friend from home and her boyfriend will be road-tripping to come visit me over the summer! I can’t wait to spend summer nights cooking, chatting, hanging out, and exploring everything the city has to offer. I’ve lived near Philadelphia the past three years and visit at least once a week for volunteering but this will be the first time I’ve actually lived in the city and the first time I will be on the East Coast for the summer. I’m dreading the extreme humidity and heat that I’ve heard so much about but I’m looking forward to Fourth of July in the city where American Independence all started, catching fireflies (which we don’t have in Portland), finding new cute restaurants and cafes, and forming new perspectives on Philadelphia. It will also be a really valuable experience for me before I graduate so I already know how to deal with paying rent and navigating the world on my own.
While it’s going to be incredibly difficult for me to say good-bye to Bryn Mawr, home is not a place but a state of mind. Something I found to be really powerful at the Mayuri show was when one the underclassmen dancers said to one of the graduating seniors, “I would say we don’t know what we will do without you but we know we can now after everything you’ve taught us.” I know that with the lessons I’ve learned here from both classes and the people I’ve met, I will be able to take on the world and know that I am capable and have the potential to work hard and make things work for myself. A true home is not a safe haven that shields you from the real world, but rather one that empowers you and sets you free to fly because home is the support and love that you carry within yourself, no matter where you go in the world.