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!