On Homesickness

From Andrea Lirio

 

If I’m being honest, I haven’t been particularly homesick yet. While many of my peers are homesick – calling their parents and siblings daily and crying over missing home-cooked food – I have yet to feel that way. Personally, I feel prepared and excited. When my parents and siblings left me at Bryn Mawr on move-in day, I was beyond excited — I felt ready. I was thrilled to get to meet new people, explore campus, and learn about a new area. My mom and dad message me every day and call me – usually during the worst times of the day – to check in. Through September, I reassured my parents that I’d see them again during Fall Break in October.

Believe it or not, Fall Break is here. The semester is flying by faster than I thought it would. I feel like I’ve been on campus for years when in reality I’ve only been here for six weeks. It’s crazy! Building up to Fall Break, I realized it’d be weird not waking up in my dorm room, getting ready in our communal bathroom, doing my laundry every Friday, and getting meals in the dining halls with friends. While I’m not homesick in the sense that I feel like crying, I do admit that I’m excited to go back home and see what’s changed.

Things I’m excited for when I go home for Fall Break:

  • DRIVING. I knew I wouldn’t have a car on campus, but I never realized how much I’d miss driving. At Bryn Mawr, I tend to walk or take public transportation to wherever I need to go. It’s been a great experience learning how to use the trains and buses and learning different walking routes to the essentials: CVS, Starbucks, Wawa, Hope’s Cookies, etc. While walking is great exercise, I’m excited to go back home and drive around town again!
  • MY DOGS. I am so extremely excited to see my dogs again. My mom, dad, and siblings have been sending me pictures and videos throughout the last month and a half, but I’m excited to see them in person. If I ever saw a dog on campus or while on a walk with friends, I’d always ask the owner if I could pet them. I can’t wait to go back home to my two fuzzballs and cuddle up with them on the couch.
  • MY HOUSE. Our house is under renovation, and my parents send me photos of the progress every week. When I left, we didn’t have a kitchen at all and resorted to college-style living – a fridge and microwave. They told me that the kitchen would be complete once I get home for Fall Break so I’m very excited to see the final product and break it in! I also can’t wait to see the other new changes like the exterior and new furniture arriving! It’s so strange that it’ll all be different than when I left it when I come back home.
  • THE KITCHEN. I can’t wait to be able to use a fully equipped kitchen again regularly. While I love the food at the dining hall and the convenience – not having to prepare anything and always having a variety – I’m excited to be able to bake again. Friends at school have even asked me to come back with some baked goods so we’ll see what I can do!
  • MY TOWN & CITY. I’m also excited to see my town and the city of Boston again. While I’ve loved exploring Bryn Mawr, other suburbs similar to my town, and the city of Philadelphia, I can’t wait to see the people and places I grew up with and how they’ve changed or how I’ve changed.

Although I wouldn’t classify myself as homesick, I have to admit there are things I can’t wait to see when I get back home to Newton, MA.

Sisters with a Shared Mission

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from Marissa Turchi

 

From left to right: Barnard, Mount Holyoke, Bryn Mawr, Smith, and Wellesley representatives enjoy dinner together.

As I head back to the west coast for my second trip of this travel season, I found myself reminiscing about my last trip here. Earlier this fall, directors, deans, and vice presidents from the Sister Colleges (Bryn Mawr, Barnard, Smith, Mount Holyoke, and Wellesley) traveled together to three cities on the west coast to talk about the benefit of studying at a women’s college with prospective students, families, and counselors.

During that trip, I had many moments of looking around and thinking, “How lucky am I? This is my job?!” I got to travel in the company of amazing and powerful women. I met incredibly talented young scholars and heard their stories of advocacy, action, and legacy. Not a day went by when I didn’t experience a wow moment.

To quote one of my Sister colleagues, “Women’s colleges aren’t about the absence of men; they’re about the presence of women.” That really resonated with me throughout the trip. I know so much about the success of Bryn Mawr students, but it was refreshing and empowering to hear how the narratives we tell about our students are shared by other women’s colleges.

In fact, we all share some amazing “firsts.” The first woman to be appointed to a Presidential Cabinet; the first women to hold a US Ambassadorship in the UN; the first female neurosurgeon; and the first AND ONLY female president of Harvard University (go Bryn Mawr!). Women’s college graduates are clearly pioneers in their fields, bound by no limits.

What’s the secret to our success? At women’s colleges, female leadership is the norm, not the exception. In fact, the Sister Colleges were developing women leaders long before many people and societies thought women even held the capacity for leadership. Today, we are one of the world’s most powerful networks for professional women – yes, in the world. One of the great benefits of graduating from a women’s college is that in addition to joining your college alumni network, you also join the greater network of women’s college graduates. We are all so proud to be women’s colleges, to empower smart and strong women who graduate to be global leaders.

I can go on for many more paragraphs detailing what it feels like to be part of a women’s college community, but, as scholars, we like our data too. During our travels, we shared some research findings from the Hardwick-Day What Matters After College: A Comparative Alumnae Research Study and women’s college graduates are:

• More likely than graduates from co-ed institutions to attend graduate school – double the rate of public flagships and 40% higher than co-ed liberal arts colleges.
• Less likely than public university graduates to transfer from another college or university.
• More likely than flagship public university graduates to be involved in volunteer or community service activities.

But most importantly to me, women’s colleges receive higher effectiveness ratings than all other colleges and universities for helping students learn to be a leader.

Our institutions were founded in a time when women were denied access at the most prestigious institutions in the country. Our founders believed women to be just as engaged and scholarly as their male counterparts. We continue in this history and legacy – our students find commonality in their shared passion for learning. They are academic risk-takers who are not afraid of going against the grain and celebrate the opportunity to be in an academically rigorous community. They are not afraid to voice their opinions and make themselves heard.

I cherished my time traveling with the other Sister Colleges. We shared meals, stories, laughs, and mentorship. I finished that week a little bleary eyed from all the planes, shuttles, and hotel jumping, but my soul was filled with inspiration from traveling with four fantastic women – hearing stories of generations of women who have influenced one another to be bold, fearless, and change agents. We met incredible students who are already pioneers in their communities, creating their own legacies.

I encourage you to explore the idea of attending a women’s college. Do your research, visit campuses, connect with faculty and staff, engage with current students. You will find the same inspiration and empowerment I have. And, if you’re still on the fence, take some advice from our President, Kim Cassidy, on why every female student should visit a women’s college.

Secret Perks of Being a Bryn Mawr Student

From Celine Chen

 

I wanted to share some fun, and maybe unknown, perks Bryn Mawr provides its students. Here are some fun facts that you might not have known about Bryn Mawr:

Free Laundry: You don’t have to worry about stocking up on coins because laundry is free at Bryn Mawr! There’s no excuse to let your laundry pile up to the point where it’s overflowing 😉

Free Printing: Bryn Mawr also has free (unlimited) printing (within reason)! This is so great for people who don’t like reading on their computers. Sometimes it’s also nice to print out your readings so you can really mark them up. Also, some professors ask that you print and turn in physical copies of your homework/essays, so you don’t have to worry about those assignments depleting your printing quota.

Free bus to Trader Joe’s: I first heard about this as a prospective student, and I’m not going to lie, it got me pretty excited. Near Bryn Mawr we have a shopping center called Suburban Square that has Trader Joe’s, Urban Outfitters, Starbucks, Sephora, a ton of restaurants and more. On Saturday mornings a bus takes you right from Bryn Mawr’s campus to the shopping center, so you can get your weekly groceries or take part in some retail therapy!

Transportation to Haverford and Swarthmore: The Tri-Co (Tri-college consortium) makes transportation between the colleges really easy by providing free transportation to Haverford and Swarthmore. We have the Blue Bus, which takes you to Haverford, constantly running throughout the day, 7 days a week. The ride to Haverford is a short 10 minutes, so it’s super convenient to go to Haverford whenever you need to. We also have the van to Swarthmore. The trip to Swarthmore takes a little longer so the van does not come as often, but it’s great having transportation taking you directly to Swarthmore rather than having to take public transportation which would take longer.

Reimbursement for Penn Courses: Although Bryn Mawr does not provide its own form of transportation to U Penn, taking SEPTA (the train) is easy and accessible. Since you are paying for train tickets out of pocket, Bryn Mawr will reimburse you for the cost it takes to get to Penn!

Free Movie Nights: I love the Bryn Mawr College Film Series! It’s a student run club that screens a variety of movies throughout the year for free. The movies are usually popular and fairly new so it’s a great way to catch movies you might have just missed in theaters! This semester we’ve had some notable movies like Oceans 8, Incredibles 2, and Mamma Mia 2!

KCass Teaches and holds Office Hours: Our beloved president, Kim Cassidy (AKA KCass), teaches a psychology class that students can take! She spoke about it at our Fall Open House. She also holds office hours for her class and for all students to drop by and chat or discuss questions and/or concerns. She’s also super nice and always says hi if you pass by her on campus 🙂

 

Job Search Resources

from Celine Chen

 

As a senior, post-graduate job and internship searching has been almost a 5th class for me given that amount of time and effort I’m putting into it. I wanted to reflect a bit about my experience job-searching and share some important resources Bryn Mawr has to offer that can make the process a little less daunting.

The Career and Professional Development Office

Our Career and Professional Development (CPD) Office is open Monday-Friday 2-5 PM and Monday-Thursday 7:30-9:30 PM for career advice, resume/cover letter reviews, and so much more. There’s really no excuse when there are so many available hours for you to take some time to make sure your cover letter and resumes are ready to go.

Handshake

Handshake is our CPD resource where job postings are located, and where you can set up appointments with career peers, CPD staff, view upcoming career-related events, and more. The job postings on Handshake are particularly helpful because they are often coming from recruiters that reached out to Bryn Mawr and are looking for Bryn Mawr students to work for them. It’s always helpful to say that you found a job position through your college’s Career and Professional Development website when applying to jobs!

Take advantage of Campus Events

The College is constantly holding career and professional development events that are great opportunities to network and learn more about your field of interest. In my first month back on campus I’ve attended “She Started It!” an event featuring women in entrepreneurship, “Invest in Her Future” an investment management career panel, and participated in an on-campus interview with a national bank. There are many more opportunities to learn about a variety of career paths, whether its networking with Google or Amazon, an information session on Harvard law school, or learning more about the Peace Corps.

Consider taking “Intensives”

Bryn Mawr offers “intensives,” or mini CPD courses, during school breaks that allow you to practice career and professional development. The intensives take place during at the end of summer and winter break and during fall and spring break. They are typically five days long and comprised of 9-5 days learning to network and develop your skills. I’ve participated in two intensives in my college career and although they are intense, I have left with a great appreciation for how much I learned in those five days. The topics of some of the intensives change from year to year but some of them include: Entrepreneurship Intensive, Job and Grad School Boot Camp, Leadership Development Intensive, Women in Data Science, and more.

 

 

To ED or not to ED?

From MArissa Turchi

 

Are you currently weighing the differences between Early Decision (ED) and Regular Decision (RD)? You’re not alone – this is one of the most common admissions-related discussions for this time of year. I wish I could give you a magic formula, one that simply tells you which decision to select, but I can’t. I can tell you this – there is no right or wrong decision when it comes to going ED or RD. You just have to figure out what option is best for you and your family.

Let’s first talk about the differences between ED and RD:

  • Early Decision is designed for students who have a definitive first choice school: you’re ready to make a personal and financial commitment to a specific college and you’re excited about this choice!
  • Early Decision is a binding contract: Students can only apply ED to one school. When applying ED, the applicant, their guardian(s), and their school counselor all sign a form, committing the student to enrolling at the college if they’re admitted.
  • Some schools offer EDI and EDII (Bryn Mawr is one of those schools): Typically, there is no evaluative difference between the two plans, just different deadlines.
  • If an applicant is admitted to their ED school, they have to rescind all their RD applications from other schools. Sometimes colleges will defer an ED applicant – this does not mean a student is not admissible, it simply means the school would like to reevaluate their application in the RD pool. In this case, students do not rescind their other applications.
  • In most cases, colleges evaluate students using the same criteria for both ED and RD; however ED students show a higher level of demonstrated interest. As you consider applying ED, ask your first choice schools how their evaluation process differs in ED. At Bryn Mawr, we evaluate students the same in ED as RD.
  • Ask about merit and need-based financial aid: Sometimes the awarding process varies; however, many schools award the same amount of scholarship and aid in both plans. At Bryn Mawr, we are committed to meeting 100% of demonstrated need for all admitted students, regardless of the application plan. We also use the same process to evaluate for merit in both ED and RD.

Although applying ED is a big decision, there are also some big benefits. Here are a few reasons why applying ED may be good for you:

  • Getting your decision sooner: When applying ED, your admission decision is shared with you much sooner and, hopefully, can remove some stress so you can enjoy being a Senior.
  • Higher admission rates: In most cases, a smaller number of students are applying to a college through ED. These students tend to be high achieving and highly interested in the college, so the admission rates tend to be higher. At Bryn Mawr, about 40 to 45% of our incoming class will enroll through an ED plan.
  • Community engagement: Once a student is admitted to their ED school, they have more time to learn about the college’s community – to connect with faculty, current students, and their peers.

Remember: There are no “shoulds.” Early Decision is a fantastic option for many students, but also a pretty big commitment for families. Take your time, consider all the factors, and then consider the factors again as they relate to you and your family. I understand the pressures students face today to apply ED. Try to release any and all expectations the college search process places on you and make a well-informed decision that is best for you and your family.

Why making friends shouldn’t be on your list of college concerns 

From Andrea Lirio

 

Before going to college, I worried about a lot of things – how to decorate my room, how to balance work and life, how to make new friends, etc. Believe it or not, you’re not alone in these worries. That’s the great thing about your first year of college: everyone is new; everyone is in the same boat as you.

Making Friends at Bryn Mawr

Bryn Mawr offers great ways to meet new people – from orientation activities, customs group events, formal counseling groups, and interest group meals. Even if you don’t partake in any of the activities above, there are always friendly faces in your dorm hall looking to grab a meal or take a seat and talk for a while in the common room.

I made my closest friends on campus thus far from orientation week. We just started talking with the super basic, “My name is Andrea. What’s your name?” introduction. We didn’t have to try hard and impress each other. We didn’t have to pretend to be someone else. We just started talking openly about our interests; and every day, we continued to share more about ourselves. When you’re open and honest, you can create the best friendships.

Being Alone

I’ve heard a lot of people talk about eating alone. It’s true. In college, you’ll find yourself in the dining hall without a friend to chat with while you eat. Don’t feel like you’re the only person going through it. I’ve eaten alone in the dining hall a fair number of times and have seen many others in the same boat. It’s true … eating alone sucks sometimes. “What if everyone in the dining hall thinks I have no friends? What if I really don’t have any friends? How do I eat without looking awkward? Would looking at my device make it less awkward?”

Answering the questions above, sometimes you don’t have time to find someone to eat with when you have back to back classes. Sometimes it’s hard to line up schedules with your friends. Sometimes your friends have already eaten and have other things to attend to. There are so many reasons why you may find yourself sitting alone in the dining hall. But honestly, there’s no shame in that. At Bryn Mawr, you can make the most of your experience sitting alone. You can introduce yourself to someone new or simply relax in having some you time. When I sit alone in the dining hall, I always bump into someone new or someone in my class. While we may not be the best of friends, it’s a great opportunity to get to know someone else and pop out of my bubble.

Overall

All in all, making friends in college can be daunting, but it’s not impossible. If you’re willing to be open and honest about yourself, you’ll find people interested in learning more about you. Being in a small, close-knit community has its perks too. The community at Bryn Mawr is unlike any college I’ve visited before; everyone is so interested in learning more about your life and helping you be your best self. So next time you make your list of worries and concerns, cross making friends off the list because you’ve got it in the bag by just being yourself.

Meet Celine Chen

Hi, my name is Celine Chen and I’m a senior mathematics major at Bryn Mawr College. I was born and raised in Portland, OR so coming all the way across the country to a city where I had no support network in was definitely a fun challenge.

Ultimately, I chose to come to Bryn Mawr because I wanted to be able to explore the east coast. College is a great opportunity to experience what it’s like to be young and live in a completely different place. On top of that, I’ve noticed that being so far away from home has allowed me to grow a lot as an individual and practice responsibility in everything I do. Besides the geographical location of Bryn Mawr, which is suburban (a quick 20-30-minute train ride from the cultural, and historical city of Philadelphia), Bryn Mawr’s focus on empowering young women really appealed to me. The campus is all about creating a tight-knit community with your peers that fosters growth and long-lasting relationships.

I’m excited about participating in this Admissions internship position to share all that I have learned and loved about Bryn Mawr my past three years attending the college. Additionally, there are a lot of fun and quirky facts about Bryn Mawr I think can only be shared by someone who has lived through life as a “Mawrtyr.” I hope you find this blog useful. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions!

Meet Andrea Lirio

Hi there! My name is Andrea, and I’m a first-year at Bryn Mawr College. This year, I’ve been given the amazing opportunity to share my experiences, thoughts, and tips – things I wish I had been able to read more about when I was going through the college application process – on the college experience.

Interesting factoids:

  • I took a gap year between my last year of high school and first year of college.
  • I use she/her pronouns.
  • I’m from Newton, Massachusetts. At home I live with my dad, mom, 12-year-old sister, 11-year-old brother, and my 2 dogs.
  • I’m interested in pursuing a career in the world of business post-college.
  • I’m an Aries.
  • I love Disney!
  • In high school, I was extremely involved in school activities. I participated in our school a cappella group, print newspaper, volunteer groups, Asian student organizations, etc. I always thought I learned the most from outside of the classroom work because it gave me the opportunity to apply what I’d learned through the years – from leadership and problem solving to organization – into “real world” contexts.

I’m excited to share more about me and my experiences this year. Stay tuned for more!

Andrea

 

Getting the inside scoop

One of the best ways to connect with a college is through personal connections with staff, faculty, and especially students. This year, two students will be documenting their Bryn Mawr lives to share with you on this blog.

Andrea Lirio is a first-year student from Newton, Massachusetts. Follow along as she navigates her first year at Bryn Mawr.

Celine Chen is a senior from Portland, Oregon. Follow along as she reminisces the past 3 years and looks forward to life after Bryn Mawr.

The admissions advice you need to hear

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It’s officially fall which means the college search process is well underway for many high school seniors. This is a stressful time — many students are asking themselves big questions that they’ve never had to consider before. Who am I? Who do I want to become? What do I want to do with my life? Those are heavy questions for anyone, but they can seem especially daunting to a 17 or 18 year old.

There are many places to turn for wisdom and advice throughout this process — friends, family, teachers, counselors, the internet. Even our Director of Undergraduate Admissions and President shared their thoughts about the college search process in other posts. But when it comes down to it there is just one you need to remember.

You’re awesome. Don’t let the formality of college applications let you forget that. Every student has unique set of circumstances, strengths, and weaknesses that may or may not be a good match for every college. As President Kim Cassidy wrote in her post, “An admissions decision is not a pronouncement on your worth as a human being.”

The college search process is just that — a process. You aren’t meant to be great at it. It isn’t all supposed to go according to plan. This is a time for you to grow, learn, change, challenge and be challenged. Embrace who are you, be honest on your applications, and be open to the many different opportunities that various colleges and universities have to offer.

And remember, if you ever have questions or concerns about applying to Bryn Mawr, you can turn to your Admissions Counselor. We are happy to help you through this process.