From Celine Chen
I didn’t know what I was missing about being a Mawrter until I got to connect with my family and take part in WTF Week.
WTF stands for “Welcome the First-Years” and it’s a tradition beloved by many Mawrters. It takes place in mid-February, once first-years have had a semester to settle in and meet new people, but are still in a bit of an in between phase. This tradition is about supporting new students, giving them fun activities to let loose and develop family-like relationships with upperclassmen. The whole week is voluntary, but if students want to participate, they ask an upperclassman (typically a sophomore) to be their Rose. First-years are all Buds. Roses give their Bud a schedule for the week, including campus-wide activities like performances in the Great Hall that Buds put on with friends, Athena Awards given by Customs people, and bed times stories.
My experience with WTF Week as a first-year was really amazing. I didn’t know many upperclassmen since I was taking a lot of intro-level courses, so I attended a Buds and Roses Mixer arranged by the presidents of my class and the Class of 2018. At first, I felt a bit awkward and nervous that I didn’t have an upperclassman I knew well enough to ask to be my Rose. However, there turned out to be a lot of people at the mixer, and I actually found someone I wanted to be my Rose! We got along really well and shared some interests and favorite shows, so a couple days later I “proposed” and asked her to be my Rose.
Although the tradition lasts only a few days, my WTF Week experience lasted much longer than that. It was amazing how having a Rose opened up a whole “family” to me — different generations of Mawrters all connected through this tradition. We would try to have family dinners about once a month, and I was exposed to so many people outside of my academic sphere. My Rose’s Rose (my Grand Rose) was super outgoing and honestly felt like the matriarch of our little WTF family. She was great at hosting events where we could all get together and hang out. Later in the semester, my Rose, Grand Rose, and I would get together and watch our favorite TV show together every week. I also met a really close upperclassman friend through my WTF family that I still keep in touch with even though she is currently in grad school in Paris.
As a senior, I’m super excited for bedtime stories this year. WTF Week is all about the first-years, but part of the tradition is still committed to sending off the seniors (similar to our other traditions). Bedtime stories are always such an emotional part of WTF Week. Many seniors will read in the dorms they lived in as a first-year, so it’s a great way to say goodbye and round-out their time at Bryn Mawr. It’s pretty typical for seniors to read books like The Giving Tree and Love You Forever that leave everyone in tears (in a good way!)
If there’s one really unique thing about Bryn Mawr, it might be WTF Week. There is nothing quite like it at other colleges. My WTF Week was an experience that, as a freshman, felt like the pivotal point that I was officially part of the community. I didn’t know what I was missing about being a Mawrter until I got to connect with my family and take part in the tradition.
Thanks for the update.
I like buds and roses. I’m sure not everyone was happy with all the changes, but there’s hope for our sisters.
I have never heard of families of buds and roses. Makes me want to look into my ‘ancestry’.
Happy WTF Week!
And good luck with finishing the semester, Mawrters!