Facebook has a neat (albeit kind of creepy) feature called “On This Day”. The app runs on the site and each day, memories of pictures, posts, or statuses show up on your feed reminding users of what they were up to on that day for as long as they have had an account. To my surprise, my reminder for today was a check-in at Philadelphia International Airport. I say “to my surprise” because I simply cannot believe it was four years ago that I visited Bryn Mawr for the first time. It’s already been four years since I left home for a college visit and found the place that would soon become my second one.
A couple weekends ago, the Admissions Office hosted its 2015 Travel Scholars. Since the Travel Scholar program is how I was able to visit BMC during my senior year of high school, I could not help but feel nostalgic. Bryn Mawr’s generosity afforded me the opportunity to visit, and I owe where I am today in large part to that experience. Spending time with this year’s scholars brought back my own memories of what it was like to see and experience Bryn Mawr for the first time. One of my favorite things about being a tour guide is seeing the same look of awe and wonder on the prospective students’ faces that I had when I toured for the first time.
When I left El Paso four years ago today to visit BMC, I was scared, nervous, excited, and every emotion in between. While I had traveled by myself before, I had never lived anywhere by myself, away from family, friends, and the familiarity and comfort of home. I remember pulling up to the Admissions Office in a Blue Bus and walking in with my backpack, suitcase, and sleeping bag not sure of what to expect. I had no idea the opportunities in store for me, or the happiness being a member of the community would would bring to me.
My hosts took me to get dinner, and every person we saw on the way to the dining hall went out of their way to welcome me, ask me how I was doing, and ask me if they could answer any questions. I wasn’t even a student and I felt like I was part of the community within twenty minutes of arriving on campus. After spending the night in a dorm common room, the following day I was able to sit in on two classes. I was impressed by how invested the students were in their discussions, and how the professors made it a priority to make sure every voice in the class was heard. I knew then that socially and academically, Bryn Mawr was where I wanted to be.
Four years ago today, I started a journey and chapter of my life that will be coming to a close in six short months when I graduate. During my time at Bryn Mawr I have been encouraged, supported, pushed, loved, cared for, and advocated for by friends, professors, mentors, and each and every person I have met along the way. I have been pushed outside of my comfort zone, I have worked harder than I ever could have imagined, and I have learned the true value of a Bryn Mawr education with each of the ups and downs that come with it. As the days get shorter and chillier and as we move closer to the craziness of the Holidays, I am reminded of how quickly this semester and year will go by. Before I know it, it will be May and my time at this special place will come to a close. I came to Bryn Mawr thinking I was leaving my home, but I ended up gaining a second home among its gothic arches, cloisters, and cherry blossoms. For this, and for the people and places that have helped shape me into the woman I am today, I am forever grateful.
Update (11/11/15): This is what Facebook reminded me of today. Interviewing on 11/11/11 at 11:11? I don’t think that was a coincidence 🙂