Home for the Holidays

IMG_8803It’s so good to be home and taking a break from the hustle and bustle of senior year! When I was packing to come home, I left all of my heavy sweaters and boots at school because I never dreamed I’d need them in El Paso, which is known as the Sun City. We earned that name by having nearly 300 days of sunshine a year. After this weekend, you wouldn’t be able to tell! The day after Christmas, it started raining, quickly turned into into sleet, and by nighttime, it was snowing! Our area had been under a Winter Storm Warning issued by the National Weather Service, but usually that means we get a dusting if we’re lucky. When they predicted 6 to 9 inches we didn’t believe them! Low and behold, it kept snowing and snowing all day and night.

It was so much fun to wake up two days after Christmas to a winter wonderland in the desert. I put on my scarf and hat and started playing! You know you grew up in the desert when you ask your mom things like, “How do you build a snowman?” and “How do you make a snow angel?” In the past when it has snowed, there is usually only a shallow layer and so when you try to make an angel you hit the dirt below. We must have had over half a foot because I was able to make one without any problems, but boy was it cold. D: With the help of my mom, we made a snowman that actually looked like a snowman! I searched the house for things to use for his face and buttons, and eventually decided on some chocolate kisses, leftover cranberries, and of course a carrot for his nose!

IMG_8808Despite having this awesome and unexpected snow storm, we still had to work against the sun as it kept popping out from behind the clouds just long enough to keep melting off our snowmen’s eyes and nose. After an hour outside, we decided to head in hoping the best for our frozen friend. Our fun in the snow was a wonderful surprise and a nice break from the warmer temperatures we were having in Bryn Mawr. While I’ve loved the cold and snow, I’m definitely ready for it to warm up just a bit. I hope everybody had a wonderful holiday weekend and best wishes for the New Year! More next week in… 2016! (Can you believe that? I certainly can’t!) Happy New Year to all!


The Sun City eventually did live up to its name, and unfortunately, my Olaf finally found out what summer feels like. 🙁

When Done is Good (Enough)

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through a Mawrter’s house                                 Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.                                                         Her finals were submitted by e-mail with care,                                                                     In hopes that her grades soon would be there.

She was nestled all snug in her bed,                                                                            While visions of lanterns and owls danced in her head.                                                  And with graduation just a semester away, thinking of her cap,                               She finally settled her brain for a long winter’s nap.*

*Inspired by Clement Clarke Moore’s “Twas the Night Before Christmas”

Oh how I wish things were this simple! Bryn Mawr is a very rigorous institution. There is no denying that. As a result, during the academic year in general, but especially during finals and the period of time we spend waiting for grades after we submit everything can be a taxing and anxious time for many students. Within this environment, it becomes too easy to put so much stress on and hold ourselves to impossibly high standards, making it hard to realize and appreciate just how much we accomplish and are capable of. Throughout my seven semesters at BMC, therel1864778764 have been multiple times when I have wondered how I made it to Bryn Mawr and questioned if I belonged there amongst so many incredibly intelligent classmates. Junior and senior year have been the most difficult for me. Wondering which internships to apply for, which classes to take, wondering how I would fit studying for the GRE in, applying for jobs, working multiple work study jobs, and planning a thesis have made for a busy and stressful two years. Second semester of senior year might be a little less hectic, but graduation and the emotions and new beginnings that will bring are both daunting and exciting in their own respects.

My undergraduate journey so far has made me realize something incredibly important I wish I had been told during freshman year. While it is of course important for us to put our all into our work, we must also remember that we are human, there are limits to how much we can take and do well with, and we are not perfect. We try our best and our hardest, but we must remember to make time for and take care of ourselves, mentally, emotionally, and physically. We have a tradition at Bryn Mawr where we make “Done is Good” lists. You get together with your friends and write down a list of all the things you have to get done by the end of the semester. Next to each task, you put a piece of candy and as you finish each item, you get to eat the candy as a reward. As people finish all of their work for the semester, Facebook becomes flooded with statuses saying “Done is Good”. While it is most definitely a wonderful feeling when everything is done and submitted, I know how easy it is to worry and fret over completed work, afraid it’s not enough.

l_38d005c0-6e4b-11e1-ba13-498d1e700001A close friend of mine reminded me this finals season that while done is good, it is also perfectly fine for it to be good (enough). She helped me realize how hard I have worked this semester and how I put everything I had into my final papers. I had done everything I could, and that is good enough. No amount of worry, anxiety, or stress will change this semester. We must remember to acknowledge our strengths, accomplishments, and successes no matter how big or small they appear to us as. We must remember we are human, and that we must take care of all of our needs, not just our academic ones, to be happy and healthy both inside and out.

Community Beyond Measure


My first view of the city

Last week, I flew to Houston for a whirlwind 30 hour visit. After going through the application process for my dream post-graduation position, I was elated when KIPP Houston invited me to town for their final interview and selection day. My excitement quickly turned into mild panic as I began planning my stay and realized it would be difficult to navigate and get around the fourth largest city in the country without a car, and without familiarity with the area.

Confused by myriad areas of town and foreign interstate loops, I reached out to a Bryn Mawr alumna from Houston. When she found out I was coming to town, she offered to help me find accommodation, gave me advice on how to get around, and invited me to spend the evening with her and other Bryn Mawr alumnae the night before my interview. One of her friends, another alumna, picked me up from the airport, provided me a delicious welcome to Houston with authentic Tex- Mex for dinner, and drove us to the gathering. That evening, I witnessed and was a part of something incredible. For the last three and a half years I have heard that Bryn Mawr’s community extends beyond campus through its immense and active alumnae/i network, and on Thursday night, I experienced the power of our community first hand.

The four amazing women who welcomed me to Houston did so with open arms and open hearts. They were genuinely interested in my experiences and wanted to know all about my time on campus as well as the position I was interviewing for. They gave me advice and encouraged me in ways only mawrters could, reminding me to be confident in myself and my abilities. At the end of the night, they anassed me and my first “adult” interview in front of bewildered onlookers. Their willingness to help, interest, and support showed me how the community we build within the castle- like walls of Bryn Mawr extend well beyond them into the world outside.

Untitled m copyAfter an anxious weekend waiting, I am ecstatic to share that I have been offered a position with KIPP Houston as an elementary school partner teacher and graduate fellow. When I shared the news with my new friends and fellow mawrters, they enthusiastically let me know they were eager to help me make Houston my new home after graduation. I may not know many people in Houston, but I know the Bryn Mawr community and the four incredible women I met that night will be there for me, and that is absolutely priceless.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

IMG_8578Is it really December 10th?!! It feels like just yesterday I was moving in and celebrating convocation and Parade Night, and now there are just 155 days until graduation. Between five classes, four jobs, and other commitments this semester, I have lost track of time and the weeks have escaped me. Interestingly, since the weather has been so unseasonably warm (I’m not quite complaining!) and because we haven’t had our first snow yet, despite Christmas being just a couple weeks away, I haven’t quite been in the holiday mood just yet. Needing that warm and jolly feeling to help get me through the last few days, I decided to head into Philly to visit the Christmas Market at Love Park. I wasn’t the only one with that idea!

FullSizeRender (2)After doing a little bit of shopping, I walked towards City Hall. Walking along Macy’s I noticed the windows were decorated with adorable Peanuts scenes. They were all illuminated, had moving parts, and were drawing lines of people wanting to take their picture with it. Cutting through City Hall to get to Love Park, I was surprised to find a giant Christmas tree that was absolutely beautiful. Just like the window displays, there were rings of people around the tree waiting for their opportunity to get the perfect shot or selfie with the glittery decorations. The only thing missing was Santa! Approaching the Christmas market, I had flashbacks of one I went to in Edinburgh last year. It’s amazing to think about how quickly the last year has gone by and just how much I have grown and changed.

FullSizeRender (3)The fountains in front of City Hall were transformed into ice skating rink, and while smaller, it was quite charming and people lined the perimeter drinking cocoa, eating snacks, and watching people skate. I wish I could skate well! It would take a touch more coordination than I currently have 😉 I arrived in the heart of the market around 4pm on Sunday and boy was it crowded! It was so busy it was hard to see what was in each carefully set up and decorated stall. From what I could see, I found everything from jewelry, clothing, antiques, mulled wine, and everything in between…. including “bacon jam”… Whose line was down the walk way! Another tree adorned the park and below it a choir was singing carols and holiday songs. It was chilly and cloudy and so, nearly half way through December, I finally felt like it was the holiday season!

IMG_8617Despite the crowds, my Sunday outing was a perfect break from homework, imminent finals that are approaching a little too quickly, and a great way to help cheer up this tired senior. Done is almost so good!