A Letter to the Class of 2017

To the Class of 2017,

Congratulations! The moment many of you have probably been waiting for is finally here. You are now seniors. As I watched you rush the senior steps nearly two weeks ago, I experienced a flood of emotions. At first I felt sad that my class had been “replaced”, but then I felt immediate relief that our long journey through college was almost over. As I finished and turned in my finals however, that feeling of relief quickly turned into longing. For as happy as I am to be finished with the rigor of Bryn Mawr, I am not nearly ready to be finished with my college experience completely. You have one more year in this place, and so I wanted to offer some words to consider as you embrace your seniority that I wish I had been told.

Don’t be afraid to set aside time for yourself. While it can be tempting to fill empty spaces in your schedule with work, other responsibilities, and commitments, if possible, try to leave some time for yourself. Senior year has many perks, but it comes with many unknowns, many stresses at times, and many things left to do. You will need this time to unwind, destress, hang out with friends, or just watch Netflix. At Bryn Mawr, I’ve noticed that it is all too easy for students to feel guilty when they choose to not work on school stuff, but as long as you manage your time and keep track of what you need to do, taking time for yourself can only help you do well.

Go out and enjoy the time you have with your friends. 9 months. That’s what stands between you and graduation when you come back to campus in August. It flies by incredibly fast. Enjoy every moment of those nine months. Go out to a restaurant you’ve never tried before, head to that museum you’ve always wanted to see, or go to that festival in center city. Thankfully with the technology we have today it will be easier to keep in touch with each other, but nothing can compare to the memories you make together.

It’s never too late to become involved (or even more involved) on campus. I didn’t find my groove on campus until spring semester of junior year. As a result, I have learned that it is never too late to join or become involved in activities, clubs, and organizations on campus. If you want to do it, do it.

Keep your goals in sight. No matter what your plans are after graduation, I found it easiest to get through the ups and downs of senior year by looking forward to my end goal. Whether that’s more school, a job, an internship, a service year, a gap year, or wherever your heart may lead you, planning for that and looking forward to it got me through some of the hardest parts of the year.

Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses. I know, this is incredibly cliche, but it’s true. One day when I was walking back to my room, I stopped and stood in awe of Thomas. I am going to miss this beautiful campus. Because we live, work, study, and learn here it’s easy to forget how special this place can be. So go sit in the cloisters, or lounge in one of the hammocks and admire the nature and beauty that surrounds you.

And most importantly: don’t forget to celebrate yourself and your accomplishments. A wonderful professor told my class this semester that too often she hears students talk about their work in terms of what they couldn’t or weren’t able to do. I know I am guilty of this. She pushed us to change our frame of thinking from what we didn’t do, to what we had done. I want to push you to do the same. As you probably know, senior year is hectic and chaotic at times, and there are only so many hours in the day we can spend working and doing homework. So if you ever find yourself stressed or overwhelmed next year, stop and think about everything you have done in your academic career that has lead you to that point, and be proud. Be proud of being a mawrter, a senior, and a student. Be proud of what you have done, and think of ways to healthily keep working on the rest.


As I walked up the senior steps yesterday for what was probably the last time and rang the bell to ring in the end of my undergraduate career, my heart was heavy with emotions, just like it was on May Day as I watched you rush the same steps. Enjoy every moment of your senior year, and make the most of it. Anassa Kata, 2017. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you.

Last Tastes of Philly

13177393_10206326012011181_4626714953447330551_nHave you ever heard of donuts, fried chicken, and coffee… served together? I hadn’t either! One day last week after work, a few friends and I drove into the city to enjoy Federal Donuts. Serving Korean- style fried chicken with a honey donut, Federal Donuts has turned Philadelphia a “fried chicken destination” according to an online article from last year. While we didn’t have to wait in line like I was expecting because of its popularity, the quickly dwindling donuts behind the counter were evidence of a busy and good day for the eatery. While I have to admit I wasn’t sure how I felt about the savory and sweet mix, the combination of tangy ranch and sweet honey was just right.

13096340_10206326012091183_1163314148597428784_nI was excited to share my Federal Donuts experience with some of my closest friends. Celebrating our last weekly dinner for our student group First Go-ers, it was the perfect little escape for all of us in between finals. As a senior in the group, it hit me how quickly the end of my time in Philadelphia was approaching as we spent time in the city. After our dinner adventure early in the week, I spent the next couple days working as hard as I could to finish my remaining finals. I am elated to share that last Thursday, I officially finished my undergraduate career. To celebrate, my best friends and I went into the city on Saturday.

13164217_10206358961754904_5018189429276057949_nWe went to El Vez, a restaurant we have tried for two and a half months to get a reservation for. After eating there, it was suddenly very clear why it was so hard to get a table! El Vez boasted six different kinds of guacamole which individually were big enough to share between four of us. For my entree, I ordered a taco sampler plate, and as you can see, it came with a little bit of everything! I got to try their pork carnitas, beef, chicken, crispy mahi mahi, and sea bass tacos, all of which were out of this world. If only we had discovered the restaurant earlier!

With less than a week left before graduation, I realized after that these two outings to Federal Donuts and El Vez were probably my last tastes of Philly, at least for now! I’d say we ended our culinary experience and college career in Philadelphia on a high and delicious note!

A Grand May Day To Me

13087352_10206326007811076_4578271050087353576_nEvery year since 1900, Bryn Mawr students have gathered at the beginning of May to celebrate May Day, which is the last major tradition of the year. On the Sunday after the last day of classes, we put aside our homework and studying for a day to de-stress and have fun before finals begin. Students don a variety of white outfits, typically waking up early to begin the festivities and spend the day enjoying performances, eating with friends, and relaxing on Merion Green. There’s May Pole dancing, concerts, and many fun activities throughout the day. Since 1906 and every four years after that, Bryn Mawr has celebrated a Grand May Day, where like the name suggests, the festivities are done and enjoyed on an even larger scale. My class got to enjoy Grand May Day during our sophomore year, and the next one won’t be experienced until May of 2018. However, after experiencing my last May Day as a current student last weekend, there are many reasons why this May Day was pretty grand to me.

13118975_10206326006611046_6290228184361907125_nWe started the day (not so) bright and early by climbing one of the towers of Rockefeller dorm. Since Rock is where I lived this year, it was even more special to view campus from the very top of it. After coming down, we headed over to the Wyndham Alumnae House where we ate strawberries and cream, the traditional May Day breakfast. Since Mother Nature sadly did not cooperate, we all grabbed our umbrellas and headed to the middle of campus to watch the May Day parade, listen to President Cassidy speak, and watch the classes compete during the May Pole dance. Despite it being dreary and muddy however, the reason my last May Day was so grand was because of my friends.

May Day can be a difficult time of year because students are happy classes are over, but face the remainder of their finals in the coming weeks. As seniors, we have half the amount of time as underclassmen to complete our finals and undergraduate work because professors have to have our grades in early to ensure everything is in place for graduation. (Shout out to all of our incredible professors who have helped get us to this point in our academic careers and have worked so hard to help us along this journey called college!) May Day feels like the calm before the academic storm. Sadly for us, May Day and the days surrounding it were full of literal storms, and so it didn’t feel like we got the sunny day full of fun to recharge before finals like we usually do.

13094384_10206312137144318_2664439339157095438_nWe spent most of our day after the morning’s festivities inside because of the rain, but even on the gloomiest of days, I know my friends are always there for and can cheer me up. Bryn Mawr became my second home because of the friends and community I found here. Whether it’s needing a push to finish your work, or needing somebody to vent to after a hard day, I know the women I have met and have the honor to call my friends will be there, rain or shine. Bryn Mawr’s traditions are always a reminder of that.

13094113_10206326010531144_51100458808985062_nMay Day is a unique tradition because at the end of it, the community begins to say goodbye to the seniors and welcome the junior class into senior status. It’s a moment of excitement and sadness at the same time. It was very emotional to see so many people that night who have made an impact on my life and been with me through my four years.

To my Bryn Mawr sisters and friends, thank you from the bottom of my heart for making May Day and my time at Bryn Mawr filled with joy, laugher, tears (of the best kind), and love. Anassa Kata 2016, we’re almost there!