Note: This is content that was geared toward the incoming students from the previous year's class, the Bryn Mawr Class of 2022. The pages in this section will be updated as we begin planning for the arrival of the Class of 2023.
Packing For College
If you’re anything like me, you might just find yourself trying to drag multiple suitcases across your floor and wishing you had packed less or desperately trying to find that one thing that you thought you stuffed into your bag last minute. Here are a few things that are definitely essential for survival at Bryn Mawr:
- surge protector/power strip
- umbrella/raincoat and rain boots
- bathing suit for that swim test
- shower shoes
- command hooks/strips
Here are some things that you might not need:
- shower caddy (depending on the dorm, some bathrooms have spaces for toiletries)
- tupperware (dining services provides take out boxes)
- printer (unlimited printing at BMC)
It gets chilly here around the end of October, so pack some layers or get parent(s) to bring them during visitation weekend but the entire winter wardrobe can wait until after winter break to arrive.
— Dongmei Tang
Customs Week, our new student orientation, is an introduction to your first year as well as your next four years here at Bryn Mawr. It is a chance to be welcomed to campus and experience some of the traditions that make Bryn Mawr unique. It is an opportunity for everyone to get settled in and learn about the many resources on campus, all the while making new friends! By the end of Customs Week, you will be introduced to people who genuinely care about you and want you to succeed in every way, be it academically, emotionally, socially, etc. It is meant to be an exciting time to get adjusted to the campus before classes start. So, have fun and bring a fan - because its hot!
— Billie Mwangi
Being a Collegiate Athlete
Being an athlete has always been a huge part of my life, and I suppose that it will be the same for quite a few of you who are planning to come to Bryn Mawr this Fall. While I wasn’t completely sure if I wanted to be a collegiate athlete (keeping in mind the time commitment and dedication needed), I could not imagine my everyday life without swim practice. I proceeded to hesitantly join the swim team, and now, I wouldn’t change that decision for anything. Bryn Mawr has given me 12 sisters in the form of my team, and I couldn’t be more thankful. However, I do have to mention that being an athlete is hard. You’re supposed to manage studies, sports, social life, self-care, and so many other things. It can be overwhelming, and a lot of the time, I just want to crawl into bed and take a nap instead of swim. At the same time though, those days have taught me how strong I am, and how I am capable of so much. Being an athlete pushes you to be the best version of yourself, and the challenge is well worth it. In the near future, I hope you all find second families in your sports teams, and become as proud as I am to represent Bryn Mawr athletics!
— Shanzeh Shunaid
Staying on Top of Your Inbox
If you're reading this, you're doing a great job so far! I have three words of advice for you that will prove invaluable during your time here: check your email! Seriously, the Bryn Mawr email is like a magic portal of opportunity. I've been able to participate in so many amazing activities, clubs, performances, free cupcakes, etc., just because I received emails informing me of them. Fun events as well as serious information about Bryn Mawr will be sent right to you, such as how to start looking into internships or what resources you have for support. There are so many great opportunities you can explore here at Bryn Mawr, and this is a great way to make sure you're aware of them! Email: it can be a beautiful tool, and when you decide to use it, you'll be just fine.
Moving States for College
The most frightening thing about moving to college is having to transition into a completely new environment. But what makes it more difficult is having to move states as well. Not only is it a new school, it’s also a place where you don’t have your home disposable to you whenever you’d like it. What I’m here to say is that you might feel like you should’ve chosen a college closer to home, but don’t let the fear of exploring a new environment deter you from what you’ll get out of Bryn Mawr. People might act differently compared to your home, people might not get your references to certain places, but what’s important is people will learn so much from your stories. You’ll get to be in a unique group of people who can have knowledge to things others don’t know of. Open your mind to different cultures, different ways of living, different types of music because there is one thing that Bryn Mawr holds true of itself, and that is diversity. Don’t fear what college has to offer; accept the independence that you’re given and embrace the opportunity to spread your wings and fly out of your nest. College will be frustrating at times, and homesickness will hit you, but what I advise is to just imagine how much more you’ll appreciate home once you get to go back. Love yourself and where you come from, but be open to a new place! Bryn Mawr might be the best thing to happen to you.
—Valeria Aguilera Avila
Exploring New Courses
Greetings, new Mawrters! Some of you may be coming to college with your heart set on a certain field of study, but I am sure many of you recoil at the thought of declaring a major by sophomore year. So, to those of you who are as good as declared and those of you who cannot imagine pursuing something into grad school, I urge you to explore your uncharted territory. Bryn Mawr has countless new classes, from “Lesbian Immortal” to a class on life on Mars. Do not set any academic limits for yourself, because you may never get the chance to take a class on homosexuality in literature or planetary exploration again. Even better, Bryn Mawr has this awesome thing called “shopping week” during which you can attend any class that sounds interesting to you during the first week of classes, and, after sitting in, choose whether or not it is for you. I urge everyone to not discriminate against any subject until you have explored it, because one class this semester may become your major next year. Good luck, and most importantly, have fun!
I had personally been quite stressed in the beginning of my first semester until I made some wise choices for my own good, and I want to make sure you start these years to come as best as you possibly can. In order to do that, please make sure that you do not overwhelm yourself, although you might be very eager to explore everything Bryn Mawr has to offer. The courses here move at a swift pace, so it’s in your hands to understand the materials taught in class whether that’s through doing lots of practice problems, going to office hours, or doing whatever works for you. Managing your time is also indubitably crucial to accomplishing your daily tasks and hopefully creating some leisure time for a mental break. I’m sure you’re already aware of these tips, but I think the emphasis is necessary because sometimes we get caught up and forget to be conscious about doing what is best for you. I hope this advice is helpful to you and that you’re pumped to begin this wonderful journey here at Bryn Mawr College!
Asking For Help
It almost goes without saying that at some point during your time here at Bryn Mawr, you will need help. Don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need. Whether you need academic or emotional support, there are so many resources and caring people available to you. Take advantage of them! You are a Mawrter, so of course you’re one of the smartest around, but even smart people need help sometimes. Bryn Mawr is a tight-knit community, and we can all lean on each other. Professors are more than willing to clarify things for you. Your classmates would like nothing more than to meet for lunch and go over notes. There are also amazing counselors available for those times when you feel like you’re going crazy, or you just need to talk. Don’t sweat it!
Financial Balance in College
Dear incoming first-years, One of the best ways to save money is to do a 40/60 plan. When you get paid allocate 40% of that money to savings and 60% to do whatever you’d like with it. Save money beyond that by limiting how often you spend money on food, drinks, and other things you want. If you spend two dollars a day, that is almost 100 dollars at the end of the month. Save that money to treat yourself to something nice at the end of the month. When you want to have a good time with friends, you don’t have to get off campus. Utilize the free opportunities on campus, like movies, concerts and coupons!
Choosing an ESem
As an incoming student, the list of ESem courses may seem daunting at first glance, especially because some students either love their ESem or don’t like it very much. The Emily Balch Seminar is a course for all incoming first-years, one that many find to be enjoyable and beneficial, for themselves as well as their writing. Each seminar topic is different from the next, so I suggest reading through each description carefully to find something that interests you the most – after all, you’ll be doing readings and writing papers on it. The best part of ESem is that it places an emphasis on critical thinking and getting your words out as a way of improving, and doesn’t focus so much on how great a writer you are. ESem is a learning process, one I hope you come to enjoy.
Navigating Placement Tests
Placement tests can be scary and daunting, especially if you really want to be able to get into a specific class. Be that as it may, you just need to take a deep breath and stay calm, just as with any other test; but keep in mind that these tests don't have a grades attached to them that could make or break your overall success in a class! Placement tests are simply done to make sure that you are in the proper level class for the prior knowledge and schooling you have already had. And sometimes you have an off day and the test doesn't go great, even though you know you can do better. But this is no need to fret! After you come to Bryn Mawr, you can go and talk to the professor of the class you would like to take; they are more than happy to help and if you explain the situation and prior experience you have had in a subject. There is a good chance that if you do a little extra work to get caught up to the level you need to be at, the professor will happily let you into the class. Placement tests may seem stressful, but they are not the end of the world and are simply done to ensure that you get the best possible education that matches your needs.
Self-care is a skill that is fundamental to our lives. Most of us are aware that simple things like excising, eating, and resting are nonnegotiable, but you might be surprised on the amount of people that “don’t have time” to get these things accomplished. I’m here to tell you that it is absolutely necessary to make time for the most important person in this world—you. Take a day off to clear the clutter in your mind by cleaning and organizing your dorm. Take a break from all the work and stress that you put on yourself and treat yourself. Do a face mask, paint your nails, or eat ice cream for breakfast. Your well-being is the foundation for everything else, and it is essential to give back to yourself in order to be your best self.
College will Come; Enjoy the Summer!
You’ve worked so hard to get to where you are now, it’s absolutely necessary to enjoy some time off between school. Don’t worry about choosing a roommate immediately, having the perfect schedule, or hurrying to make three hundred friends before you even step on campus. There are things you have to do before you come to Customs Week in August—outlined, of course, in these wonderful newsletters!—but take a breath, it will be fine. Transitioning to college takes time; it can’t be done purely through meticulous planning. Don’t be afraid to reach out to resources such as Deans and Peer Mentor Services, but know that you’re going to be fine. Seriously.
There is an Awesome Support System Here
Dear Class of 2022, I'd like to share one thing that I wish someone had told me before I started school. I was so worried about leaving my support system behind. I live 6 hours away and I was like "What am I going to do?" But then I came to realize that there is an awesome support system here. Your professors, classmates, deans, staff and faculty all love you. They want you to succeed and do your best. You're never alone. Even when you feel like you have no one to lean on, just look at all the people on campus. So many people will want to know you. Everyone is so nice and they will support you. So, don't worry too much about that. You won't be losing the support you had at home. Instead, you'll be gaining more.
—Ilianny Grullon '21
Advice about Roommates: Honesty is the Best Policy
It can be super difficult living with another person (or even people), especially if you have never shared a room before. But, you can make your life easier if you are just honest with your roommate(s)! So, I recommend filling out the housing application as truthfully as possible—even mentioning all of your annoying habits if you have to. When you actually move in and meet your roommate, it is best to have a clear understanding of your boundaries so your roommate agreement can reflect that. Also, you don’t have to be best friends with them if you don’t want to! But that doesn't mean you can’t have a strong roommate relationship.