Bryn Mawr Day

Bryn Mawr Day was actually last Saturday on September 6, but I didn't get around to writing this post--or doing anything blog-related really--until now. Quoting The Script's "Breakeven"I'm still alive but I'm barely breathin' haha. I really am enjoying my time here at Bryn Mawr College, have been trying to get around, meet people, join clubs, do homework, and get sleep, because it's really hard to get hyped up about something when you're devoting all your energy to keeping your eyelids up. For the most part, I've managed to sleep before midnight, but what I have not managed to do was keep up with my blog, not to mention the rest of the blogosphere.

Anyways, Bryn Mawr Day was a free family fun day celebrating (I'm assuming) the town of Bryn Mawr, and included activities such as tasting restaurants, visiting shops, riding firetrucks, seeing the traveling zoo, watching the circus, taking a history tour, shopping the farmers' market, hearing musical performances by Radio Disney, and much more.

By Bryn Mawr Day, I had finished one week of the Tri-College Identity, Equity, and Social Justice Institute, one week of Customs (which is what we call our freshman orientation), and one week of classes, but not once did I visit town or even leave campus for that matter, so this was the day.

'Twas hot. But 'twas worth it. Unfortunately I didn't get to spend the day with my family like many kids of the town got to do, but this allowed me to do things at my own pace, which was really slowly... although now I realize that it may have been helpful to have an extra hand carrying things for me as I took pictures. I couldn't get into the petting zoo because I was holding all the food I bought but didn't finish eating! You must understand the struggles of an amateur photographer and appreciate that behind every shot you see are a hundred failed attempts.

So where the hell have I been for the last three weeks?

August 20, 2014 - August 25, 2014 Tri-College Identity, Equity, and Social Justice Institute

Coming from an international community, I know that many of us like to think we're such worldly people having lived abroad for so long. We're aware that our socio-economic status gives us privilege, but we join charities that open our eyes to the problems of the real world, so that makes us cultured people, right? Well I hate to break it to you, but it really doesn't.

(an interesting topic to look into would be "white man's burden")

Though I cannot speak for all the international kids out there, from my own experience, I would have to say that I was stuck in the international bubble. After eight years in Beijing, China, I still cannot tell you anything about the local life, except for my brief trips to rural villages as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, and my love for 煎饼.

Tri-Co was such an eye-opening experience for me. Until now, I did not fully grasp what diversity encompassed. Until now, I thought that my high school, composed of students from different countries, was diverse, though most of us were just middle/upper class, heterosexual, cis-gendered, able-bodied, American born Somethings. Who knew there were so many ways you could categorize social identity? (race, ethnicity, nationality, socio-economic class, age, biological sex, sexual orientation, gender, religion/spiritual affiliation, physical/emotional/developmental ability, first language)

What I was most amazed by was how open everyone was about themselves. Stories were shared revealing the most vulnerable parts of us, and though through tears, we knew we were in a safe environment. Nay, not just safe, but liberating!

(an interesting topic to think about would be "tolerance vs. acceptance")

At least in the groups I was in, the two most passionately discussed topics were of cultural appropriation and microaggressions. What do you think?

There was so, so, so much more that we talked about, but I guess after five 12-hour days, you couldn't expect any less. I remember one lunch-time conversation towards the end of the program in which we voiced how grateful we were to be surrounded by people with so much substance, who had endured so much, who had overcome so much, who were concerned about things that mattered. And we were nervous about what these meaningful conversations would evolve into once everyone else trickled in for freshman orientation. Would we gradually return to meaningless smalltalk, trying to get to know someone, but never getting there? We'll see how it goes.

"The days are long, but the years are short." -The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
(a book recommended to me by fellow ISB Tri-Co Kevin)

The program has ended, but I really feel like I'm just beginning.

Tri-Co at Swarthmore College, photo credit Bobby 

August 27, 2014 - September 1, 2014 Customs Week

To be honest, it was all a blur.

I am housed in Brecon, which is the furthest dorm. Furthest from what? you ask. From everything!! It's literally the campus on one side, a road, and Brecon on the other side, so we like to joke and say that we have off-campus housing. The dining halls are on the opposite end of campus, so every morning I make the trek (well, depending on whether I decide I need food more or sleep more). The one thing we are close to is the gym, so hopefully that'll be motivation to pop by there more often. Maybe with all these obstacles in the way, the freshman fifteen will have a harder time catching up to me.

The point is, because of this, friends hardly ever come down to Brecon to visit us, though they say they will. Breconites bond over this hardship, and so from what I've been told, we are usually a tight-knit group. This time around it's a little different though. Athletes arrived on campus first (many housed in Brecon), then came the Tri-Co students (majority housed in Brecon), then the international first-years, then the domestic first-years, and then everyone else. Because of this, we felt a separation before Customs even started. We still don't even recognize everyone on our floor, which is pretty sad. On the bright side, this is not the case for the other Customs groups, so everyone else is getting along fine. I guess Brecon is just weird. I remember thinking that I just wanted classes to start already.

September 2, 2014 + Classes start
So THAT'S what I've been up to lately. I've kept busy running around trying to figure out what I want to do and what I want to join, but I know that it'll only get busier from here once the workload piles up. I feel like I've been at summer camp for the last three weeks. I hope that it doesn't stop feeling like this, because I'm more curious to learn in this situation, but on the other hand, I know that I'll be easily swept away by extra-curricula and forget that I'm here for the academics.

Now you're all caught up with me, but I've been out of touch with high school school friends, the blogosphere, everything, so tell me what's up in the comments below! How's it going for y'all?

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