The neat thing about being a black, first-year Banter-Blogger-by-chance is the unique, fully-curated experience I’m able to offer. I adore personal narrative, and while my experience may not be echoed by other Bryn Mawr students or even fellow people of color who exist in Bryn Mawr’s spaces, I would dance at any chance to (reflect on? journal? archive?) myself and my experiences, etched forever into institutional memory.
Much like the complex elements of my identity, my feelings about Bryn Mawr are nuanced. I look at the easily-charmed, moon-eyed eighteen year old I was in August and have difficulty recognizing / reconciling her with the lovingly-critical eighteen year old I am now. I hadn’t realized then that my habit of over-idealizing could possibly extend to the change of scenery I was just eager to get, regardless of my firm belief in criticism as a healthy force with an unfit name. Just by being in the space I’m learning to recognize that complexity and criticism extend to places, too — that there are things I don’t have to love coexisting with things that I owe my growth to.
I found fondness in unlikely places. I received word that I was housed in Brecon and expected to hate it but only hated it for certain, very unexpected reasons. I expected to love certain spaces that I ended up never entering and found my place in responsibilities I didn’t anticipate having. I found excitement where there wasn’t previously. I may change my intended major to things I never considered. I’ve made some of the sweetest friends here, threaded together with memories that make me laugh upon reflection. And honestly, I should have known from the moment I visited the college I had previously dismissed, rooted in Philly Local Lenses and ideas about the out-of-character area I grew up near.
A note to those for whom Bryn Mawr was always their dream or was an unexpected additional application, for prospective students, committed ones, or even ones who are here, disheartened to some extent by dissonance: you don’t have to love everything about the spaces you’re in, and things may work out in ways you would have never imagined.
So, without further ado, here’s an informal and unexpected reflection in the form of lame reviews. (A lame attempt at creating laughter for myself.)
I ordered the Tri-College Identity, Equity, and Social Justice Starter Pack in August of 2016, expecting fruitful guidance for activism. To my lack of knowledge the product requires you
to assemble the pieces yourself Ikea-style and translate the instructions from a dead language. Many hours were spent with frustration, emptied energy reserves and a visual headache, but the final product (though always somewhat unfinished) was rewarding regardless. Would recommend for the strong of heart.
The release of Bryn’s new EP “Customs Week” features sounds from high-energy to poorly-sustained noise, hit singles like “Baby Blues,” “Eduroaming (Around Campus),” and “Yellin’ For Athena’s Mercy” painting themes of exhaustion and estrangement and summer camp colored vibes. Overall very loud and restless. Not ideal for lovers of solitude, introverts, or those prone to following their own rhythm.
Product was not as pictured — arrived in late October without the lantern and rain-stained? Very poor preparation despite the beautiful packaging and magic moments. I eventually received a refund (complete with the lantern this time) and came away with charming apple cider packets from the festivities, thanks to the lovely service I was offered.
Dimensions of Diversity
Placed my faith in the updated Social Justice Starter Pack free-trial and was very pleased with the product I received! Was very durable and reliable and arrived with heartfelt notes holding words of encouragement. Not fully assembled, but the instructions were easier to follow and in a language I understood. With this product I feel as though I’m capable of applying what I learned to the activism I want to create for my community; very, very happy with this product, and would without a doubt recommend to those who are interested!!
Amazing service despite having been sworn to secrecy. May depend on the server you receive and the company you surround yourself with, but my personal experience was flavored and made with love.
Hidden menu treasures at reasonable prices (but only for the first year of service.) Would recommend with caution, as the taste is not for everyone.
Only came in white and one-size-fits-all, though the product pictured appeared available in a variety of colors and sizes. Would have preferred more options, but I was fortunate enough to be able to shape the item to what I had imagined with some easy embroidery and splashes of color. I very much appreciated that the product arrived with cherry-flavored sweets dusted in pink sugar as compensation, which I thought was a charming touch. Wished this hadn’t been necessary, but with some simple changes it’s possible to mold the fabric to capture your authenticity. Now, because of my persistence, I would not return it for the world, as it’s one of my favorite staple pieces and holds a special place in my wardrobe.
From missing lanterns to days full of pink sugar, I hope these reviews captured a piece of my first-year experience in full color, in the variations I created to make room for myself in Bryn Mawr’s various quirks & traditions. Among moments of hardship (as there always are) I’m really happy that I was able to mold my year to accommodate myself, with the help of friend-love and a little island magic. Bryn Mawr may not always be for me in the ways that I imagine, but there’s comfort in the knowledge that I can make my experience my own (in resistance, in empowering community, and in the ways that count.)