I knew May of my senior year would be busy, but I don't think anyone can prepare a Mawrtyr for the onslaught of constant deadlines and activities. In a few short weeks, I turned in my senior thesis (!), completed the rest of my finals in a grueling 5-day timeline, started a new post-grad job, celebrated May Day, participated in senior week, packed up my room, graduated college (!), and moved into my new apartment in Philadelphia.
While May has been a frenzy of activity, I've now had a few moments to catch my breath and decompress. Cliché or not, I've come to the conclusion that I wouldn't have done the past four years any other way. I applied to Bryn Mawr on a whim, but my decision to enroll was one of the most validating and rewarding I've ever made. Coming from a rural public high school, adjusting to this newfound academic rigor wasn't always easy, but Bryn Mawr pushed me to a fuller, more realized potential. I made friends from around the globe, booked concerts, started a band, began graduate coursework early through a combined AB/MA degree program, had rewarding internships and jobs, curated a film series, learned a lot, and had a whole lot of fun along the way. Like any institution, Bryn Mawr isn't perfect, but for me, it was exactly what I needed in that moment.
The Commencement speech Terry Gross gave was poignant for many reasons, although none of them in the trite way one might expect. She spoke about college providing students an opportunity to break away from roles and expectations bestowed upon you. In turn, so is graduation. It's a moment to critically reflect upon the type of person you want to be versus the type of person you've been expected to be. I'm butchering her prose, but her earnestness resonated with me. Bryn Mawr provided me with a space that I felt I could really be myself, for perhaps the first time in my life. I think that sentiment is true amongst many of my peers.
To be honest, I'm a little sad to leave Bryn Mawr, but I also feel very ready to leave. I'm excited for my next adventure, which includes full-time employment in Philadelphia and a cute new pup for a roommate. But Bryn Mawr won't be totally eradicated from my life--I'll be on campus sporadically while I wrap up my MA in History of Art through Bryn Mawr's AB/MA program. But for now, my lantern is unpacked and my IKEA furniture is assembled. I guess it's time to move on to the next.
Without further adieu, Anassa Kata 2014!