I can’t remember the moment I first heard Patti Smith. It was probably as a child while playing with the matte board cutter at my dad’s frameshop (it was safer than it sounds). Yet she didn’t come into prominence until I was in 6th or 7th grade. That’s when I would scour the Internet to find more female musicians to obsess over. I’d grown up with No Doubt and Hole, but I had always wanted more. My only prerogative was that they were female and had some edge to them. I remember finding troves of musicians on random LiveJournals dedicated to these women. Somewhere in there I found Patti.
While in college at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, my mom saw Patti right after Horses had come out. So when it was announced she would be performing at Bryn Mawr, it seemed like a perfectly circular experience to share with my mother.
As one can expect, Patti was amazing. I was fortunate enough to have friends save me a seat directly front row center. I was three feet away from her the whole evening. Her set was equal parts reading from her memoir, answering questions, and acoustic performance. She closed with an acapella sing-a-long to “Because the Night” that was, in a word, amazing.
I am so lucky to be part of a college community that values the profound contributions Patti Smith has made not only in music, but in society and culture at large. Instead of independently searching the Internet for (s)heros as a lonely middle schooler, I now belong to a vibrant campus of future Patti Smiths. It may sound trite, but it’s days like these I am so very happy to be a Mawrter.
I’m not really one for resolutions. I mean, they’re just a ploy for people to buy gym memberships, right? Regardless, 2013 felt different than years past. Maybe it’s because this is the year I could’ve graduated.
After high school I deferred my admission to Bryn Mawr in favor of a gap year. I had worked hard in high school and wanted a little time to explore other areas (working, living in a city, interning, etc) before jumping into college. I loved my experience and wouldn’t trade it for anything, but it seems a little bittersweet now that my original graduation year has rolled around.
As fate would have it, my closest Bryn Mawr friends are in my original graduation year. While I may still linger on until 2014, they won’t. I feel sort of caught in the crosshairs as part of me graduates and the other stays behind. In the fall I, somewhat jokingly, coined this my “jaded junior” phase. But as the days grow longer and Hell Week looms closer, I’m feeling more at peace with this division in my Bryn Mawr experience. It’s time for me to carve a new path for myself as a soon-to-be senior and further decipher what mark I want to leave on this place.
Well, it’s certainly been a minute, hasn’t it? While finals were their usual sprint to the finish, my winter break was also a bit all over the place. In the span of three weeks, my travel went something like this: Philly, New York, Maine, Chicago, Philly, New York, Philly.
With a dad in Chicago, a mom in New York, a grandmother in Maine, and early classes in Philly, I’m lucky I was able to laze around as much as I did (which is the only real purpose of winter break, amirite?). Aside from catching up on the Real Housewives of Atlanta, I applied to a couple internships, reworked my resume, cleaned out my Chicago closet a little, and finally finished a book I was reading for pleasure throughout the semester.
While I was certainly busy this finals season, I must admit it wasn’t as bad as semesters past. All the same, I found myself spending plenty of nights strapped to my laptop. But just as I hit the hardest hurdle of finals, I got word that I was mentioned in the Goshka Macuga exhibition catalog I assisted with over the summer during my internship at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago! Another fun break was my dorm’s annual tradition of staging a festive holiday photo, not to mention Done is Good tea! For non-Mawrtyrs, Done is Good is an end-of-the-semester tradition where students create finals to-do lists complete with candy rewards for every accomplishment. It’s a nice way to bond over the last push, not to mention indulge in plenty of sugar.
finals feast complete with simultaneous paper writing, netflixing, drinking, and eating.
After my whirlwind Thanksgiving trip to Maine I spent a few days detoxing in Philly. I love being in cities during the holiday season, especially such walkable and neighborhoody ones like Philly. The four weeks before winter break were a mad dash of writing and researching so it was nice to get a little bit of downtime beforehand.
For the first time in my three years at Bryn Mawr I was able to spend Thanksgiving with my family. While Chicago isn’t so far away (only a three hour flight), I could never justify making such a short trip home. While I was always lucky to be able to go home with friends who lived a little closer, it still wasn’t quite the same. But, in a nice twist of faith, I was able to spend the holiday in rural Maine with my grandmother and parents. It’s quite a trek to get to Maine (hour-long flight to Boston + four hour drive to the Midcoast), but any time I’m able to spend with my 93-year-old grandmother is worth it to me.
You know someone's a big deal when she has her own Tumblr meme
My first year at Bryn Mawr I had the pleasure of attending a paneled discussion at Penn’s Kelly Writers Huse featuring Kathleen Hanna, Sara Marcus, Katty Otto, and Beth Warshaw-Duncan. While fawning over Hanna, my middle school idol, I was also introduced to Katy Otto, a pillar of Philadelphia’s independent music scene and my newest shero (that’s a female hero, fyi).
A recent assignment for my journalism class served as the perfect opportunity for me to pick Otto’s brain a little. We met up at West Philly’s Satellite Café where we discussed trans-inclusive spaces, listening to Tori Amos in our teenage bedrooms, and what it means to be 35 and still in a “girl band.”
The article was published on our class blog, the English House Gazette. Read on.
Mary Beth Edelson, Bringing Home the Evolution, 1976
Early November began with two monumental events: hearing Gloria Steinem speak and voting in my first presidential election. Meanwhile, in my feminist art seminar, I’ve been conducting independent research on Mary Beth Edelson’s amazing collages. It was the culmination of Gloria, Barack, and Mary Beth that filled me with an overwhelming sense of duty and purpose. Suffice to say, this November I’ve been working on bringing home the evolution. Continue reading →
Autumnal charms aside, this October also finished with a vengeance.
First and foremost, the month culminated in my dorm’s annual fête, the legendary Radnor Halloween. This year was a great success with plenty of students from the Tri-Co and beyond (Drexel, Temple, etc). I also got to sport my costume at some events in Philadelphia to much acclaim (I went as Maeby Fünke from Arrested Development).
However this October did go a bit rogue. After Hurricane Irene’s underwhelming appearance on campus last fall, I wasn’t terribly worried about Sandy. While it seems devastation struck everywhere else, Bryn Mawr fared quite well with only a few downed trees and about 19 hours of lost power. The silver lining? A two-day hurrication. Continue reading →