Posts Tagged ‘college’

I Love Bryn Mawr

Hey little monsters, how’re you doing?

What new topic am I going to be talking about today?

I’m going to talk about choosing your college! Everyone, put your hands together in the least sarcastic way possible!

No, seriously. Do it or I’ll cut you.

Ha ha. Just joking.

Ha ha. Just joking.

Okay, now that you’re all gone, I’m going to actually start talking about colleges. Because college is cool, kids. And no, I didn’t write that just because it’s alliterative.

But which college? If you’re anything like my high school friends, you’ll have applied to the top twenty colleges on Forbes list and based your entire self-worth on the results, you’ll have a truly impressive list of extracurriculars that supposedly make you seem like less of a cardboard cutout of a human being, and you’ll have no idea what’s going to happen next. If you’re not like my friends, you’ll still have no idea what happens next, because all of high school seems like one huge race to get to the finish line and you finally made it.

I got bad news for you, little monsters: the race ain’t over. Finishing the first one just guarantees you entry into the next, so you better pick a good track.

(How much further can I push this metaphor?)

Don't even try it

Don't even try it.

Okay, okay. Sheesh.

You’re going to be doing a lot of visits to colleges in the next few months, if you haven’t already started. All of them are going to be good, but good is not good enough – your college has to be AWESOME. It has to make you feel like this:

Look, Simba. Everything the light touches is our kingdom.

Look, Simba. Everything the light touches is our kingdom.

That’s it. That’s all you need. You can look at the opportunities you’ll get or the amazing departments they have, or talk to the brilliant people there, but in the end, it all just adds up to this: you need to be excited for college. Because high school is behind you and in front of you is your adult life and you need to want it more than anything.

And finally, I’ll leave you with some pictures I took of Bryn Mawr (please excuse my poor photography):

Bryn Mawr, Spring 2009

The view from my window

Muchos ♥,
your friendly neighborhood supergoddess


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Oh my, it has been a long time. This blog has faded even further into obscurity, & I’ve forgotten how to write posts.

Catching up on my life: I’ve long since graduated from high school and am happily settled in as a member of the Class of 2013 at Bryn Mawr College. I embarrassed myself in front of my entire graduating class & their parents, went skinny-dipping in the cloisters (but failed, because there was no water), & dyed my hair purple. I’ve slept in my underwear in a pile of girls (the joys of an all-women’s college…) & had my first big embarrassing crush on an upperclassman! Two, actually – I’m ahead of the curve.

What I’m doing now: Getting ready for Halloween, yoga, 6 AM wakeups, making friends, eating ice cream until my stomach bursts.

All of this is fairly unimportant of course – the real purpose of this blog, started only ten posts & a few years ago, was to talk about senior year & hold onto memories. Well, I kind of failed miserably at that, but I don’t want to give up this blog entirely, since I do enjoy talking (& talking & talking…).

So I thought I’d start today by talking about college. Transitioning into college can be a big, scary thing, whether you live a few miles or a few days away. Me, I come from California, so I’ve travelled over 5000 miles to Bryn Mawr &, no lie, it’s been a little freaky.

Most colleges offer free counseling services. Use them. Everyone needs someone to talk to, someone who they don’t see in social situations who they can tell all sorts of embarrassing, personal things. (I’m something of an oversharer myself.) Even if you think you’re totally fine & healthy, it doesn’t matter, because one day you might not be; one day, you might just need someone outside to talk to, & you’re going to need a starting point. If you’re not comfortable with the counselor you’re seeing, find someone else – counseling sessions are a free ticket to focusing completely & totally on yourself. Be as self-centered & indulgent as you want, because it will only help you in the long run.

Freshmen year is super important for making friends. I’m not saying that you’ll meet your platonic lover on the first day, or that who you’re joined with at the hip now is who you’re going to be sharing BFF rings with at the end of the year, but don’t start the year off in your room. Put yourself out there. Smile a lot. Be sincere, even if it’s hard. Be friendly & helpful. Leave your metaphorical & literal doors open*.

But at the same time, if you’re anything like me, getting your own space is a high, high priority. Roommates can make your room louder or busier than you might like, & you’ve gotta find some time to sit back, kick off your fabulous heels, & chill. My roommate has class at 11 AM, so I eat lunch in my room with the door closed while listening to my iPod or watching a movie. Go for long walks – they’ll help you decompress & prevent the horrors of the freshman fifteen (which has recently been upgraded to the freshman fifty!).

Decorate. Part of having your own space is that it has to be about you. Maybe you & your roommate have totally opposite tastes, in which case you can take secret glee in making your respective halves look as different as possible. I have Johnny Depp & Ed Norton; she’s got rainbow-colored ducks & crazy flowers. It doesn’t have to be only your room too – I bought a cute planner from working class studio at the beginning of the summer, & I’ve been drawing in it all year & writing myself quotes that make me smile. Have some fun with yourself.

I leave you all with one of my favorite quotes which I’m trying to apply to the whole of my college experience, not to mention my life:

Be strong; believe in freedom & in God; love yourself; understand your sexuality; have a sense of humor; masturbate; don’t judge people by their religion, color, or sexual habits; love life & your family.

♥, Madonna

Muchos ♥,
your friendly neighborhood supergoddess

* if you’re having trouble with this, you might want to try reading Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends And Influence People. He uses this primarily for business, but it’s incredibly helpful on a daily interaction level too.

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“Melody, what is this?” you ask. “You promised to document senior year with faith, truth, and honesty, yet weeks go by between each post, and those weeks are filled with silence. How can we live without your wonderful witticisms, your scintillating snark, your incredible English?”

That is because, dear reader, when it comes to updates and blogs, senior year is filled with radio silence.

“That’s okay,” you say. “We don’t really need you anyway. You’re not that interesting. No one reads this blog anyway.”

I’m sorry, I can’t quite hear you over the cheering of my loyal fans.

As the first semester of senior year draws to a close, I felt that it was time to share several observations that I’ve made. Everyone loves them.

  • Disney lies. High school is not a time of eternal auditions, random outbursts of song, basketball stars, and dancing in the rain. SATs exist and they are deadly. Colleges do not beg for your attendance, unless your name is indeed Troy Bolton, in which case you should probably avoid being photographed in a sex shop.
  • Your college counselor is lying to you. You do not have the 4.6 GPA, the sixteen APs, the 400 hours of community service, and the 10 extracurriculars. You will never go to any college except a community college, and you will die alone and friendless, shivering in a box with tame rats all around you.
  • Your teachers do not care about how many college apps you need to work on because you should have done them during the summer. They will assign you research essays, they will assign you 60-page readings, they will assign you cumulative tests. And they do not care if you cry.

So in conclusion: do not trust Disney, do not trust your college counselor, and do not trust your teachers.

Trust only in me, your friendly neighborhood supergoddes

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Friday night I tucked myself into bed, planning a day full of productivity and writing the next day. I planned to have all my college applications at least drafted by Monday, which meant that this weekend I had to write 7 to 8 essays on why _____ was my dream college.

“No problem!” I told myself. “I’ll just cancel Art class in the morning and work all day. It’ll be great. It won’t be like last time, when I woke up at noon and spent about six hours reading blogs.”

At this point my mom told me to stop talking to myself and sleep already.

Saturday Morning, 9 AM

I woke up, grabbed my phone, and told my art teacher that I wouldn’t be able to make it that day or on Monday, but would instead come on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday to make up for it.

“It’s okay,” he said. “I understand. College is very important.”

“Excellent!” I said. “I’ll see you on Monday.”

I hung up the phone. At this point the dinosaurs came in through the wall, but I turned over and went back to sleep.

At 10, my phone rang.

“Where are you?” my art teacher asked. “You’re late.”

“Didn’t I call?” I mumbled into the phone. “I’m not coming today.”

“No, you didn’t call,” he said. “Why?”

“College applications are eating me alive.”

“No they aren’t,” he said briskly. “But you sound asleep. I guess it’s too late for you to get here. You should have called.”

“I did!” I protested. “I called at 9, I was responsible.”

“No one was in at 9,” he told me. “Go back to sleep. You sound like a crazy person.”

I told him about the phone call. I told him what he had said. I told him about the dinosaurs. It was at this point I realized that dinosaurs do not normally come through the walls of suburban homes, and admitted that maybe I had dreamed it up after all.

I attempted to go back to sleep. Note how there was by now a little bit less than two hours to noon. I could sleep until 11 AM! That completely counted as getting up early.

“Wake up,” my mom said at 10:15 AM. “Go walk the dog. Why are you still asleep?”

I pointed out how it was now vacation, that it was Saturday morning, that I was exercising my rights as a seventeen year old to sleep in.

She pointed out how it was 10:15 AM and I had promised to walk Max, and that it wasn’t her fault that I had chosen to sleep at 3 AM, and that Max needed to pee. When I looked over the foot of my bed, Max was indeed sitting there with his “I need to pee” face on.

Saturday Afternoon, 12:30 PM

I came to the conclusion that what I really needed was a way to organize the notecards for my novel. If I was going to be the next great American novelist by the time I was twenty, then clearly I would need some way to keep track of all my brilliant ideas. Some of these brilliant ideas looked something like this:

D + W’s parents had a TORRID LOVE AFFAIR when they were young! Now Mom is setting off to find Dad’s killer and abandoning her children! Shame, Mom, shame. BANANAS ARE IMPORTANT. BREAKFAST!!!!

Please remember that I wrote some of these at 2 AM. Bananas and breakfast are indeed mentioned in the novel.

I finally managed to get to Office Depot and buy a pretty blue notecard organizer. I then managed to spend about twenty minutes writing up dividers for the sections and organizing my notecards into something logical.

“There!” I declared. “Now I can really get to work on my college applications!”

For the next four hours, I read Maureen Johnson’s blog. Everyone should read her blog; she is witty and clever and hilarious and charming, and she is rapidly becoming my hero. People should not read her blog when they should be writing essays.

Saturday Afternoon, 4:30 PM

“So I’m watching the season finale of Merlin,” said Lily Jones. Her real name is not “Lily Jones” and has very little to do with either lilies or Joneses. “It is great, I want to tell you all about it.”

“Hush your wittering, woman,” I said sternly. “I am working very hard on my college essays! This blog is absolutely fascinating, how did I ever manage to survive without a dose of Maureen Johnson’s wonderful commentary every few weeks. My life was sad and desolate without her, and so is your life. I should link you to it right now.”

“You said that about Merlin,” Lily Jones said.

“Colin Morgan is a fine, fine man,” I said. “I like his ears.”

“Let me rant at you,” Lily Jonesl said. “I need to share my love of Merlin.”

At this point, realization struck.

(a) It was 4:30 PM
(b) I had yet to even open up a blank Word document
(c) I had to write the outline for a research paper
(d) The outline was due yesterday

“I cannot talk now!” I yelped. “I must write! My teacher will cut my head off and bury it ten feet from my body and salt my bones and burn them!”

“What, at the same time?” Lily Jones asked.

Yes,” I said and signed off of AIM.

Saturday Afternoon, 5:00 PM

I read more of Maureen Johnson’s blog. Neither outlines nor essays were being written.

I wish this were an isolated occurence, but it really, truly, is not. I am a procrastinating fool who is absolutely fascinated by the online phenomenon of the blog, and cannot tear myself away when I find someone who is fantastic and intelligent and funny. It will be my downfall, I am sure.

Will I ever write my college essays? Or will the Procrastinator get me tomorrow! Stay tuned…

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My school invites college counseling representatives to come and talk to interested students, saving some time with the entire college visiting process. One of them, Smith, an all women’s college with a liberal arts curriculum, informed me that they now consider the SATs optional.

Which is all well and great, but they’re a liberal artsy fartsy New Age hippie school. What a preposterous idea, getting rid of the SATs! How else will the colleges be able to rank us at a single glance? How else will we judge our own academic standing and measure our self-worth?

William Fitzsimmons was quoted saying:

“Society likes to think that the SAT measures people’s ability or merit. But no one in college admissions who visits the range of secondary schools we visit, and goes to the communities we visit – where you see the contrast between opportunities and fancy suburbs and some of the high schools that aren’t so fancy – can come away thinking that standardized tests can be a measure of someone’s true worth or ability.” [Source]

William Fitzsimmons? Who’s THAT? Some guy who has no idea about how the college admissios process REALLY works?

Well, for one thing, he’s the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Harvard University.

Food for thought, right?

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Here’s a tip! If you’re writing your college application essay, don’t go somewhere – well, distracting.

A friend and I decided to meet up at the library to work on our essays and supplements and try to get ahead on the nightmare that is the Common App. Then we noticed the beautiful park that the library sits next to, and ended up wandering out to the fountain and sitting on a bench. The grass was green, the sky was blue, the sun was warm. Across the pond was another pair of girls, talking and laughing. Tranquil, peaceful, and just the right kind of atmosphere to work, right?

Then the first pigeon landed. My friend’s immediate response was to curl up into a ball shrieking while I clutched her shoulder and attempted not to spit water all over her as I struggled to restrain my laughter.

But then another pigeon landed. And another. And then about forty pigeons came at us at once, milling at our feet and bobbing their heads, their beady eyes expectant. Clearly they had been classically conditioned to expect food (see, Dr Schatz? I DO know the material!) when people sat down at the park benches.

Well, aside from the teeming avian pit of disease at our feet, things were going great. We were booting up our laptops and trying to avoid meeting each other’s eyes for fear of laughing again, determined to get our essays at least started.

And then the ducks arrived.

A little threesome waddled out of the water. The female dove straight into the crowd of pigeons, emerging triumphantly with a crumb in her bill. The two males followed her, quacking at any pigeon who might dare attack their lady love. At one point, the female duck snatched a crumb straight out of a pigeon’s beak, and chased it for about ten feet, herding it towards the water.

At this point, my friend and I just about lost it. Holding each other up, we laughed for about ten minutes until the pigeons and ducks realized no more food would be arrived and sulked away. Then, clutching our ribs, we walked back to the library, realizing that no more work could be done out here.

Moral of the story? Stay away from birds.

I forgot to mention this last night, but Students 2.0 is a place everyone should check out. The blurb on their About Us says: We are students: the ones who come to school every day, raise our hands with safe questions, and keep our heads down. Except, now we have a voice—a strong voice—to share our ideas through a global network. What they really do is talk about being a student in today’s high-pressure culture, the good and bad about the American education system, and raise issues both in and outside of school that they feel should be addressed. Worth a check out at the very least; there are some fabulous writers on the blog.

Mucho ♥,
your friendly neighborhood supergoddess

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