My Journey to Becoming Traditions Mistress

If you’ve taken a look at my “Get to know me!” section of my blog recently, you might have noticed some things that are missing. The Acabellas and Greasepaint Productions are no longer there, and that’s because I’ve stepped down from my roles as Music Director and Board Member, respectively. If I have emailed you recently, you will have noticed that they have been removed from my email signature, as well.  But why? They are both things I love and appreciate, and they have been integral to my college experience … why would I step down?

Conducting the Acabellas at the annual Extreme Keys Festival … I’ll miss it!

I am happy to let you, dear readers, know that the student body of Bryn Mawr College has recently elected myself and my good friend Serena Gonzalez as the future Traditions Mistresses to the college. This role holds a lot of responsibility, and it is something that we do not take lightly. But how did we get here? Why did I want to become a Traditions Mistress? Well, to find out, we have to do some time traveling my freshman year of high school.

 

Serena and I at this year’s May Day! Even though we were just elected, we still had lots to do!

My freshman year of high school, there was a student whom I admired greatly. Her name was Catherine Bunza. (She and I actually were in a show together, Stage Door.) She was smart, funny, incredibly motivated, but above all, kind. She was a huge role model for me throughout my first year.

Catherine and I during my Lantern Night!

Then, Catherine announced she would be attending this little school called Bryn Mawr College. I vividly remember her wearing a dark blue sweatshirt that said “MAWRTYR” on it many days we had rehearsal together or would see each other in the halls.

While I was back home in Ridgewood, I watched her post so many amazing things about BMC on Facebook and Instagram. And then, during my senior year of high school she was named the next Traditions Mistress of the college. Little did I know at the time, that would plant a seed of desire that would grow for three years. I visited Bryn Mawr my junior year, and I LOVED learning about the traditions on the very first tour I took.

Here’s a photo of me that’s hanging up in the Admissions Office – a few years ago I was a scared student touring, and now I’m telling students all about my favorite traditions while my face is LITERALLY on a wall inside the office building!

I remember my very first day at Bryn Mawr. I was tired from moving in, and I was feeling a little homesick. But then, I was ushered into Goodhart Theatre and sat there watching the president of the Alumnae Association welcome us into the personhood that was the legacy of Bryn Mawr College. And then, these two upperclassmen, Leah and Britt, introduced themselves as the Traditions Mistresses.

These two were SO COOL and put together. They lead us throughout the year through Parade Night, Lantern Night, WTF Week, and May Day. They were smart, funny, motivated, and kind. (Seeing a pattern?) (Also, as a fun fact, Leah is my HA on Pem West 2nd this year.) This year, Kayleigh and Annika are the Traditions Mistresses. They are, and say it with me this time, funny, motivated, and kind. That seed continued to grow and grow and grow.

I joined the Traditions Committee this year, and had made up my mind around December that I wanted to run for Traditions Mistress. I found out over a dinner celebration that Serena also wanted to run. We both screamed in excitement, while our good friends Owen and Jackie just looked at each other.

We made posters, Serena campaigned for the both of us while I was in the Spotlight show I previously wrote about, and we hoped for the best. We wanted it so badly, but as a political science major, I respect the theory of democracy. Whomever the student body wanted, that’s who would be elected, and I can’t change that. An election is an election.

Our posters! (Side note: I have found a love for graphic design making these posters.)

My mother will tell you that I have a bad habit of talking myself out of my possible successes. “I won’t get it,” “They won’t choose me,” “I should just quit, it won’t be good enough,” are my go-to phrases. It’s what I was texting her during the election period, which were the longest three days of my life.

And then, at around 11:02 pm on April 16, Serena and I got an email that we had received the majority of the votes, and we would be the college’s next Traditions Mistresses. I can confirm it was 11:02 pm, because we both immediately called each other at the exact same time as soon as the email reached our inbox. We both screamed (softly, because of dorm quiet hours,) and talked about how excited we were. (If you haven’t been able to tell, Serena and I do a lot of excited screaming together.)

Leah, Britt, Kayleigh and Annika have been incredible, fast friends and mentors to Serena and myself, already. Any questions we have they immediately answer. Our group chat we have made is full of anticipation, laughter, and love. Since there are only two Traditions Mistresses per academic year, the number of them is small. So, it makes it easier to connect with others and create a strong bond with each other.

It is still a little bit of a shock to me. It is an absolute honor and privilege to help facilitate traditions here at Bryn Mawr College. I do not take the responsibility lightly. I understand how special they are to so many generations of students, both former and current, and how much they mean to so many people. I know this, because traditions mean the world to me. I have named my lantern, I am best friends with my Rose from WTF Week, and I live for screaming songs during Step Sing. One of the most integral parts to Bryn Mawr are the traditions we have. Over a century of students have participated in these traditions, literally. That is incredibly unique and special, and no other school has that same community and bond that we have, which traditions helps to cultivate.

Here’s a photo of me in The Cloisters, where Lantern Night takes place.

(As a little fun fact, I am a tour guide at the college now, and the longest [and favorite] part of my tour has consistently been talking about the traditions we have here. All of my tour guides did such a great job of explaining them, and I am happy to repay the favor a few years later. I love seeing prospective students’ faces light up when I explain Lantern Night or Parade Night.)

I know some of the students of the Class of 2023 will be reading this. Baby Greens, I am so excited to lead you through your traditions, if you choose to participate in them. Traditions are one of my favorite parts of my Bryn Mawr journey, and I hope they will be to you too.

Here’s to you, 2023! See you soon! (This was taken at this year’s May Day!)

This week’s music recommendation is “Thumping” by Kim Min Seung from one of my favorite KDramas, “She was Pretty.” It’s my favorite song to walk to while its a sunny day on campus! I hope this week brings you joy, bliss, and the start of a new, fruitful journey.

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