5 Tips for Summer Self-Care

Hello hello! It’s me again! Your lovely, summer Banter Blogger! I hope your summers have been treating you well. Summers can be relaxing, but they also can be super duper stressful if you’re working on research, in an internship, a job, etc. So, just because the academic year is not in swing, it doesn’t mean you can’t do some self care! My personal favorite form of self care is skin care. I LOVE skin care!
I tend to rub and pick my face when I’m thinking, stressed, or even just bored. I noticed this my first year at Bryn Mawr, so I decided to do a little bit of research about how I should be treating my skin, and I developed a little routine that I do once a week. I have a normal routine I do, but this extensive one I do once a week on a Sunday, and I call it “Self-Care Sunday.” It’s nice to relax, treat yourself a little, and unwind before the dreaded Monday dawns.
So, the following are my Self-Care Sunday must haves and dos!

  • Play your favorite song. There is nothing better than jamming out to your favorite song and dancing like absolutely no one is watching.
  • Drink water! This seems like a no-brainer, but this is something that is super duper important. Summers are hot and sticky, and you’ll be losing lots of fluid. Take care of yourself by drinking water. Your body and stress levels will thank you! If you’re like me and you hate the taste of water (I know, I know…), put some fruit or tablets into them to mask the taste! My personal favorite fruit infusion is lemon ^_^
  • Wear a cooling eye mask. You’re losing water, right? So, that means your face is going to get puffy, including your undereyes. So, I recommend buying a cooling eye mask that you can put into the refrigerator, so when you wake up and you’re drinking coffee, you can wear it and forget it’s there while it does it’s magic. You’ll feel refreshed and wonderful.
  • Do a face mask. Whether it is a clay mask or a sheet mask, treat your skin! The air pollutants, stress, tugging, makeup and sun are a lot for our skin to handle. It deserves a little bit of extra love and care!
  • Stick to a normal skin care routine. We as people like routine, and so does our skin! Stick to a normal routine that benefits your skin, and do it on the Sunday! Taking care of your skin and taking the time for yourself can make the world of difference, in my opinion. Take the time to figure out what your skin likes, what it doesn’t like. Consult online blogs, your friends, an esthetician, but most importantly, listen to your skin!

Here is a little vlog with me doing all of the above on a Sunday to show you how it’s done: (https://www.youtube.com/embed/hV2F0hG-PPU)


This week’s music recommendation is “You, Again”, (Instrumental) by so soo bin. (All lowercase!) I hope this week (and this summer) brings you joy, bliss, and plenty of time to take the time for yourself.

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.

What I Never Thought I Would Do (And How Bryn Mawr is Helping Me Do It)

I want to take you all back to a year ago. I was sitting with my Rose, Lydia, in New Dorm Dining Hall. I had a plate of red meat, and she had a plate of legumes and greens. I stifled a giggle, and she looked at me. She knew I was laughing about the difference in our diets. Me: a proud meat eater who ate some sort of animal in every meal. Lydia: a vegan who ate whole foods and lived a healthy lifestyle. I explained to her how I simply did not get it. She said maybe I should just try it. The stifled giggle became a belly laugh. Me? Not eating meat? Hilarious.

From a favorite shakes and sandwiches places of mine back home – it’s a Mac and Cheese fried patty with hamburger meat underneath!

I have Italian, Scotch-Irish, Pennsylvania Dutch and French roots: all of the cultural cuisines contain many animals to be consumed and enjoyed. I grew up doing so. St. Patrick’s Day? A giant slab of corned beef on the table. Oktoberfest? Spaetzle and sausage. For Christmas Eve, my family always celebrated with a typical Seven Fishes Dinner. I had no limits – I loved all of it. My mother’s Easter lamb rack is particularly delicious.

Me at home ready to dump the egg noodles into the beef stroganoff that we make from a family recipe!

Recently, however, my good friend (and fellow tour guide) Anna West decided to go vegan for a month. I watched her do so, still making my ham and cheese omelette for breakfast and chicken salad for dinner. She completed her month, and I still ate many animals.

After a Saturday tour shift, Anna talked to me and another fellow tour guide, Saskia, about being vegan. I am not quite sure about how we got onto this topic, but Anna asked us if we were willing to do a challenge.

That challenge? A month of being vegan.

Saskia and I looked at each other, and then looked at our brunch plates. There was milk, eggs, sausage, bacon, and yogurt. We looked at each other again, and then sealed our fate.

“Sure!” We both said. Anna smiled, and then it all began.

The day before the challenge began, Anna drove us to Ardmore (a nearby town which the Blue Bus stops at every Saturday,) and showed us what we could eat and what we could not eat. She showed us all the delicious vegan snacks and how to read labels. Of course, we could not go to Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods every day, but it was a helpful learning experience.

A bacon cheeseburger, cheese fries and a chocolate milkshake from a burger place back home. Can’t have this anymore!

What we really needed to learn, however, was how to navigate the dining halls. Our normal meals had to completely change. We had to learn what was okay for us to eat, and what was not. Some things might be vegetarian, but they would not be vegan. Today, I went for some kimchi, and I saw on the label “vege,” not “vegan.” As it turns out, it contains anchovies.

Anna sends us a text every morning, and answers our frantic questions about what is vegan and what is not vegan. (Plain bagels are vegan, honey is not.) So far, Saskia and I are doing alright! One of us may have accidentally had some chicken today (Saskia…), but otherwise we are enjoying trying things that we would not have otherwise considered.

Thank you, Anna ^_^ (Should I tell her I don’t like avocados or…?)

New Dorm Dining Hall is rated “A” for providing for those who follow a vegan diet, and this is very helpful for my month-long adventure. The “RootED” bar that the dining hall is what I go to now. I can get beet salad, chipotle cauliflower, buffalo tofu, and so much more – all vegan (and plant based!)

From a specialty dinner at New Dorm Dining Hall that was all hummus based!

At Erdman Dining Hall, I cook tofu, broccoli, beans and edamame with soy sauce and throw on some chili powder at the stir fry stations. We are allowed to take the fresh fruit that the dining hall provides, and I find myself stealing many bananas. My family nickname of “monkey” is now starting to make a little more sense. (Bananas and peanut butter are my vice.) Erdman has a refrigerator by the coffee station that has dairy milk substitutes, as well. Almond, soy, etc. I tried the rice milk they had, and fell in love. It tastes so creamy – just like half and half!

My exhausting tech weeks used to be dairy milk filled… now they’re rice milk filled! And I’m staying awake without sacrificing the taste of coffee that I like ^_^

I am having so much fun exploring the dining halls and seeing what my next vegan meal will be. The best part? The Dining Services of Bryn Mawr make it so easy. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you are still able to eat and eat well, both in a practical and delicious sense.

Anna, Saskia and I have plans to go to vegan restaurants in Philly to get some more delicious food and vegan inspiration. We did a dramatic reading in the dining hall of one of the menus, and my mouth was watering.

Bryn Mawr is helping me stay vegan for this month. And who knows? I may be joining Lydia and Anna in the ranks of the vegans. I certainly know that Bryn Mawr will help me eat well if I continue. I’ll keep you all updated.

This week’s music recommendation comes from what I listened to today while I was standing at the stir fry station making my tofu salad: “Trampoline” by SHAED. I hope this week brings you joy, bliss, and the start of something new.

A Bi-Co Journey to Japan

This past March, I was able to travel to Japan with nine other students from the Bi-Co. “Bi-Co” is short of Bi-College Consortium, which is a unique and wonderful relationship between Haverford College and Bryn Mawr College. (Funny enough, as I was writing this, the Blue Bus which takes students for free between the schools roared by.)

The Bi-Co Buds! (Photo courtesy of Lexie Iglesia)

I applied for the opportunity to travel to Japan in the October of 2018, which involved a written essay and a recommendation. Once I received word that I had passed that step, I had to go through the interview process. A day later, I received an email that I had been hand-selected to be a participant in the Kakehashi Project. Here is a description taken from their website:

“The Japan Foundation presents the “KAKEHASHI Project – The Bridge for Tomorrow” as part of the Youth Exchange Program with North America promoted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA).The KAKEHASHI Project aims to heighten potential interest in Japan and increase the number of overseas visitors to the country, as well as enhance international understanding of the “Japan brand,” or the nation’s strengths and attractiveness, such as Japanese-style values and “Cool Japan.” The project is also anticipated to revitalize and boost the Japanese economy.”

Eating dinner with Mammie, Joe, Jess and Aszana in Tokyo!

I was so excited to get that email. I love to travel. I love to learn. To do both at the same time? Bryn Mawr was, for sure, making me the luckiest girl in the world, but here was an issue: I was the only girl I knew who was going. I was the only PERSON I knew who was going!

I walked into the very first meeting and I had no clue who anyone was. I thought I recognized someone from one of my classes, but I was not sure. I sat down at the first seat I could find, and looked down. How was I going to travel to Japan with complete strangers?

On our very last day in Tokyo, it was St. Patrick’s Day. We saw many people wearing funny Irish hats and costumes – this man asked to take a photo with me! (And asked me if my head was okay, thanks to the bandage.)

The next meeting came along. Well, actually, the next trip to the meeting came along. We were going with students from Ursinus College and Villanova University, as well, and our next meeting was at Villanova. While students are allowed to have cars on campus, none of the students on the trip from Bryn Mawr had any. So, we all piled into the back of a car belonging to someone named Joe. Apparently, he went to Haverford. He seemed nice enough, so I sat next to him during the meeting.

As it turns out, Joe is as tall as he is sweet and hilarious. Standing at what I’m guessing is 6’3″, Joe and I bonded over the fact that we knew no Japanese, but were super excited to go.

This is Joe! Joe is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. He really became my rock during the trip. We took this photo in Tokyo when we had five minutes to get some fried chicken.

A couple of us went to a Japanese marketplace in Ardmore called Maido. (The Blue Bus actually takes students to Ardmore every Saturday, so any student can go too!) We ate together and bonded over how excited we were.

Time flew by, and suddenly we were on a 12-hour flight to Japan. We could not contain our excitement! We were ready to learn, love and grow in every which way possible.

Here I am at the Kabushima Shrine with LOTS and LOTS of seagulls!

Kobayashi-sensei from Haverford went along with us, and was my saving grace during the trip. If you look at the banner photo of this blog, Lexie took that photo of me an hour before I fell and hit my head, requiring six stitches. Kobayashi-sensei stayed back with me while others traveled, comforted me, translated for me, and got to know me as a person. She learned that I was a dancer and I sing now, and also learned that I can eat an impressive amount of sushi in one sitting despite saying that I was not hungry. I’m half Italian, what can I say?

This is me and one of our coordinators, George! Kobayashi-sensei took this photo of us.

This is all of the sushi we ate!

The students from the Bi-College Consortium, or the Bi-Co Buds as we soon called ourselves, got close very quickly. We would often stay up until 3:00 AM, talking about serious issues or just funny stories from our past. We also made friends with the people from the other schools as well!

While we started the journey in Tokyo, we traveled up north by the Shinkansen (新幹線), or “bullet train” in the English vernacular, to Nanbu, an agricultural town in the northern most prefecture of Honshū, Aomori.

We were first greeted by the deputy mayor the Nanbu, and learned all about revitalizing efforts that were taking place in order to boost the agriculturally-based economy. An entrepreneur introduced the coffee shop he had founded as a part of these efforts, and we actually got to go see it and buy some of their coffee! The very same day, we were able to see the wholesale market place preparing for the auction that the farmers would be apart of. (We also got to try the most delicious strawberries I have ever tasted.)

Here is me talking about how GOOD the latte I got was! (Not a nice photo, but when you’re truly enjoying something, you’re not really thinking about how you’re posing, are you? ^_^)

This is the Nanbu Town Wholesale Market! (Photo courtesy of Lexie Iglesia)

The Bi-Co was getting closer and closer. One of our own, Miki, was being interviewed for a local TV station and we all were cheering her on.

The local Japanese News interviewing Miki Duvoisin ’21. Photo by Lexie Iglesia ’21.

We were learning more and more as the days went on. We learned about the customs, the history, but we learned most of all is that the Japanese people are incredibly kind and understanding. I wore a giant piece of gauze on my head because of my stitches, and I was asked both by strangers and our leaders how I was feeling.

Here’s the name of the coffee shop that the entrepreneur we saw started. (Photo courtesy of Lexie Iglesia)

One of the most fantastic parts of the trip was the homestay. Despite knowing no Japanese, I was able to communicate through friends who knew the languages and some guesses about the circumstances. For example, when a water jug was held up, I was pretty safe in guessing that our homestay families were asking if we wanted any water. I learned that while I may not know a language, my intuition is my best translator.

Our homestay family made us this amazing fried fish with cheese in the middle for breakfast!

The morning after our homestay, the ladies of the families dressed all the girls in kimonos!

We visited many other places, but one of my favorite moments was visiting Hachinohe Gakuin University. My friend Joe and I are both tour guides at Haverford and Bryn Mawr, respectively, and we were able to put our knowledge and love of the schools to use and explain our schools. I thought explaining what a women’s liberal arts college is would be very tricky, but a famous alumna of Bryn Mawr, Tsuda Ume, started a women’s college in Japan after her time at Bryn Mawr! (Also, as a little fun fact, she will now be on the new Japanese banknotes that will be issued in 2024.)

Here’s Joe and I talking about Haverford and Bryn Mawr – we were featured on local TV!

We also got to interact withe students with calligraphy (which I’m horrible at), origami (even worse), and lunch (pretty stellar at the whole eating thing.) At lunch, we were able to tell stories of our lives. I had watched a few live action Japanese shows, and we were able to giggle about who we thought was the most handsome man in the shows. (We disagreed on who was the most handsome, but still laughed about all of the shows.)

Here’s me and my new friend Miho!

After a few hours with them, it was time to say goodbye. We exchanged social media handles, LINE accounts, and took many photos when we headed to the bus. When we were pulling away, we saw they had lined the street to wave goodbye to us. All of the students were so kind, so funny and so welcoming — indicative of everyone I had met in Japan.

Me *trying* to do some origami with some students from Ursinus and Hachinohe Gakuin University!

The Bi-Co all would stay in the back of the bus together — talking about what we experienced and doing many freestyle rap sessions with my beatboxing “abilities.” We all became so close so quickly — we made sure when our time ended that it would not be goodbye. We all went to support Aszana at her directorial showing of the Black Students League fashion show, which Mammie was also in. I took Isaac to his first “Bryn Din,” a tradition in which Haverford students will come to Bryn Mawr’s dining halls to have a meal (since our ID cards work at each other’s dining halls.)

Our final day was spent presenting our findings to other students of the program. We presented in front of two U.S. government officials, one being Mr. Cody Walsh, a U.S foreign service officer AND Haverford alumni! It was a wonderful surprise. I was able to stand up and ask a question about the foreign service — my dream job.

So, to Koyabashi-sensei, Mammie, Jess, Jordan, Xiangruo, Lexie, Isaac, Joe, Aszana, and Miki: I am so happy to call you all my new friends. Thank you for being the people who comforted me when I got bad news from home, when I got six stitches and lost a chunk of my eyebrow. Thank you for being the people with whom I got to share many meals with, laugh with, and have one of the best experiences of my life with!

Here’s me in Tokyo!

I am not studying abroad in my undergraduate career. Bryn Mawr and Haverford offer plenty of opportunities to study and work abroad, and often will provide funding for you to be able to. Whether it be a 360° program, a summer study abroad program in France or Jordan, or even a traditional study abroad, there is plenty of opportunity to be able to experience the world we live in.

Me at a temple I had learned about in class with the head Buddhist monk of the temple!

This week’s music recommendation is what I listened to on the plane when I wanted to fall asleep. Take a listen to “It’s You” by Henry Lau. I hope this week brings you joy, bliss, and the beginning of a wonderful, new relationship.


The Journey to My Major

As I reach the end of my sophomore year, I have begun to reflect on my two years here. I have accomplished a lot here in such a short time – it has all become a sort of blur. Facebook will often bring up memories of posts and photos, and I am reminded of a variety of things I have done. From singing in concerts to late night study sessions with friends from Haverford, I have done a lot here.

If you’ve read the “Get to know me!” section of my blog (which I highly recommend … because what’s better than knowing everything about me???), you know that I am a Political Science major. The Political Science major has recently become one of the top 5 majors here at Bryn Mawr, which has me very excited. How did I get here, though? How did a girl from a family of economics and finance majors find a disdain for economics, and a adoration for political science?

My friend took this photo of me as I went on a political science tangent – I was talking for a WHILE! (It’s hard not to with something you’re passionate about!)

It all started in high school, when in my sophomore year, I managed to sneak into a Constitutional Law class that was for juniors and seniors only. I LOVED that class. I found a love for the judicial process, reading Supreme Court decisions, political theory, and so much more.

I decided to take an AP US Government and Politics class my junior year. I wanted more, and a whole year’s worth rather than a semester. AP Gov was an amazing class – I loved the curriculum, the debates. My teacher, Mr. Muro, did an incredible job of teaching that class. I found my love of politics there.

I took this photo while I was in Japan! It may not seem like it, but Pokemon actually has great political ramifications internationally! That’s my Political Science nerd talking!

My senior year, however, I decided I would try to follow in the family footsteps rather than follow my young, blooming passion for politics. I decided I would take AP Microeconomics and Macroeconomics. My family, meaning my mother, father and older brother are all incredibly well versed in this field, and I was tired of sitting at the dinner table not understanding any of the conversations that were being held. Every single night, a news story would be brought up and somehow everyone but me would be able to go off on long, but eloquent, tangents of how the “markets this” and “the stocks that.”

I quickly learned that economics was not my forte. I tried my absolute hardest, but it just was not clicking. But just because the class was difficult, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be enjoyed! In my case, however, I could not stand the material. I found no joy in learning about marginal cost or deadweight loss. They say money makes the world go ‘round? It certainly made my head spin.

So, after a full year of pure economic torture, I was able to sign up for an introductory political science class at Bryn Mawr my first semester here: “Introduction to Comparative Politics.” Taught by Professor Sofia Fenner, it quickly became the highlight of my week. And, I was finding that I had a knack for political science. I was understanding the material quickly, and I enjoyed the analysis I could do and writing papers about countries and governments. Who EVER enjoys writing papers? Me, apparently. I could not get enough.

I LOVED writing this paper about agenda-setting in late night comedy!

The next semester, I took another one of Professor Fenner’s classes: “Politics of the Modern Middle East and North Africa.” As if I could not love political science more, that class had me completely enamored. My first semester inklings were being confirmed: this might be the path for me.

Here at Bryn Mawr, you do not have to declare your major until your sophomore year. So, I wanted to be sure by taking one more political science class. It was with Professor Daniller, called “Democracy, Media and Politics.” It was my first night class, and I absolutely loved it. (The class is running again next semester – I highly recommend it!) After a little bit, I emailed Professor Fenner telling her I was ready to declare my political science major. This semester, I am back in Professor Fenner’s classroom in “Islam and Politics.” It is my first 300-level political science course, and I am loving the readings and discussions we have had.

I screenshotted this from a conversation I had with another political science major about Japan – we are such nerds, I know ^_^

During winter break, I was able to put my political science love and put it to work: I was able to shadow an alumna at her place of work in Washington, D.C. It was an incredible experience – I truly learned so much while I was there. It confirmed for me that I want to work for the government and be in D.C. If not D.C., I would love to be a foreign service officer and work for my country abroad.

Here’s me at Union Station, about to return home from my externship!

It’s been a rather straightforward road to my major. Most of my self-discovery happened in high school. It is a huge benefit that Bryn Mawr does not require you to declare your major until the end of your sophomore year – you’re able to explore and try out many things. One of my friends came in as someone on the Pre-Med track, and now is completely in love with the Growth and Structure Cities department and is majoring in that, instead. With our allowance to explore, here at Bryn Mawr, you’re able to find your true passion. (Or passions! Hence my Global Asian Studies minor.)

So, Mom, Dad, and Robert: I’m sorry that I cannot stand economics or anything to do with finance. I tried my hardest, I promise. I’ll let you all take care of that side of things. (I actually found my old economics notebook while I was home for winter break. I promptly threw it out.)

There’s nothing better than some tea, your agenda, and writing some papers – in my opinion! (My hand was totally fine ^_^)

This week’s music recommendation comes from my studying playlist, which is what I put on when I’m doing readings for all of my classes. It is called “Bluetoothpaste” by halfpastseven.  I hope this week brings you joy, bliss, and plenty of opportunity to pursue your passions.

Back in the Saddle

The last time was I in a play was in my senior year of high school. I was playing the role of Sharon Bates in “Book of Days,” a rather dark play. I learned a lot of things performing that role. I had to learn how to cry on cue; the most important thing I had to learn, however, was to be comfortable with not being the best on the stage.

This is me as Sharon Bates in “Book of Days!” (Photo by TC Geist)

One of my closest friends from high school, Michael, shared the stage with me. Michael played my son, so we shared a lot of scenes. It was ridiculously hard not to be in awe, and at times, jealous, of the talent he had. The emotions and delivery I struggled with came so naturally to him. This goes for Patricia, Aidan, Haley, Kieran, and everyone else on that stage, too. All of them are still my friends that I had admired and continue to do so. But, these were the same people whose talent would leave me driving home wondering why I had auditioned in the first place.

Me as Helena in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with my friends Patricia, Morgan, and Michael. We actually performed this in Scotland!

So, after that show’s final curtain, I decided I would not audition for a play ever again. It was a decision I kept to myself. Even my mother, whom I tell everything, will be finding out through this blog post. I had convinced myself that I was not adequate enough to handle any play material. Musicals? Maybe – I had some dancing ability in my toolbox. But plays? Absolutely not, those were off limits.

Michael and I in Naples, Italy ^_^

Or so I thought.

Last semester, I found myself missing acting – there was a true ache in my heart. I reminisced on my past roles in high school, looking through photos. I stumbled upon photos of one of my favorite productions I was in, “Our Town.” I played Mrs. Gibbs – it was the first dramatic role I ever took on. I worked extra hard during that rehearsal process. My dad was a high school theatre kid, too. He was so proud of me, he believed in me. Same goes for my mother, and even my older brother (and we know how older brothers can be.)

This is me in the final act of “Our Town,” with my friends Gabby, Cat and Molly. (Photo by TC Geist)

I remembered how when I got to Bryn Mawr and showed my friends photos of me in shows, they immediately wanted to know if I would be pursuing that here. I sheepishly would answer that I was not sure, and that was the truth. A steadfast “no more” was becoming weaker and weaker. There were so many options to do theatre here, I could really go in any direction that I wanted. Clubs that produced plays and musicals, main stage, Shakespeare, original works – my options were pretty limitless.

I told my Rose (from a Bryn Mawr tradition, WTF Week,) about my feelings – how much I missed acting and how maybe, just maybe, I was thinking about auditioning for the play. We were in our favorite Korean restaurant in Philly, Daebak, when I told her. Claire looked up at me, and put down the spoon beside her kimchi jjigae (and the mushrooms she had stolen from my tteokboki.)

Claire took this photo of me with our usual orders (the kimchi jjigae and the tteokboki.)

“Do you have the time to do that?”

“I’m honestly not sure.”

“Well, let’s figure that out first.”

“I know, I just miss it a lot. It would make me really happy.”

Fast forward a few weeks later, I found myself in a read through for the Spotlight Productions play of “Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike.” After convincing myself that I had bombed both the audition and the callback, I was sitting at a table reading the role of Cassandra. And then, something familiar happened.

People began to read their lines and were absolutely fantastic. And then, there was me. I struggled to figure out what was the right in terms of performance. I would read a line, expecting people to laugh at my delivery, and then: crickets.

Brian and Laura rehearsing a scene!

I wanted to run. I was going through the intrusive thoughts again. Was I good enough? Should I just drop the show? I had stopped for two years – what was the point of returning now?

And then, my eyes laid upon Gilad and ShelDan, our director and assistant director, respectively. I saw the peers who had chosen me and believed in me. They had seen my work, and seen potential in me to bring the character to life.

Gilad – our brilliant director at work!

I left the read through and sat on the Blue Bus. I could run; that would be the easy option. I would not have to worry about a thing then. I could focus on other things.

Or, I could jump in with both feet and do what I had been missing so much. I decided that the braver choice, and ultimately the choice that would make me the happiest, would be the latter.

Jumping back in the saddle has been a process – I have had to find my comfort of being on a stage once again. I had to get used to receiving direction. I had to be okay with not being happy with my delivery and trying again. And again. And again.

ShelDan giving me notes and working with me on a scene during rehearsal.

We are now less than a week away from opening night. We have all worked so hard, and I am so honored to be apart of such an amazing show. Am I terrified for opening night? And the subsequent shows? Absolutely. But, being apart of this show and cast has brought me such joy.

I learned very quickly that Cassandra requires tea for her monologues!

I learned there truly was a hole in my heart, and I’ve filled that by being apart of this show. The people I’ve met are some of the most incredible people. They are kind, talented, witty, intelligent, and wonderful.

Rehearsal must haves: sneakers, caffeine, and your script!

Gilad and ShelDan have been some of the most incredible teachers I have had. I have worked one on one with ShelDan many times on my difficult monologues, and he has been wonderful. He’s helped me with my fears and confusion, and has helped me let go and perform without any inhibitions. He has also become a good friend through the rehearsal process. We found out that we both know Latin pretty well and now sometimes we communicate exclusively in that. (We’re nerds, I know.)

Me mid rehearsal – the broom has been the biggest (and most difficult) prop I have ever had to work with!

The cast, (Ana, JR, Laura, Brian and Charlotte), have consistently left me in awe of their talent. Having such a small cast has let us become close quickly. I’ve sat down on the couch talking to JR about Brexit, I’ve asked Ana for advice on an outfit to wear for my first concert. Brian and I have sung through the Heathers cast album together. Laura and I have shared many laugh about a stressful part of the blocking (that maybe we shouldn’t be laughing about but we can’t help it. Sorry Gilad!)  I’ve annoyed Charlotte with my KPop selections when we were building the set, but being one of the kindest people I have met, she did not say anything until hour 5 of VIXX, BTS, and GOT7 when she politely suggested maybe something else.

Brian, Ana and I building the set! Ana and I were such a great team!

Something all of these people have given me is friendship. The show will end, the set will come down, the costumes will be put away. But, I will see JR at Haverford and ask him how he is doing. When I see Gilad, I’ll continue to pressure him to take a political science class with my favorite professor. I’ll be sure to tell Ana all about my concert, and say “Salve, amici” to ShelDan. Even if I crash and burn during the show, known as “corpsing” in the theatre community, I will still have a wonderful group of people as my friends to have.

This week’s music recommendation is what I’ve been listening to when I need to calm myself thinking about the impending opening night. If you need to relax, take a listen to the aptly titled “Take a Rest” by Tora. I hope this week brings you joy, bliss, and the return of something you missed.

My Morning Routine and Why I Won’t Change It

Good morning, friends! Or whenever you’re reading this, I hope your day has been lovely, or will continue to be lovely.

I am firm believer in the saying “woke up on the wrong side of the bed.” I think however your morning begins sets up the path for the rest of your day. We all know the mornings where we sleep through all of our alarms and we are rushed in finding an outfit and grabbing our stuff. We always inevitably forget something, and so we have to run back. Finally, we make it to wherever we are out of breath, and out of patience.

Here’s a photo of me on a late morning – running to class with a latte because I was too crazed to order my usual iced coffee.

I had experienced too many of those mornings in high school. My days would always feel off whenever those mornings occurred. So, in college, I adopted a routine where I would not feel rushed at all. In fact, I like to have my morning be slow and steady. After all, that’s what wins the race.

I purposely wake up early, and WAY too early. I try to give myself between 2-3 hours before I have to travel to be somewhere. I do this in order to not feel rushed, and give myself time to do what I need and want to do in the morning. (Also, I spill things way too often and often need extra time to clean things up.)

A screenshot from my Instagram story – I even did my morning routine with a 12-hour difference in Japan!

I learned this from my mother. My mother wakes up way too early every morning. Anytime I would manage to wake up at the right time for school, I would see her drinking her coffee and reading the newspapers that were delivered to our house. (Once I got into Bryn Mawr, my mother’s coffee mug changed from my brother’s alma mater to a Bryn Mawr mug.)

I was always astounded by how calm and refreshed she was at 6:30 AM. I would stumble down the stairs, almost falling down them, and there she was: a plate of toast finished, the sun shining on her face, and always wearing a smile that greeted me. She asked me what my day would look like, and I could not even form a coherent response. It mostly came out mumbled, or I would just stare blankly.

In college now, I have adopted a routine similar to my mother’s. I wake up early and allow myself time to wake up. I leave myself time to pick and outfit, put on makeup, drink tea, and do all the things I need to do. This also includes a trip to Uncommon Grounds, a cafe/coffee shop we have on campus, to grab my daily iced coffee.

At my favorite coffee shop on the Main Line, Hot House! (With some iced coffee, of course    ^ _^)

Do I have mornings where I sleep through my alarms? Of course! I had one yesterday, and I was almost late to work. No one is perfect during their mornings, no matter how much beauty gurus will try to sell us that in their “Get Ready with Me” videos. But, adopting a routine where my intention is to start the day off on the right foot helps me when my days are jammed pack full of classes, club meetings, rehearsals, work, etc., and the only time I will see my dorm room is maybe at around 11:00 p.m. A great morning helps me produce great work.

My advice to you to jumpstart your morning routine? Leave time. You don’t have to put on a million skincare products, or allow yourself to put on the cutest outfit. You can wear no makeup and be in sweatpants, but if you don’t allow yourself time to truly settle in and get ready for the day, everything will be discombobulated.

Here are my friends Saskia, Anna, and Lexie talking about our morning routines!

I made a little video about my morning routine. I’ll link it below so you can see my routine to action:

I am going to try and recommend a song every week at the end of my blogs, and this week I wanted to choose a song to help you feel good in the mornings, but is not too energizing. This week’s song is “Broken Wings” by Kupla. I hope your mornings bring you energy and bliss.

My Path to Bryn Mawr

Hello world! My name is Liz Marchini, and I am so excited to be Bryn Mawr’s newest Banter Blogger!

A couple of quick things about me: I’m from Ridgewood, New Jersey, a suburb of New York City. I’m a Political Science major and Global Asian Studies minor, and just a huge nerd overall. I love reading, listening to music (any KPop fans out there?), singing and performing, traveling and cooking! I also watch a lot of international TV – name a country, I’ve probably seen a show from it. Overall, I love to learn and experience as many new things as possible. I’m known as the friend who will disappear when a group of us go to a new place because I have gone exploring. I have a knack for discovering cute little shops and cafes down alleyways that others are afraid to go down. Those little adventures lead to lots of stories to tell! I’m excited to use this blog to show you my life on the Main Line, and how Bryn Mawr is shaping my life. I’ll be sure to include some great music recommendations along the way, as well.

Here’s me in Hachinohe, Japan, visiting the Kabushima Shrine! I wandered and ended up finding a spot by the sea to take a photo – my friends eventually found me. 


When trying to figure out what I wanted to write for my first blog post, I started to think about my time at Bryn Mawr and how I got here. And then all of a sudden, this past Friday, decisions for applicants were released. All of us on campus started buzzing with excitement – we are getting ready to welcome the Class of 2023, the Baby Green class! Once upon a time, I was a baby red. It seems like ages ago, but time has truly flown by.

My lantern night!


I was an Early Decision I applicant, which I still credit to being the best decision I have made in my life. When I was going through the college process, I was fortunate enough to have an guidance counselor who supported me in all of my endeavors and did not pressure me at all. When I sheepishly mentioned Bryn Mawr to Mrs. Giele thinking that she had never heard of it, she smiled and said that I should absolutely go visit to see if I liked it. “You would be a great fit at Bryn Mawr, Liz!” She said to me. “Check it out, and let me know what you think!” At this point, I had no clue what I really wanted from a college. Small campus? Maybe. This whole process to be over? Absolutely.

My very first visit to the college – I’m a junior in high school in this photo!

Bryn Mawr was the first college I visited. I visited on a rainy day, and I forgot to bring my umbrella. I was up early for the 10:00 a.m. info session and 10:45 a.m. tour, and I was nervous. How was I supposed to act on a college tour? Am I supposed to ask questions at every stop? Laugh at all the jokes? Take copious notes?

My tour guide was excellent and made me fall in love with Bryn Mawr. Before, I had not truly understood the value in a women’s college. After two hours of being on Bryn Mawr’s campus, I absolutely was on board. A place where people can pursue what they want without any obstacles or fears? Sign me up!

After this tour, and touring some other colleges, I made the decision that there was no other place for me but Bryn Mawr. A little over a year after my first tour, I applied Early Decision I to Bryn Mawr College. Two months later (which seemed like an eternity), I received the news that I had been accepted to my dream school.

So, to my lovely Baby Greens who are reading this, I am so excited to see you on campus soon. Bryn Mawr is ready to become your new home, and you’re going to make great (green) waves.