Life After Haverford

Who knew there was such a thing as life after Haverford…For the first 18 years of your life you are preparing to go to college, that is the obvious next step in life. You go to elementary school, then middle school, then high school, and then college. But here is the kicker, after college there is no universal next step. Everyone does something a little different and goes in a different direction. I have finally figured out my next step…AH. Starting in August I will be going to Georgetown University for graduate school to get my Masters Degree in Peace and Conflict Resolution.

Last May I came to the conclusion that I wanted to go to graduate school and began this graduate school search process. The first step I took was to meet with the CDO (Career Development Office), which is wonderful, and they helped me formulate a list of programs and schools that interested me and I began my search process, just like all of you did at first.

After visiting schools and getting a feel for what it really was I wanted to study and where I wanted to go to school I turned to my professors. With the help of numerous faculty members, my advisors, and my professors, I was given guidance throughout this entire process and was always supported. The student to faulty ratio here at Haverford is 8:1, and let me tell you, the professors here really get to know you. I was able to meet with professors who knew everything about me and were really able to give me informed advice about where to go to graduate school based on what they knew about me. I had a strong support system to get me through this process and never felt alone.

Here I am nearly a year later after beginning this journey making a decision about where to go next. It is stressful even for me so I understand how all of you must feel right now. But, I really think I have made the right decision and I am trusting my gut. It is really hard for me to believe that I only have a few short weeks left at Haverford and am a little jealous of all of you who are about to embark on the journey to college. While I am super excited for my next step and getting the opportunity to go to graduate school to pursue what I am truly passionate about, leaving Haverford will probably be one of the hardest things I have ever done.

Thesis Grind

Sorry I have not updated you all in quite a while…let me tell you, second semester senior year has kicked in. As I’m sure you have all heard, all seniors at Haverford write a Senior Thesis. This thesis is intended to demonstrate what we have learned and how we have grown academically and intellectually over the past four years at Haverford. Every senior writes one here because we believe we all deserve the opportunity to write a Senior Thesis, we have no honors students because in truth, we are all honors students. The other great thing about all seniors writing a thesis, besides the academic experience we all get, is that we are all going through this together. Every single one of us is having ups and downs, good days and bad days, and we all understand what the other is going through. Let me tell you, it makes this whole process a heck of a lot easier when 325 other students are in the same boat as you all trying to get this thesis done on time.

With that said, the thesis grind has begun. For most of us, our drafts are due April 1st, which means it is go time. For my thesis I am looking at the impact International Criminal Tribunals have on fostering reconciliation in countries recovering from intra-state violence. In particular, I am looking at Bosnia and the impact the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia had there. I am arguing that International Criminal Tribunals fail to ensure that reconciliation occurs because of 1) the distance at which they function, the international dilemma; and 2) the serving of justice is not enough for some individuals recovering from such atrocities. For some of you this may sound like gibberish, but I promise you, it has taken me months and months to get to this point where I am able to write down my argument in a few sentences. With the guidance of my wonderful thesis advisor Anita Isaacs, who I meet with once a week, we have reached this point together.

I have three weeks to finish the first full draft of my thesis…but I think I can do it!

Second Semester Senior Year…

It is amazing to me how fast time has gone by. I can still remember getting admitted early decision to Haverford in December 2008…I’m now embarking on my final semester here. AHHHH.

Last week I had my first last day of school. A group of my friends and I decided to take a photo to mark this momentous day for our parents and for ourselves. These girls in the photo were the first friends I made at Haverford on my very first day of preseason freshmen year. We have been though everything together over the last few years, the good and the bad, and in truth, have grown up together.

Right now we are all in a state of limbo as we are trying to figure out what comes next…terrifying I know. We are all applying to different jobs, graduate school, medical school, fellowships, and internships. We have no idea where we will be in 5 months after graduation, but we making sure we enjoy every last minute we have together at Haverford.

Haverford bring together a unique group of individuals from all over the country and allows us to truly be ourselves. As a result, we are able to meet people who appreciate us for who we are and embrace every quirky trait we may possess. We each have something interesting and original to offer and this community values what we have to offer.

 

Holiday Decorating

This year we started classes a week later than usual, while that meant summer was a tad bit longer, it also means we do not get out for winter break until December 21. Given the fact that we will all have such a short time at home before Christmas (3 days), my roommates and I decided to decorate our common room to make it feel like home!

Over Thanksgiving break we all planned to bring in as many decorations as we could fit in our suitcases back to Haverford with us…the result was the creation of a winter wonderland in our common room. While 2/3rds of our housing on campus is singles, that doesn’t mean Haverford is trying to isolate us, it means that we have our own space, but also these awesome common rooms that we can all share. It is the place where we can all hang out, relax, watch TV, and avoid homework ha-ha.

I currently live with 5 other seniors (and a hamster named Barry) who actually all lived in my Customs Group with me freshmen year. We decided to start and end our college experience together. So last week we all came together and went on a decorating spree. We put up lights, a tree, cut out snowflakes, and put out nutcrackers. Now every time I come home from a long day I get to sit in my wonderfully Christmas decorated common room and I couldn’t ask for more.

4 Years in the Making…

On November 4, our Women’s Soccer Team became the Centennial Conference CHAMPIONS for the first time since 1995 and for the second time in history of the program. They upset the powerhouse for the past 5 years Johns Hopkins University 2-1. I was unable to go to the game since Baltimore is quite a trek from Haverford for someone without a car, but I, along with 5 other friends, streamed the game live in the new study room in Kim Dorm on the big screen TV. When they won…I started balling, tears were everywhere. It was a true demonstration of what my best friends have been working for over the past four years.

I played soccer at Haverford for my first two years and being a student-athlete here is a truly amazing and wonderful experience. I remember meeting my 5 best friends on the first day of preseason in August 2009, geeze its already 2012. We were the 5 freshmen. We were terrified. But within a day, I had made a group of friends who would stick with me throughout my 4 years at Haverford. When they won, it was amazing to see my best friends accomplish a goal they had been fighting to achieve for four years.

The story gets better… not only did the girls win, but so did our men’s team. Haverford Men’s Soccer also became the Conference Champions on November 4th for the first time in program history.

This past weekend Haverford hosted the NCAA Regional Playoff Tournament for the women; rounds 1 and 2 were played on Walton Field. The men’s regional tournament was played at Arcadia University. On Saturday the women’s team played MIT and the number of fans at the game was incredible. Alumni, students, parents, and faculty were everywhere. People flew across the country. The stadium was packed. The cheering was out of control. Later that afternoon, the fan bus took about one hundred students to Arcadia where the men were playing. Not only did the fans travel to cheer the women on at Haverford, but they also traveled to Arcadia to cheer on the men.

It was a true demonstration of the community that exists at Haverford. Our Honor Code says that Haverford is a community, but oftentimes people will ask me on tours…well is this true? Trust me it is. This weekend was a true representation of those connections that exist between our students, our alumni, and our facility. When something is important to a group of us, we all go out to support them. Could you ask for more?

 

 

Location, Location, Location!!!

Let me tell you, the location of Haverford College is ideal. You really couldn’t ask for more. You get the best of both worlds– a suburban setting that is 15 minutes from Philly.

In college you get this wonderful thing called fall break…you get a whole week of vacation in October…incredible right? This year I decided to stay on campus for fall break to attempt to work on my grad school applications and my thesis. So far though, I have no been as productive as I wished, sleeping has been my priority ha-ha. The only complication to staying on campus over fall break is that the dining center is closed. Therefore, I have to look elsewhere to feed myself. Luckily, Haverford is not located in the middle of nowhere. The Mainline is just a 3-minute walk away.

The Mainline, also known as Lancaster Ave, is a popular street filled with activities, restaurants, and everything you could want. If you watch Pretty Little Liars, it is commonly referenced on the show. Within walking distance from Haverford College you have a CVS, a Starbucks, a Saxbys Coffee Shop, an Apple Store, a Trader Joes, and every possible kind of restaurant you could want. I have never had a problem getting anything I’ve needed to survive the college life.

This break my friends and I decided to order take out from a different restaurant each night for dinner. The food in the area is really well priced and affordable, which is key when you are a college student. So far we have eaten Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and tonight we did Thai and it was incredible. We have been trying to experience the Mainline to the fullest and have been successful. It is really great to be so close to an array of shops and restaurants and never feel isolated. We are able to get the things we need but at the same time be in a suburban setting.

Could you ask for more?

Senior Year?

I guess it is time to face the facts… I am a senior. What? I feel like I can remember being in the position all you people are in now 4 years ago: applying to college, trying to find the right school, trying to pick the right school, and this being on top of handling the course work of senior year and everything that entails. Oddly enough, I am in this position again. I am in the process of applying to Graduate School. Who knew I would have to go through the college process again? Haha. So I know how it feels to be in the midst of this hectic time. But I can promise you that you will get in somewhere, you will go to an amazing school, and this process will be over sooner than you think.

The past 3 years at Haverford have been incredible and I am in shock that I have to currently to think about leaving this glorious place. For many of you the concept of there being something after college is not on your minds, but it is a reality. Good news, Haverford has an amazing Career Development Office that is there to help you with that “after college” part of life. Since arriving back on campus, I have met with the Career Development Office 3 different times in the past month. They willingly and eagerly help you compose resumes, talk about the future, help with graduate school and job applications, and provide you with terrific advice. We are each given a Career Counselor who is in charge of getting to know us. During the first meeting their intention is to simply learn about our interests, talk about our background experience, and to get the basics about us. From then on, they are our own personal contact in the office. They help us pick schools to apply to, if graduate school is what is going to be the next step, or they help with finding jobs and setting up interviews. The Career Development Office has been a resource that I couldn’t survive without this last month. Having such a small school means people are taking the time to get to know you, to care about you, and to help you plan what will come next.

I know that for many of you this will not be the most interesting blog post ever, but I know that this is on the minds of your parents so show them this!

Homesick for my Home away from Home

I have not blogged in a very long time, and to all my avid followers, I apologize. Do not fear, I am back in action. I have failed at being a successful blogger over the past semester because I am not currently at Haverford. That’s right I am currently studying abroad in Rome, Italy. The abroad opportunities at Haverford are amazing and the programs they place us in are terrific. I am in Rome for the semester and am having the time of my life. The program I am in consists of 100 students from all over the United States, 5 of us are from Haverford, which makes up a whopping 5 % of the program! I have really loved being here. Rome is stunning. Everywhere I go I am blown away from the beauty of the city and everything that surrounds me.

Piazza Navona, my favorite spot in Rome.

While in Rome I am taking four courses; Fascism and Totalitarianism in Italy, Beginner Intensive Italian, Archaeology of Ancient Rome, and I have an internship as my final course. I am an intern at The International Spectator, which is a foreign policy political science journal based on Rome. It is a wonderful opportunity my program offers and I love working at the journal. My classes are really interesting and my favorite part of school is Thursday field trips with my archaeology class. On Tuesday our professor lectures about an archaeological site in Rome for an hour, and then on Thursdays we have a 2-hour field trip to the site we learned about in the previous class.

Class Field Trip to the Colosseum.

One of the other great parts about going abroad is traveling. I have been traveling as much as possible and have taken advantage of being in Europe. So far I have been to Barcelona, Milan, Brussels, Paris, and Pompeii. In each of these places I have been able to meet up with other Haverford students studying abroad and it has been such a fun experience to get to travel the world with my friends. Last weekend I was in Paris, where I met up with three other women from Haverford, who actually lived on my hall freshmen year. Customs groups really do become your family! I had the best time ever and it was so much to see my friends again because believe it or not, I really miss Haverford. I am currently two months in to my study abroad program in Rome and I am getting homesick, not for California, but for Haverford, Pennsylvania. Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely in love with Rome, but it’s just not the same. Haverford has become my home away from home and being away from it has made me realize how special of a place Haverford is.

 

Barclay 2nd in Paris.

 

What I miss most about Haverford, besides my friends, would have to be the Honor Code! While abroad I have had to take all my exams in class and proctored by a professor. At Haverford, because of our wonderful Honor Code, we are given the freedom to take our exams on our own time in a place we feel most at ease in. I found myself stressed out about taking an exam in a classroom and I miss the responsibility and respect I am given by professors at Haverford. I really miss Haverford and I can’t wait to be back there this summer!

Occupy Philips Wing.

So it is that time of year again when the first round of research papers and big assignments are due. It happens three times a semester, before Fall Break, before Thanksgiving Break, and during finals week. On the Friday before Thanksgiving I had a 15-page research paper due for my political science Social Movement Theory class. The truth about research papers is no matter how far in advanced you start researching, there will always be more to read and more to write. Starting a week before the paper was due my six friends and I began posting up in the Philips Wing of Magill library. If you have been on tours with me, I love to show off this room because it is my favorite place to work on campus. This room wins best study space in my mind because it looks like a mix between the library from Beauty and the Beast and the Hogwarts library from Harry Potter. Anyways…back to the research paper.

For the next week to come my six friends and I spent an endless number of hours working/occupying the Philips Wing. The number of books we checked out was absurd and the table we were working at slowly but surely became entirely covered in books and articles from online sources.

By Tuesday, after three days of “occupying” the Philips Wing, we decided to make the place a little more home-like. My friend Juliana (who happens to also work in the admissions office) brought some leaves from a tree outside (flowers are in scare supply due to the approaching winter) into the library and, being the clever thinkers we are, used an old Coke can to make a flower arrangement for the table.

Later that night we decided to get a little rebellious and ordered Dominos pizza as our later night snack. The problem was that no food or drinks are allowed in the library so we had to be sneaky. We hid the two large cheese pizzas under my Northface jacket and sprinted from the entrance of the library back to the Philips Wing.

As odd as it sounds, the week I spent ‘Occupying’ the Phillips Wing was the best time I’ve had doing homework all year. In the end we got the paper and finished on time. While the late nights were a little rough, the fact that I was with six of my really good friends all working on the paper together made it that much easier to get done. It was a blast to be honest and I was surprised by how much fun I had Occupying Philips!

London, Paris, maybe Tokyo?

There are only 6 weeks left in the semester here at Haverford, and while this is a scary fact on its own, it also represents the amount of time I have left until I go abroad. I am a junior and therefore I am lucky enough to be given the opportunity to spend a semester, or a year for that matter, abroad. I opted to study abroad for the spring semester mainly because I love Haverford so much and couldn’t imagine being gone for an entire year! So here I am with only 6 weeks left until the semester is over, and a total of 86 days until I depart for ROME. Yes, The Eternal City. 

At Haverford, approximately 46% of students study abroad at some point during their junior year. With that said, you are able to study on every continent except Antarctica, which personally I don’t mind (I’m not the cold’s biggest fan). There are over 60 programs in approximately 36 countries you can attend…the options are endless! I personally spent a long time deciding whether I wanted to go to Spain or Italy. I speak Spanish, but I don’t speak Italian. I’ve never been to Europe, and Italy seems like a good place to start. There were plenty of pros about both and very few cons, but I chose Italy ultimately with the intention of being able to look at the government’s transition from fascism to a democratic republic. As a political science major, the ability to do field research and talk to people about how the transition has impacted them fascinated me.

I adore being at Haverford and am honestly distraught at times about the fact that I won’t be here next semester, but I think the opportunity to study abroad is a once in a lifetime experience. Furthermore, I think Haverford ingrains in its students the importance of global involvement and interaction in the world. Students here are encouraged to take what they learn in the classroom and use their knowledge to better the greater community, and this is exactly what we can do while we are abroad. Needless to say, I am very excited and will be sure to keep you updated when I actually arrive in Italy!