Student Sunday #3– Ryan Totaro

Ryan Totaro


Class of 2022
Prospective Psychology Major,  Minors in Film, English, and (potentially) Neuroscience
From Trenton, NJ

What do you do on campus?
This past year, I acted and wrote for the sketch comedy group Off the Spot; I was employed as a Phonathon worker; and I worked for the Arboretum as well! Next year, I’ll serve as a CP. I’m an avid runner, and you’ll probably catch me on the Nature Trail sometime soon!

What is your favorite spot on campus and why?
The VCAM lounge is one of my favorites! Aesthetically, it’s so impressive,  and it’s so cool to see how the building was repurposed from a Gym into an arts center. I loved watching student performances there this year – especially the Black Student League’s Spring Fashion Show – and I was proud to debut a short film there as well!

What has been your most memorable experience at Haverford so far?
My history course with Professor Sharon Ullman, “Movies and America,” was absolutely stunning. It nurtured an intellectual interest / love of American history in me and profoundly nuanced my understanding of film. I formed an incredible relationship with the professor, and her readings inspired an original play which I am currently staging and producing.


International Students Support Office (ISSO): Packing

So now that you have received a long packing list, you have probably realized that you will not be able to fit all of those items in your two 23 kg suitcase limit, right? You will need a lot of those items though, so here are some suggestions on how to deal with packing:
First things first. Figure out how much luggage you can actually bring with you because each airline has different policies. I brought with me two 23 kg checked suitcases, a carry on and a backpack. If you booked domestic flights separately, check luggage limits for them too.
Once you have that information, you can start thinking on what you will be bringing with you. There are certain things that are a must! What are these items? Well, DOCUMENTS. Believe it or not I forgot my wallet, which contained my passport, money, etc. under my bed (I don’t know how it got there). I went to the airport, which is a six hours drive from my house and I did not have my passport. So don’t do the same and make sure you have:

  1. Passport
  2. I-20
  3. Admission letter
  4. Flight information
  5. Prescriptions in their original container / doctor’s note.
  6. Financial documentation
  7. Any other important document you will need in the US.

Do some research and find out what items from home you can absolutely not find in Amazon or stores in the US and that you MUST have and add them to your bring-to-college-from-home list.
Other things you might want to bring from home are photographs, mementos, your country flag or any other items related to your home. And if you are participating in ISO make sure you bring something from home for the show & tell/talent show night!
You also need to bring clothes. The first weeks are going to be pretty warm, but after that it will get cold, and then colder and colder. If you come from a country or region like mine, where it is really warm during the entire year, do not even try to buy winter clothes there. They take too much space in your suitcase and they are unlikely to be enough for how cold it is here. Instead, get a good winter jacket once you are on campus. There will be shopping trips in the fall and you will be able to buy winter clothes then!

Buy in the United States:

Bedding: sheets, blankets, pillows, pillow covers, towels, etc. I have a friend from Paraguay that goes to Bryn Mawr College. She managed to bring not just one, but two HUGE blankets, but the airline was not happy with how much her luggage weighed.
Study items: notebooks, pens, organizers, etc.
Bathroom/grooming items: shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc. I advise you to bring either travel size or small size of these for the first weeks and buy bigger ones for the semester when you get here. Again, don’t do what I do. I brought a specific shampoo because I thought I could not live without it and it exploded in my suitcase and all of my clothes were stained. Not cool. (Yes, it was inside a ziplock bag, but apparently it was not enough).
Miscellaneous: umbrella, bed risers, rug, trash can for your room, laundry items, cleaning supplies, lamp, mirror, kitchen supplies, etc.
Clothes: winter clothes.
Any everyday items that can easily be found here.

Now that you have figured out what to bring with you and what to buy in the US you must be thinking about when, how and where you will actually be buying all of these items. There are a couple of ways you can do this.

Springfield Mall Trip. If you are coming to the International Students Orientation (ISO), which is required for all visa holders (and if you are not required to, I still I HIGHLY encourage you to come) then you will have a chance to ride the Blue Bus during ISO and go to Springfield Mall. There you can find many stores, including a Target, where you can buy items for your dorm room!

BB&B Trip. For the people coming in during Customs Week, there will also be a trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond! If you come during ISO, but still want to buy more things during Customs, you will also be able to go on this trip.

Shipping items to the college. If you are excited as I was for college during the summer, and you want to start buying things for your dorm you can also ship them to the college. I personally used the college’s Linens Program that you can check out here. You can find bundles that has many of the things you will need: sheets, blankets, pillows, pillow cases, comforters, towels. Some of the bundles include lamps and small fans and other items. I chose a bundle and had it shipped to Haverford. When I got here, my packages were here and I only had to worry about buying items that my bundle did not include.

If you want to ship your belongings to Haverford, write your address as follows:

[your name], Class of 2023                                  OR                                   [your name], Class of 2023
c/o Denise Allison (ISSO)                                                                               c/o Central Receiving
370 Lancaster Avenue                                                                                   370 Lancaster Avenue
Haverford, PA 19041,                                                                                     Haverford, PA 19041,
U.S.A                                                                                                                   U.S.A

You can start receiving packages on August 16th. Find more information about shipping here.

One last reminder. Pack everything you need, but be mindful of how many things you are bringing. You will inevitably accumulate things throughout the year. Haverford does not have storage spaces available on campus, so you will need to put all your belongings in boxes to move them to your off-campus storage.

Packing List and Decorations!!!

How the heck do I pack for college?

You need less than you think, so this list is divided into ABSOLUTE ESSENTIALS FOR EVERYONE and some things you might want, but don’t need.  Don’t worry about getting everything on this list and I (Hanna) would suggest waiting to buy some things until you’re sure who’s in the same suite as you so you don’t have four sets of everything.  

Check out our suggested packing list!
(This list is adapted from a list by Anna Neuheardt and Ken Ruto, the interns from two years ago and the UPenn packing list.) 

Below is just a little more information about the amenities in each dorm and some FAQs that can help guide your packing process!

General things to know about each dorm:

There are five freshman halls in Barclay (pronounced bark-lee). Each floor has a microwave and sink along with vending machines on the first floor.  There are carpets and a lot of closet space, but drawer space varies a bit. There are a mix of singles and doubles and (depending on how the hall feels about it) there can be gender neutral bathrooms. There are common rooms for each suite.  

There are nine halls in Gummere (pronounced gum-mur-ree) and each hall has a microwave.  Similarly to Barclay, there can be gender neutral bathrooms and all the rooms are singles.  There are carpets and you cannot have air conditioning in the building. There are closets and dressers built into each room, but there is more closet space.

Each of the five First-Year apartments has a full kitchen on the first floor, with a full sized refrigerator, stove, oven, and microwaves on the first floor.  The second floor apartments, although they have a stove, oven, and refrigerator, do not have a microwave. There are no cooking supplies in the apartments, so if you want to cook then you should bring some supplies (keep in mind all First Years are required to be on the full meal plan). The rooms are majority doubles and there are 2-3 common rooms on each floor.  There is a lot of both drawer and closet space, along with a lot of storage space.

Tritton has two large common rooms on each floor with a small kitchenette. There are no carpets, air conditioning, and the dorm only has singles.  There are four First Year halls in Tritton and each floor has a study room.


What can I use to decorate my room?
The school only allows for painter’s tape, picture hanging strips (3M command strips), and post-it notes directly on walls.  However there are plenty of ways to stay within these rules and still make your dorm look amazing.

Is there anything now on the list you would recommend bringing?
I LOVE my string lights and they’re really useful especially when you have a roommate because they allow you to have some light and work or watch something on your laptop, but also aren’t super intrusive to someone else’s sleep.

What do you mean by “nice-ish” clothes on the packing list?
We have formal dances and events on campus about once or twice per semester, so it’s nice to have a nice-ish dress or khakis or something that fits this theme.  There’s no need to bring a ball gown or prom attire, just something you feel good in! You also might have to go to interviews or  dinners that are a little more formal, so take this into account when packing!

Am I allowed to bring a mini-fridge?
Yes, but it must be no larger than 4 cubic feet! But you probably don’t need one, considering you’re on a full meal plan.  Consider getting clips for your bags of snacks instead!

Do I need a bike or other mode of transportation on campus?
No. The longest walk is maybe 12 minutes and campus is really beautiful. If you REALLY feel like you need a bike after a few weeks on campus, there’s a used bike sale in front of the DC twice each year.

Can I bring a pet?
Eh… You can technically have pet that doesn’t have fur, like a small fish, bird, or reptile, HOWEVER, everyone you’re living with MUST also be comfortable with the animal and you need to be able to take care of it. (Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend it.)

Is there anything I’m not allowed to bring?
First Years are not allowed to have cars on campus.  Additionally, the school doesn’t allow for burning of candles, or use of hot plates, halogen lamps, or exposed light bulbs in dorms, as they can pose a fire risk.  

When will I get my housing assignment? 
Probably around late July or early August, but be patient because Jonah and I are putting a lot of hard work into trying to give you all good halls.

Where can I buy stuff for my dorm close to campus?
There’s a Bed Bath and Beyond a 10 minute drive from campus.  There’s also an Ikea in Conshohocken and Targets in Wayne and King of Prussia.  You can also order things from Amazon and other online stores to your school shipping address ([Your Name], 370 Lancaster ave, Haverford, PA 19041) up to a week before you move in.  

As always, if you have any questions or concerns please contact us at



Don’t forget to join in on the Havenger Hunt for a chance to win some cool prizes!!! Check out last Thursday’s post for the rules. This week’s items are…

  • Build a fort
  • Show us your favorite afternoon snack
  • Model a stock photo (include link to original photo)

Submit your photos and answers to

Campus Building Tour: Academic Buildings!

Hey everyone!

Despite campus being relatively small, I STILL get confused while navigating hallways to find my next class at the start of each semester. Below is a quick list of Haverford’s academic buildings so you can get a sense of where each department lies and where you’ll be taking classes! Keep an eye out for a follow up blog post introducing more buildings on campus!


Union contains faculty offices of the Music department, and includes classrooms, practice spaces, and the MacCrate Recital Hall for rehearsals and small concerts. You can also find the Music Library downstairs, which is not only a great place to work, but also houses tons of music scores, audio recordings, and computers with notation and editing software.



Roberts houses offices for the Sociology and Anthropology departments, and includes Marshall Auditorium, where large concerts are performed. It also has a bunch of practice rooms in the basement. There are currently huge plans to build an extension off of Roberts to support new spaces for music learning and performance.

Marian E. Koshland Integrated Natural Sciences Center (a.k.a. KINSC):


The KINSC is a huge building complex that encompasses Sharpless and Hilles Halls and houses the biology, chemistry, computer sciences, mathematics, physics, and psychology departments. On the top floor is the Science Library.


Chase Hall holds various classes and offices for the Economics and Linguistics, and also contains chase auditorium, a small lecture style room where a lot of guest speakers usually present.


Hall Building contains classrooms and offices for the humanities and social sciences professors. A lot of your mandatory writing seminars will take place in Hall.


Stokes hall is the center of administration, including dean and res life offices, various forms of student support, the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship (CPGC) Café, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and a large lecture style auditorium. It’s also where we, the interns, work from for the summer!


The trademark Haverford College building. Founders houses the offices of the president, provost, vice president for finance and administration, vice president for institutional advancement, and institutional research offices.

Visual Culture, Arts, and Media (VCAM):


The VCAM facility is a 24/7 access building designed for creative interests, and contains a 3-D printing studio, a small screening room, a computer lab, and various makers art spaces for showcases and performances.

Lutnick Library (Under Construction):

Previously known as Magill, Lutnick Library will not only house many books, but also Quaker and Special Collections. It is planned to open again with your arrival in the fall. With its new renovations, Lutnick will also house a small cafe!

And there’s your brief introduction to Haverford’s academic buildings! Stay tuned for another look at the rest of Haverford’s campus next week! And as always, contact with any questions.

International Student Support Office (ISSO): Academic Adjustment

Adapting to life in college is challenging for everyone. As an international student, however, we must also simultaneously adapt to the food, the weather, the culture and so many other aspects of life in the United States and at Haverford. This can make the academic adjustment a little bit overwhelming, but here are some tips and information that can help you navigate this transition.

1. The academic environment is different. At Haverford, you are expected to come to class ready to actively participate in discussion. You structure the class with your peers and professors. Your first year writing seminar will show you how it works, so make the best out of it because that is the best place to make mistakes and learn. Also, at Haverford it is very clear that everyone is serious about their studies and this might be different from where you are from, but really exciting because you get to work with people that are passionate about what they are studying. What I am sure will be different is that we do not talk about grades at Haverford because we value intellectual growth and development more! This will allow you to focus on how you are doing and what you are achieving.

2. Learn and use resources early. I did not do this as early as I could have even though I was told a million times to do so. I thought I did not need it because back home we don’t even have these resources and I did well. The truth is I was not back home and, as I mentioned before, the academic environment is different. This does not mean that you have to struggle and be stressed out all the time. Use the resources the college has to offer! Some of these resources are:

The Office of Academic Resources (OAR): Visit the OAR if you find yourself struggling with time management, or if you find you do not know how to approach studying for a certain class.

The Writing Center: the writing center is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! They can read your papers and give you feedback, help you brainstorm when you have no idea how to start writing, or even help you understand the long and confusing instructions for your next assignment.

Peer Tutoring: schedule a tutoring session whenever you are having trouble solving that one question left in your problem set, do not understand the material or need help revising for your next quiz or exam.

Office Hours: GO TO OFFICE HOURS. Professors are willing to answer questions you have on the material, or help you solve any issues related to the course.

3. Organize your time. If you are on an F-1 visa, you will be taking a full course load of four classes. Besides that you might end up signing up for all the clubs in the Club Fair during Customs because everything is just so interesting! I would advise to go slowly though. Start with your classes and maybe one other extracurricular activity and as you get used to the pace here at Haverford, add more or drop activities. That said, you will be busy all the time! Back home I was able to keep track of everything without difficulty. At college that is harder, so get used to using Google Calendar and Trello!

4. Get support. During the International Students Orientation (ISO) you will be connected with your international peers and upperclassmen. Use this opportunity to network and learn about them. There is a high chance that you will meet your closest friends during ISO! These are the people that will be part of your support system during the year, and trust me, they are essential. Also, remember that your professors and deans are there to support you too. Keep in touch with your first year dean, Katrina Glanzer, who is always willing to hear your concerns and try to help you find a solution. Even when she doesn’t know how to help you, she will direct you to someone who can.

Well, that’s about it! These are some of the things that helped me when it came to academics. Note that I had two STEM classes and two non-STEM classes during my first year for both semesters. You might have a totally different experience.

If you have any questions or post suggestions you can reach out to me at

Student Sunday #2- Kenyatta Golson

Kenyatta Golson

Class of 2020
Political Science Major
Africana Studies Concentration
From Philadelphia, PA

What do you do on campus?

Rugby Team Co-Captain, BSL Member, Upperclassman Advisor 

What is your favorite spot on campus and why?

There is a bench positioned behind Swan Field that has a beautiful sunset daily. It overlooks a gorgeous part of the arboretum and many dogs cross through the area looking for belly rubs and scratches! A great place to unwind.

What has been your most memorable experience at Haverford so far?

The 2018 BSL Fashion Show was memorable because of the sheer number of people who came out to that in support of the people who participated in the show. It was a place filled with love, excitement and awe for the work that members of the student body were able to put together. There was a real sense of belonging and community in that experience that I won’t forget. Here is a link to an article about the show!


GroupMe/Facebook Etiquette

Hey everyone!

At this point, many of you have joined your class Facebook page and/or GroupMe chat. While online communication provides excellent means of introducing yourselves to one another, it’s important to maintain proper etiquette so that the intentions behind your messages are clear, precise, and received correctly. Keep in mind the following points as you interact with your peers over these online forums:

  1. Trust, Concern, Respect. It is essential to keep in mind the feelings and opinions of others while interacting online. If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it online. Try reading your message out loud.
  2. Be careful with humor and sarcasm. Certainly you shouldn’t avoid being funny; we love to see your personality shine through your communications! But remember that tone, body language, and immediate feedback from your audience is absent over the internet. Take time choosing the right wording to ensure your humor or sarcasm is conveyed successfully.
  3. Avoid inappropriate material. Of any kind.
  4. Think before you hit send. Be careful about the content of your message before posting it.

Be sure to keep these general guidelines in mind as you communicate with each other in your Facebook and GroupMe pages to avoid any miscommunications!

As always, if you have any questions contact us at AND don’t forget to follow our Instagram account at hc_studentlifeoffice


Don’t forget to join in on the Havenger Hunt for a chance to win some cool prizes!!! Check out last Thursday’s post for the rules. This week’s items are…

-Favorite color (get creative)?

-Dance! (bonus points if you make a GIF)

-and… a HAVENGER HUNT RIDDLE!!!!  (Credit to Peter Winkler)

Jan and Maria have fallen in love (via the internet) and Jan wishes to mail her a ring. Unfortunately, they live in a country where anything sent through the mail will be stolen unless it is enclosed in a padlocked box. Jan and Maria each have plenty of padlocks, but none to which the other has a key. How can Jan get the ring safely into Maria’s hands?

Submit your photos and answers to

Ardmore Excursions


Between classes, extracurriculars, and jobs you may find yourself with some free time on your hands. While it may be tempting to stay within the bounds of Haverford’s tight-knit community, there are plenty of places in the surrounding area (i.e. Haverford, Ardmore) to explore! Here’s a brief compilation of some of our favorite off-campus activities near Haverford College (stay tuned for a post about Philly!)




Wawa is a 24/7 rest stop/food market chain and an absolute staple for your late night food needs, offering a large selection of hot and cold hoagies, salads, bowls, specialty beverages, and snacks! Its bright red sign acts as a beacon for its fast and familiar food.

Kung Fu Tea


The best place to get boba, milk tea, and other sweetened drinks near campus.  KFT just opened this past spring and is a great place to study, catch up with friends, and play Jenga and UNO. They have free WiFi and drinks costs around $3-6 and food is a little more expensive.

Junior League Thrift


The leading thrift shop in Ardmore is Junior League Thrift, full of various clothing, jewelry, household items, and any other cool stuff you might find (like a guitar if you’re lucky!). It’s always fun to stop in and see if you can find something stylish that fits you for a good price. All proceeds from the shop benefit the Junior League of Philadelphia’s community projects!


One of Hanna’s favorite places! Half of the store is a broadly asian (but mostly Japanese-centered) grocer with fresh and frozen ingredients, instant ramen and curry, and the other half serves great food at around $5 for an appetizer or $10-15 for a main course.  The portions are really fairly sized and they have free barley tea and water. Hanna highly recommends the croquettes!

Ardmore Station Cafe

Located right above Snap is Ardmore Station Café, another great brunch place in Ardmore.  They have great french toast and breakfast sandwich options. The prices are a little lower than Nudy’s, starting around $6-8, making it a great place for an easy Sunday breakfast away from the Dining Center.

Nudy’s Cafe


AMAZING BRUNCH and the best french fries on the Main Line (they also have great pancakes). Nudy’s is generally a little more expensive, but a great place for an occasion.  Breakfast is generally around $8-15 and lunch is about the same, but the portions are HUGE.

Snap Pizza


Snap does personal sized pizzas that you can either customize or pick from an extensive menu. Everything is around $8-10 and they have a lot of options, so it’s a really good place for groups where everyone wants something different.

Trader Joe’s

Unpopular opinion: Trader Joe’s is one of the least boujee grocery stores near Haverford.  There’s an ACME, Giant, and Whole Foods within driving distance, but you can walk to Trader Joe’s, they have a great selection of snacks and fresh produce along with great frozen meals for if you get sick of the Dining Center and need a change of pace.  Prices vary a lot depending on the product, but generally it’s fairly affordable especially for a few things here and there.

Green Engine Coffee


This is Jonah’s favorite off-campus work spot! Located right by the Haverford train station, Green Engine offers a nice space to grab a beverage, eat a snack, grind out some work, or meet a friend for coffee. Be sure to take advantage of their 50 cent coffee refills!   (Photo source:

And there’s your introduction some of our favorite spots near campus! Whether or not you decide to leave campus often, you now have some initial ideas… and there’s plenty more to explore in Bryn Mawr and Philly! As always, let us know if you have any questions at


Student Sunday #1– Leslie Luqueño

Leslie Luqueño(she/her/hers)
Class of 2020
Anthropology major, Educational Studies minor
Bell Gardens, CA 🌞
What do you do on campus?
On campus, I am a Mellon Mays Undergraduate fellow, a host and senior interviewer at the admissions office, an Access & Diversity intern co-head for Haverford’s fly-in programs, a student worker at the Science Library, a Customs team member, a member of the Alliance of Latin American Students, and a Chesick Scholar 🙂

What is your favorite spot on campus and why?
My favorite spot on campus is the OAR (Office of Academic Resources). I like studying there and most of my friends drop by in-between classes so it’s always a dynamic place.

What has been your most memorable experience at Haverford so far?
My most memorable experience has been pinwheel day! I love pinwheel day because when I was a prospective student, I came on pinwheel day so it is very nostalgic for me. It is also nice to be in the sun with friends in front of Founder’s Green and enjoy the nice day.



International Student Support Office (ISSO): Cultural Adjustment

Hi, fellow international friends and everyone that lives very far from Haverford College!

Studying away from home is a challenge. Once you arrive on campus, you will start a long process of adaptation and self-discovery. This is true for every single one of you, but to the people who live far from Haverford, there are a couple more adjustments to go through especially if far means another country and therefore culture, system, etc.

These are some of the things I have noticed since I arrived at college:

1. Greetings
In my country, everyone says ‘Hi’ to everyone even if they do not know each other. This does not happen that often here and I feel awkward when I cannot decide whether to greet certain people or not. It is even more awkward when I do greet them and they do not answer or look away. If you come from a country like mine, you might feel hurt (I did!) the first few times this happens to you. Just know that there is nothing wrong with you and that this is just the culture around here.

2. Greetings part 2.
Besides not knowing when to greet people, I also had a hard time figuring out how to greet them. Unless it is a formal occasion or you do not know the person, back home we greet them with a kiss on each cheek and if you are close to the person it is followed by a hug. Here, however, people will either just say ‘Hi’ or they will reach for your hand for a handshake, sometimes even if you’re friends!

3. Clothing
Dressing up to go to college is very common back home. So my first week of classes, I tried to look decent. I avoided wearing jeans, put some makeup on, and wore formal looking flats. As I walked to campus I quickly realized that people were not dressing up. That was actually so relieving to me! I stopped wearing makeup, started wearing jeans and my feet were thrilled when I started wearing sport shoes, which made walking from the apartments to classes and the Dining Center much, much easier!

4. Hours
Here, nothing starts until 8:00 A.M. and to me that is late. I was used to waking up at around 5:30 A.M. and starting my day at around 6:45 A.M. I did not particularly complain about being able to wake up later though. What really got into my nerves, however, was dinner time. People start having dinner at 5 P.M. and I was used to having dinner at around 8 P.M. During my first semester, I refused eating dinner earlier than that and ended up being almost isolated from my group of friends that did eat dinner earlier, so I eventually got used to it.

5. Imperial system
This can be a complete post on itself. I am still not used to speaking in feet, inches, miles, Fahrenheit, pounds, etc, etc. Even after 10 months living in the United States, when I had to buy boxes to store all my belongings during the summer, I struggled to picture what a 12X12X12” box looked like. A 30X30X30 box makes more sense to me. So, I would advise to either learn how to convert to the units you are used to or download a converter app.

6. Roads
The first time I tried crossing roads in the US was embarrassing. At first, I did not realize that there were traffic lights for people at all. So I would just cross whenever cars were not coming or they stopped. When I realized people stopped for traffic lights too, I stopped and waited and waited and waited and the lights never changed until someone else came and pressed a weird button on the traffic lights on my side (some of them do not have the button). I felt so dumb when I saw the little sign that said: “to cross, push button”. And that is how I learned to cross roads in the US.

The ‘little’ sign:

These are some of the things I had to get used to here in the US. Even though you might have a completely different experience than mine, I would still suggest the strategy I used:

Observe and adapt.

Whenever you are unsure that something is okay to do, observe. Check out how your friends behave in certain spaces. If you are still unsure, reach out to your customs people, peers, or even professors and deans. They will help you out! Also know that it is okay not to adapt. Even today I keep saying ‘Hi’ to everyone because it is a feature of my culture that I do not want to give up!

I am looking forward to meeting all of you and getting to know you. If you have any questions, concerns or want me to write about something here on the blog, feel free to reach out to me at