An ode to self-care and self-growth

We’ve reached a point in the semester where the wheels are in full motion, midterms are in full swing, cups are filled with caffeine and the general adrenaline around campus is high. As someone who is currently enrolled in five courses this semester, it is natural to become overwhelmed with how fast paced my days are. To top it all off, I was sick throughout fall break and my productivity hit an all-time low. I do not recall ever sleeping as much as I did during that week – an indication that I was not tending to my body’s needs (self-care is SO important). Thankfully, although I did have a lot of assignments due for the week following fall break, I managed to take some time off for myself in order to appreciate the things that continued to happen around me.

On Friday, after three hours of organic chemistry lecture plus problem solving and two hours of hospice volunteering, I needed a breather. Don’t get me wrong. I love organic chemistry and the patient that I’m currently spending time with; but it is essential that I take some time out of my busy schedule to reflect and plan ahead.  Hence, I took to my favorite place during times like these – Manayunk, PA. It is a small, trendy town located approximately fifteen minutes away from Center City. Mainly known for its famous eateries and bars, this town generally tends to attract a younger population. I love walking around the streets of Manayunk and that is how I came upon Safa – a cosy Persian tea place. I am always on the hunt for good tea and it was pleasant to see the wide selection of teas that this place offered. I went with the classic Persian tea and got some pastries to go along with it. The ambiance of the cafe makes for a great study spot and the change in work space was refreshing for both my friend and I.

Persian tea with an assortment of sweets
A gem in the heart of Manayunk








The past weekend also marked Halloweekend. I serve as a classroom aide in the Phebe Anna Thorne School and spent my Thursday carving pumpkins with kids and talking about costume ideas for Halloween. Some of my hallmates in Brecon decorated their doors with stickers and signs in celebration of Halloween. There were several social events on campus during Saturday night which felt nice given how stressful weekends tend to be for most people at this time of year.

Sunday marked my favorite Bryn Mawr tradition – Lantern Night. Each class has its own color – green, light blue, red, and dark blue. This lantern night welcomed the incoming dark-blue first year class to Bryn Mawr. The lantern is symbolic to knowledge and wisdom and it is said that the passing down of the lantern is representative of the passing down of knowledge from upperclassmen to first-years. I volunteered to be a ticket taker this time and witnessed the magic of Lantern Night unfold before me – dimmed cloisters, dark blue lanterns, first-years adorned in our “cult-like” black robes.

The dark blue lantern
Getting the lanterns ready for the Class of 2022






Upperclassmen and first-years take part in step sing afterwards

It truly is a humbling experience. I was ticket-taking with a current senior and after completion of the event, we went on to discuss what the event meant to us. Something they said to me will perhaps stick with me forever, “I realised how much I have changed, how much I have grown since my first lantern night.” There was so much truth to their words. Bryn Mawr does change you, at least it changed me. It pushes you to reach new heights, leads you towards self-discovery, makes you experience community via decades worth of traditions and I hope that by the time I am a senior, I too will have learned and loved to appreciate the things about me and around me.

Welcome, Class of 2022.

A picture from my Lantern Night last year. Pictured Tanjuma Haque’21 (left) and Hilana El-Mekkoussi’21 (right)



Author: Mayisha Rahman

Hi! I'm an international student from Dhaka, Bangladesh and am class of 2021. As of now, I am an intended Biology major with a possible double minor in Health Studies and Neuroscience. I love talking about my experiences and sharing my ideas with anyone who'll listen.

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