Brynterviews: My Hellee Anna K.

I met Anna K. when I was a customs person in Rockefeller. She lived on the hall below mine and quickly became really good friends with a lot of my frosh, and then with me. I love to embroider, so Anna asked me once if I would embroider the word “FEMINIST” on to her favorite pair of underwear. Sometime before Hell Week, I got home from class and was hanging out in Rock when Anna strolled upstairs wearing a trench coat. She said, “I have a question!” and threw her trench coat open to reveal her underwear, which she was wearing Superman-style over a pair of tights and had embroidered with “WILL YOU BE MY HELLER?”. Obviously I said yes and if you walk by my door in Brecon you will see said hot pink embroidered underwear pinned to my corkboard. Anna and I sat down together for a little interview on Wednesday over some delicious Haffner foods.

Posing with a copy of the publication we both write for.

Ingrid A: How did you come to be a Bryn Mawr student?

Anna K: I really didn’t want to go to Bryn Mawr at first. It was the first school I visited and I complained the whole drive about how I didn’t want to go to a “girl’s school” but once we got there, my mom insisted that I take the tour. The tour guide was like, “This is the lantern we’ll give you! Look at this beautiful room in Merion where you get to live! Here are the cloisters!” and nothing quite lived up to it after that.

IA: What is something you love about Bryn Mawr?

AK: It’s hard to pick one thing… I really like teas. I like that we have hall gatherings, dorm gatherings, and customs group gatherings. They’re a nice thing to come home to.

IA: What is something you would change about Bryn Mawr?

AK: Sometimes the community is so tight and so supportive that it doesn’t teach us how to be part of the real world—college is supposed to be a transition to the real world, sometimes I’m worried that Bryn Mawr isn’t doing that.

IA: Is there anything you’ve learned at Bryn Mawr that you didn’t expect to learn?

AK: All I can think of is that there’s a lot more chemistry than I thought there was.

IA: Chemistry as in the academic subject, not a spark of attraction?

AK: Yes.

IA: How else is Bryn Mawr, or college in general, different from your expectations?

AK: It’s a lot more intense. The hard parts are harder but the good parts are even better. Everything is five times more extreme than it was back home.

IA: What is your favorite thing you had to do during Hell Week?

AK: I don’t think it was a particular thing so much as the fact that many of my classes were kind of on hold and I got to spend a lot of time with you and Chloe*. I enjoyed the time in between my tasks when they were recognized. Being anassed for the first time was really cool.

*Anna’s other heller

IA: I feel like frosh are told over and over again how great Hell Week will be. How was that for you?

AK: I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as people said I would, but I definitely did. It was such a great, special opportunity.

IA: Tell me about how it felt to be in a position where you had to choose a Heller/Hellers?

AK: I felt very indecisive mostly because I ended up overthinking it…. I definitely regret not asking both of my Hellers sooner.

IA: How does that compare to being in a more passive position, waiting to see if someone wants you to hell them?

AK: It’s really stressful. Hell Week and traditions are some of the reasons why I came to Bryn Mawr so not being a Heller would feel like I was missing out a lot.

IA: Is it weird not to hear people cooing over your future Hell Week experiences when you tell them your class year, as I’m sure they did when you were a frosh? How is that?

AK: It’s definitely weird, but it’s also fun to be excited for the frosh. It’s been really cool to go through traditions from a new perspective.

Real talk: There are at least 3 people in this photo. We just like to cuddle, ok?

Thank you

Something I am especially thankful for today is communities, especially the communities I have the privilege of being a part of. I think this is always a big theme of Thanksgiving, because Thanksgiving is so much about coming together and being with the family. Traveling from Bryn Mawr to my hometown in Utah for Thanksgiving break is sadly not something I can do, but some family friends of mine are living in DC. They are from my hometown, and their daughters are some of my best high school friends. During my teenage years, I kept a toothbrush at their house for convenience because I slept over there so frequently. Their dad is on sabbatical in DC and the girls are doing internships right now. It has been so nice to do Thanksgiving with people from my hometown, and being with them has made me so thankful for the community I was raised in– one that is nurturing and close-knit in such a way that even visiting family friends far, far away from where we all met feels like stepping into a portal back to Utah. In the neighborhood we all grew up in together, taking care of one another was a top common priority and that has reflected in such a wonderful and hospitable way during my visit.

I think something that made Bryn Mawr so attractive to me is that I recognized something about my hometown and family in the campus culture. Over and over, Mawrters told me, “My favorite thing about Bryn Mawr is the community.” I crave being nurtured and having someone to nurture, and it seemed like Bryn Mawr was a place where that could be a part of my life. In my years here, I have been so thankful for that aspect of my experience. Leaving my family, where I was sort of a junior mother to my little siblings and where my parents and big sister took care of me, as well as leaving my hometown where being a good neighbor was an important virtue, has been hard. College is a time of independence, which can be wonderfully liberating but also isolating. I am deeply, deeply grateful that I get to develop this independence in a community that proactively combats that isolation through customs groups, hell families, small classes, and numerous other opportunities for mentorship and community.

Finally, I’m reposting a family recipe that I made today for the first time. It was a big legacy to live up to, but it felt like an important rite of passage:

being a good little housewife, I guess

Wendy’s Basic Roll Dough

4 c. very warm water
3 T. yeast
1 T. salt
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. melted butter
4 eggs
1 c. powdered milk
12-14 c. flour

add: water, salt, sugar, and butter in mixer.  add three cups of flour, yeast, eggs, and powdered milk.  add three more cups of flour, scrap around sides and mix well.  add the remaining flour, being careful not to add too much flour.  the dough should be very sticky.  oil a large bowl and let the dough rise in the bowl ’til double.  divide into four portions and roll into a rectangle on OILED, not floured, counter.  cut with a pizza cutter into triangles.  roll from the widest part up to the tip for crescent rolls.  place rolls on greased roll pan, cover and let rise until doubled.  

bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes or just until golden brown.

Brynterviews: My Heller Lillie

Probably my favorite thing about Hell Week was the opportunity to become part of a Hell Family. I loved being able to straightforwardly ask someone I looked up to become a part of my life, and that that relationship came with a built-in kinship structure. Lillie is a senior political science major and sociology minor. She and I sat down for a little interview about Bryn Mawr and Hell Week.

Me and Lillie during trials.

Ingrid Asplund: How did you come to be a Bryn Mawr student?

Lillie C: I wanted to go to school in the city so I was looking at schools in the city, and my family wanted me to look at Bryn Mawr and Haverford because they’re Quaker. I wanted to go to school where people were serious about doing work, because that’s what motivated me in high school, so Bryn Mawr was my top choice.

IA: What is something you love about Bryn Mawr?

LC: Right now, I like my dean and more generally that at Bryn Mawr people care about your learning and are not just trying to put you through school. I have Carpal Tunnel right now and I feel like my dean and professors have been very understanding of that.

IA: What would you change about Bryn Mawr?

LC: I think the social life at Bryn Mawr needs to change, and I think group housing could fix that. It would be easier for some people to socialize that way.

IA: As a senior, what do you think Bryn Mawr has given you that you will take into post-graduate life.

LC: Bryn Mawr has made me a better writer.

IA: What was your favorite thing you had to do during Hell Week?

LC: Putting up goofy posters, because I got to bond with my Hell sister and it felt fun and harmless.

IA: What was it like helling multiple people?

LC: It took more prep than I realized. Making a schedule is hard. But it was good to get to know other people and co-helling got me in touch with other Hell families which was great.

IA: Tell me about what it was like to transition from Hell Week freshman year to Hell Week as an upperclasswoman.

LC: It was more fun to be a heller, definitely, because you know what is going on. Being a grand-heller is easier but you’re not as involved.

The time right after Hell Week is the best your first week. Before Hell Week I was a little bit embarrassed to carry my red tote bag that signified my class year around but after Hell Week I felt proud to be a freshman because everyone had communicated how much they love us.

IA: What was something unexpected about Hell Week?

LC: I’m pretty sensitive to how other people are feeling, and I always want to fix hard situations for other people, especially when I’m in a position where I feel like I have responsibility for them. It was hard when you were so sad when Hell Week was over because I wanted to make sure everyone was having a great time.

IA: Is there anything you wish you had done differently when you were being helled?

LC: Do more at the beginning—go all out in the beginning, get some rest on the weekend. I didn’t get that Hell Week was all about loving freshmen.

IA: Any final words?

LC: I love traditions. They’re part of why I came to Bryn Mawr.

Dali Parton

Happy Halloween on Wednesday, everyone! Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday, mostly because I love getting dressed so any event centered around putting together an elaborate outfit is an event I love. I also love all the millions of options on Halloween. You can, as my sister did, simply part your hair on the other side and go as das Unheimliche, or you can be as elaborate as this guy. I took something of a middle road and combined all my favorite things: puns, art history, country queens, and fake facial hair. I was Dali Parton!

My two influences, of course, were this lady and this gentleman.

Now for pictures!

The dress and wig took inspiration from Dolly’s wardrobe and her love of pink:

(sadly I didn’t have any lasers or a bedazzled cowboy hat)

But also with lots of inspiration from Dali, especially his most famous painting, The Persistence of Memory (or, since we’re Dollifying it, The Persistence of Mammary?)

Salvador Dali, The Persistence of Memory, 1931Inspiration taken from this painting include a melting clock I crafted from felt:

A party of ants made of sequins (because, you know, Dolly) marching up my leg:

And some eyelashes, though I couldn’t figure out a way to incorporate a pile of skin (is that what that is? I don’t know. Surrealism, man.)

And, of course, one of Dali’s most iconic signifiers was his mustache, which he sometimes decorated with flowers:


But of course mine needed to be pink, and because it was artificial I wasn’t able to cultivate the same gravity-defying effect Dali’s mustache was so well-known for:

And finally, because right after my Halloween party I went right to the media lab to work on formatting the college news and some wonderful friends came to visit me even though it was late on a Saturday night:

Me, Kelly, Edie Sedgwick, and a historical getup via the 1990s.