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?

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.

What I Wore: Parade Night

All day on Friday, people kept saying, “What a lovely dress you’re wearing!” To this I would respond by showing them that I was in fact not wearing a dress, but a romper gifted to me by my hellee, perfect for climbing trees and riding bikes:

Making an extra creepy face to show off my increased sartorial dexterity.

It’s daisy printed and has a dark blue background, which I thought would be appropriate because daisies are the official flower of Bryn Mawr and dark blue is my class color (evens ’til we’re dead!). The romper format seemed useful because sometimes it’s hard to sit on the ground for a long time in a dress. Also, this is a goofy enough garment that I thought maybe I should wear it first in front of people who are feeling the Parade Night spirit and will be forgiving about my silly clothing choices. My aforementioned hellee, Anna, is set to graduate in 2014 as well (she is extra ambitious and planning on graduating in 3 years, which makes me want to say weepily, “My little baby is all grown up!” and plant an embarrassing lipsticky kiss on her forehead like a good mom) so we were matching in our dark blue:

Me and my babygirl.

Isn’t she the cutest? Also, am I the only person who absolutely loves being matching with other people? My grandma used to buy me and my older sister matching fluffy dresses and frilly socks for Sunday School and I absolutely loved it.

On Parade Night, it’s the Sophomores’ responsibility to gently sprinkle water (via water balloons and squirt guns) upon the first-year students as they run through campus. As their sister class, we juniors are expected to shower the new students with flowers and candy. I threw a combination of rose petals I foraged (I’ve noticed the rose bushes shedding, I was able to gather a generous number of petals from the ground beneath them) and bread crumbs because, you know, Bread and Roses. I tossed in a little glitter too, for good measure. It felt so great to be back in the traditions spirit, sitting on a blanket with my friends and singing songs with my fellow Mawrters, sprinkling rose petals, glitter, and bread crumbs like a fairy princess flower girl Gretel, and of course frolicking in Taft under the warm night sky after we finished singing a lullaby to our sister class.