Yong Jung's Blog

April 30, 2012
by Yong Jung Cho

You will always be fresh(wo)men to me: Reflection on my last May day

Yesterday was both the greatest and most terrifying day for me at Bryn Mawr.

First, my plans for May Day were a total flop. Although I had strawberries  and mimosas for breakfast (May Day tradition for Seniors), marched in the parade, ‘raced’ down senior row (who won?), grabbed one end of the May Hole parachute (thereby breaking the bonds of patriarchy), jumped in the bounce house with a group of faculty/staff’s kids and took polaroid pictures with the famous Philadelphians (why did Edgar Allan Poe look like Dracula?)… all before noon, I could not make it over to Sunken Garden for the St. George and the Dragon Play or Taft garden for the Ye Old Robin Hood Play or Carpenter Beach for the last A Capella concert!

check out my presidential wave

By 3pm I was ready for a nap… which I did have after eating two plates at dinner (bravo BMC dining services!! I almost  fell asleep on Erdman Green because I was so full from the delicious food- Thank you!)

Basically, yesterday was perfect. 2016, be excited for Bryn Mawr’s epic traditions and thankful to all of the fantastic students and staff that help make it happen!

Now for the terrifying part, I finally understand how the class of 2011 felt during their last May Day’s Step Sings. (For those who aren’t too familiar, a “step sing” is one of Bryn Mawr’s mini traditions. The student body comes together, classes engage in playful rivalry and we sing. I know it does not make a lot of sense… actually, a lot of May Day does not make sense to ‘outsiders’ of Bryn Mawr. In fact, yesterday, I realized how unique and beautiful Bryn Mawr is.  Our traditions are only possible because we have a very close-knit community, an honor code and a deep adherence to the spirit of self governance.)

The end of May Day is the beginning of the senior class’ farewell (It was freaky. Everyone kept wishing me “good luck” eeek!!).  Then when I saw the class of 2013 ‘rush’ the senior steps the first thing I said was, “this is horrifying”. It finally hit me: I am leaving Bryn Mawr… I mean, it is definitely time for me to say goodbye, I have learned so much here and I am  very excited for my new job (blog post coming soon), but at the same time, I am leaving a place that I call home. It also does not help that I generally do not like saying goodbye… Yesterday was terrifying.

A special message to the class of 2013: Senior year goes by so quickly. It seems like just last week that I rushed the senior steps. Start your thesis early, go into Philadelphia, watch more movies at the BMFI, go to all of the culture shows and Performing Art Series events, go to office hours to just hang out with professors/staff and attend the Fall and Spring Plenary…

There are still two weeks left until graduation (thankfully!). This means I will have more time to reflect on my Bryn Mawr experience and share them with you! I promise more blog posts will be coming soon!

Also, these are so spot on: Whatshouldbmccallme

April 27, 2012
by Yong Jung Cho

Top 10 things to DEFINITELY do on and before May Day

There are four major traditions at Bryn Mawr: Parade Night, Lantern Night, Hell Week and May Day. The first three traditions are about welcoming the incoming class and making them feel at home. However, May Day is special;  this tradition celebrates the seniors… it all comes around.

I was eating lunch in the dining hall today (mac and cheese, pizza and a cheese quesadilla… SO MUCH BREAD AND CHEESE) and I noticed this table tent:

This table tent inspired me to share with you the top 10 things you should definitely do on&before May Day!

10. Hydrate! My sophomore year, it was incredibly warm, I didn’t drink enough water and I fainted (true story).

9. Tell the Traditions Mistresses how much fun you are having! Organizing such a large event is hard work; and everyone loves to feel appreciated!

8. Make sure you wear white. But, do NOT stress about finding the perfect white dress. You have four years; stressing about a dress right before finals week is silly.

7. Take photos! Over 1300 students and hundreds of faculty, staff and families are on campus wearing white = perfect photo opportunity.

6. Get into the theme and take advantage of all the awesome events! You definitely do not need to do EVERYTHING (that’s exhausting), but try to go to a bit of everything!

5. Definitely wake up early for breakfast. Strawberries and Cream at 8am. COME ON?!

4. Make a May Day Tiara the Saturday before May Day. I love making my tiara only with baby’s breath

3. Watch the Parade, participate in the Maypole dancing, DANCE THE MAY HOLE and cheer for the Seniors as they race down Senior Row.

2. GO to the last Step Sing of the year. Sing Goodnight to the Seniors and laugh at them cry (with love).

1. This is a day of celebration. Don’t do any homework on May Day. You deserve it!

March 23, 2012
by Yong Jung Cho

Springtime at Bryn Mawr

Hi Everyone,
(with a special shout out to the Class of 2016! I heard Admissions sent out the large envelopes yesterdays. I cannot wait to see you on campus for one of the Accepted Students Weekends! If you are unable to make it but have questions, feel free to comment on the posts below!)

I am writing because this week has been absolutely gorgeous and I wanted to share some photos of campus with you!

photo cred: Yashaswini Singh'13

Currently, one of my favorite photos.
I wait for these cherry blossoms to bloom every year. I purposefully take the slightly longer way to the Haffner Dining Hall now.

photo cred: Kelsey Grimes

Another photo of the cherry blossoms (there are dozens of them on facebook!).
In fact, every time I walk by this path I see a student snapping pictures.


photo cred: Yuxin Jiang

It’s even beautiful in the evening!

photocred Amy Giarratana


January 19, 2012
by Yong Jung Cho

Winter Break

Winter break is probably the best time of the year. You can eat, sleep, watch television, hang out with friends, READ FOR PLEASURE, bake, or just sit in your pajamas all day without feeling guilty for your lack of productivity.

However, after a week or two, I get a bit antsy; I start dreaming (literally, in my sleep!) about the first day back, Plenary, my first SGA meeting…. my thesis. I interpret this as my body gearing back up for the next (and last!) semester.

And what better way to start off the semester than a Certificate Course (totally serious=))!  I arrived to campus a week before the semester was scheduled to begin, along with about 40 other students. I knew this weeklong Certificate in Management Course was going to be incredible (I took the Certificate in Finance Course over Spring break in 2011 and had a great experience), but I definitely did not expect this experience to be so powerful as to cause students to  tear up during the graduation ceremony.

If you take a look at the syllabus, it is very clear you will learn a lot. The amount of team-management theory, methods to successfully analyze a case study and interview skills/tips I learned in one week is incredible. For example, each student was a member of a team and we had the responsibility to analyze a for-profit or not-for-profit case. By the fourth day, each member of my team was able to connect different parts of the information provided by the case, link it to theories, communicate why the links and theories were relevant to the case and develop a strategy for how to effectively communicate our recommendation to our ‘client.’—Awesome, right?

However, for many students, this course ended up being so much more than learning the content. In fact, especially for the fresh(wo)men, it was very clear that students were building their confidence. The pace at which one spoke, the vocabulary used to explain a concept and the projection of one’s voice clearly indicated not only that students felt more comfortable with one another and the material, but also with oneself.

I believe this quick-paced growth/learning was possible because of two reasons. Firstly, the course was created for the purposes of learning content, practicing communication and networking skills and interacting with (/being inspired) by the 40+ alumnae and friends that stopped by [we must stop here for a second. This is truly incredible. 40+ alumnae and friends came back to Bryn Mawr to share stories and offer support for students!- Anassa Kata]. The course was built with multiple goals.

Secondly, the course was lead and facilitated by two enthusiastic, positive, engaging, supportive…. absolutely incredible individuals. John, Chief Financial Officer of Bryn Mawr and Meredith, Professor at Wharton, brought so much energy into the classroom. They really made the week worthwhile. I do not think anyone in the class mourns the loss of a week during their winter break!


December 21, 2011
by Yong Jung Cho

Women in Public Service -Meeting Madam Secretary.

Farah Pandith, special representative to Muslim communities welcomed a body of about 60 students from the 5 Seven Sister women’s colleges to the Women in Public Service Colloquium* Wednesday night. She shared with us about how her experience at a women’s college shaped who she is, but could never have predicted that her studies and experiences would lead her to work at the State Departments advising Secretary Clinton on projects, initiatives and events that influence and serve Muslim communities. Her career path was circuitous and unpredictable (something I have heard many times from almost anyone I have ever spoken with about her or  his career). Farah Pandith had contagious energy, poise, confidence and undeniable intelligence.

At the Colloquium, I was surrounded by leaders just like her all day. The experience was quite surreal. We (students from the Sister schools) even had the opportunity to take a photo with Secretary Clinton! I stood about 4 feet away and all I could think about was how awesome this was; she gave us a little pep talk, but unfortunately I don’t remember what she said! (star stuck? maybe a little). Thankfully, I was able to regain my cool and put coherent sentences together when I spoke with some other incredible people. Something that never fails to surprise me is how willing and excited Bryn Mawr alumnae are to speak with current students! (Future Mawrters and Current Mawrters, we have such a rich network of contacts! A quick plug: take advantage of the career development office; there is a database of bi-co alumni by career field)

Additionally, I was very thankful for a sense of solidarity amongst the colloquium attendees. Although, alumnae and students were proud of their school, I felt a strong commitment to the shared mission of increasing representation of women in leadership positions. I connected with alumnae from almost each of the 5 schools.  I believe this project has incredible potential to provide support, resources and guidance for women interested in the public sector; this global network is truly exciting.

Okay, so some takeaways from the experience:

  1. There is no such thing as a dream job. You will find things about your job that you will love, but you also have a life. Do great things (career-related and personal!)
  2. Finding a mentor (or several) is important. And one should seek for one because people are generally happy to speak with you especially alumnae! Opportunities come through people you know.
  3. Mentor others.
  4. You cannot attain something if you do not dream of it first.
  5. A great piece of advice for looking forward: If you were suddenly given millions of dollars what would you do with it? Now, would you do the same thing if you did not have the money? If yes, then that is what you should do!

* Really exciting, the photograph on the “Action” slide is of Bryn Mawr’s SGA! AWESOME. Anassa Kata!

photo cred: Sara Alcid’12, Smith College, Bryn Mawr College, Mount Holyoke College

December 3, 2011
by Yong Jung Cho

TEDxwomen @BrynMawrCollege

All day Thursday, institutions, organizations and businesses from around the world streamed the 2nd TEDxwomen. The mission of TED talks is to spread ideas by providing a space for the brightest and most innovative thinkers to catalyze discussions.

TEDxwomen focuses on providing a space particularly for women and girls (some men too!) to inspire other women and girls.                                                                               This is Bryn Mawr- how perfect.

And this Thursday, in our 126 year history, Bryn Mawr hosted our first TEDx.                       It cannot be described in any other way…. it was awesome.                                                  I was inspired, motivated and hopeful. At the end of the day, I just felt so great

The talks allowed me to realize how grateful I am to be a Mawrter. The speakers at TEDxwomen spoke about the importance of confidence and the value of being one’s true self. In a world still discriminatory against women and girls and where media ignites and reinforces certain social expectations, being comfortable and confident with one’s identity is crucial to one’s happiness and success.

As a senior getting ready to enter into the “real world”, I feel as though Bryn Mawr has prepared me precisely because I am part of a community that supports me to become the best person I can be. I am surrounded by people who constantly motivate me. Not only am I surrounded by incredible peers, but brilliant, friendly faculty and considerate, hardworking (TRULY AWESOME) staff.

This community has shaped my college experience and who I have become.                      I am proud to be the person I am.

A friend once told me that when choosing a college, it is important not to base decisions on who you are, but who you would like to be.                                                             Anassa Kata

Also, one of my FAVORITE talks of the day was by Tiffany Shlain: http://www.livestream.com/tedxwomen/video?clipId=pla_edc18250-c690-4e79-85a2-357bf7ff58e2

November 17, 2011
by Yong Jung Cho

7 Sisters Conference at Mount Holyoke

A Summary:

This weekend 12 Bryn Mawr students attended the Seven Sisters Conference at Mount Holyoke.  The annual conference which serves as a forum for the remaining schools in the Seven Sisters Consortium to discuss issues on campus and to encourage and improve relations between the Seven Sisters, as well as is an opportunity for furthering education, was held at Bryn Mawr last year. This year’s conference was themed “Facilitating Student Activism.”  Delegates from Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Smith, Vassar, and Wellesley were invited to hear from Loung Ung, a Cambodian genocide survivor, author, and activist, and participate in discussions about activism on campus.  The Bryn Mawr delegation had a wonderful time learning from other students and getting to know other Seven Sisters. To find out more information about the conference, check out the conversation on twitter!

-Vrinda Varia’13

What the delegation had to say:

Attending workshops focusing on issues such as dealing with student apathy and how to be a more effective and inspirational leader, I walked away from this conference with a fresh perspective on how different methods of leadership can improve my effectiveness as a campus leader and student activist.

-Katherine Lewis’ 12

I’m glad I went because I came to realize that yes, we still have issues to address on Bryn Mawr campus, but the open dialogue and dedication to everyone who is a part of this campus is at the very least something we all strive for.

-Irene Shin’13

I think one of the most important parts that came out of the Seven Sisters Conference was being reminded of how incredible and important the bond of the Seven Sisters is.  We are a cohort of students empowered by common goals of encouraging women’s education and leadership. This bond is so incredibly unique and it something that should be continued and strengthened for other younger generations.

– Priya Saxena’ 12

It allowed me to see what we can take and learn from our other sister schools, but also to appreciate that we have something that no other 7 Sister has: a true dedication to SELF-Governance, rather than Student-Governance.

-Daniele Arad-Neeman’13

By placing Bryn Mawr in comparison to the other colleges, the conference highlighted our strengths, and how to best use them in ways that the other institutions could not.

Jacinda Tran’13

The discussion on non-traditional student programs at the Seven Sisters was invaluable for me as Advocacy Mistress for the McBrides. Francis Perkins students from Mount Holyoke were present, Ada Comstock Scholars from Smith, and traditional-aged Welsley students were representing their Davis Scholars. Each of our programs has been shrinking over the past few years. However, in the discussion it became apparent that Adas and the McBrides get the most support from the traditional student population. A listserv is being created and I am super thrilled about the door that this Seven Sisters Council opened for collaboration on non-traditional programs.
The President of Mount Holyoke spoke at the closing brunch. She mentioned scarcity of female Presidents of colleges, especially those who were married and had children – I was super proud of President McAuliffe!

-Julie Gorham’12

Every year, the Conference re-energizes me. Not only do I spend a weekend with impressive, intelligent and articulate student leaders, but I come back to Bryn Mawr with a long list of ideas! I feel as though each school’s governments do some things really great and the weekend is a great learning opportunity… Additionally, I am reminded by how much I love self governance. Mawrters are extremely lucky.

This year, I loved the opportunity to reconnect with representatives from the other 7Sisters Schools (This was my third conference!) as well as form stronger bonds amongst the Bryn Mawr students. I am excited about the future of the 7Sisters relationships and look forward to the growing network. I will continue to foster these connections until my term on the 7Sisters Council ends this February.

-Yong Jung Cho’12

Original Post on www.sga.blogs.brynmawr.edu

October 31, 2011
by Yong Jung Cho

Stranded in Boston over Halloweekend

I have not been on campus for Halloween since my freshman year. And this was certainly not on purpose. Sophomore year my grandmother was moving to Hawaii and junior year I spent the weekend in Washington DC to attend the rally to restore sanity and/or fear (it was so awesome). In fact, I was really looking forward to dressing up and hanging out with my friends. I already knew who I want to dress up as… my girl, Kreayshawn.

Instead, I spent my weekend in Boston for a interview/workshop weekend. It was great fun and I learned so much… However, this blog post is not about why I went to Boston, but why and how I got back.

I am currently typing away on the boltbus back to Philadelphia. I had not intended to take the 10am bus, but I was supposed to be back on campus by 8am this [Sunday] morning. I WAS STRANDED. The northeast suffered a (freak) snowstorm last night and therefore to my HORROR (it. Is Halloweekend) all the bus companies leaving south station cancelled their services.

The first thing I did as soon as I found out was email my executive board to let them know that Rebecca, the Vice President of SGA would have to lead the meeting. (the VERY FIRST thing I did)…. then I had to find a place to crash.

In all honesty, I did think about moseying into Occupy Boston to ask if I could spend a night in someone’s tent. But there were so many more options to consider before taking that route. I mean, it was snowing and freezing.

I sent out a plea through Facebook asking if any friends were in Boston.
Thank goodness for smartphones (my gps had saved me multiple times this weekend too!) and social media. A Bryn Mawr alumna offered her place! I took the T [Boston’s Subway system] over to her place, walked through the slush in my very wet loafers/socks and gave her the biggest hug/a box of cookies from a nearby bakery.

Basically, I love Bryn Mawr. I love Social Media. And I am so excited to make it back in time for lantern night. Anassa kata!