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Think about a neighborhood. The clumsy, haphazard houses are chock-full of individual life and experience. The cars whiz busily down the street, past gargantuan rows and corners of houses and apartments brimming with families, stories, and people. They all live in the same community, but many are unconnected, divorced from neighbors and communities, the jagged rectangular puzzle split at the corners. Much like a whole cannot be a whole with the individual components lost, so a community cannot in itself be complete with its little pieces scattered in their private shells. The question of community asks whether you will be an island, quietly lost, or part of a continent, shouting and pulling to shore at the yank of the tectonic plate?
For me, inside my own tiny neighborhood right now, the exhilaration of contributing to the Bryn Mawr community means not only taking part in traditions such as May Day and Lantern Night, but by becoming an engaged member of the campus. Aside from getting an education, during my time at Bryn Mawr I want to be a part of the college: contribute to the Kaleidoscope, participate in women’s rights activism, and make connections with other students. Particularly activism, the basis of feminism is not very different from the standard of community, encouraging women to succeed and make positive change in the world. As put by poet laureate Maya Angelou: “I am a feminist. I’ve been female for a long time now. I’d be stupid not to be on my own side”. Bryn Mawr, at its root designed to offer higher education to women, is the epitome of the feminist empowerment.
Furthermore, going to college is not only defined by the degree received, but also by the experiences, memories, and opportunities that highlight it. The continent, like the neighborhood, community, and finished puzzle, subsists only with the aid of its individual fragments. In a time of challenge, if it is littered with rifts, it will collapse. Altogether, this is defined not with words, but with actions. An example being the College’s Honor Code, like the close-knit neighborhood, a community that trusts its members with the responsibility of integrity, self-governance, and honesty exists on a platform of respect, and in the long run, thrives. In contributing to it, one must only continue to follow it, as a system of trust; it has proven that it works. Not unlike the neighborhood, it endures as an organized system, flourishing on the basis of mutual participation and commitment. In this, Bryn Mawr women succeed through personal veracity and truthfulness to themselves and to their peers. In essence, it is community at its finest.
Altogether, with the breadth and depth of a college education, women have the power to bring about change in the world, in one example; Bryn Mawr alumna Dorothy Klenke Nash, the first woman neurosurgeon in United States. Not only in the terms of the lengthy list of the famous alumni, but in the sense of an open-minded attitude and enhanced perspective, the education and experience of Bryn Mawr grants students the select tools that give graduates the opportunity and background to make positive revolution and to help better understand others–in my neighborhood, across the world, and at Bryn Mawr.
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