tenaciousfuturewriter  asked:

What is the Bridge Program about and what is it like for students?

Hey there! The Bridge Program is an orientation offered about a week or so earlier than the orientation for all incoming students. Bridge is special because it’s only for student who identify as people of color (i.e. a student of the global majority as I like to think of it). You live on campus, though not in your assigned room or home, with your cohort of Bridgees. The program is organized and facilitated largely by upper class students of color, though you still get to meet other Smith faculty and staff. The objective is to orient the students both to college life at Smith, but also the fact that navigating that transition as a person of color is unique and is an important experience to acknowledge. It also gets you started on knowing where buildings are, how to handle financial aid, and getting to talk to some professors, all while meeting new and old Smithies.

I was a Bridgee! The experience is varied. Although the program started in the 1970s, it’s continued to grow; as such, it’s still a learning process. Some people end up loving their cohort and relishing karaoke night or bonding over morning zumba. Other people don’t do well in large groups, and want independence outside of the group setting. However, I can tell you that any Bridgee I’ve ever come across has at least one warm memory of Bridge, and many are still close to their friends from the program. If you have any specific questions, let us know!

-Gaby ‘17

Top Five Reasons Why History Is The Best Major

1. Class is basically story time. Do you want to hear riveting tales of cross-dressing slaves that escaped in a daring journey across the U.S. or how about an apocalyptic bad Byzantine battle where half the army switch sides and the other half ran away?  or what about that time a women became king of Nigeria? Yeah I get to go to class everyday and be endless entertained by these awesome stories and even better? Its all true. 

2. It makes you a more empathetic person. Its really easy to look at people in the past and make a snap judgement about them, that they are so stupid, bad, sexist, uncultured. ect ect… But as historians we have to walk a mile in their shoes and not judge them by the standards we have today. For instance important idea that we take today like umm. universal individual rights  or personally property or not having to work everyday for our physical survival hadn’t even been invented till pretty recently. History forces you to understand why people make certain decision and why they held certain views without judging them, a skill I am happy to carry into my day to day life. 

3. It is the best study of people. There are a lot of majors that study people: physiology, sociology, gender studies but those all focus on theory. History studies what real people do when faced with real situations. And it is indeed history that sparks social scientist to do their work. The reason behind the famous Milgram Experiment was trying to figure out why good people followed Hitler during WW2. History is the ultimate social experiment and gives us the best data on why people are the way they are and do what they do 

4. You get to touch the old things. You stand around in museum. See some boring rocks and some ugly paintings but when you are a history major, all the sudden its “HOLY S#&%* THESE WEIRD LITTLE BONES CHUNKS WAS TOUCHED MOTHERF@#$*$@# SHANG DYNASTY EMPEROR!!!” All the sudden the world is a magically place where everything even mundane, ugly, old things become special and amazing because there is history there! 

5. You become very ok with change. History is the study of change over time and over all history has made me a much more chill person. Its like you see that bad stuff happens and life moves on and its ok. Empires fall, major world views shift, rulers come and go but everything turns out ok in the end and life goes on. Nothing is the end of the world. 

10 Ways to Make Your Dorm Room (almost) Instantly Homier

Whether you’re heading back to college for the fourth or very first time, try these tips to feel at home on campus:

  1. Lamps! Even in the nicest accommodations (like Smith!) the overhead lighting isn’t all that pleasant. A lamp or two (maybe one floor lamp and one bedside) softens the light in the room, and undeniably makes it homier. Pick up some thrift store lamps once you get there, especially if you’re coming from far away, that way you can ditch them at the end of the semester if you can’t store or move them easily (plus thrifted lamps are pretty cheap — I found one of my three lamps on the side of the road, the other two were willed to me).
  2. A rug can make a room feel much warmer, and I much prefer stepping onto a rug when I get out of bed over the cold floor. I’ve also had friends use a rug as a seating area on the floor, lined with throw pillows against the wall (especially good if you’re not a fan of folks sitting on your bed).
  3. Cool it on the high school friends photos. You might see photo collages that take up entire walls on Pinterest and in friends’ rooms, but a few nice photos in frames of family and friends from home can aesthetically and mentally prepare you for new friends and adventures in college.
  4. You can never have too many mugs. The bigger the better — tea, coffee, water, extracurricular beverages (you know, like milk for your cookies), cereal, fruit, yogurt, the mug is one of the most universal dishes.
  5. Extra blankets of different weights will up your cozy factor, and will come in handy when it’s fort building time. You can also fold these up to use as extra pillows for leaning against the wall/on your bed. Especially as you’re adjusting to a new house’s thermostat, a variety of blankets is nice to have as you figure out what makes you comfy.
  6. Fake flowers or plants, or real ones if you’re ambitious, add sweet bursts of color to your very neutral room. I like to keep mine in wine bottles, as it really classes up the place, and is perfect for making a get together with friends or a wine date with a friend/gal pal/boy toy more festive.
  7. Keep the blinds open during the day! If you can, arrange a mirror to reflect the light from the window (my first year my closet door, which had a mirror on the outside, was luckily directly across from a window, and it actually made a substantial difference to the feel of the room).
  8. Have some conversation starters — a favorite album artwork, a poster from a favorite trip/museum visit/concert/movie, a small statue you found in your first year room’s light box (now there’s a story), a map with markers on it (Places you’ve been? Places you want to go? Places people you love are?), a flag from your state/country/political party (I proudly fly the NWP flag and it has made me several friends), something you made or someone made for you (maybe a blanket your grandma crocheted you). Anything that a new friend can ask about and you’ll have more to say than just, “oh I thought it looked nice.” Something with a story is always great, and it’s a great way to find things in common right away. On that note, if you bring books from home, people are going to check them out when they come by your room, so make them count!
  9. A tapestry or something cloth on the wall will really warm up your white-walled room!
  10. Seasonal decor you make yourself, like paper snowflakes with your roommates when you’re ready for snow, or paper flowers for when you desperately want it to be spring — festive and a nice study break!
What they don’t tell you you’ll need in college (but you totally do)
  1. Tupperware
  2. A good laptop case
  3. Materials for whatever craft/hobby you enjoy
  4. A mattress heater
  5. A backpack for school AND a cute purse for going out
  6. Office supplies (like scissors, glue, tape, post it notes)
  7. Quaters
  8. A mug (or a few)
  9. Paper towels for your room
  10. A really good pair of headphones (I promise its worth the money)
  11. Copies (or originals) of all of your important documents… birth certificate, passport, social security card, bank account info
  12. Gym shoes
  13. Skype and a good webcam
  14. Extra chargers for everything
  15. A keychain/lanyard/things to carry your key and OneCard in
  16. Closet and drawer organizer
  17. A big wall calendar
  18. Device to play video games
  19. At least one fancy(ish) outfit
  20. Your favorite candy/food/thing you can only get in your home town

Ah the Book Mill. This converted mill houses a brilliant used book store (their slogan is “books you don’t need in a place you can’t find), a delicious cafe, a hip restaurant, an art and craft gallery, and an indie music store. Out in the middle of nowhere (aka near Deerfield and Sunderland – which is where Mount Sugarloaf is, a great hike with an even better view at the top), the Book Mill is a Pioneer Valley favorite. 

The Book Mill is a lovely place to spend an afternoon, studying and drinking tea over the sound of the falls. It’s a trek from Smith (about 40 minutes by car), but it’s so worth it, even if you don’t end up picking up any books (though I bought two paperbacks for my trip for less than $3 each!). 

anonymous asked:

Hello everyone! So I was recently accepted to Smith and I am incredibly excited because I know how wonderful of a school Smith is. The only hesitation I find myself having about attending Smith is the fact that it is an all-girl's school. I have attended co-ed schools for my entire life and a large portion of my friend group is male, so I am concerned about my ability to adjust to an all-girl's campus. Does anyone have any advice about how I should make my decision?

Congratulations on your acceptance! We’re so excited that you’re excited :)

A lot of people (myself included) had similar feelings to you before attending Smith. Some of my very best friends from back home are guys, and going to a women’s college hasn’t changed how much I value my relationships with them. However, I’ve found that being around (mostly) women all the time has been just as valuable for so many reasons, so here are a few things that are helpful to keep in mind when considering from co-ed to a women’s college:

Being around such supportive, empowered, smart women has done wonders for my self-esteem. Compared to last year when I was at a co-ed high school, I’ve definitely noticed a difference in how much I speak up in class, how often I do/say/wear what I want without as much hesitation, how much space I’m allowed to take up, how often I ask for help without feeling inadequate, etc. etc. Society being the way it is, it’s not often that women get to have these experiences so easily and so often.

And not all Smithies are women! On a day-to-day basis, you will interact with guys from the other colleges in the consortium, guys spending a year at Smith from abroad, trans guys, guys from Northampton, and people of a variety of genders. But if that’s not enough, after your first semester at Smith you can hop on the PVTA (the free bus that goes to the other colleges) and take a class at UMass, Amherst, or Hampshire to meet new people.

Honestly, once you get here it’s easy to forget that you go to a majority-gender school. The main thing I notice about the people I interact with is their confidence, intelligence, and kindness, rather than the fact that they’re more often than not women.

There are so many more things that I could say (and I’m sure the other bloggers have things to add), but I’ll leave off with something I was told by a Smith alum a few years ago that stuck with me during the college application process: “if you’re worried about women’s colleges because you prefer the company of men, you haven’t met the right women yet”. This is something I’ve definitely found to be true.

Emma ‘20

Laverne Cox came to Smith yesterday!!! I didn’t want to miss a single thing she said, so I only snapped her marvelous entrance. It was an honor getting to hear what she had to say. Topics included her journey through womanhood, how to identify and cut out shame from your life, following your passions in school, amazing authors in Black Women’s Studies, behind the scenes stories from Orange is the New Black, and of course, Beyoncé. I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL OPRAH VISITS!

How to tackle a big paper (at the last minute)

Hey! So I have a 10-15 page paper due in 10 days that I haven’t started yet. So because this is a problem I am tackling right now so I thought some of this may help you as well! As I’ve mentioned on this is blog before I have ADHD and Dylexia which makes “just sit down and do it” not very helpful. So here are some tips I complied to help you (and me!!) with this problem!

1. Read for only 5-10 minutes at a time

Having dyslexia makes reading really laborious so I purposefully keep my reading time very short especially when I’m reading heavy academic literature. This makes sure I’m actually comprehending whats being written and and not just glazing over. Read for 5 minutes take a 1 minute break and then start fresh. 

2. Talk it out

Call your mom, grab a friend and tell them all about the paper the paper before you start writing. Since I’m much more of a talker and a listener than a writer or a reader, I find that having conversations about my papers and projects helps a lot more that just brainstorming on paper. Also it always helps to get other people’s opinion of what you’re doing and here their ideas and suggestions. 

3. Make ridiculously detailed outlines 

Outline everything. Everything your going to talk about. Write in al of your topic sentences put in all of your supporting quotes. Make it so writing this essay is basically like filling in the blanks. For me writing a outline and then filling it is much less intimidating that starting from a black white word doc. 

4. Collect all the quotes you are going to use in advance and type them out.

One thing that will always stall me when writing a is stopping to get and laboriously type of long quotes. I always take time before I start writing to get all my quotes together and in order so when I’m in the flow of writing I can just cut and paste

5. Color code your essay. 

Black and white text is basically the worst. It makes everything look the same and it is hard to go back and reread the essay. So while I’m writing I color code the sections. For instance all the quotes go in blue, analysis goes in pink, historical background goes in green and transition go in purple. This makes it easy to spot where things are in the essay and it also makes it easy to see if all the parts of my paper are in balance. I need to have enough analysis and keep the transitions and fluff to a minimum. It really helps in the editing of my essay. 


There was a really great talk at UMass this past Thursday by the one and only Noam Chomsky! (I’ve heard that one of the house’s mascots is a garden gnome named Gnome Chomsky and honestly that’s amazing.) A couple of friends and I took the PVTA to get to this free event and we got a little worried we wouldn’t be able to get inside because there was a huge line of people who wanted to go in! As you can see, the stadium–Mullins Center–is extremely large and everything was fine. Being part of the Five College Consortium is amazing because it’s really simple to go to interesting events like these!

Professor Chomsky talked about “Prospects for Survival.” Unsurprisingly, the talk itself was fairly grim. He talked primarily about the threat of nuclear war and the actions of America exacerbating it as well as America’s role in contributing to global climate change. As depressing as it was, I also felt the urge to jump up and do something. I’m really glad I got the chance to see Professor Chomsky! I truly believe these issues are important and this was honestly an amazing experience.