A Vassar college student reads while wearing the shirt, shorts and socks style, 1950s.

Photograph from Seven Sisters Style by Rebecca Tuite. Vassar has been the focus of much of her fashion history study on Seven Sisters campuses from the 1920s through the late 1970s. These clothes have meaning: they were what women choose to wear at a time when women began to live independent, modern lives.

To the class of 2017:

August has, for the past 4 years, meant returning. It has meant homecoming. It has meant fresh starts, new pens, and blank pages.

August has come to mean, to me, Vassar. And now, suddenly, it doesn’t.

When I graduated (a whopping 2.5 months ago), it felt right and good and true.  I was ready. It wasn’t until August peaked around the corner that I felt like something was missing. 

You, luckiest of all the most lucky in my mind, are about to set foot on my favorite place, and I envy you beyond reason.

I challenge you to try more do more be more than you think you can.

Stay up late, talk to those kids down the hall, experience the end of an all nigher from the library, the Rose Parlor, your dorm room. Lie awake on a Saturday night and listen to all the comings and goings of the quad. Kiss a stranger. Kiss your best friend.

Follow the 2 week rule.

Go to the bridge next to the willow on Sunset Lake, lie down, tip your head over the edge, and enjoy.

Spend all day on the quad. Listen to a new favorite song, make a new friend & watch the shadows grow long.

Get a solid crew together for breakfast.

Get a solid crew together for dinner.


be brave. be nervous. be fucking terrified.

Visit people in their rooms, share your clothes, walk to Acrop at 3 in the morning.Take more pictures than you think you need to.

There’s a quiet nook next to the Shakespeare garden…spend an afternoon there alone. Bask in those fleeting moments of privacy.

Say no to things, to people, to projects.

Fight over which one is the best dorm (Davison, obviously).

Watch a lightening storm from the Earth Circle. 

Leave messages hidden in books in mailboxes on trees. 

Come up with a code.

Relish in the talent of others. Don’t be afraid to take on leadership roles. 

love and love and love until you think you can love no more.

surprise yourself by loving again.

Speak up in class. Don’t be afraid to let someone change your mind. Take a pie from the deece and eat it in the orchard. Get lost on the farm. Sleep outside. Watch the stars.

Dance. What you feel, when- and wherever you feel it.

at the mug

in the villard room

for VRDT

for flypeople/hype/on tap/shakers

for yourself

alone. in a crowded room. in the dark. 

Be wild. Be uncertain. Be committed. Be there for others. Be generous, and be so often. But be selfish sometimes. Be good to yourself.

Get off campus.

Recognize that nothing is perfect. Don’t be afraid to point out the corruption, the hypocrisy, the unrealistic idealism. Fight for the changes you believe need to happen to make things better.

Collect something… bottle caps, ticket stubs, dried flowers. Mark the passage of time with something other than deadlines.

Eat good food.

Be comfortable in your body, somehow. 

Listen to music when you shower. 

Make sure you don’t remember Freshman/Sophomore/Junior/Senior year because so much has happened, not because you drank any single one of them out of your brain. 

Spend the next 4 years learning Vassar and build for yourself the most amazing group of friends anyone can ask for. Hold each other up hold each other together. Be sensible and crazy for one another when you need to be. Be vulnerable and let them see you. Truly you. At your best and your worst and anything in between. See them back. Laugh often and loudly.

And then, when you’re not quite ready, just because you can, move in with strangers. 

Fall in love with them.

That’s what I did, and it worked out pretty damn well.

Vassar is where I discovered myself, found my soul mates, and learned to chase my dreams. She is responsible for who I am and who I will become.

So take good care of her. And she’ll try her best to take care of you, I promise.

Have a great 4 years you lucky little turds. I’ll see you on the other side.