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Mind Washing

aybala50's picture



            Iwould wake up fairly early, probably around quarter to six, to get ready for abusy school day. Usually I would get too lazy to eat breakfast but I wasn’t tooworried, as lunchtime would arrive shortly. As the school day went by I couldfeel myself become more aware of my stomach grumbling and my eyes slowlyshutting. Then before I knew it school would be over and I would be free to doas I pleased. Since I lived in Columbia, Missouri it was fairly hard to getanywhere without a car, at least for the lazy people like myself. So what wouldI do? After finishing everything at school I would go home or to the library toget my work done. If I were at the library I would have to leave by 7 pm so Icould get home for dinner. After that I would stay home for the remainder ofthe night trying to finish my studies. Then, I grew up. College began before Iknew it and now I’m at Bryn Mawr. This change in my life, from going to a highschool to going to college, has changed my daily considerably. Trying to figureout the reasoning for why this is so, I followed my schedule on a regular dayand realized that the reason for my daily life changing is the architecture ofa college campus, specifically for me the campus set up of Bryn Mawr.

            Thecollege campus here is meant to encourage studying, convenience, a feeling ofhome, depending on the person asked. In my opinion the Bryn Mawr campus isstrategically organized to give the feel of a small and almost cozy community.Isn’t that one of the characteristics Bryn Mawr is known for? I’m not arguingwhether this is true or not. Though I do believe that the physical structure ofBryn Mawr has played a great role in developing my daily life.  My dorm is located centrally on campusso I have easy access to almost every building. These buildings include thelibraries, dinning halls and other buildings such as the campus center. Thiscampus setting is different from my physical high school setting. In highschool my classes were in one building. Every other aspect of my life such aseating, sleeping and studying were separate from the physical school. Here atcollege all aspects of my life are put together to create one big institutionthat controls my daily life and me.

All freshmen arerequired to work in the dinning halls if they want a job on campus. Because Ihave work-study, I work at Erdman dinning hall four mornings a week. In my highschool setting I was too lazy to prepare and eat breakfast. In contrast tothis, because of the convenience of already being near food in the mornings, Ihave started eating breakfast. Also, for me on campus, the only available foodis at the dinning halls. Before coming to college I would snack through out theday, but while I am here I feel too lazy to walk to a dinning hall to grab anapple, hence I don’t really eat food besides during my meals. The fact thatI’ve started eating breakfast and stopped snacking are some of the ways that myeating habits have changed.  

A big aspect of mydaily life that was also influenced by the set up of the college campus is mysleeping habits. All of my life I have been a night owl. Throughout high schoolI would stay up until around midnight. Right now not only do I go to bed later(around 1-2 am), what I do while awake has also changed. Because going to thelibrary from my dorm takes me about two minutes I spend most of my nightsthere. While I’m studying it doesn’t feel as though I am far from my bed,because in reality I am not. In Columbia being at the library required for meto drive there, which took about fifteen minutes. Because of the differencepresented in the architecture of a campus I find myself staying at the libraryuntil closing time at midnight. If I were at home or anywhere without a campussetting like at Bryn Mawr, in my mind I would be considering the time it tookfor me to get from the library to my destination. Thoughts like these wouldgive me the sense of almost an inconvenience in staying at the library, as ifthe longer I stayed the more work it would require for me to get back. Forexample if I stayed at the library really late I would have to really focus onthe road while driving, as I would be tired. Here at Bryn Mawr, I really don’tworry too much about hitting anyone while walking back to my dorm at midnight.

The architecturalset up of a college is very different from that of any other community studentsare used to coming from. I myself am from a college town, which means that thewhole campus is scattered in a large area, unlike the Bryn Mawr College campus.Our college is prideful of the fact that we are a small community of smartwomen. Is Bryn Mawr trying to keep the size of the campus small because itdoesn’t want to lose the feel of “closeness”? Or is it a kind of mind washingtechnique that is meant to control little aspects of life such as our eating orsleeping habits that may go unnoticed. As students at Bryn Mawr we are toldthat we control our own lives, but the mere set up of the campus may be theunderlying reason for most of our daily habits, hence our lives.