Tensions, Communities and Bryn Mawr

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Women Living Well - 2004

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Tensions, Communities and Bryn Mawr

Kaari Pitts

Kaari Pitts
Instructor: Amy Campbell
Class: Women Living Well
Final Paper
4. 30. 04

Question #2: Why do tensions exist in communities, how is that tension useful and when is its too challenging? What can be done to gain a sense of mutuality with a community without giving up your individuality?

Bryn Mawr when compared to other schools of comparable size appears to be an extremely diverse institution. When perspective students visit, they learn that differences are heavily respected here, and that there is room for all types of people. It is indeed rare that such a place can exist, that people who chose to not bathe can co-exist with women who bathe on a daily basis, pro-lifers can speak to those who are pro-choice, and those individuals who choose to be naked, worship M. Carry Thomas or have an alternative lifestyle are all treated the same; equally and with tolerance. However, if the before mentioned is all true, then I have a question: What about those who fall within the cracks, those precious few who do not fit into categories, or in other words, what about people like me?

I believe that Bryn Mawr can be defined as a tolerant community, that is, tolerant of those on each side of extremes. Nevertheless I have found, especially within the minority community, if a person makes choices that do not fit the societal norms, then they are in a sense black-listed. For a fresh-woman, young and inexperienced, this form of ostracizing can cause great amounts of stress and tension. At Bryn Mawr, it is often difficult to retain a sense of individuality. Bryn Mawr morphs students in to people who live double lives. We have become secret agents, hiding our true agendas and lifestyles from prying eyes. Perhaps, learning personality dualism can be thought of as a benefit to tension, and if so, than those similar to myself have become masters of the art.

Tensions exist at Bryn Mawr for various reasons and the over-load of work, combined with various personalities often transforms Bryn Mawr into a battle field. However, my experience here Bryn Mawr is not always based on negativity. Bryn Mawr is a wonderful institution and I believe that the skills, the 'ologies and 'isms that I have learned here will aid me in any endeavor that I choose. I also believe that for the most part, the community here at Bryn Mawr is a great one, full of distinct personalities and extremely intelligent women, however, it is easy for women such as myself to feel lost, left within the cracks of Bryn Mawr life.

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