Over the past few days, I have had quite a few inside laughs because every time I tell someone I am living in Brecon for a second year by choice, the person I am speaking with at the time goes, "O.O!" There really are no words to describe the priceless expression that crosses each person's face. So, I chose an emoticon that sums up the feelings and thoughts of disbelief, pity and my favorite, "Thank God it isn't me." Each conversation about my choice to live in Brecon is comical because I know that Mawrters who would never EVER consider living in Brecon are missing out on an unwanted gem on campus.
For those who do not know, Brecon is one of the farthest dorms on campus. Although other dorms like, Rhoads and Perry house, are also not as close to central campus, what makes Brecon supposedly dreadful is the walk to and from Brecon. Named the Valley of Death, which a rather steep pit that precedes the uphill climb to and from Brecon, the walking distance between Brecon and central campus scares students into avoiding it like the plague. Yes, the walk is tiresome (I must walk downhill, down a flight of stairs, through the valley, up a flight of stairs, cross the street, enter Brecon, walk upstairs 3 floors--Not too bad right?). Yes, the valley can be slippery and chilly when winter arrives. Yes, "Bryn Mawr time" does not exist for Breconites. And yes--okay, I can agree this sucks--meals becomes less important and far in between when you have to make the trek. However, in describing why I personally enjoy living at Brecon, I hope to make the case that Brecon is worth living in and to lessen the stigma associated with it on campus.
I first fell in love with Brecon during an overnight at Bryn Mawr College prior to the start of my fresh(wo)man year. My interest was piqued when, on my first night, my hostess and friend, Amanda Beardall (check her blog out!) excitedly gushed about living in Brecon and how much fun it was going to be. I was confused. While I had never stepped foot on Bryn Mawr's campus before, even I had heard, wayyyy back in Boston, that Brecon was a dorm that was not usually picked by choice. For the rest of my stay, I kept returning to the first night with Amanda and would fight to hold on to that memory despite the constant comments of "No one wants to live there" from current and prospective students. And so, because I wanted to be uninfluenced by others and challenge the misconceptions about Brecon, I decided to live at Brecon against the "O.O!?!" of my friends. Sorry...not.
I love the walk to and from Brecon because, although it gets my heart racing, the walk gives me countless opportunities to slow down my thoughts and reflect on my day. When I am having a bad day, the rainbow of flowers, the rolling hills of green grass and the occasional yells of encouragement from a game in the sports field remind me to remain optimistic--a bad day couldn't possibly exist in the face of great beauty. When I am having a great day, I can't wait to reward myself by sitting on my favorite wooden bench overlooking the edges of Bryn Mawr's campus and the start of Bryn Mawr's town. During exam week, Brecon is a great and quiet escape. While the high levels of stress, panic and frustration can be felt on central campus, especially in Canaday library, I am nestled in my room not feeling the added stress from others.
Best of all, Brecon is its own community filled with Mawrters who empathize with one another because we all know how it feels to make the trek to and from the dorm every day. In Brecon, there is always someone to chat and walk with to meals because we know the journey across campus is always better together than alone. In Brecon, we are quirky and get a kick out making catchphrases for the dorm (my favorite: "Don't go Brecon my heart!"). In Brecon, we are welcome of anyone and everyone because we do not wish to impose on others the isolation we face on campus.
I absolutely love Brecon (I even convinced two of my closest friends to live there with me!) and I hope all Mawrters, both incoming and current students, will take the opportunity to Brecon-ize that it is worth the trip!
A visual of my lovely dorm! It isn't the best quality so take the trip to see it for yourself!:)