When I Grow Up

“Hello! What’s your name?” People always started, when I was visiting colleges.

“Where’re you from?” Ha, I know that one! (Though now I know I like it here, and want to stay on the East Coast.)

“What other colleges are you applying to?” Cue the long list. (After you decide, you’ll never give this full list again.)

“Are you thinking of a major?” Ahahahaha no. Not yet. I just got here!

[Are you thinking of a four-year plan?] [Are you thinking of a ten-year plan?] [Have you got your whole life planned out yet?]

And those they’ll never ask you, because those are their questions, the ones swirling through every college student’s mind that abruptly come to boil.

Two Wednesdays ago, I sat down with two separate friends at two separate times and was told by both of them that they’d decided to no longer be pre-med. They’d been thinking hard about it over spring break, they reassured me. Christine (who is a first-year) apologized to me, telling me it probably wasn’t a big deal to me as a junior…

False. Crisis moments are always a big deal. Not crises in the true sense of the word, with life or death in the balance (surprisingly, your daily life still goes on, in spite of your suddenly roiling feelings about the future). But these are still crisis moments for us, times when something changes fundamentally in our thinking.

It’s those moments when a whole series of events build up, and suddenly you’re howling: I need to get out, I need to do something better. But then: what do I want to do instead? And: maybe, I should just stay? What does everyone else (my parents!) think? What am I supposed to do? What clues can I look to in my past that indicate one way or another, that show that this path is the one I’ve always leaned towards? What’s my passion? Do I have a passion? Look at everyone else, ask teachers ask friends ask family—am I going the right way? Because I’m turning around. Is that okay with you?

Just an overwhelming need for escape, a feeling that this isn’t working. And then you’re back to step one, back to not having even a one-year plan anymore. For pre-meds it can be especially hard, because medicine is something many people have been planning for years. When you take it away from yourself, you’re left scrambling for a hold.

Add into that that many Wellesley students are neurotic planners. People are organized here, involved in so many activities, arranging everything so that they can do as much as possible. Not everyone, absolutely, and I do interact mostly with those found living in the Science Center. Yet I know for myself that one of the things I enjoy most about my hoped-for career path (neuroscience professor) is the certainty of it. Pre-graduate students like me have a 10-year plan. Pre-med students have a 10-year plan. Almost everyone else doesn’t. Many of my senior friends are still looking for jobs after they graduate. Some know what they want to do, and are working towards it, but the path to their chosen goal isn’t cleanly established. Some don’t know.

So yes, Christine and Suman, I want to know all about your crises, whatever you choose to call them. I want to know why, who you’ve talked to, where you’re thinking of going next. I want to hear about the journey there; I want to be here to listen. Because I don’t know anything about it. I don’t know anything about “real-world” jobs, about what you do if there’s not a line of education leading to the finish line. I don’t know about alums who have used their considerable skills to adapt to different careers: who move around and never settle. Everyone tells me that what you learn at Wellesley—ability to speak, think, analyze, the habit of hard work—will serve you well wherever you go. My chosen field demands research expertise, good grades, and letters of recommendation pretty exclusively. What would a job interview look like when those three things are not the foundation?

Suman wants to move into public health, and she’s already accessing resources and meeting people I’ve never thought of—see my post on the Wellesley Network last week. She’s changed the classes she’s taking in the fall, and she’s lining up opportunities to allow herself to explore this new option. Christine doesn’t know what she wants to do, and she might be switching majors. But as Isabelle said to her: “That’s fine. It doesn’t matter. You’re a first year! You still have until the end of sophomore year (if you’re not going abroad) or second semester sophomore year (if you are going abroad) to decide.” And you can switch your major after that, and how many alums do I know who have a job which has nothing to do with their major? Many. Many.

I tell my parents things like this sometimes, and they kind of laugh at little-naïve-me :) . You never know what you want to do, my dad told me. You spend your whole life trying to figure it out.

And maybe that is the joy of it, despite the occasional anxiety. Because we never know what will happen. And in that uncertainty we have infinite possibilities: endless opportunities to question and move forward, changing in whatever direction we please.


ps: Questions and comments welcome as always, and I’m directing you to Lori’s Blog for great links about Spring Open Campus. If it’s at all possible, we’d love to see you here! It’s a great opportunity to get the feel of all the wonderful women that make the Wellesley experience—that’s what convinced me to come, and I hope many of you will feel the same :) .

Impromptu lab photo while waiting for lab meeting :). From left to right, we have Yiing (graduating senior off to Germany for the summer!), Isabelle (heading to Caltech for the summer), Galen (our newest lab member! She's working in the lab this summer), me, Eileen (sophomore, staying for the summer!), Evelyn (sophomore, ditto), Jessica (sophomore, moving over to Prof. Wiest's lab for the summer!) And Galina and Kaitlin are taking the picture. Love the lab :).

Impromptu lab photo while waiting for lab meeting :) . From left to right, we have Yiing (graduating senior off to Germany for the summer!), Isabelle (heading to Caltech for the summer), Galen (our newest lab member! She’s working in the lab this summer), me, Eileen (sophomore, staying for the summer!), Evelyn (sophomore, ditto), Jessica (sophomore, moving over to Prof. Wiest’s lab for the summer!) And Galina and Kaitlin are taking the picture. Love the lab :) .

Posted in *Monica's Blog, Visiting Campus, Wellesley College | Leave a comment

A Year Later – Advice to Me

Spring at Wellesley = bipolar weather + prospies on campus + more smiles + more work.

I was wearing summer clothes a few days ago, and last night I had to break out my winter coat again because it was 8 degrees one night, then 0 degrees (celsius) the next.


(I seriously need to learn to charge my phone. also this is the only photo for today IM SORRY IM LAME)

Other than the weather whiplash, I’ve been struggling with the increased amount of work I’ve been assigned since we are actually on the homestretch of the semester. That’s insane to me. It feels like I was just at International Orientation, meeting amazing new people for the first time – some of whom have become my closest friends. But my first year at Wellesley is almost over, and although I have almost exactly a month to go, I can say that these nine months have been an adventure. I have learned so much and changed so much, I think it’s appropriate that I refer to myself in third person from now on to provide my past self, 18 year old Lia enduring her last semester in high school, with wise advice from a more mature perspective…

Dear 2nd Semester Senior Lia,
Go. To. Class. Yea ok second semester senior year is a struggle, and I won’t say that some of the stuff we(you?I?) did instead of going to class didn’t make for great memories… but you already put so much effort in to the work for 3/4 of the year, another month or so of work won’t kill you. Plus some (actually a lot) of the stuff you learned senior year came up during classes at Wellesley, too. Which reminds me, Don’t give up on AP Bio. It’s hard. We were never really acing the class either, but man that C- was just so unnecessary, but deserved. Plus if we’re serious about pursuing a career in Public Health, basic Bio is a must.

Also, stop fighting with mom. Spend more time with her and enjoy each other’s company. Because you will miss it, even when college life is fantastic and fun. Sure you’ll see her during the 5 week winter break, but by then you’ve already gone through a semester of your “new life”. Enjoy the now, yolo, but do it with mom.
and while you’re at it, beg her to teach you how to cook. Stop giving her your BS “feminist” arguments for why you shouldn’t feel obligated to know hot to cook. Girl, guy, or anyone in between, being able to whip up a cook meal to impress your friends/prospective significant other will come in handy in college. Don’t have too much pride.

OH! Last thing. Don’t let the Class of 2017 Facebook page freak you out. The people who post on those pages do not accurately represent the general student body at this school. They’re all just very excited, vocal, social-media-active people – it can be overwhelming, but seriously stop checking the page every five minutes. You have better things to do.

Older, more mature, wiser, Lia.

I’m sorry I don’t have that many photos to share with you this week. I’m telling you, I’ve been busy. But next week I (as well as I’m sure all the other bloggers) will be writing about Marathon Monday and other shenanigans over Spring Week at Wellesley so I’ll make up for it then.

Posted in *Lia's Blog, Food and Drink, Fun, Homework, New England Weather | Leave a comment

Thinking about China

Can I just say, I cannot believe I’m almost halfway done with college. I wish it would slow down! But at the same time, I’m SO excited for next fall. I’ll be studying in Beijing and I know I’m going to love it. I actually just found out today that a classmate of mine is going to be doing the same program as I am so we’ll be together:) We’re pumped!

It’s going to be really hard to leave my Wellesley family for a semester. Especially because I know my time with them is already halfway over:(

It will be especially hard to leave my best friend Dulce. She has made this year at Wellesley one of the best of my life:) I am so thankful that we both ended up here together and our paths crossed when they did. Life is funny like that, college especially. The people you meet are not always the people you think you’ll connect with, but when you find friends in places you weren’t looking, they’re often the best ones;)

Speaking of Dulce, she celebrated her 20th birthday this past week! We had a wonderful get together with all our friends and an ice cream cake and donuts! What more could you ask for, am I right?!

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Here’s Dulce unwrapping a giant ball of streamers. Somewhere under all that is an adorable coin purse! Happy Birthday!

Spending a semester without the track team will be equally hard. My team and coaches are the people who know me best. I share so much with them. (I see them at least two hours a day!) Plus the team is just so silly and wonderful. Exhibit A: pictures from last week’s meet.

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Cold + too early (and by that I mean 11AM) = spooning

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Pretzel nose ring!

I’m both sad to miss a semester of all this, and excited to be going to China. But what I haven’t realized until I thought about it just now is that both of these emotions prove just how extremely lucky I am.

I have the opportunity to travel to China and study the language that I love for an entire semester. I will experience new things and grow in ways I can’t even imagine.

I also have an amazing home to return to, here at Wellesley. You never quite realize what you have until its gone. And I’m sure my time away from Wellesley will make me appreciate it in new ways I never thought about before. This is something I’m looking forward to: falling in love with Wellesley all over again:)

Hehe:) on that cheesy note, peace out ;)

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My lovely friend Stela modeling on my couch <3

Posted in *Caitlin's Blog, Food and Drink, Fun, Having Fun, Holidays, Social Life, Sports, Travel, Wellesley College | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Benefits of Wellesley, and why I love college


Today is a beautiful day. I’m not kidding, the weather is AMAZING. The best it’s been all year.

I am currently sitting in the open lawn area on Tower Court facing Lake Waban. I LOVE this view. I wish I could post a picture but my phone is acting up and wont let me take any photos. Let’s just say it’s unreal. Hopefully you can come see for yourself!!!!!!!


So yesterday, I didn’t go to a single class. Before you’re shocked by my rebelliousness, I should tell you I skipped class to attend a conference at Harvard University Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Learning.  <– click to checkout their website. The conference was titled “Who Decides? Gender, Medicine, and the Public’s Health”. Going to this conference was one of the best decisions I’ve made since coming to Wellesley.

The distinguished people of the panel discussed topics like the social construction of the definition of health and illness, research priorities, as well as policy and access to care. There were doctors, professors, writers, science journalists, even a congresswoman at the conference, sharing knowledge on their respective areas of expertise.
Throughout the panels, though, I noticed that there was a lack of mentioning of minority people like people of color, and trans* folks.

I asked a question about the research done on health issues that are specific to trans-men and women. I was expecting to get the answer I did, which was that they really didn’t know much about transpeople’s health needs, but that was still a bit disappointing. But I’m glad I took the opportunity to speak up and put the topic forward.

After the Q&A session, I was warmly greeted by many people and congratulated for asking the question. Among these kind people were Wellesley alums and professors. Wellesley people are EVERYWHERE and I can always count on them to be supportive and encouraging in situations like this.


I’ve been really thinking about my future career path lately. I’ve always wanted to be a Pediatrician – in my mind, the best way for me to use my skills and do what I love (which is working with kids) was to go to med school and one day become a physician. BUT, I’ve realized more and more now that doctors only make up a small portion of the entire public health population.

Have you guys heard about the new Health and Society Minor available at Wellesley? It is starting this coming fall, (when you get here!) as a newly available minor in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department. I will definitely be pursuing this in my four years at Wellesley. I’m STOKED>>>

The best part about going to school in/near a place like Boston is that there are so many intellectual people (professors, students, the general public) that can contribute to your education. Wellesley itself is amazing, but the amazing opportunities and connections that come with going to a school like Wellesley College is what I love most about this school.

Now I’m going to go lie out in the sun for a few hours. Enjoy Spring ^_^

Posted in *Lia's Blog, Classes, Courses, Current Affairs, New England Weather, Visiting Campus, Weather, Wellesley College, Wellesley College | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tidbits and Tidings

Hello readers!

Alas, this week (similar to last week) I am left without a unified theme that unites all I want to talk about. I suppose I should consider myself fortunate, since nothing significantly traumatizing happened that could scoop everything under one umbrella. That said, a whole bunch of little but happy things have occurred, and I’d love to share them with you. In no particular order, of course :) .

Last week, my friend Suman changed her anticipated career path. Instead of being pre-med, she is now pre-health policy, or something else in that domain. But not only did Suman go to professors to get advice on this new field (always my default), she did something that many students here don’t take advantage of: using the Wellesley Network.

The Wellesley network (both a concept and the website that Wellesley alums use to connect with each other) is one of those benefits that Wellesley College advertises widely to upcoming students, despite the fact that while in college these students likely will not use it. I don’t start hearing about how remarkable it is until my friends are seniors, or until they’ve left college. What I’ve heard basically amounts to the following: Wellesley alums are great (accomplished, strong women who have done astounding things with each of their chosen paths in life) who are startlingly welcoming and willing to mentor younger students. As Suman said, the first time she used the network she slept over with an alum when she needed a place in San Francisco. The second time, an alum hosted Suman and three other girls during their choir trip to Washington D.C., and gave them a surprise midnight tour of the city. This time, she emailed an alum, and a day later they had a conversation in which Suman learned that this woman had struggled with academics at Wellesley, had gone into public health after an art history major in college, was currently working directly under the CEO of a major pharmaceutical corporation, and lived twenty minutes from Suman’s home in California. The alum also said that there must be something the company could do for Suman, and that Suman should definitely call her when she got home. Needless to say, Suman was beaming when she showed up at my door.

I’m sure I’m only scraping the surface of what the Wellesley network offers—which, as I understand, is a community of women across the globe, often willing to offer a coffee, a bed, advice, whatever they have to offer to a fellow alum—but from what I can tell now, this is an amazing resource that I want to be a part of in the future. Wellesley is defined by its community (that’s why I chose to come here) and the fact that this community continues outside college, and is often strengthened outside college, is something I know I will only appreciate as more unique and wonderful as time goes on.

All right, switching gears, guys! Guess what guess what guess what: registration and housing went wonderfully. I haven’t completely sorted out classes yet (MIT doesn’t register until September), but I’ve gotten into all of the Wellesley classes I wanted, and I’m now happily housed in Stone-Davis. I was going to stay in Munger, but one of my friends asked me if I could block with her, since she didn’t have a good lottery number. So I’m switching the dorms up—should be exciting, and I’ve finally made the move to East Campus, lair of the science majors :) .

Another fun event this week was attending Chemistry Club’s Element Day. Chemistry club does Mole Day in the fall, and Element Day in the spring, and I continue to be on their spam list for the express purpose of attending these two events. On this year’s Element Day, several members set up tie-dying for the club’s t-shirts, there were pipe-cleaners and googly-eyes to do crafts, and there was pizza and liquid-nitrogen made ice cream. I must say, ice cream gets made a lot faster when all you have to do is pour liquid nitrogen in and watch it freeze. It was also a lot of fun to hang out with many of the upperclasswomen science majors, who I’ve met through classes throughout the years but are not close enough friends for me to seek them out individually. I love that at this point in my Wellesley career, I always know people at Science Center gatherings, and we can all catch up with each other while eating oreo ice cream :) .

Jeanne :). Making liquid nitrogen ice cream for Element Day!

Jeanne :) . Making liquid nitrogen ice cream for Element Day!

Speaking of knowing people at lectures, almost all of the neuroscience majors showed up to Prof. Nancy Kanwisher’s talk at Wellesley on Friday, which was marvelous. Professor Kanwisher is a researcher at MIT who finds and studies specialized processing units in the brain using fMRI. She’s been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and is legendary in the cognitive neuroscience field. She’s also incredibly clear in explaining what her lab does, and her lab is doing some fascinating things. At one point, Isabelle, a member of my lab who was sitting in front of me, craned around to whisper: “Ooh, do you think we can do a similar experiment? Let’s ask at lab meeting next week!” I don’t go to lectures as often as I did in the past, but talks like these remind me how lucky I am to be at this college. I have the opportunity to listen to such incredibly important people talk, and to personally ask them questions. A huge thanks to Professor Kanwisher for coming and speaking with us, and to this school for all that it continues to offer me :) .

Yesterday I went to another talk, this one by Bernardine Evaristo, a British writer who was doing a small book tour for “Mr. Loverman.” I could only stay for the first half, during which Ms. Evaristo read part of the book aloud, but I really want to buy it now. It again comes back to my stupefaction that we have such amazing people who come to our school— and the fact that I’ve been taking this creative writing class, so I know hard how it is to write anything well, just adds to my awe. I really wish I could have stayed for the part of the talk where she discussed it… but even with what I have, I recommend checking it out, because I guarantee the premise will grab your attention, and the writing inside does not disappoint :) .

Last Friday night the swim team had a birthday celebration for Cathy, who the team adopted last year through the program Team Impact. Everyone had a good time, and it was great seeing everyone gathered again. At the end of the night I was walking in the direction of Munger when Tiffany pulled me on the path to Spanish House (where she lives) instead. “Uh, are we doing something tonight?” I asked her. “Yup. We’re watching Sherlock. I’ll invite Suman too!” And so we watched Sherlock, which Tiffany had already seen before, Suman had never seen, and I was missing this final episode. I love them all, readers. Friends :) .

Cathy's birthday :). Leah and Erin made her a cake, and then we grabbed ice cream from the dining hall!

Cathy’s birthday :) . Leah and Erin made her a cake, and then we grabbed ice cream from the dining hall!



I was heading back to my room two nights ago when I saw Zoe sitting on the couch in the living room. “Hey, what’re you doing over here?” I asked her, because Zoe lives in Tower, which is on the other side of campus, and it was around 9pm. Zoe was unpacking filming gear from her bag, and she explained to me that she was doing a segment on the Boston Marathon (coming up the week after next—Wellesley is the halfway point, and I’d recommend looking up the Wellesley Scream Tunnel if you’re not familiar with it) through her internship at one of Boston’s newspapers. Zoe, who is a senior, is working toward being a journalist, and she was covering three schools’ (Wellesley and Boston University included) preparations for Marathon Monday. She said that if this went well, she’d maybe get a slot with her voice included in one of the local newspapers. When I came back from working out an hour later, I saw her sitting on the couch with a Wellesley student, holding up a microphone and asking about the Wellesley sign-making for the Marathon that was taking place in the living room.

Every year, requests for personalized signs from friends and families of Boston Marathon runners come in from everywhere-- and Wellesley students make and display the signs on Marathon Monday. Making these signs is a multiple day affair-- I know Wellesley students have been working hard in the Munger Living Room for the past few nights, making over 600 signs!

Every year, requests for personalized signs from friends and families of Boston Marathon runners come in from everywhere– and Wellesley students make and display the signs on Marathon Monday. Making these signs is a multiple day affair– I know Wellesley students have been working hard in the Munger Living Room for the past few nights, making over 600 signs!

If you walk through the building in the evenings, these are out laying out to dry everywhere-- but I saw them this morning stacked up, and I had to take a picture to show you :).

If you walk through the building in the evenings, these are out laying out to dry everywhere– but I saw them this morning stacked up, and I had to take a picture to show you :) .

I forget there are so many different paths here, and so many different people. Much love to Zoe and to all the Wellesley women :) .

And that’s all I have time for this week, readers! Hope it was informative, and if not, questions and comments can always be used to redirect me :) . MIT has their spring open campus going on right now (called Campus Preview Weekend there), which has me pumped for when you all come on the 28th-29th. But that’s in the future, and until then, I’m going to enjoy the fact that spring has finally arrived, and also go eat brunch in the dining hall ;P.

On the bus, heading back from MIT. This is the bridge that connects Boston to Cambridge-- and it's my favorite walk, if you ever come out here :). Jessica, one of my regular bus buddies, is pictured!

On the bus, heading back from MIT. This is the bridge that connects Boston to Cambridge– and it’s my favorite walk, if you ever come out here :) . Jessica, one of my regular bus buddies, is pictured!

Best wishes!


Posted in *Monica's Blog | Leave a comment

Lovely Wellesley weather!

Wow! If you haven’t visited Wellesley’s campus already NOW is the time to do it! It is B E A U tiful out;) Its sunny and even a little bit warm!

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Students studying in the quad in front of Shafer.

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Pretty picture of the quad walking back from the science center.

I’ve been enjoying nice walks around campus and listening to happy music:) Plus I’ve been spending a lot more time in the science center lately. I’m working on my computer science homework and it makes me feel more productive and science-y to be there;)

In other news, April Fools Day was great! I’m a fan of silly holidays, personally. My friend Madeline switched outfits with her boyfriend as a joke. We all got a good laugh. Then he went back to Olin where people probably judged him all day;)

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Madeline and the boy

We have a good time with them, if you can’t tell:)

Let’s see, last week was the first week back from Spring Break. I was weirdly happy to return to Wellesley. South Carolina was great, but Wellesley has really become home to me. Honestly there’s a part of me that is sad the semester is almost over. I can’t believe we only have five more weeks of school left!

Its absurd how much I’ve changed. I feel like its cliche to say, but I am not the person I was a year ago. I never thought I would EVER become such an independent woman. (Yes, I had visions of a future in my parents basement. Don’t judge.) For the first time ever, I am in charge of my own life… And finals don’t seem quite as daunting as they have in the past;) Psh! Been there done that!

The next thing on my list is getting ready for China! It’s almost here!! Life goes by so fast. I feel like an old person. Does your family ever tell you, “Life goes by in the blink of an eye, don’t waste it!!” Mine does. I always thought they were being silly adults. Maybe they are… but then maybe so am I…

I digress:) Happy Spring! Happy Wellesley! Come visit us:)


Posted in *Caitlin's Blog, Courses, Holidays, Homework, New England Weather, Science, Visiting Campus, Weather, Wellesley College, Wellesley College | Leave a comment

I heart College

Dear readers,

It’s been an awesome week for me :) . No physics or math pset (so not too academically busy), my family visited, my friends are wonderful, course scheduling next fall worked out perfectly, housing next year’s working out perfectly, I enjoyed a lecture, I loved the Book of Mormon, so much writing, exercise, and reading… I was trying to figure out what unified them all, so that I could have a cohesive post with a message and such, and that was awesome! was all I could come up with :) . My parents again mentioned again how jealous they were that my friends and I were in college. Best years of my life, baby (except that I’m very much hoping I can say that my entire life ;) ).

So, details, details. (In order, naturally. Gotta conserve the flow.) This week I “only” had a neuro pset and test, but thanks to the generosity of my classmates (thank you Eduardo and Caitlin!) I finished the pset early. And for the test I knew exactly what to expect, so I finished that early as well. And I don’t have any more tests for the next two weeks, which means I am academically unbusy! Academically unbusy at Wellesley is one of my favorite states to be in—there’s still a ton to do, because you have to prep for classes and review after classes and do psets and research and whatever else comes along (i.e. my baseline working rate)—but there are no major assignments due, so there’s nothing overwhelming the baseline working rate. And baseline working rate allows time for two dinners with my family, attending a lecture, attending a play, and chatting with friends. Life is good :) .

Second news: my family came out to Boston this week! It’s their spring break, and Leslie, my middle sister, has been accepted into Wellesley! YAY! So Leslie was attending classes (two of my friends immediately offered their classes as well—love my friends) and checking out campus, and it seems like she’s liked what she’s seen :) . For her, the decision is between here and one other school, and I figure I’ll hear about her decision soon enough ;) .

While they were visiting, my family and I had dinner twice together. The first time, I sent out an email to friends an hour and a half before dinner to invite anyone who wanted to come—and the response was overwhelmingly positive :) . Not everyone could come (I had forgotten Prof. A’s seminar from 6:30-9:30pm that night, which three of them were attending), but everyone was so excited and regretful if they couldn’t. As Tiffany later reassured my parents mock-seriously: “Yes, don’t worry about your daughter, she has friends.” I do have friends, they define my college experience, and I’m so so grateful and happy to be here with them :) .

Suman, Nicole (my youngest sister), me, Leslie (middle sister), Tiffany. Out to dinner!

Suman, Nicole (my youngest sister), me, Leslie (middle sister), Tiffany. Out to dinner!

Dinner number two :).

Dinner number two :) .

Stuffed French Toast at Veggie Galaxy

Stuffed French Toast at Veggie Galaxy

And guess what happened with fall course scheduling (registration is next week)? Considering scheduling for this semester was a complete mess that all worked out in the end but was very stressful in the beginning? Everything for next year is working out perfectly. I lined up the two MIT classes I wanted take, I lined up the two Wellesley classes I wanted to take, and there were sections for each class that just slotted. I haven’t registered yet, but I’m going to be a senior next year, so I get first pick of the classes :) . I just started smiling automatically when I thought that. I’m going to take Computational Cognitive Science at MIT, Neuro 300 (our culminating neuroscience seminar) at Wellesley, Investigations into fMRI at MIT, and Psych Stats at Wellesley. DOESN’T THAT JUST SOUND AWESOME? And I’ll be thesising next year, so Neuro 350. I was sitting there, staring at my updated four-year-plan, iteration probably #20 (and I’ve saved all the previous iterations) and I was like: oh my god. I’m done. There is nothing more to update in my four year plan. I’m going to be a senior. …I’m so excited, readers. I walked into MIT’s freshman physics class my first day this semester, and people said I felt older to them, like a junior. I feel older, like so much time has passed since first year. So excited :) .

I also got one of the best housing numbers on campus (we have a housing lottery, with to-be-seniors seniors randomly assigned numbers 1-600, juniors 601-1200, and sophomores 1201-1800), but since I want to stay in my basement Munger room, I’m blocking with two friends to help them out. Blocking means that you average your numbers with friends, so that you all end up living together in the same place, and if you have a terrible number it’s offset by other peoples’. I thought about moving, about finally making the trek over to East Side (where almost all of the science majors live), but I like it here too much. Munger is quiet and squeaky clean and near the science center, Lulu, and food, and that’s where I want to live :) .

I also went to a lecture this week called “the Unique Impact of ADHD on Women” by Dr. Martha Denckla. Dr. Denckla covered her many years of research on how ADHD manifests in women, and at the end there was a discussion of how these experimental findings could be applied to day-to-day life. One of my favorite things I learned from the talk (and that I’ve been quizzing all my friends about:) 1. When are our motor functions pretty much as best established as they’re going to get? Answer: 15 years old. 2. When are our cognitive functions complete? Answer: 25 years old. 3. When are our social-emotional control circuits complete? 32 +/- 2.5 years. How cool is that. Dr. Denckla mentioned that she was so glad the trend was to marry later now, because “people should have frontal lobes before they have kids.” I laugh now, remembering it.


Then yesterday I went to the musical The Book of Mormon, and loved it. I looked up tickets yesterday (I was thinking of inviting my family along) and they ranged between $169-$300, but Wellesley offered a whole bunch of us $30 tickets for the Thursday evening showing. Tiff and I took the subway to the Boston Opera House after having dinner again with the family, and it was by far my most enjoyable musical experience. I often have difficulties appreciating art museums, orchestras, musical performances etc. (which Tiffany is determined to cure me of, somehow) but the fact that this was satire, and I had to think about how much I was judging people and irony and all these other distracting things made it an excellent two and a half hours for me. And that I was sandwiched between friends, or that when I looked at the audience, the rows in front of me and next to me were filled with the beautiful hair of well-dressed Wellesley women (Wellesley does hair well, I must say) made it all the better :) .

And I’ve completely settled into my writing/exercise/reading regimen, and it just continually brings me joy. A while ago, when I was deciding how much time to allocate to writing for my English class this semester, I decided to force five hours a week of writing into my schedule. I had no idea how that was going to work, since I’d never managed it before, but as the semester went on I discovered that as long as the bus ride is fairly quiet (as it is in the morning), I really like writing when I’m sitting on the bus to and from MIT. So every morning I hop on, chat briefly if there’s anyone I happen to know, and pull out my laptop and begin typing. We’re on our second major stories for my English class, and I’ve written so many words and thought so much about the plots on these daily bus rides that it’s so wonderful just to know who my characters are and where they’re going and write them without any time stress at all.

Exercising too. When people ask me what my extracurriculars are, I always hit: school (not really an extracurricular, but must be included because how many hours do I spend on school? A LOT of them), blogging, tutoring… and then I scratch my head, until I remember that research is sort of an extracurricular (it’s sort of school though, and sort of job preparation) and then I hit a wall. But peoples! I spend 7+ hours a week ellipticalling and reading stories on my laptop while doing it! That is an extracurricular if I ever heard one, and it’s my favorite kind of extracurricular: combined (ala bus ride + writing, it’s exercise + reading!) And I love coming home from MIT at 6-7pm-ish, working out, and then getting started on my homework. I think the reason I don’t think of it as an extracurricular is because it doesn’t involve other people, just me and my imagination. But that’s sort of the point, isn’t it :) . Sometimes I doubt I’m an introvert, and then I look at the list of things I do and enjoy and I’m like: uh huh, Monica, you can tell yourself whatever you want, but you just watch what you do when no one’s looking. But the best part of it all is that when I look at the complete list of things I do, it doesn’t sort neatly into an “introverted” or “extroverted” bucket. In college, there are so many opportunities that you can sample one or both or everything—as I tell myself with great gravity (cue deep, ringing voice): “We Contain Multitudes.”

So that has been my week :) . I was so busy doing things that I hardly had time for reflection, but even that’s part of the joy, just moving from one thing to the other and knowing they’re each so wonderful on their own. I’d talk about spring open campus and decision-making and such, but I looked it up and realized that spring open campus isn’t until April 28th-29th this year! That means you’ll all be here for my 21st birthday (ha :) ), but it also means I have a bit of time left before drawing up my annual list of everything I love about Wellesley :) . That said, please send me questions you want answered, because that post is coming. Direct my flow of words readers—they’re kind of relentlessly unending without you :) .

And with that I’ll conclude. I wish you all the best, readers, and I hope it’s a beautiful spring day wherever you are!


Posted in *Monica's Blog | 1 Comment

SOC, Election Week & Cool Links!

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I strongly encourage all admitted students who are able to visit Wellesley this month to attend Spring Open Campus from April 28 to 29. SOC is a great way to learn about all that Wellesley has to offer as you determine if it is the right place for you. In addition, as was the case in previous years, we’ll be hosting a “Conversations on Diversity [at Wellesley]” Day on Sunday April 27 for all admitted students of color. The Office of Admission has planned lots of fun and informational events and activities to help you make a decision during the three days of SOC. The student body, faculty and staff are excited and look forward to meeting you all so please come if you can! You can read more about the schedule here.

In campus news, it is Election Week at Wellesley College. On April 8th, students will elect the college president (CGP), vice president (CGVP), the secretary/treasurer (CCF), the Chief Justice, the Multicultural Affairs Coordinator (MAC), the Director of On-Campus Affairs (DOOCA), the Student Bursar and the Chair for Political and Legislative Awareness (CPLA Chair) for the 2014-2015 academic year. Election Week at Wellesley is similar to “real elections” in the “real world” in that candidates must write a statement of intent, have a convincing platform, agree to be available to answer students’ questions and attend debates. Election Week is pretty interesting!

Additionally, the Schneider Board of Governors (SBOG) released the lineup of events for this year’s Spring Week. We all look forward to Spring Week because SBOG always plans super fun events – concerts, Block Party, Hoop Rolling and LipSync to name a few. This year, Wellesley will be hosting Sage the Gemini and Chance the Rapper. In my four years at Wellesley, we welcomed Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis, Big Sean, Ellie Goulding, Major Lazer, Matt & Kim, Turquoise Jeep and Jeremih to campus.  Here’s the lineup:

WC Spring Week 2014

Today’s Links (I won’t post pictures because I didn’t take any last week, but I have a few fun links to share with you!):

I highly encourage admitted students to take a look at this website!

What makes the first-year (aka freshman year) unique at Wellesley? Find that out here.

Where can a Wellesley education take you? Take a look at this link, this one, or that one to find out. Additionally, the W Network has moved to LinkedIn! Read more about this exciting development here.

Posted in *Lori's Blog, Fun, Having Fun, Visiting Campus, Wellesley College | Leave a comment

Decision Making: my experience as an International Student

*****^_^*Spring is here~~~!!*^_^****


Congratulations to all of you who received some great news last week. LONG (but hopefully helpful) post to follow: be warned.

I remember last year on March 21st, I got up at 5:30am and refreshed the MyWellesley page for half an hour straight until I saw the letters “Congra—”. Getting ready for school after that was the biggest struggle, thinking that I was already “set” for college. What was the point of going to high school classes for the next two months if a great school like Wellesley already said they wanted me?

What I realized, though, in the following week or so was there was a lot more to do now that I’d gotten my decisions from the 7 schools I’d applied to. I still had to make a decision, make sure my family was onboard with it, and sort out financial aid.

Exploring Options
International students: google maps and college confidential are your best friends. Most colleges have campus tours as an option when you visit, but for some of us (international or not), flying or driving to a candidate college is NOT an option. I remember consulting my guidance counselor in high school back in December when I sent in my applications, asking him if I should start saving up to come to the states so I could see the schools in person once decision-time came rolling around. At the high school I went to, some students did decide to fly to different countries (usually the US) during our spring break or even take a few days off in April to visit schools they were considering. I knew from the start that financially, this was going to be very difficult for me and my family to do. My counselor, being the wise man he is, told me that students make decisions about college without seeing the campus in person all the time. What’s more important than seeing the school in real life is to study the schools thoroughly so that when I do end up going there, in real lifeI’ll know that I’ve made the right decision based on the right criteria. So, I decided to that campus tours were not necessary (for me personally – if you do have the option to visit, go for it), and that I would delve further in to my search for the “perfect fit” school using my trusty laptop.


Wellesley Campus Map (college website version)
Wellesley Campus Map (google map version)

Decision to not go to New York
For me, it seemed like the final decision came down to location: did I want to be in New York, a  familiarly hectic and lively place like my hometown Tokyo, or venture out into the unknown – Wellesley? The two schools that my decision came down to were similar in size, and were both excellent women’s colleges with fantastic liberal arts programs. So where did I want to be?
What it came down to was seclusion and safety:
Wellesley is just far enough from Boston that I’m not constantly out and about partying and not doing schoolwork, but close enough for when I want to get off campus and see friends who do go to school in the Boston area.
Safety is a huge thing at Wellesley. I hadn’t considered this until my friend who graduated from my high school and is now a junior at Wellesley pointed this out to me, but being able to walk around campus at night after studying late at the library (or just hanging out with friends at other dorms) isn’t a carefree ordeal on many college campuses. Wellesley is a beautiful, small, (sometimes too) quiet town. Campus police here are wonderful and dedicated to make our experience at the school a safe and enjoyable one. Now that I’ve spent nearly two semesters(o_O!?) at Wellesley, and have been to New York a couple times, I know the serene solitude available to me here is a virtue I would have missed had I gone to the city. The comfort I feel when I’m on campus is one I can’t explain in words – hopefully you’ll be able to experience it for yourself at the school you choose.

IMG_3384 IMG_3392 IMG_3397 IMG_3389
that being said – new york is awesome. and not that far from campus. I’ve already been to NYC twice this year and the 4 hour bus drive is inexpensive and so worth it. Convenience, solitude, focus, and city-life-excitement: “mix it all together and you know you got the best of both worlds (Wellesley)” – Hannah Montana

Financial Aid
That being said, money also was a factor in my decision making. I know now after going through the process that if I ever have any questions or doubts about my award, the Financial Aid officers are always willing to help. Time difference make phone calls a bit difficult, but shoot an email to the FinAid office at the schools you’re considering if you have questions. This was a whole new and unexplored area for me last year, and it was also overwhelming at times when it seems like you can’t ask people for help. Money is always a touchy subject, especially when it involves big decisions like college.

If you have a guidance counselor at your school, consult them.
If you want to talk to Wellesley’s admissions officers or financial aid services, contact them.
admission   – phone: 781 283 2270 email: admission@wellesley.edu
financial aid- phone: 781 283 2360 email: sfs@wellesley.edu

Having non-english speaking parents could also make things a little stressful, too. If you want to avoid feeling overwhelmed, start exploring options, filling out forms and asking what is needed of you from the school early. Trust me, it’ll make things easier in the long run.

Getting Parents on-board with going abroad
Lastly, it’s important to remember that the decision you make is yours to make. That being said, do listen to you parents/guardians’ opinions and concerns.
For me, deciding to come to Wellesley was in the end a family decision because I wasn’t the only one being affected by this choice. Leaving Japan was a big deal, both for me and my mom, but in the end we both felt that it was a good next step in my life. Paying for a reputable school like Wellesley wasn’t going to be easy, but my parents saw it as a worthwhile investment for my education.

If you ever have any questions for me or any of the other bloggers, you are always welcome to comment below on our posts. We are here for you, and will do our best to answer any questions we can – because we all know how difficult the decision making process can be, and getting the insider’s perspective can really be helpful.

Happy Spring, enjoy the rest of the school year! It goes by faster than you’d think.


Posted in *Lia's Blog, Campus Photos, Residential Life, Social Life, Travel, Visiting Campus, Weather, Wellesley College, Wellesley College | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


South Carolina is amazing!!! Stela’s apartment is beautiful:) And so much beaches!


Also Stela’s cat is adorable:) She loves it so much.

photo 1

Yeahhh itch that spot!

Its been such a relaxing week here. The weather has been mostly in the low 60′s so its not super warm… but we still ran around on the beach in bathing suits;)

We also took a lot of selfless… #Spring Break

photo 2



So lets see… what have we done? Well I’ll tell you what we HAVEN’T done. Homework;)

We shopped for groceries and made our own food! AND we ate out. We worked out, read our books, and went shopping downtown. We went to the beach in the sun… and in the rain. We played truth or dare, poker, pool, and every board game known to man. We watched Dirty Dancing and New Girl.

It’s been a bit of a girls week. And its been an amazing break:) I’m not quite ready to leave the beaches but Wellesley calls. I can’t believe we only have six more weeks of school left. There’s still so much to do but its all enjoyable. We will get through:)

And Marathon Monday is almost here!! I can’t wait!

Life is good:)

Posted in *Caitlin's Blog, Fun, Having Fun, Holidays, Homework, Social Life, Travel, Weather, Weekends, Wellesley College | Leave a comment