Last Tuesday November 22, I got the chance to catch up with my good friend Amanda (BMC’16) who is a current grad student at University of Pennsylvania’s Urban Spatial Analytics masters program. Although Amanda was a cities major at Bryn Mawr and I am a physics major, we managed to share one 20th century Eastern European history course together last fall semester. We also knew each other through working on the Bryn Mawr Concert Series board. We grabbed dinner at Ochatto near Penn’s campus, and I listened to her candid opinions on life after Bryn Mawr.
Here are the key questions I asked her. Responses have been edited down slightly:
Q: Describe your typical grad school coursework.
A: About every week, I have a 15 page paper due. A recent paper I finished was a proposal for vacant land use. I proposed a Wawa. We write a lot of proposal-type papers. We also use a lot of GIS and computer coding because the program I am in focuses on analyzing urban data. I am currently taking 5 courses. All of them are hard except for one: the political science class. Actually, one of my teachers is a Haverford alum! Grad school is hard, and I spend a lot of time in the library. I think that since my program is 1 year, everything is more condensed and accelerated. I have no time to really cook a meal at home, so I eat out from food trucks or buy prepared food from Trader Joe’s often. I’ve learned to take naps and go to sleep and wake up at odd times to write my papers.
Q: Are you concerned about getting a job after grad school?
A: No, everyone in my program is too busy with school work. We also know our skills will be in high demand after we graduate. I haven’t yet decided if I will work in the public or private sector.
Q: Did Bryn Mawr prepare you well for grad school?
A: I know it sounds cliche to say, but Bryn Mawr really taught me how to write and critically think. The main difference in my grad school work is that everything is more applied and less theoretical as the classes in Bryn Mawr are. My work load is also heavier in grad school.
Q: Why did you choose Penn?
A: I liked the program and the location best. I also really like Philadelphia and know Philadelphia pretty well. I actually know Philadelphia better than my classmates because none of them went to a school in Philadelphia. Coincidentally, there is a student who went to Barnard and another student who went to Mount Holyoke in my cohort (yay Seven Sisters).
Q: Do you miss Bryn Mawr?
A: Yes! Sometimes I really miss it. There is no place like Bryn Mawr, and no people quite like Mawrters. I secretly visited Bryn Mawr a couple weeks ago because I missed it so much. I sat on the moon bench at the end of senior row.
Q: What advice do you have for college seniors at Bryn Mawr?
A: Enjoy Bryn Mawr while you can. Go to events, spend time with your friends, enjoy senior year. You would be surprised at how far a Bryn Mawr degree will take you, so don’t worry too much about where you will end up.
Thank you to Amanda for letting me interview her and write about her! She’s awesome and will go on to great things!