Grand May Day 2018: A New Perspective

One reason I chose Bryn Mawr over other women’s colleges was because I thought the traditions sounded cooler. Though much has changed in four years, I still believe that statement to be true.

A lot of traditions are focused on first years, but May Day has some neat aspects just for seniors. The night before May Day, seniors run around campus “May Day-ing” gifts down to non-seniors, leaving items outside their doors. Some are items passed down to us years before, and some are items we choose to start passing down.

Holding bags of May Day gifts and a stuffed monkey to “May Day” down

I felt like Santa Claus carrying large bags of goods with tags as classmates with suitcases did the same. I thought of the items that had been passed down to me, and thought of items that others would like, and tried to make each one meaningful.


Some May Day gifts outside my hell-grandchild My Nguyen’s door







At 7am Sunday morning, seniors walked to the President’s House to wake up KCass. Following the parade, students ran around the May Pole for their class year, tying different-colored ribbons around it. That’s one of my favorite parts of May Day–it’s fun, funny, fast-paced, and exhilarating.

Marching in the parade



Finally came another just-for-seniors activity: hoop racing. Many students inherited hoops as May Day gifts (I inherited a computer science one from my hell mother) and students walked or ran with them down Senior Row following KCass.

At the end of Senior Row and hoop racing with Devica Bhutani’18




There were concerts, shows, games, and activities throughout the day, but one of my favorite parts of May Day always includes lounging around on Merion Green, soaking up the sun and seeing friends and classmates dressed in white.






Finally, at 8 p.m. came Step Sing. This has become one of my favorite parts of traditions as I’ve grown closer to classmates and thus grown comfortable singing aloud. Songs include ones like Lean on MeThis is what Dreams are Made of (from the Lizzie McGuire movie)Survive, and more. It’s very empowering and fun to belt songs out, and seeing it all happen from the Senior Steps made it more so.

The view from Senior Steps of College Hall for Step Sing

Selfie on the Senior Steps with our songbooks and lanterns









At the conclusion of the night came Good Nights where seniors walked through a long, windy line of non-senior classmates holding their lanterns and singing the good night song. This is one of the most emotional parts because usually seniors are the last ones to walk through as we say good night to non-seniors and also because this was our last one ever! Many began crying after seeing certain friends in line and realizing that they won’t be here next year. Following good nights, the juniors crashed the Senior Steps for the first time, and then many seniors walked their hellchildren in the junior class down Senior Row as our hell-parents had done only a year ago.

I thought of my hell mom and hell grandmother who are both software engineers in Mountain View, my hell grandmother who is working on her electrical engineering Ph.D. at UCLA, and my adopted hell mother who is a software engineer in Boston. I thought of my own hell child, my adopted one, my hell grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. I thought of past, present, and future, and how traditions bring everyone together.

Next year, I’ll attend an alumnae May Day celebration (most likely with old classmates and my hell family in the area). It won’t be the same, but it’s time for the next class and generation to be the seniors. As senior co-president Ann Tran put it, Bryn Mawr traditions are dynamic. They change as the student body changes, and it’s time for new seniors to come in and for the class of 2022 to take over my Dark Blue color.

The computer science hoop (started in 2008) passed on to me from my hell mom Jordan Henck’17 last year. Now, it’s with Kennedy Ellison’19.

My main hope is that I’ve left my mark here, whether it’s been through traditions like hell family or May Day gifts, as a Teaching Assistant or Banter Blogger, as a tennis or table tennis player, or simply as a student.

Watching the Class of 2019 crash the Senior Steps.


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