What Bryn Mawr made me do…

For some of us, deciding our major comes naturally and we find our calling even before freshman year of college. For others, it takes time and trying out a couple classes during our freshman and sophomore year in order to realize what we want to do. For myself, it took more than the average in order to declare only one area of interest – if it were up to me, I would have majored in “nothing”. It is not that I don’t like school, it’s actually quite the opposite – I chose Bryn Mawr because there was a lot that I liked and becoming a Mawrter gave me the chance to roam the hallways of all departments before declaring my major and even after, exploring my own areas of interest in a creative way while completing my major requirements. 

My freshman year, I found economics so interesting (I know that is hard to believe) that I went ahead and took every single economics class I could. I fell in love with the theories and applications of one particular area: economic development; but when I took on a summer finance internship at a financial intelligence firm, I quickly realized that it was not for me. Don’t knock it till you try it, I guess? 

I felt lonely and frustrated because I couldn’t find a way to connect economic development into a career path, most of the economic majors I was talking to wanted to go into the finance world and I just knew that was not what was right for me. I wanted to maintain my economics focus but do something completely unrelated to the cubicle job I had that previous summer. 

I decided to switch my major to International Studies on a whim, I grabbed the phone and called my dad: “I am switching to International Studies, don’t worry I think I am onto something”. My dad, of course, panicked – he saw an economics major as a more “traditional” path for me and was worried of how the mix of philosophy, politics and economics (the three pillars of an International Studies major) was going to play into my career path. I began taking classes in all three areas and took on an economic development concentration, focusing on classes such as the politics of economic development, global ethical issues, indigenous and settler politics, human rights and crisis and policy economy. 

That next summer, my mindset was completely changed and I decided to take a big leap of faith and choose my own experience: I started my own business. Taking what I knew from each class I had and the backbone of my economics major, plus the work experience from my on campus and internship jobs, I took on the chance to build a company that focuses on selling sustainable, women-made and artisan art from around the world. It is a growing endeavor and one that has taught me more about the own choices I made in life, for example, how crucial it was to choose a women’s liberal arts college which allowed me to expand my areas of knowledge beyond a traditional major and also pushed my power as a woman to create small, but crucial impacts in the business world. 

After my first two years at Bryn Mawr, I am in a completely different place than where I started although I now believe, technically, I am majoring in “everything” – because all of my experience has had a crucial impact on the student and entrepreneur that I am today and will be in the future. 

  • Uncommon Grounds – one of our coffee shops on campus, where I called my dad to tell him I was changing my major but also, where I usually spend my weekday evenings!

  • The first draft of my business logo, I knew nothing about design or building a website yet and I am still learning…