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Dear Bryn Mawr College Students,

There aren’t words to express the depths of rage, sadness, or horror many of us are feeling in response to the litany of violence against Black Americans. Recent events of violence have occurred against a backdrop of a global pandemic that continues to exacerbate long-standing inequities that leave Black citizens disproportionately impacted by this crisis within a crisis. These incidents of violence are not isolated, nor are they unrelated in the arc of American history. They are part of the legacy of historic and ongoing structural, institutional, and individual racism that impact every aspect of American life.
This Health and Wellness June Newsletter focuses on transitions. Right now, America and countries around the world, as well as each of us are in transition. Ibrahim Kendie, posits that “history is calling the future from the streets of protest." What choice will we make? What world will we create? What will we be? As we continue work to answer these questions and others, be sure to make time for restorative self-care of your body and soul, consider new ways to lean into community, advocacy, and activism. Please keep in mind that action requires rest and give yourself the space and permission to do BOTH. None of us can fill the cup of our neighbor if we’re depleted. 

BMC Health and Wellness Center staff are curating staff tools and resources to support us in reimagining what comes next. We are working to develop short-term, long-term, and contingency plans to continue providing support in ways that meet individual and community needs. It is our hope that our newsletter is a humble a offering to help you discover ways to cultivate health and wellness at a time when we are experiencing are multiple transitions personally and collectively.  


Reggie Jones, LCSW, MSS, MLSP 
Associate Dean of Health and Wellness  

National Resources

The BMC Health & Wellness Center is closed for medical and psychological care from June 1, 2020 to August 17, 2020.
All new students must submit ALL of the following health documentation no later than July 1, 2020.
  1. A Student Health form completed and signed by your healthcare provider. You can find the BMC Student Health Form here:
  2. A record of all required immunizations. You can find the list of required immunizations on Page 3 of the Student Health Form. Please enter the dates of all required immunizations by selecting Immunizations on the student Patient Portal: If you are unable to access your immunization records, you must be re-immunized or have a blood test to prove immunization. 
  3. Complete the SHS Medical History by selecting Forms on the student Patient Portal:
  4. Complete the Communications Preference questions in Forms on the student Patient Portal:
  5. If you are a student athlete, please complete the Sickle Cell Waiver found here:
If you have questions regarding the Student Health Form, please call 610-526-7360 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the summer between the hours of 9:00 am - 12:00 pm. 

Dear Anxious and Frustrated,   

Transitions and unexpected changes are a part of life, and they come with uncertainty. The pandemic is offering us many lessons, including the importance of sitting with what feels intolerable. Many of us struggle with “unknowns” and put a lot of effort into planning and preparing. I promise this won’t be the first time you’ll experience uncertainty, so let's strengthen your tolerance now to be prepared for dealing with it again later.  

A good place to start is by practicing distress tolerance. Distress tolerance includes the concept of radical acceptance – which should not be conflated with radical “approval.” It just means you are acknowledging the reality of a situation, which can result in less over-thinking and less triggering of emotional pain.  

  Another suggestion for dealing with so much uncertainty about the Fall is contingency planning, which involves envisioning various scenarios. For example, if you’re not sure whether you will be back on-campus in the Fall or studying remotely, take some time to imagine both scenarios and ask yourself the following questions about each:  

  • What will be challenging about this scenario?  

  • What will I need in order to make this scenario manageable?  

  • What supports and resources are available to me, as I try to plan for the challenges ahead?  

  • What might help me cultivate acceptance for this version of things?  

Sometimes, creating a pros and cons list can help you do some reality-testing, as well as prepare you for any disappointments encountered along the way. If it turns out that you have to let go of a preferred contingency plan, take some time to acknowledge the loss. It’s not easy letting go of things we have envisioned for ourselves, but it is possible to process the loss in a way that frees us up to embrace new possibilities.   

Finally, consider reading this excerpt from Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change by Pema Chodron. 


Perspective I  

Dear Anxious and Frustrated, 

In addition to learning how to cope with the emotional roller coaster of the global rearrangement of things, we must also deepen our awareness of how we feel in our bodies.  For example, being aware of variations in body sensations, how are you sleeping?  Or, when doing routine activities, have you experienced sudden racing heart? I ask these questions because it can take a while to realize this about ourselves. Even Athena, Goddess of Wisdom, can hold stress in her broad shoulders just like any other Goddesses/Or Gender Binary Identified Entities would.  Anxious and Frustrated, what are you experiencing? I want to encourage you to really center yourself and listen to your body. And, Anxious and Frustrated, I want to encourage you to really center yourself and listen to your body. Develop deeper awareness of mental health as a meaningful core component of total human health, and consider what that looks like in your daily practices.  

Here are a few resources for increasing mindfulness and awareness: 

  1. Centering 

  1. Grounding 

  1. Listening to your body 

  1. Meditation   


Perspective II 

Check out our newest Spotify music and podcast playlists:
 “Everything Changes” and "Social Justice"

Follow us @BMCHere2Listen
Are you going through changes and wondering how to make the most of your strengths? Watch this TedTalk about “multipotentialites,” and get ready to embrace ALL of your talents and skills. 

Stages of Transitions

“The essence of life takes place in the neutral zone phase of transition. It is in that interim spaciousness that all possibilities, creativity and innovative ideas can come to life and flourish.” — Susan Bridges 

William Bridges, an authority on change and transitions, posited that we experience transitions in three stages: the ending; the neutral zone; and the beginning. In her article Managing Change in the Midst of Uncertainty, Allison McWilliams likened it to jumping off the high dive. Have you ever done so? What was it like to leave something solid, like a diving board, or a cliff, and moving through the air? Deciding to jump may be a choice or something forced by circumstance, but if you want to grow, at some point you’ve got to go for it.  

STAGE ONE:  Ending What Currently Is 

Letting go - leaving what is familiar and entering the unknown.  

STAGE TWO: The Neutral Zone 

The neutral zone, you, like everything else, are up in the air. This is your time to explore, to contemplate, to seek and find what truly matters to you, to embark on a path forward. You are heading toward a new beginning. As Mary Oliver asks in her poem, The Summer Day, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” McWilliams offers some valuable tool to help you navigate this stage.
She suggests:

  • Resist the “shoulds”
  • Spend time in reflection 
  • Control what you can 
  • Seek support

STAGE THREE: New beginnings 
Hit the water - the new beginning. How will you emerge?  

Additional Counseling Resources
Copyright © 2020, Bryn Mawr College Health & Wellness Center, All rights reserved.

Health & Wellness Center
Bryn Mawr College
101 N. Merion Ave, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010 

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Bryn Mawr College - Health & Wellness Center · 101 N Merion Ave · Bryn Mawr College - Health & Wellness Center · Bryn Mawr, PA 19010-2859 · USA

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