What Even is a Praxis?

The other day I attended my praxis independent study orientation, where I learned how the idea of praxis courses sprouted. Bryn Mawr students had been volunteering and interning at organizations for years without getting any payment or course credit. When LILAC noticed this, they decided to create an opportunity for Bryn Mawr students to take three courses and have the fourth course credit come from an internship/volunteer opportunity; and thus, the praxis courses began.

There are some really cool praxis courses offered this semester:

  • Museum Studies Fieldwork Seminar (Monique Scott)
  • Human Services and Public Health Seminar (Jim Martin)
  • Activism and Social Justice Seminar (Nate Wright)
  • Psychology in Practice: Community Based Learning (Jodie Baird)
  • Exploring Museum Applications of Augmented and Virtual Reality (Jenny Spohrer)

And Bryn Mawr also offers the opportunity of designing your own praxis course. Which is what I did this semester! I knew that coming back from study abroad, I wanted to really throw myself into my work and make these next three semesters productive ones. I had also just found my niche in what I want to study and knew that an independent praxis study would let me follow that passion.

So, I reached out to a bunch of faculty at Bryn Mawr that could potentially be my faculty advisors. I did so by looking at different department’s faculty and reading their interests. I looked at the psychology department, the sociology department, and the school of social work.

I luckily found a brilliant faculty member in social work who does work that perfectly aligns with my interests. She agreed to be my faculty advisor and I was ecstatic! Check out her work –she does really important stuff! 

Then I moved on to the next step. I emailed probably a bazillion organizations to see if they could take me on as an intern, and whether I could do my field placement there. So many of them did not have any more space, and I was so close to giving up, but finally, I was able to secure a position at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Treatment & Study of Anxiety.




I found them through Bryn Mawr! Bryn Mawr’s website on praxis independent study has a sidebar with lists of local organizations that you might be interested in to help you find a field placement. And if you’re trying to find an organization, don’t give up once it starts getting hard, fight for it!

I worked with my faculty advisor and field advisor to create a learning plan with my class description, class material, learning objectives, field placement roles, etc. Finally we finished it all and now I’m doing the real work.

What’s really cool about doing a praxis independent study is that the course is exactly what you want it to be! I meet with my faculty advisor once a week and we discuss the readings I was assigned, figure out how they contribute to what I’m interested in, choose my next readings, and talk about the big picture of it all. As for the field component, I really appreciate that I get to do real work rather than just read about it. I also love that it gets me off campus and into the city. Once the weather warms up, I look forward to spending time in Philly after working my hours and exploring more of the city. This is something I wish I had done more of during my freshman and sophomore years, so I’m glad I have the opportunity now.

LILAC also helps to simplify the praxis process: they help you find advisors and field placements; they reimburse you for traveling costs; and they’re always there to answer your questions.

I strongly urge anyone at Bryn Mawr (or Haverford) to take one of the praxis courses offered during your time at Bryn Mawr (or to create your own)! This is definitely the coolest thing I’ve done on campus.

Reacclimating and New Adventures

I do love the views at Bryn Mawr, though.

Switching from the hustle and bustle of study abroad to the same old routine of undergraduate studies is not an easy transition. I’m no longer taking auto rickshaws to my classes. I’m no longer being accompanied by the sweet kids in my neighborhood during my walk home from classes. I’m no longer navigating the vibrant streets of Sao Paulo on a daily basis anymore. We learn about culture shock when leaving to study abroad, but it’s also very real when coming back.

Because I knew that I would miss the busyness and excitement of studying abroad, I wanted to make sure I kept busy while re-acclimating to Bryn Mawr and the rest of the tri-co. I’ve been doing a lot of cool stuff this semester: taking my independent praxis course, going to UPenn for my field placement, volunteering at the Center for Creative Works (CCW) for my Haverford class, and trying to make the most of being home!

I’ll do a whole separate blog about my praxis and how cool the fact that Bryn Mawr offers Praxis courses is (because I think everyone should do one!) But, first, I want to take some time to write about my Haverford class and the work we’re going to be doing with the Center for Creative Works. As has been a trend these past two years, I’ve found myself having most of my classes on Haverford’s campus this semester. One of these classes is on neurodiversity, which is a term for the diversity of human neurological differences. In that class, we focus a lot on the autism spectrum and intellectual disabilities. This course has a collaboration with an art organization, the CCW, on Lancaster Ave., that focuses on the artwork and creative potential of people with intellectual disabilities. Every student in this neurodiversity class will be dedicating two hours a week to working with the CCW and collaborating with the artists on their work.

I was able to visit the CCW for the first time yesterday. While there, I got to meet all of the artists that participate at this organization and learn about their art styles and specific interests. I’ve never done work at an organization that works particularly with people with intellectual disabilities so I’m excited to step outside of my comfort zone and help create a bridge between our two communities.

We also have to keep our own journal for the class, where we write about our experiences volunteering and include any of our own doodles or artwork. I am NOT in any way artistically-inclined, so the doodles will be kept to a minimum for me. But after seeing some of the artists at the CCW create art about their favorite singers, actors, tv shows, places, aspects of nature, etc., I was inspired to include some of my favorite in my journal. Since I can’t draw, I printed out pictures from Google and created a collage.

Frida, Frank Ocean, horoscopes, social justice, and traveling (I left space so that I can add more things throughout the semester)

I am really looking forward to collaborating with the CCW and getting to know some of it’s artists better. In my neurodiversity class, we’re talking a lot about de-stigmatizing and de-pathologizing being neuro-diverse, as well as creating a bridge between disabled and non-disabled communities. I’ll talk to the CCW about their policies regarding taking pictures of their art to see if I can share the wonderful artwork they do with you all.

I’m happy that after being abroad, I can come back and get involved in cool projects. I can’t wait to keep blogging about them and to share this all with you.

How I Keep Myself Together: Self Care as a College Student

College can be hectic and busy and overwhelming and stressful at times. The best way to combat this is by continuously engaging in self care. Self-care looks really different for everyone, so I wanted to share what it means to me and suggest some ways you can look after yourself when you’re in need of some extra care.

  1. Listening to Frank Ocean: A Frank Ocean song feels like a warm bubble bath to me. I created a playlists with all of my favorite tracks by him and listen to it pretty much 90% of the time. When you’re feeling stressed, take a pause and listen to your favorite songs. Music can be really healing and comforting!

    New Girl (aka the funniest show ever)

  2. Watching New GirlLaughter is my number one cure for the feels and New Girl is the number one show to provide me with such. When you’ve been feeling extra low, watch your favorite tv show, movie, or YouTube vlog to help you get some endorphins.
  3. Eating Cheese Fries: Okay, so this is definitely not the healthiest self-care method, but who says it has to be?! Cheese fries make me happy and eating them after a long day/week/month/semester is the ultimate “treat-yo-self” act for me. I’m sure everyone has their own version of cheese fries. It’s food for the soul.

    My sister bought me a ton of face masks and I’m eternally grateful.

  4. DIY Spa: I like to set aside a ton of hours on a day to do absolutely nothing other than spa stuff. Wash my hair, do face masks, paint my nails, pluck my eyebrows, etc. Maybe these are things that could work for you! Maybe you’d rather dye your hair or apply funky makeup — do whatever makes you feel good.
  5. Organizing My Room: I honestly don’t know how many people find organizing helpful, but I love it! After I organize my room I feel a lot less like my life is a mess.
  6.  Journaling: I strongly suggest journaling. I try to do this every day, but sometimes I get lazy and forget. Journaling is a really good way to get my feelings out and to put my thoughts together. I write about my day; I write about the things I’m grateful for; I write about the things that are the sources of stress in my life; and I try to come up with solutions, etc. If you’re really into it, you can also do bullet journals (I’m going to try these next year!)

    Smoothies are for self-care!

  7. Making Sure I’m Not Neglecting Myself: This is essential! Make sure you’re drinking water, eating good food, reaching out to people you care about, getting a good amount of rest, keeping the shades open so you can be exposed to natural light, etc. I like cheese fries as much as the next girl, but sometimes I need to make a smoothie instead and really take care of myself and my body. When you stop taking care of your basic needs, everything else fails along with them.


These are pretty easy self-care approaches you can take when you’re feeling extra stressed. Sometimes self-care is a bit harder and it’s about dropping unhealthy behaviors, cutting off toxic people in your life, starting counseling services, etc. I’ve been there too! Just make sure you’re prioritizing your mental health and engaging in self-preservation!