Marah Brubaker '19 - Introduction

Hello everyone! Guess who's back again! (spoiler alert: it's me!) I'm super excited to be back in my little corner of the blogosphere for another year, and I'm so glad you've decided to join me! Welcome (:

my pretty face

For those of you who haven't met me yet, my name is Marah and I'm a junior here at Amherst. I'm originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and I'm a double major in Anthropology and Sexuality, Women's, and Gender Studies (SWAGS for short). I spent my entire summer here on campus working in the Admissions Office. (If you're interested in reading my blog from this summer, you can find it here.) On campus, I love singing with my a capella group (the Amherst DQ--check us out!), running on the trails around campus, hanging out in the Women's and Gender Center, playing intramural volleyball, and (obviously!) blogging for Admissions!

Just for fun (and to keep the tradition I started this summer), I've included a few fun facts about myself to help you learn a bit about me!

  1. I have a condition called phytophotodermatitis, which basically means that my skin chemically burns when simultaneously coming into contact with sunlight and lime juice.
  2. This summer I ate a hamburger for the first time!
  3. My name means bitter. My mom likes to say that it means bittersweet (theres a bible story about God using Moses to turn the bitter river Marah sweet so that the Israelites could drink from it). But it technically just means bitter!
  4. I once lost my sense of smell due to a botched sugery. Ever since (partially) regaining my sense of small after the surgery, I have developed synesthesia with smell / emotions. Weird!

Alright. That's all for now folks! Please please email me ( with any and all questions or comments! (Aka please email me so that I know you're out there and I'm not just aimlessly spewing words into an empty void!) I can't wait to see what this semester holds!

Chapter I: Beautiful Chaos

Truth be told, this semester has been nothing short of chaos. Sometimes living hundreds of miles away from home is hard. Really, really hard. And these past two months have been incessantly, ceaselessly hard. Here's a brief rundown of my semester so far. 

me and my grandfather

As you may or may not know, I was working in the Admissions Office here on campus all summer. It was challenging and rewarding and exhausting and so many other things (you can read about it here), but the relevant part right now is that I was not home for the majority of my summer. I got to go home for exactly one week between my summer job and the beginning of the school year, and I was greatly looking forward to lounging, being utterly unproductive, and spending all of my time with family and friends. But (like it often tends to) the universe had other plans. Instead, during that week my grandfather passed away unexpectedly. I am one of 29 cousins on that side of my family, and the clan is ginormous, wild, and wonderful. My family is one of the most important things in my life, and my Pop was a huge impetus for that. And while I will be forever grateful that I got to be at home and with family during that week, it was one of the hardest weeks of my life. Suddenly, one of the most influential men in my life was just gone. And I felt like before I had time to breathe or cry or process, I was back on campus and catapulted into regular life.

pretty view

And so began the semester. I missed half of the first week of classes to travel back home for funeral services. And then the next week, I came down with a mysterious stomach illness and ended up missing half of the second and third weeks of class. After that came mono and strep. And then after that came pink eye. And now I am battling what might be bronchitis. This semester just keeps throwing me one thing after another after another--no time for breaks or breathing. My grandfather has passed, my immune system seems either non-existent or defective, I miss my family more than words can express. And yet, somehow in the middle of it all, I have peace. 

contemplating the woods

Somehow, in the midst of the chaos, I still feel like it's going to be okay. Life isn't all bad. This past weekend, my older sister came up to visit me from Pennsylvania, and I got to spend a day adventuring with her. And even though I feel hopelessly behind, I really do slove all four of my classes, am managing to keep my grades from completely deteriorating, and have professors who extend seemingly endless grace (and extensions!). I am blessed by the consistent support of incredible friends, I have an a capella show tomorrow that I am ecstatic about, and Thanksgiving break is less than a month away. In the midst of it all, I still feel pretty darn okay. Pressed but not crushed, I am ready to tackle whatever this semester throws at me!