November 15, 2019

What failing NaNoWriMo taught me

Confession time: I’ve never actually finished NaNoWriMo. Short for National Novel Writing Month, it’s an annual writing project where you try to write 50,000 words over the month of November. It’s a time of intense deadlines, excitement and no small amount of stress. But the end product can leave an author with a completed draft of a new book — or at least the beginning of one. Plenty of well-known books, such as “The Night Circus” and “Cinder,” had their origins in this month of intense writing.

I first heard about NaNoWriMo during middle school, but I didn’t attempt it until my sophomore year of high school. I was spurred on by the idea for the book that would eventually become “Twelve Dead Princesses,” my retelling of the gothic fairy tale that was published in 2019. I was determined to give it a try and get a big chunk of the book done by the end of the month. But this was November 2016, and we all know what happened then. The presidential election, combined with plenty of other things in my already busy life, meant that although I didn’t end the month with nothing, I fell somewhat short of my goal of 50,000 words.

November 14, 2019

The archetypal Mount Holyoke student? There isn’t one.

Olivia Vejcik, 2020 class board president, gave a compelling speech during the 2019 Convocation. Amid all the noise, color, heat and excitement, one particular remark  struck a chord with me. She said, “Resist any pressure you may feel to fit in.”* 

What? Perplexed, I spun around to my friend and genuinely asked, “How do you fit in at Mount Holyoke?” I don’t know how one can; I don’t know how one can’t. And this paradox is what makes the College so fantastically right for so many students.

November 8, 2019

Goalie-oke: perspectives from the pitch

Fall in South Hadley means many things: the first opportunity to break out an MHC hoodie, crisp leaves falling on Skinner Green, the long-awaited hike to the Summit House atop Mt. Holyoke on Mountain Day. But for me and my 21 teammates, the changing of the seasons is also accompanied by 5-ounce solid plastic balls. Field hockey balls, to be exact. 

October 31, 2019

Seeing and empowering future Native scholars

Anpa’o Locke ’21 submitted one of the winning essays of the College’s 2019 Hortense Parker Celebration. The celebration honors the legacy of Hortense Parker — class of 1883 and the College’s first known student of color — and all students of color, past and present. Locke’s essay is presented here with her permission.

Q: When you leave the gates of Mount Holyoke College, what do you hope to leave behind? What will your legacy be?

It’s summer and the sun is starting to set. The prairie is alive. I can hear the wind, softly blowing. The crickets talk to each other, telling each relative nearby to get ready. The rez dogs bark in the distance, in excitement. The ceremony is about to start.

October 29, 2019

“I am” and “Who am I not to be?”

Toni-Ann Williams ’23 submitted one of the winning essays of the College’s 2019 Hortense Parker Celebration. The celebration honors the legacy of Hortense Parker — class of 1883 and the College’s first known student of color — and all students of color, past and present. Williams’ essay is presented here with her permission.

Q: When you leave the gates of Mount Holyoke College, what do you hope to leave behind? What will your legacy be?

“Actually, who are you not to be? … As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others,” stated Marianne Williamson. 

Upon entering the gates of Mount Holyoke College on August 25, 2019, a plethora of questions flooded my mind. Chief among them, “Am I really ready for this?” I quickly acknowledged my “I am” after scanning my surroundings. That is, I am an African-American 18-year-old female who was raised in Jamaica. I am, for the first time in my life, the minority. At a predominantly white liberal arts institution that is unlike anything I have ever experienced before.

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