When asked “Why Mount Holyoke?” I’ve always replied with the same answer: for unmatched equestrian and academic opportunities. As an avid high school equestrian, the pale blue Equestrian Center was my first impression of the Mount Holyoke campus and I was mesmerized. I immediately knew the Equestrian Center would be my athletic home for the next four years. But I never dreamed it could also be my research lab.
Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, did not sound like the most exciting place to spend four years to 18-year-old me, who was hungry for adventure and excitement.
But, four years after drinking my first coffee in Thirsty Mind Coffee & Wine Bar moments before my interview for admission, Mount Holyoke has become home. Many places on campus — the Dickinson House, the library’s atrium and Info Commons — have become as comfortable to me as the kitchen table in my childhood home.
However, when reflecting back on some of my fondest memories throughout my time at Mount Holyoke, many of these took place beyond the gates. A large part of the Mount Holyoke experience is taking advantage of all that the Pioneer Valley — the beautiful region where Mount Holyoke is situated — has to offer.
When I started looking at colleges during my junior year of high school, my plan was pretty straightforward: Escape the New England bubble that I had grown up in. So, I did. I applied early decision to a university in Texas, got my acceptance letter and off I went.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I vividly remember the first time I set foot on campus. I was 17 and exhausted from a multistate college tour. I had long dreamed of escaping to New England and, suddenly, here I was.
It was late August. Everything felt oversaturated: the greenery, the buzzing of cicadas, the sun-warmed bricks. I asked my tour guide my go-to question, what she liked to do for fun. She told me the Pioneer Valley was a great place to go hiking, specifically through something called the Outing Club. It sounded intriguing.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been interested in outer space, leading to my love of physics. And for years, I’ve had wanderlust for a more easily accessible destination: Japan, the home country of my aunt. My first semester at Mount Holyoke, in addition to classes in physics and astronomy (Force, Motion and Energy; The Sky), I decided to start taking Japanese. To pave the way for my dream trip and better connect with my aunt, who was so excited when I told her!
When I mentioned studying in Japan to my Japanese professor, Professor of Asian Studies Naoko Nemoto, she gave me a list of potential summer programs. I chose the Hokkaido International Foundation’s Japanese Language and Culture Program because of its proximity to Sapporo, the city my aunt is from.
If you choose to go to a liberal arts college and study the social sciences or the humanities, there is one question that you’ll inevitably face about your choice of academic discipline: So, what are you going to do with that?
While not an illogical question to ask any person in their late teens or early 20s, the query is often infused with an added level of judgement or disbelief when you study something like philosophy or anthropology rather than computer science or biology. This is particularly true when there exists — elsewhere — an “obvious” degree connected to your career path of choice. In my case, that would be a journalism degree.
Every year, Mount Holyoke College selects a Common Read — a reading that holds relevance to the College community, especially first-year students, as decided by a panel of faculty, staff and students. During the end of Orientation week, new students are invited to a Common Read event to indulge in, to put it formally, their first intellectual discourse based on a shared text.
Sure, people are amazing, but spaces are even more so. College students spend much of their time in their study spots. A study spot is not simply a location one uses to study. It is also the place where procrastination, concentration and relaxation take place.
When most people think of study spots, the first thought that pops up is a library. Yes, Mount Holyoke’s Williston Library is one of the most beautiful in the country and we are so lucky to have it. But! Our campus contains multitudes — of places to study.
Here is a list of Mount Holyoke’s most dynamic study hotspots. Each has something distinct from a traditional library setting. Consider which set of features encourage you to be most productive. Choose one and stick to it, or switch it up whenever you wish.
My first few days at Mount Holyoke must have looked a lot like a movie about a nervous teen who moves away from home. I was timid, shy and trying desperately to meet the people I would call my friends.
That’s when I found and auditioned for the Victory Eights, Mount Holyoke’s oldest a cappella group, which was founded in 1942 by Abigail Halsey Van Allen ’44. (After she attended a Williams College concert given by the Williams quartet and the Bennington College double quartet, she kept thinking, “Why don’t we have a group like this at Mount Holyoke?” So she started one.)
During the audition, I sang Hozier’s “Take Me to Church” (a cappella, of course), sang scales to show off my range and participated in a round of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” with current members.
To all the high school students near and far, I invite you to meet Mount Holyoke. Especially those of you who are not aware that women’s colleges even exist — as was the case when I began my college search process. The schools I was initially interested in were mainly co-ed, on the west coast and definitely housed more than 2,200 students.
It was my mother who first found Mount Holyoke. She raved about how it would be the “uncommon but impeccable choice,” and how she was absolutely certain that she could see me here. As I began receiving college acceptances, there was only one that made my mother cry — the one from Mount Holyoke. When I flew up to experience campus for myself during MHC Preview weekend, an event for admitted students, I was ecstatic. I had never been to the Northeast before, but I soon realized I had an opportunity to enjoy a life I had never imagined.
What do you think about when you hear the word “home”? What about the word “migration,” or “belonging”? What do you think other people associate with these words? These are some of the questions I explored my senior year. And, in typical Mount Holyoke fashion, my exploration spilled out of the classroom and into completely unexpected spaces.
Over the spring semester, my friend Anya Nandkeolyar ’19 and I designed, created and exhibited an art installation in the Blanchard Art Gallery, which ran April 15–24. We sourced materials from places we’d never been and found support all over campus.
At Mount Holyoke, the first of the powerful Seven Sisters colleges, we strive to be a model of an inclusive, worldly community of effective intellectuals. We find strength in our individual and collective voices — and joy in our traditions and connections to one another. Mount Holyoke’s deep, discerning approach to educating new generations of students makes us a singular force for good in the world. Our powerful, engaged network of alumnae makes us an enduring force for positive change in the world.
The world needs Mount Holyoke graduates — who share the conviction and readiness to make their lives stand for something bigger — now more than ever.
Watch the video!
My senior year of high school, I made two of the most important decisions of my life. The first was where to attend college. The second was to share a secret I’d harbored since age 11.
I spent most of my first car ride to Mount Holyoke kicking the back of my stepdad’s seat. No, really, I was that terrible.
By the end of my junior year of high school, desperate to find the perfect fit, I had become a pro at touring colleges. Nearly every weekend, our itineraries filled with different schools to visit, my family hopped in the car and drove all around New England. After I showed interest in gender-minority institutions and absolutely fell in love with Bryn Mawr, Wellesley and Smith colleges, my parents suggested that we go check out Mount Holyoke.
“No,” I insisted, picturing the words “Holy Oak” in my head. “I won’t go to a religiously affiliated school.”
Before taking the fall 2018 course Making the Past: Geosciences in the Makerspace, I had never stepped foot in the Mount Holyoke Makerspace (which has since been relocated, expanded and renamed the Fimbel Maker & Innovation Lab).
I had heard about the makerspace through advertisements for staff-led events and from friends who had taken classes there. I also knew that it was different from makerspaces at other colleges, which friends reported were only available to people with certain majors or were so restrictive that it was nearly impossible to reserve a time to use the equipment. I knew that ours was accessible for all Mount Holyoke students. I’d just never had a reason to use it. Until I signed up for a 100-level class. Part lecture, part design workshop, the class promised to explore dinosaurs and ancient species by utilizing high-tech equipment, which sounded like an intriguing combination.
The Moroccan sun was blazing outside, lighting up Rabat, the city that would come to feel like a second home to me. In the maze-like medina, the oldest part of the city, women were bargaining for fish and bread. Pastry chefs were selling fresh almond candy to children who were leaving school for their afternoon break.
Old men sat in cafes on the side of the road — smoking cigarettes and sipping espresso for hours, talking to old friends. Fishermen were hauling their daily catch in the bay next to Le Dhow, a traditional Arab wooden boat with a bar inside. Businessmen were catching trains and university students were cramming into trams. And in the middle of the city was me. Sitting alone in McDonalds, eating french fries and crying my eyes out.
Now that the admission question is settled, the real question is this: What will you do with your strength and conviction and awareness and intellect and curiosity and caring?
We say it’s time to get moving. To get inspired. To get global. To get intersectional. To find mentors and form networks. To land internships and study abroad. To confront environmental, political and ethical challenges. To develop the skills to influence and empower others. To take advantage of everything Mount Holyoke stands for.
Watch the video for a message from current students.
During my school breaks, I spend a lot of time teching at various animal hospitals across the South Shore of Massachusetts. At the Randolph Animal Hospital, which doubles as the town shelter, I have the pleasure of working with the resident stray dogs and cats. As a future shelter vet, this aspect of my job is especially important to me.
In the summer of 2017, when I first started as an intern at the clinic in Randolph, I met an American pit bull terrier named Rollo. He had been living at the shelter since the previous December, when he had been found roaming the streets, super skinny and covered in bite wounds. It soon became clear that he harbored a fear of other dogs, and this, combined with a slew of health issues, made it hard for the shelter to find potential adopters.
Maybe this is unfair of me, but I get the feeling that when most people think about the kinds of clubs that would be among the most active at a women’s college in 2019, their first thought isn’t one that meets weekly to play Dungeons & Dragons.
But let me assure you, it is. Here’s what you don’t know about Renegades.
Although I am clearly not a college expert — I have just finished my first semester of my first year at Mount Holyoke — I feel like I have gained a bit of experience along the way. On the one hand, I have locked myself out of my residence hall at 8 am on my second day and gone along with the wrong Orientation group for an entire day. And on the other, I’ve survived the stress of finals week and having five papers due within seven days. Plus I have made some truly amazing friends and shared great moments.
To ring in the spring semester, I have reached out to some friends to compile their favorite unexpected experiences as firsties. Because although the first semester of college is always an emotional and environmental adjustment, we, as a community, have made good memories.
Sometimes when I tell people that I’m Korean, I feel like a liar. And other days, when I go to the Asian Center for Empowerment (fondly known as the ACE) on campus, the word has never felt more right. Growing up in Vermont, I’ve never known many other Asian people. And I can count on one hand the number of people I’ve met who are, like me, a quarter Asian.
“If you want to get paid to sit and eat cookies while monitoring more cookies, sign up for the M&Cs shift!”
This was the first time I heard about M&Cs, or milk and cookies. I was a first-year international student, attending a work-study meeting where we were to select shifts to work for Dining Services. A senior came up to the people in my row and quietly whispered this sage advice, which I took. (Thank you, kind member of the class of 2018!)
During summer and winter breaks from Mount Holyoke, I work as a technician and an intern at three different veterinary hospitals. Two of the hospitals treat small companion animals and one treats wildlife: the New England Wildlife Center in Weymouth, Massachusetts.
As a pre-veterinary student, I am incredibly privileged to be a part of these three communities. Over the past few years, I have developed so many important skills — from drawing blood to making small talk with clients — that I hope to one day utilize when I am a veterinarian myself.
Before there was speech, was there song? Before there was ready light, was there a flickering glow? The deepest reaches of the human heart seem to know these truths instinctively. That such simple sensory experiences — voices raised, candles held close, warm bodies seated side by side — can elicit such profound feelings of comfort, peace and kinship speaks to the power of embedded memory. Were we made to sing? To make music? To be together? To reflect? To connect?
After two years of dogged fundraising — and raising of eyebrows throughout Massachusetts — one woman’s dream became a reality. In a time when higher education for women did not exist. When educating women was seen not just as unnecessary, but as harmful and subversive.
Dear Mount Holyoke,
I fear not enough people have a favorite window here on campus. If, when asked about you, we so ardently articulate that we find ourselves in a “pretty place,” why are we so unaware of the frames that encompass your beauty?
I know we all spend time gazing out windows — when homesick and thinking of the loved ones we left behind, when pulling an all-nighter and praying for strength, and especially when lonely and dreaming of anything other than the present despair of our existence. (We Mount Holyoke students embrace angst!)
When Mary Lyon founded Mount Holyoke in 1837, she firmly believed in the power of studying the sciences. Herself a chemist, she introduced students to “a new and unusual way” to learn science: by collecting field samples and real data and by inviting renowned scientists to speak at the College. Today, her legacy of inspiring students to pursue careers in the sciences persists and Mount Holyoke remains a strong leader in scientific education.
Recently, our science lab facilities were deemed among the best in the nation, per the 2019 Princeton Review. As someone who has spent many long hours in our Science Center’s beautiful laboratories, lecture halls and study spaces, it’s easy to see why. Here’s an inside look at these top-ranked facilities!
In my final semester at Mount Holyoke (I graduated in December 2018), I’m hit with waves of nostalgia as I see the places and people that have become important parts of my journey — that from a naive, timid first-year student to a pretty bold senior. But if you had asked 17-year-old me if I would get to this point of nostalgia, or even get through these four years, I’m pretty sure I would have scoffed. Loudly. That’s how unfathomable the idea once seemed.
After my first year as a Mount Holyoke student, the thought of being back home for anything longer than 20 days was unsettling. Not because I wasn’t happy to go home, I was. But merely because my first eight months on campus had impacted me much more than I had anticipated. Here’s why.
Q.What has the power to turn a tranquil grassy amphitheater into a pounding, pulsing epicenter of energy, noise and spirit? Of “Oooaaah, oooaaah!” and “Twenty-nineteen! Twenty-nineteen!”
I could fill 16 tabloid-size pages with all my thoughts about the Mount Holyoke News, and I could probably do it on a tight deadline. But who would read that?
What I will say is this: Joining the student newspaper was the best decision of my college career. Nowhere on campus feels more like home than Blanchard 324, the paper’s newsroom since 1988.
On May 7, 2018, at 7:55 pm, the sun set over the Connecticut River in Northampton, Massachusetts. For the past four years, my friend Sally Ma ’18 and I have been meaning to go to the Norwottuck Rail Trail bridge, and it was only until now that we made the trip over.
The sun’s rays hit the new foliage and the metal beams of the wooden bridge, casting shadows along the walkway. Sally asked why we hadn’t come here previously — it was only a 30-minute bus ride away — but I shrugged and said that we’d never made time for it.
The Laurel Parade, which marks the transition from MHC student to alumna, is one of the College’s most moving rituals. It traces back to 1900, when graduating seniors paid homage to Mount Holyoke College by placing two wreaths of laurel leaves and forget-me-nots in front of College founder Mary Lyon’s grave. They raised their voices, singing “Holyoke, Tried and True.” In 1902, garlands of laurel — laurel chains — were used in place of wreaths and flowers. And a Mount Holyoke College tradition was born. Watch the videos!
What does a learning landscape that extends for nearly two centuries look like? What does it feel like? What does it promise? What does it invite? Watch the video.
Do you aspire to attend law school? You are not alone! Every year, dozens of Mount Holyoke students and alumnae apply. The process may seem daunting, but the Career Development Center (CDC) is here to help you every step of the way.
The path to a career in the arts can take many different directions, which means that finding your own next steps can sometimes be a challenge. With these tips and resources, you’ll be ready!
When the weight of a global topic feels too big — too daunting, too insurmountable, too entrenched — people often feel too small. Too small to effect change and too small to lead the way forward.
When the weight of a global topic is tackled via a movement of audacious individuals — who are open and willing to share their stories of successes and struggles, collaborations and innovations — a palpable shift can begin to unfold. The shift from “this feels impossible” to “this feels possible” requires a spark. A spark in energy, in mentors, in collective thought and momentum.
The Mount Holyoke experience? It’s a deliberate one — marked by academic inquiry, authentic meeting of minds and intentional probing of ideas and differences. Among a constellation of global peers, Mount Holyoke students revel in a community built for them and their success. Their bespoke undergraduate journeys usher in bespoke career journeys: in STEM, the arts, academia, finance, creative enterprises, public advocacy and more.
From scientists and writers to athletes and entrepreneurs, thousands of successful people call Mount Holyoke their alma mater — nearly 38,000, to be exact. If you want to discover career opportunities and make meaningful relationships with people in your field, our enthusiastic network of alumnae is a wonderful resource. Here’s how.
You know you’re a Mount Holyoke student when, as the spring semester nears to a close and final exams loom, you start getting excited for Pangynaskeia Day. By putting it on your calendar. Mentioning it on social media. Hoping for sunny skies and warm temps. Digging out a favorite lawn blanket. All perhaps to the initial puzzlement of those beyond the College’s gates.
“What’s … that? What do you mean? Where are you going?” asks your younger sibling or high school friend or parent.
“Oh, it’s just a spring thing!” you reply with a smile. That smile of knowing that at Mount Holyoke, a bevy of fascinating and slightly curious traditions continues with reckless abandon.
“You can’t write six essays, have several free dinners and trek through New York City’s Chinatown in a monsoon without becoming good friends.”
– Haili Giglietti ’21
The transition to college can be hard for any first-year student: adjusting to a new home, new friends and a new level of school work. Mount Holyoke tries to alleviate some of this stress through the First-Year Seminars Program, where students participate in small, writing-intensive, discussion-based courses. Seminar subjects range from Jack the Ripper to Latin American social movements.
The gap in pay between men and women has barely budged in the past two decades. According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), “in 2016, women working full time in the United States typically were paid just 80 percent of what men were paid, a gap of 20 percent.” The pay gap for women of color is even wider. For every dollar a white man makes, African American women earn 63 cents and Latinas earn 54 cents, per the AAUW.
A lot of things went wrong during my semester abroad in Shanghai, China. Specifically with the living abroad part of studying abroad (the academic part is another blog altogether). Some of these mishaps didn’t really have an upside. When I couldn’t find my brand of dry shampoo, for example, there was no miraculous Chinese alternative ... I just used baby powder. But most disasters shook out OK, like when my favorite Korean fried rice place closed earlier than expected and I bought dinner from a nearby food stand I’d have never tried otherwise. It was about 8 kuai cheaper and the best fried rice I’ve ever had, bar none.
All told, these situations led me to try, taste, explore and experience things that I may not have otherwise — and to grow in ways that were never on my agenda.
There’s accepted (“I’m in!”) — and then there’s accepted (“I belong!”).
So why do you belong at Mount Holyoke?
Because our community is built for you — and your success and empowerment. Our community is lit by students who share your passion and curiosity. Our alumnae network is enviably remarkable. And our diverse student body contains some of the most fascinating people you’ll ever meet in your life.
At Mount Holyoke, you’ll blur lines between learning and doing, living and being. You’ll chart a global course at each turn. You’ll be unstoppable: filled with the verve to do it all.
Watch the video for a message from current students — with one, two and three years of experience under their belts — to the class of 2022.
January 12, 2018, was a day of surreal delight that will be ingrained in my soul forever. Here’s why.
On this day, I served as a translator to seven members of the Massachusetts delegation, including Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, during their visit to the Hospital del Niño in Puerto Rico to assess the inadequate federal disaster response to Hurricane Maria. I also had the opportunity to tell this group about Mount Holyoke College, and how it has changed my life and my trajectory in more ways than I ever expected. My voice was shaking, my cheeks were numb from smiling and my tongue felt heavy with feelings. (That’s me in the white shirt, in the photos above.)
The first thing that I did when I got to Seoul, South Korea, for my monthlong independent research project — funded by the College’s Lynk curriculum-to-career initiative — was miss my bus stop.
In honor of Women’s History Month, each week in March we’ll celebrate Mount Holyoke women who have made their mark since the College’s founding — by a woman! — in 1837.
When you look at designers such as Karl Lagerfeld, Rei Kawakubo and Virgil Abloh, you can see that identity is at the core of clothing design: Expression of identity is essentially what fashion is. Regardless of background, our clothing can be indicative of who we are and what we want to be.
At Mount Holyoke College, fashion and street style have a strong presence and make for colorful interactions between disparate communities on campus. From our Chinese international students to MoHo’s Maine natives, there is a widespread understanding that personal attire is important in our everyday lives. We are embracing our identities through what we choose to wear.
I’ve been involved in theater throughout most my entire life. From short productions on my elementary school’s dingy stage to behind-the-scenes work at a nonprofit theater in Los Angeles, I’ve always had some stake in it. Whether it was watching from the house (where the audience sits), performing on the stage, reaching out to the community or costuming in the wings, I simply can’t get away from it. It brings me so much joy. I don’t know if I can accurately put my love for theater into words.
When I started college, the ground was crunchy with salt and the snow was so thick you could sled down the amphitheater steps. I was careful to not invade my roommate’s space as I unpacked (she had started in September and would not move back in for a few days). Besides my residence hall’s community advisor, there was one other person on my floor — an athlete, maybe — and the whole process was very calm and very quiet.
I was so in love with Mount Holyoke College that the idea of arriving a semester later than my peers never threatened my decision to come here. But it did present a few concerns. As a spring admit, or “springie,” I wondered, how would I meet people? Could I really catch up with the rest of my class? What was a Mountain Day?
What does it feel like to study art history? Staring at reproductions of works of art on your computer screen, and writing papers? It was during my first semester at Mount Holyoke that my impression of this discipline has been reshaped. A ready stream of interdisciplinary projects prompted me to step out of the classroom and into the museums and studios on campus: to interpret artworks and art in general through different lenses.
Despite titles of leadership conferred upon me in high school — delegate to my town’s youth commission and teen ambassador for my local Junior League — I never truly considered myself a leader until I came to Mount Holyoke College. Here’s why.
Growing up, I went to a predominantly white private school for 14 years and never realized how much I needed — and could thrive in — a culturally diverse environment. Until I came to Mount Holyoke.
In late 1895, Mount Holyoke students decided to form a fire brigade. And in doing so, they made history. A story that year from the New York Journal reported that theirs was the first all-women’s fire department in the nation. As far as we know, this amazing story checks out.
The Mount Holyoke College community takes a moment to reflect back on the year that was as we gear up for the year to come. (And by gear up, we mean get ready to rock with a combination of intrepidness, curiosity and compassion!) Stay on the pulse of College stories by subscribing to The Gates blog and following Mount Holyoke on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
What is it like for a Cuban American from Miami, Florida, to come to college in western Massachusetts? As you might imagine, it’s different. VERY different. I mean, before coming to Mount Holyoke, I had never seen an apple tree in my life. I grew up in the tropical weather of Miami where all the fruits we grew at home were mangoes, avocados and bananas. I love my home city, but I was ready to experience the seasons and see snow!
As a naturally inquisitive and chatty person, I was in uncharted territory when I recently lost my voice for a week. Vivid hand language and creepy whispering became my primary modes of communication. And when sounding like a strangled mix of Darth Vader and the Cookie Monster started to feel obnoxious, I stopped attempting to talk and interacted with my community from an even quieter perspective.
This unexpected experience helped me see that it’s the subtle things that help forge the mosaic of our community. Here’s a look at some of the distinctive things, -isms and unspoken traditions that make Mount Holyoke such a special place.
Take five esteemed institutions of higher education, located within a 6-mile radius in one of New England’s most picturesque valleys. Add 38,000 students, 2,200 faculty, infinite social opportunities and orgs galore. Connect them with a free bus system.
What do you get?
Ronaldo stands tall, with wise brown eyes and a big squarish head. In his stall, puffed by shavings, he towers over students with an air of athleticism and confidence.
When lower-level riders are assigned to Ron for practice, it’s as if they were invited to warm up one of McLain Ward or Beezie Madden’s horses. (For the non-equestrians out there, that would be like playing basketball with Michael Jordan.) Although this school donation horse — or “schoolie” — is not as famous as Ward’s HH Azur or Madden’s Breitling LS, at our Equestrian Center Ronaldo is nonetheless a beloved celebrity. It’s my pleasure to introduce you to this fine gentleman!
Consistently ranked one of the most beautiful in the nation, the Mount Holyoke campus is a diversity of ecosystems, languages, communities, disciplines and learning experiences. During your next visit — the Office of Admission welcomes visitors year-round for campus tours — be sure to check out the following can’t-miss destinations!
This summer, hundreds of Mount Holyoke students interned at companies and organizations around the world. Wondering how to get a STEM internship and what the experience will be like? Read on: Four students who did internships related to science and technology share their takeaways and insight.
As I clicked the “Launch Project Now” button, the Kickstarter website for my creation went live. I sat back in my chair and thought about how my journey to this moment — the launch of my ZIRUI Go Case — all started.
My birth was welcomed by feminist chants and a hunger for justice — and a Mount Holyoke T-shirt. My mother, Robin Pelletier ’90, raised me with the principles that guided her through college: fearlessness, independence, unconformity, confidence, acceptance. As a young child, I adopted my Mount Holyoke legacy with pride. My life was, and is still, shaped by strong, diverse and outspoken individuals who encourage me to be bold and adventurous.
Though at times as a naive teen I scoffed at the idea of attending my mother’s alma mater, I now know I made the right decision. There is nothing more unique than an inclusive women’s college education. And there are so many perks of being a legacy (yes, I’m going to brag)!
The formula for the Learning in Application (LEAP) Symposium remains constant: During a half-day conference, held the Friday of Family and Friends Weekend, panels of students in every major present about their summer internship or research experiences. Students — who worked in 42 countries in every imaginable field — rock PowerPoint, field questions and share insight in classrooms and lecture halls packed with family, friends, alumnae, faculty and staff.
What changes year to year? The stories and reflections. The destinations and growth. The successes and challenges. The surprises and triumphs.
Watch the video.
If you are a Mount Holyoke student who took part in a summer internship or research experience funded by the College’s Lynk initiative, you know the course College 211. For everyone else, let me to break it down for you!
Are you looking to network within your field of professional interest? Like everything else, networking can now be done online, and LinkedIn is the tool to use. It is important to ensure that your LinkedIn profile is informative and visually appealing. Start with these tips and you’ll be well on your way to building a solid LinkedIn network.
Every time I’ve introduced myself in a new year of college, I’ve proudly announced a new proposed major, per my latest crystal ball reading for my future career.
I arrived my first year as a biology and Spanish double major on the pre-health track. Second year, a Spanish major with a minor in psychology. Third year, a self-declared major combining psychology and journalism, with a minor in Spanish. And finally, four years later, I am proud to say that I am a Spanish major with a Nexus concentration in journalism, media and public discourse.
Mount Holyoke’s 200+ faculty are making news, busting boundaries, researching, creating and leading for change — and inspiring their students to do the same.
The weather was glorious for hiking — sunny, breezy, not too hot. All day the ubiquitous greeting echoed off the trees and rocky cliffs of Mount Holyoke: “Happy Mountain Day!” “Happy Mountain Day!”
“It’s like we created a holiday for ourselves,” said one student. “It’s something we all do together, as a community. Everyone is happy. It’s a nice break from classes!”
If you’re a smart woman (and you are), you’ve probably already heard this advice: Find a mentor who is willing to invest in you and your future. Research shows that mentors help you identify your strengths, persevere in school, gain access to new opportunities, and, ultimately, achieve greater satisfaction in the work you do.
Did you know that every year the Mount Holyoke Career Development Center hosts dozens of employers on-campus for information sessions, including Google, McKinsey & Company, Barclays and Teach for America?
Fall is an especially busy time for these events, which provide an excellent opportunity for you to meet employers — and for them to meet you! If you’ve never been to an information session before, or have attended one but weren’t quite sure if you were “doing it right,” here are some pointers from our external relations experts.
I applied to Mount Holyoke Early Decision because I made my decision early. Six years early.
My mom started working at Mount Holyoke when I was in seventh grade, and upon my first visit in May 2010 it was love at first sight. The key word here is sight. There’s no denying the campus is drop-dead gorgeous — in any season, in any weather, at any time of day — and that was the basis of my initial infatuation.
But there was more. As a 13-year-old experiencing the horrors of middle school, the campus seemed like a world apart. I was also more than a little obsessed with Harry Potter. Mount Holyoke looks like Hogwarts. What else did I need?
“What do you want to do when you grow up?” Chances are you’ve been answering some version of this question since you were little. By tossing out an old standby of an answer, picking from a rotation of favorites or voicing whatever suddenly popped into your capricious mind. To the delight, amusement or surprise of your audience. As kids will do!
Now you are here at college. And this question may loom larger than it ever has before. Especially if you don’t know the answer! Perhaps what you thought you wanted has changed, or the world and your understanding of it has changed. Or maybe you’ve determined to find — but have yet to uncover — the thing that gives you real and meaningful purpose.
When you look closely at the College’s official emblem, do palm trees catch your eye? “Palm trees in South Hadley, Massachusetts?” you may wonder. “That’s curious.”
One thing I learned at Mount Holyoke? Include a fun fact when you introduce yourself. So, here goes: I love quotes. Each semester, I decorated an inspiration wall with sticky notes and posters. One of my favorites is by Nelson Mandela: “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave [wo]man is not [s]he who does not feel afraid, but [s]he who conquers that fear.”
Riding at Mount Holyoke is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. It’s a community. It’s friends. It’s a team. And most importantly, it’s pursuing a passion alongside an inspiring group of people who share your love for horses. Here are 12 more reasons why.
Think you'll be swimming in free time come the start of the school year, and looking for fresh ways to spend it?
Riiiight. I didn’t think so. But even with classes, athletics, orgs, jobs and everything else a Mount Holyoke College student commits to, it’s important to keep career planning in the picture. Who knows when the next great opportunity will come your way? Luckily, Mount Holyoke is filled with resources to help you. Here’s a month-by-month guide to finding the perfect internship.
“Good morning everyone! Breakfast is ready!” I hear a voice call from outside my tent at 6:30 a.m. The air is crisp and still on this early January morning in the Mojave National Preserve.
Into the desert
We are about three hours outside of Los Angeles, California, but we are the only people within 10 miles of our base camp. Jess Pelaez, the founder and CEO of Blueprint Earth, has been up for the past hour. She has been checking to make sure our Global Positioning System (GPS) devices and Thermo-Hygro-Anemometers — which are used to calculate wind speed, humidity and air volume — are fully charged for our eight-hour expedition into the desert.
As a child, spinning on an office chair at my dad’s desk, I discovered the power of digital technology. Playing “Myst” and other computer games transported me to another world: an awe-inspiring journey with nooks and crannies, ready to be explored.
As a visual learner, I also spent a lot of my childhood exploring museums and making art. Coupled with my interest in history and the humanities, I found the decision to attend a liberal arts college to be an easy one.
My Mount Holyoke journey began with a jolt: culture shock. Followed by waves and pangs: homesickness.
I endured a 22-hour flight — my first solo intercontinental journey — and arrived in a country that my Nigerian parents and I knew mainly from maps and news stories. Where I had no parents to move me into my first residence hall room or help me adjust to foods so radically different from what I’d eaten all my life. Where I soon met 2,200 strangers who would become the closest thing I had to family in this new land.
My journey wrapped up with emotions cut from a much different cloth — pride, appreciation, awe, excitement, connections — as fittingly symbolized by the College’s Stoling ceremony.
In a few days, I will walk across the stage of Gettell Amphitheater to receive my degree. Soon after, I will navigate life as a young alumna in Amman, Jordan. To think that for an unspecified amount of time I won’t be at Mount Holyoke, with its shimmering lakes and whispering trees and majestic buildings, is daunting.
In choosing to come to Mount Holyoke, I was expecting to encounter incredible experiences. I don’t think I ever anticipated such life-changing ones.
And so it begins: your story, your quest, your journey.
Propelled and amplified by our global community.
A sensational, all-senses-activated community.
An inclusive, forward-looking community steeped in tradition.
In February 2017, you may have spotted members of the Mount Holyoke College rowing team erging for 12 hours in Blanchard Campus Center. We’ll repeat again for emphasis: erging for 12 hours. Their goal was to row 400,000 meters — and to raise funds for both Neighbors Helping Neighbors, a South Hadley food bank, and their team’s March training trip to Clemson, South Carolina. They even offered free rowing lessons to other students.
Some Mount Holyoke traditions bend more with the times than others. A clear tipoff that a tradition is anything but static? A history of changing names. Take DisOrientation … which is also known as Dis-O and was formerly known as both Freshman Day and Hazing Day.
In January 2017, the prestigious American Ballet Theatre Studio Company, comprised of dancers ages 16 – 20, came to perform at Mount Holyoke. In addition to performing three shows that included U.S. and world premieres, the company also held a master class for advanced Mount Holyoke dancers.
Why Mount Holyoke? For an exceptional experience. Here’s my story.
When I saw Mount Holyoke College for the first time, I felt slightly breathless. I had seen hundreds of images of the campus since I’d been admitted early decision. But I couldn’t help but stare. I was relieved to look around and see other students sporting the same awestruck expression.
Sometimes first impressions say it all.
“The first thing that struck me was the community. The people you meet here are going to be life-changing.”
“I came for accepted-students weekend. I was so excited to be in a place where finally it was fun to love school.”
Students come to Mount Holyoke for the inclusive global community. For the love of amazing classes, conversations, opportunities and empowerment. For the company of seriously surprising and inspiring peers who seek to redefine frontiers of every field imaginable.
See how current students express why they came to Mount Holyoke — and what sets the MHC experience apart.
Watch the video.
What comes to your mind when you hear “networking”? A room full of strangers? Professional business attire? Handshakes? Business cards? A paralyzing fear of awkward conversation?
OK, hopefully not that last one, true though it may be. As a junior, soon to be jumping into my senior year, I suggest you put those clichéd notions aside. Networking is not as bad as you might think. And it can even be quite different from what you think. My path to debunking networking myths has been paved by my friends, colleagues and other amazing people that I’ve met at Mount Holyoke. Look no further: Much needed help is already around you.
The second annual Mount Holyoke College Girls in Tech Conference (MHC GIT) took place March 5. The one-day event, founded in 2016 by Onji Bae ’18 and Hashma Shahid ’17, is dedicated to inspiring local high school students to explore technology through engineering and entrepreneurship. It included interactive programming, hardware workshops and talks by inspirational women who employ technology in a variety of fields. Participants also practiced public speaking, networked during lunch, brainstormed together and experienced the power of mentorship — high school students were paired with Mount Holyoke student mentors.
“The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.”
– Muriel Rukeyser
“Scientists say that human beings are made of atoms, but a little bird told me that we are also made of stories.”
– Eduardo Galeano
When I first arrived at Mount Holyoke College in January 2017 — and even before that — I knew that my time here would be about making stories, and about remaking myself through these stories. Gladly, I cannot say this didn’t happen. Because it most certainly did.
A warm breeze, the unmistakable scent of life and growth, the riot of colors in the blooms of early flowers — all are welcome harbingers of warmer, brighter days to come. That’s perhaps why the traditional Mount Holyoke College Flower Show remains a perennial (ahem) favorite among Western Massachusetts residents.
After my final round of job interviews in New Jersey, three in one day, I kept re-running them in my head. I thought I had done OK — I’d gone through the cases calmly and quickly and felt that I’d connected with the interviewers. But was my best their best? So many questions, so many emotions: an unfiltered look at the modern quest for employment.
So, there is this local children’s theater group. The director, known for her eccentric and involved theatrical style, was looking for an assistant. I was thrilled to get the job.
At one of our first meetings I casually brought up my trans-ness. Relieved, she said, “I saw your trans-ness on your resume. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to be the one to bring it up.”
Junior Show, one of the College’s most creative and student-driven traditions, has been a source of entertainment and general merriment on campus for more than a century. It features an original play that is typically heavy on humor and parody. Costumes, dance numbers, songs, inside jokes and a smattering of stereotypical representations of both Mount Holyoke and the other members of the Five Colleges? Yes, yes, yes!
Initially produced by the senior class, and known as Senior Show, the tradition was passed to the junior class in 1920 and subsequently recoined. It comes around each February — a welcome bright spot during a predictably bleak time of winter.
To a college student at any other institution, 9:30 p.m. is just a time. But for Mount Holyoke students, 9:30 – 10 p.m. means only one thing: M&Cs. And M&Cs, in case you don’t know, means milk and cookies.
The Big/Little program is one of Mount Holyoke’s oldest traditions, tracing its origins back to the early 1900s. At its heart, the program is a really simple recipe for friendship: a junior (the “Big”) is paired up with an incoming first-year student (the “Little”). Big + Little = friends.
Is penning a blog in your future? Oh good! The only thing standing between you and the splash you are bound to make is … a blank page. Ferocious in its blankness. Blanketed in its blankness.
Fear not. Here are a few pointers that may guide you in the blog-drafting process.
Wondering whether a certain career or organization might be the right fit for you? An informational interview with an experienced professional can give you an insider’s perspective.
The 2016 accomplishments of our College community are, it should come as no surprise, too many to list! And yet we took our best shot at it. Enjoy the season-by-season wrap-up. And stay on the pulse of it all by subscribing to The Gates blog.
As most players know, there comes a moment when you realize a game is lost. When you realize that time is not on your side—and that no last-ditch effort can close the gap.
Saturday, November 21, MHC rugby played for the 2016 New England Collegiate Rugby Cup for the first time in over a decade. And that moment came to me with about 15 minutes left on the clock, when we were down 30 to 7. We still continued to give it everything we had, but it was too late.
In honor of November, which was National Career Development Month, advisors at the Career Development Center highlighted their favorite tools and resources. The six listed below can give you a serious leg up in your job or internship search.
For many of my early years, I thought everyone experienced the world as I did. When I encounter certain stimulus, such as hearing the musical note A, it involuntarily elicits another seemingly unrelated sensation, such as seeing the color red. It wasn’t until I read about synesthesia in V. S. Ramachandran and Sandra Blakeslee’s book The Phantom of the Brain that I had a serious “Aha!” moment.
“That’s so interesting!”
I smile politely as yet another person reacts to finding out that I am a biology and film studies double major. I’ve always struggled with responding to that statement. It definitely is interesting—that’s why I’m studying the two! But for me, these two disciplines, which seem galaxies apart for some, simply use two different lenses to understand the world: one through a microscope, the other through a camera.
You might know that Mount Holyoke has been home to pioneers since its founding in 1837. But did you know it’s also the first women’s college to host a hackathon?
Mount Holyoke + Amherst + Smith + Hampshire colleges + UMass Amherst = Five Colleges!
10. The mind-blowing opportunities! Tried, tested, perfected.
The Five College Consortium is one of the oldest—and most robust—alliances of colleges in the country. Through it, Mount Holyoke students can—and do—take courses, join clubs, and socialize on all five campuses. Think 36,000 students, 700 clubs, and more than 6,000 classes. Plus an eclectic mix of lectures, conferences, and performers. All within a six-mile radius. The idea of linking access to resources, first hatched over a century ago, really works. The vibe at clubs? Welcoming. Registering for classes? Easy. Professors at other institutions? Encouraging. Events, films, parties, and music festivals? Frequent and popular. The nine million volumes of books in 14 libraries? Online orders are delivered daily.
The 2016 Carol Hoffmann Collins Global Scholar-in-Residence is Zainab Salbi, an Iraqi-American author, media presence, and activist. Salbi has dedicated her life to women’s rights and freedom. She is the founder of Women for Women International, a humanitarian organization that distributes aid and microcredit to help women survivors of wars to rebuild their lives. As editor-at-large for Women in the World, a news platform produced in collaboration with the New York Times, she reports on the intersection of Middle Eastern and Western cultures.
Professionalism is not a simple concept to pin down, but it’s a quality that virtually all employers look for. Beyond having the right mix of technical and executive skills, understanding what it means to be professional can help you stand out from the crowd when looking for jobs and internships. Here are six keys to professionalism.
“Have you built a restaurant for the school?” a teacher asked on his first visit to the Baale Parwaz Library. I laughed in response. The space—bare except for some newly set up furniture—did not yet give off much of a library feeling. The books had not even been delivered yet. But his question revealed something even greater: a cultural lack of familiarity with an open, peaceful space for studying and collaborating.
Don’t just show up. Run the show!
If you’re anything like the majority of women searching for the right college, you’re likely not thinking about attending a women’s college at all. If that’s the case, we’d like to let you in on one of our best kept secrets: Employers actually seek out women who go to women’s colleges because of the leadership potential that our unique environment fosters.
Like the College itself, “Nothing ever seems to be average around here.” So says House Manager Brenda Adams of the President’s House, which was built in 1908 and remains a bustling hub of campus activity, events, visits, and goings-on.
As Mount Holyoke College’s oldest tradition, Mountain Day is clearly doing something right — very right. As it has since it began in 1838, just months after the first students arrived on campus. As it has through evolutions in transportation, attire, rules (think chaperones and special permissions) and best-practices in picnicking.
The community at Mount Holyoke will inspire you—and powerful, global conversations.
Changemakers seize opportunities. They raise their voices. They harness the power within their reach and set things in motion. They discover leadership potential they never knew they had—or that the world never knew they had.
Ever since I chose Mount Holyoke, I have had a little dream stirring around in my brain. This dream was to combine my two greatest passions, journalism and horses, into a career. For a while my goal seemed almost like a fairy tale: magical to think about but nearly impossible to achieve. But thanks to my experiences at Mount Holyoke this summer, I am even closer to making my dream a reality.
15 workshops + 600 students + 9 leaders = 1 amazing program, Flourishing 101!
What makes Mount Holyoke’s move-in day so #MoHome?
The O-Team! Via an in-depth Orientation, a warm welcome from alumnae of the 50-year connection class, and the first of many beloved Mount Holyoke traditions that kick off day one.
The energy? Raw and electric.
The bags? Packed—and repacked—with care.
The scene? Equal parts meet-and-greet and homecoming.
MoHome? It comes alive as students from the classes of 2017–2020 converge on campus.
Watch the video to see Acting President Sonya Stephens and Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Marcella Runell Hall out in the thick of it—bearing witness to the arrivals, the wonder, the greetings, the anticipation, and the farewells that define move-in day festivities.
Ask me what I thought about computer science as a senior in high school and I would have told you that I’m not interested in sitting in some windowless basement learning to code. I knew I wanted to pursue music.
Mount Holyoke has been setting the stage since 1837 for trailblazing, can-do students who know that life is never a dress rehearsal.
At Mount Holyoke, carrying on the tradition of bold students doing bold things is a given. You’ll question, reflect and observe. You’ll perform, serve and lead. You’ll sprint, shadow and roar. Watch the video for a glimpse of life on an empowered campus.
Imagine you are navigating a maze—not knowing which route to take, mystified by what lies ahead. You are at crossroads, and nothing matters more than the course you will pursue. Then you gaze past the thicket and set foot on a trail, with high hopes of reaching the dale.
That, in a nutshell, was how I felt right before my adventurous journey to Mount Holyoke College commenced. I set my course, packed my suitcases, and flew west, into the land of opportunities.
Getting to compete at nationals for a second year in a row with the most amazing team? An utterly unforgettable experience. The Mount Holyoke College equestrian team, aka MHC Eq, brought the fire to the 2016 Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association national championship in Lexington, Kentucky.
The Mount Holyoke student experience?
It unlocks potential.
It inspires leaders.
It forges connections.
It transforms futures.
It endures, shines, and forever shall be.
It is also a reflection of alumnae generosity—your gifts shape and sustain the College and our students.
Do you live to create? Do you create to live?
Do you live to imagine? Do you imagine to live?
Do you live to express? Do you express to live?
The arts at Mount Holyoke College open students to a greater sense of possibility—and to the power and wonder of their own voices and visions.
I am what you call a Model UN veteran. Through my involvement in Mount Holyoke College Model United Nations (MHCMUN), I have been on the collegiate circuit long enough to recognize many faces from across the country—and to know who the strongest delegates are. These power delegates are there to win.
When it comes to Mount Holyoke College Model United Nations (MHCMUN), I was a little late to the party. I joined the second semester of my sophomore year. I knew instantly that I had found it: a group that I would stay a part of until the end of college.
So here’s a hard truth: no matter which job or internship you are going for — in any field — you are one in a sea of candidates who share a lot in common. You are smart. You have a good school on your resume. Driven and ambitious? Yes and yes.
People who know me are aware of my relationship with Model United Nations. We first met in middle school. After competing—and winning awards—in both the national competition and the Global Classrooms International Middle School Model UN conference in the United States, I fell madly and deeply in love. The constant rush of adrenaline that comes with having to think so quickly and frequently on my feet? It’s both challenging and gratifying.
More than 600 graduates and certificate recipients. One amphitheater full of family, friends, faculty, and staff. A momentous weekend of celebration and camaraderie. Moving forward and reflecting back. Inspiration to listen, join, and lead. An invitation to dare to make the make the world a better, brighter place.
There is no way to do this without you. We need psychologists, chemists, philosophers, musicians, poets, librarians, programmers. We need all of you. We need to disrupt and rebuild this world.
—Joia Mukherjee, keynote speech
Bravery. Activism. Solidarity. Truth-telling.
Check out the videos and social posts below. (Missed the wrap-up story? Read it here.)
Watch the highlight video.
It began with a trip visiting my aunties in some place called Amherst, Massachusetts, and my father speaking sternly to me over the Formica kitchen counter.
“While we’re up North visiting them,” he said, “I want you to look at Mount Holyoke College.”
“Mount Holyoke? What is that?”
“It’s a women’s college,” my father replied. I think he even braced himself for my reply.
“A women’s college?” I spat. “Over my dead body!”
Famous last words.
I was 25 when I came to Mount Holyoke College as a Frances Perkins scholar. My son, Dominic, was two. I was filled with self-doubt and insecurity. I didn’t know what, exactly, I was doing at Mount Holyoke. All I knew was that I wanted to earn a bachelor’s degree. I believed it would somehow transform a life that was, at the time, fairly stagnant.
You may not think that your job as a dishwasher in Dining Services or as a tutor for a math class is preparing you for work outside of Mount Holyoke College. But it is! Virtually every job supports your professional growth through the development of transferable skills.
“Hello Choreographers! Congratulations! You have been selected to participate in our spring 2016 Biomorphic Dance Festival!”
I could not believe I was reading this email from the Asterial Dance company as I rushed to my physics exam. The nerves I had for my exam melted away as I considered the gravity of what had just happened: my choreography had just been accepted into a dance festival for the first time. Yes, there were the logistics of actually traveling to New York City with my seven dancers. But I had been accepted!
The first time I visited Mount Holyoke, the summer before my senior year in high school, I came by myself. I didn’t want my parents to sway me toward a college closer to home that I did not want to attend.
On Thursday, April 28, the students of Professor Corinne Demas’s English 303 short-story writing seminar will launch the 11th edition of the Blackstick Review. Founded in 2004, the literary journal is the culmination of my classmates’ hard work over the course of the semester.
In a word ... yes!
As a first-year student, I joined Mount Holyoke College Model United Nations, or MHCMUN, because I needed a club. And I wanted to make friends. I stayed because it became my family.
I have always had a thing for flying. Not so much airplanes as birds. I love the feeling of being in the air. And I’m drawn to the stars, imagining what it would be like to be part of something so hypnotic and beautiful. I found, and continue to find, these same sensations in ballet.
Mount Holyoke College is a bold choice.
It’s the right choice for students who want to face, embrace, and effect change. It’s the right choice for students who seek a vibrant community that is intellectual, diverse, and inclusive. It’s the right place to gain the skills and mindset to thrive in the twenty-first century, an era when career evolution is the norm. And it’s the right choice for students who value lifelong friendships and a powerful global network of alumnae that connects graduates to one another and to opportunities.
Mount Holyoke is pretty rad. It’s filled with forward-thinking individuals from all over the world who spend every day learning, challenging themselves, and dreaming big. We are branded as progressive intellectuals, gliding across well-kept greenery, with a thirst for changing the world. But there is more to the community here than academics, career goals, and activism.
“Erin, wake up, you have 30 minutes until watch.”
With half-open eyes and a great yawn, I give a delirious thumbs-up in response to my shipmate’s whispers. Clambering out of my bunk, I slide into my work pants, windbreaker, and harness.
On deck, the sharp breeze and salty ocean spray against my hands and face is routine for the start of every watch. We stand watch twice over a 24-hour period, totaling ten hours. The rotation keeps each day flowing effortlessly into the next. Watch is intensely focused on the ship: where she needs to go, what deployments need to be done, and how we intend to make it all happen. Each movement—hoisting sails, towing the neuston net, plotting our position—becomes second nature.
Montpellier’s blue skies. Lifelong friendships. Architectural feasts for the eyes. Croissants for lunch. This is what it’s like to study abroad in France as a Mount Holyoke student.
Before I came to Mount Holyoke College, student-athlete was simply a title I knew fit me. Now, it’s my identity. It’s an identity that I take an incredible amount of pride in, and one that I've built with the tremendous support of the Mount Holyoke community. At Mount Holyoke, my professors are curious about—and supportive of—my athletics. And the athletics department cares greatly about my academic career. The net effect of this appreciation and encouragement? Totally positive.
Since September 2015, I have worked as an Administrative Fellow for the Community-Based Learning (CBL) Program. I found this job through our student employment portal and contacted CBL to see if the position was still available. I was excited to come across this opportunity as it felt like an awesome new challenge to take on during my final year at Mount Holyoke.