Home away from homeSudiksha Joshi ’19
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.
Why a women’s college?
From the day I set foot inside the College’s gates, the MHC community has been warm, welcoming, and exceptionally inclusive. It boasts of several things, including being among the top institutes nationwide to have a campus of students nurtured by enlightened, dignified, and devoted professors. MHC passionately drives its engine to make the voices of its students reverberate louder and louder, and to bolster their potential—qualities that drew me to this women’s college.
As an Indian, I was also hungry to escape my society’s conventional norms. Unlike the flexible western academic system that encourages choice, exploration, and combining subjects, South Asian students know what it’s like to be constrained and restricted by the “old rules” of academic learning. We know what it’s like to not be able to choose the subjects or classes we truly want, such as humanities, sometimes because of pressure from family or the expectation of achieving a well paid career.
Social, cultural, and academic spheres
Here in college, I am thoroughly challenged, not only from pressing questions and high-stakes dilemmas that come with diving deeper into academic subjects, but also from the precarious scenarios of national security and politics that I encounter through the robust world of MHC Model UN. Thanks to a zillion other organizations/clubs to choose from and participate in, and essential advice from the Career Development Center, MHC knows exactly how to help students unlock the doors to a plethora of possibilities.
I am impressed by the constant support that Mount Holyoke students get from peers, professors, and staff. This support builds the strengths of womanhood and sisterhood in the student body of approximately 2,200 students. The campus inculcate the bonds of amity, affinity, and feminism. I couldn’t imagine finding a similar community at a vast public or private university. Econometrically—counting all the variables of the multi-regression model that equates to my freshman experience—I have been shaped into a well versed and matured person. These variables include the social, cultural, and academic spheres in college.
As an international student, I am very pleased with the profound diversity on campus. Students from Peru to Pakistan unite here, forming a micro-UN body engaged in rich discussion. This past year I have metamorphosed into a critically-thinking, globally-attuned human, a process fueled by my involvement in MHC Model UN, the Economics Society, and the STUDENTx team (formerly TEDxAmherst through the Five College Consortium).
For those of us hailing from distant lands beyond the wondrous blue waves of the Pacific, there is a place for everyone on campus. Whether you are a Hindu, a Muslim, a Sikh, a Christian, a Buddhist, a Jew or an atheist, Mount Holyoke has many clubs and festivities to invigorate you, such as the Taal and Raunak Bhangra (classical and modern Indian dance clubs) and the Muslim Students Association. You wouldn’t feel nostalgic for luscious foods from home, for the luminous lights in Diwali (Indian festival of lights), or for the splashing of colors at others during Holi (Indian festival of colors), because of the parties and events organized by AWAZ, the College’s South Asian Students Association.
As every day draws to a close at MHC, the picturesque landscape brings a serenity to the campus that we all cherish. Like the earth revolving round its elliptical orbit, Mount Holyoke students never tire of gazing with awe at the hued sunset that resonates its beauty into the lakes and showers an aura of prismatic luster in the sky.
Last year, I was stuck in a maze, trying to break free from the cloud of uncertainty surrounding my future and my future college. Today, I can say that I have set out on the right track. I have learned to liberate myself, to spark wild ideas at any given table, and to cherish life at MHC to the fullest.
“Home is behind, the world ahead,
and there are many paths to tread
through shadows to the edge of night,
until the stars are all alight.”
―J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings