May 11, 2018

“If I could go back and do it all again?”

Camille Gladieux ’18

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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.

Camille Gladieux ’18 at the Norwottuck Rail Trail bridge. Photo courtesy of Sally Ma ’18.
Camille Gladieux ’18 at the Norwottuck Rail Trail bridge. Photo courtesy of Sally Ma ’18.

Time is a tricky construct for me to wrap my head around. It progresses in a linear fashion and remains constant, yet it feels like it spirals and always seems to be changing speed. I oscillate between saying that I do not have any time to do anything and saying that I have nothing but time in the world. Of course, these statements are highly situational. The former occurs when someone is inviting me to go somewhere or to spend time with them, the latter occurs when I’m waiting in a line that takes upward of 45 minutes to accomplish what I need to get done. I have either too little time or too much time.

I have few regrets about attending Mount Holyoke College. Today, I am a lot more confident in the way that I move throughout the world, and I feel a lot more capable of articulating the abstract thoughts and feelings that pass through the neurotransmitters of my brain.

The Asian Student Association executive board and hosts for VariAsians 2017. Photo courtesy of Drew Soucy.
The Asian Student Association executive board and hosts for VariAsians 2017. Photo courtesy of Drew Soucy.

I have had the opportunity to serve as a Community-Based Learning fellow, to find comfort in the Asian Students Association, to conduct independent research in South Korea, to complete an honors thesis in sociology and to serve as the Student Government Association president. All things considered, I have had a pretty eventful college career.

The Adirondack chair: a Mount Holyoke staple
The Adirondack chair: a Mount Holyoke staple

The one thing that I would change, if I could go back and do it all again, is to make the time to look up at the clouds every once in a while. And I mean that literally and sincerely. There were so many beautiful days that I could have lain out on Skinner Green and watched the sky and just breathed. There were plays, dance performances, orchestra concerts, sports games, and opportunities to explore parts of western Massachusetts that I let pass me by. I was so busy worrying about tiny details and endless meetings that I forgot to take time to just exist.

I know I am not alone in these thoughts, as many students, even beyond our gates at Mount Holyoke, experience a certain level of anxiety and stress during their time at college. The imposter syndrome, the insecurity of not being good enough, the different choices we make in the face of opportunity and the isolating feeling that we are the only person who is thinking these thoughts can all become overwhelming — and fog our vision of the life we want to forge for ourselves.

Skyward bound, Mount Holyoke campus
Skyward bound, Mount Holyoke campus

There is no doubt in my mind that Mount Holyoke was the right college for me. Mount Holyoke has prepared me to value the education I have received and apply it to the next stages of my life. As we get closer to the Commencement of the class of 2018, I am reminded of all the highest and lowest moments of my time on campus, and wish I had a few more memories of just watching the clouds.

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Camille Gladieux ’18 grew up in Miami, Florida, and was a Posse Scholar. Gladieux majored in sociology and minored in English, with a focus in creative writing. As the Student Government Association president for the 2017–2018 academic year, Gladieux spent most of her time meeting with students, faculty and staff to bridge connections and ensure the representation of student voices. Gladieux completed a senior thesis on Korean-American adoptees.
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