When I arrived at Mount Holyoke, it was with every intent to major in international relations. My passion for politics was sparked in high school, after volunteering for the 2016 Bernie Sanders campaign in New York City. I admired Sanders’ radical views on criminal justice reform and public assistance, having grown up facing parental incarceration and immense poverty. And, coming from rural Iowa, I was anxious to learn as much as I could about the rest of the world.
When I was planning my fall 2019 classes, the first semester of my junior year, I found myself questioning my academic path. What did I want to do with the psychology major I had declared the semester prior? Why, when I looked at the potential classes, did I find myself wishing for different options? In order to feel more academically fulfilled, I realized that I needed to pursue another one of my interests.
I had previously taken classes in economics, politics and anthropology. So maybe a minor? Or what about the ethics class I had enjoyed my first year, maybe there was something there? Wait — maybe an English class? The creative writing class I dropped after the first three-hour session hadn’t been for me, but what about nonfiction writing? I had really enjoyed working as a staff writer for a local newspaper the summer before.
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.
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.
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.