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.
You know you’re a Mount Holyoke student when, as the spring semester nears to a close, 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.
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.
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.