Hail, class of 2024! Those who are about to graduate — fellow blue lions — salute you.
Members of the class of 2020, who are finishing their last semester at Mount Holyoke, share their four years of experience with you, the class of 2024, as you begin your first. They offer advice on classes, student orgs and the value of studying the broad expanse of liberal arts. They also offer their hard-earned wisdom on making mistakes and finding success after high school — and enjoying themselves.
We asked. They dished. Now we’re serving up tips!
First-year students, still in the thick of their college transitions, reflected on what advice they’d give incoming firsties. Especially about things like classes and self-care. It’s amazing to see how excited they are for you — and how much they want you to know that “college is absolutely so much fun once you settle in!”
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.