As a naturally inquisitive and chatty person, I was in uncharted territory when I recently lost my voice for a week. Vivid hand language and creepy whispering became my primary modes of communication. And when sounding like a strangled mix of Darth Vader and the Cookie Monster started to feel obnoxious, I stopped attempting to talk and interacted with my community from an even quieter perspective.
This unexpected experience helped me see that it’s the subtle things that help forge the mosaic of our community. Here’s a look at some of the distinctive things, -isms and unspoken traditions that make Mount Holyoke such a special place.
My birth was welcomed by feminist chants and a hunger for justice — and a Mount Holyoke T-shirt. My mother, Robin Pelletier ’90, raised me with the principles that guided her through college: fearlessness, independence, unconformity, confidence, acceptance. As a young child, I adopted my Mount Holyoke legacy with pride. My life was, and is still, shaped by strong, diverse and outspoken individuals who encourage me to be bold and adventurous.
Though at times as a naive teen I scoffed at the idea of attending my mother’s alma mater, I now know I made the right decision. There is nothing more unique than an inclusive women’s college education. And there are so many perks of being a legacy (yes, I’m going to brag)!
If you’re a smart woman (and you are), you’ve probably already heard this advice: Find a mentor who is willing to invest in you and your future. Research shows that mentors help you identify your strengths, persevere in school, gain access to new opportunities, and, ultimately, achieve greater satisfaction in the work you do.
I applied to Mount Holyoke Early Decision because I made my decision early. Six years early.
My mom started working at Mount Holyoke when I was in seventh grade, and upon my first visit in May 2010 it was love at first sight. The key word here is sight. There’s no denying the campus is drop-dead gorgeous — in any season, in any weather, at any time of day — and that was the basis of my initial infatuation.
But there was more. As a 13-year-old experiencing the horrors of middle school, the campus seemed like a world apart. I was also more than a little obsessed with Harry Potter. Mount Holyoke looks like Hogwarts. What else did I need?
In a few days, I will walk across the stage of Gettell Amphitheater to receive my degree. Soon after, I will navigate life as a young alumna in Amman, Jordan. To think that for an unspecified amount of time I won’t be at Mount Holyoke, with its shimmering lakes and whispering trees and majestic buildings, is daunting.
In choosing to come to Mount Holyoke, I was expecting to encounter incredible experiences. I don’t think I ever anticipated such life-changing ones.