The best things about Mount Holyoke?
Here’s a comprehensive list:
Just kidding! Only not really. When I applied to Mount Holyoke in the fall of 2010, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
To quote Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday, “I shall cherish my visit here in memory for as long as I live.”
25 of the Best Things about Mount Holyoke:
The Laurel Fellowship program is the reason that I got to study abroad! I can never thank Mount Holyoke enough for giving my the opportunity to study classics in Rome. Basically, if you receive financial aid from Mount Holyoke, the school will also give you assistance to fund a study abroad program.
It’s like Moho buys you a gift card to another store, but I couldn’t be more thankful for the program! It’s one of the best things about Mount Holyoke and reasons I chose to attend in the first place.
One day between convocation and the start of fall break, the Mount Holyoke President wakes up and declares Mountain Day! All on campus classes and commitments before 5:00PM are canceled and students can either sleep in, or make the trek to nearby Skinner Mountain to climb to the top for free ice cream and hats.
5 College Consortium.
I never took a class off campus because I’m a firm believer in keeping your nap to class travel ratio firmly under seven minutes, but many of my friends took advantage of Mount Holyoke’s partnership with nearby Smith College, Hampshire College, Amherst College, and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Moho’s can not only take classes at these other schools, but also participate in extracurricular activities.
You’re a wee firstie at Mount Holyoke. You wake up, open your door to the bathroom, only to be trapped in your room by a sheet a wrapping paper covering your doorway. You break through it, only to find the hallway in front of your room to be filled with candy, perfumes, magazines, and more!
That’s Elfing. A sophomore student goes out of their way to be a “secret sibling” to a first year for a week, then they link up and become besties at the end of it.
The Awesome Alum Community
Did you know that Mount Holyoke affected your life moments after you were born? It’s like all of us were destined to go here. That’s because Doctor Virginia Apgar (MHC class of 1929 represent) designed the widely-used Apgar score to determine the health of a newborn baby.
Can you credit Cinderella from The Cheetah Girls with your elementary school feminist awakening? Then shout out to Debra Martin Chase, MHC Class of 1977.
Are you looking forward to collecting you well-earned Social Security? Pour one out for Frances Perkins, the woman behind the New Deal.
The Frances Perkins Program.
From the Mount Holyoke Website (citation cause MHC made sure I knew that PLAGIARISM AIN’T NO JOKE):
The Frances Perkins Program is open to and designed for women 25 years and older who have experienced an interruption in their education, but who now seek the intellectual challenge of completing their 4-year degree at a top liberal arts institution. Veterans, active military, and women who are under 25 with dependents are also eligible to apply.
Known affectionately on campus as “FPs,” these students were always great to be in class with because of their unique perspectives on academics and life in general.
Dressing up for Convocation.
I missed my first convocation because I was a spring admit, but the next year I went as Pikachu, then as a bottle of mustard for my junior and senior years…although my senior year I went as a bottle of mustard in a cap and gown, thank you very much.
When you matriculate at Mount Holyoke, you are assigned a class color and mascot based on your year of graduation. I was lucky enough to be a golden sphinx.
You could also be a red pegasus, blue lion, green griffon, or purple phoenix if you are a FP student. But honestly, red, green, purple, or blue, it would sphinx to be you.
Students can apply for Lynk Funding to finance an unpaid summer internship.
School breaks were all about earning money for school, not planning my career and gaining value experience in my field. I never thought I would never be able to live the intern life, until Mount Holyoke stepped in. Because of the Lynk, I was actually able to intern for a travel company and learn the ropes of digital marketing, search engine optimization, and destination-based content curation.
I would quite literally have NO career if it weren’t for the head start I got from the Lynk.
One of the best things about Mount Holyoke is the food. I recently went back to campus to sample the food from “Superblanch” and let me tell y’all, it did not disappoint. The only thing I’m bitter about is now students have unlimited access to food, when countless times during my undergraduate career I ate dinner at 6:00PM, was starving by 11:00PM, yet was totally out of Dining Dollars.
This isn’t a problem any future Mount Holyoke students will ever have to face.
The Yellow Flashing Lights.
…have been activated. Cars may not stop.
The anthem of any Mount Holyoke student trying to get anywhere. I heard the pedestrian warning system on 116 so many times that I sometimes hear it in my sleep…thousands of miles away in Texas.
During my 1st semester at Mount Holyoke, I dyed my brown hair red on a Friday night. On Monday, all three of the professors I had that day greeted me by name and mentioned that they liked my new hairstyle.
When people ask me how much MHC professors care about you, this is the best example I can give. My own father doesn’t even notice when I change my hair.
The Leaves in the Fall.
I’m from Houston where our four seasons are summer, hotter summer, even hotter summer, and did you really think it was ever going to get cold summer?
So when moving to New England, experiencing the the fall foliage was mind boggling and one of the best things about Mount Holyoke. I honestly didn’t think trees could even change color so profoundly. Thought it was just movie magic.
The Student Orgs.
I participated in MHC Project Theatre each semester I was on campus. It’s how I made the majority of my friends. Being in a theater group at a historically women’s college also has its perks. For example, I got to play Oscar in The Odd Couple and juror six in 12 Angry Men.
There’s a stable full of them. If you don’t want to pay extra to take a riding class, you can still go up to the barn and say hello and give pats with owner permission, etc. etc.
Since no one in Texas knows about Moho, my number one joke is that Mount Holyoke lures prospective students onto campus with promises of proximity to Boston and NYC, but instead just drops them off somewhere in a forrest in Western Mass. And while that’s partly true, coming from Texas, Mount Holyoke’s campus is a lot closer to cool stuff than I’d ever been before.
I went to NYC every.single.semester. as there’s a bus stop in front of the school that runs directly to Port Authority. I went to Boston multiple times. I went to Philadelphia for Fall Break. If you’d like to see the East Coast, Mount Holyoke is a perfect base.
No Study Zone.
On the last day of classes during the fall semester, Chapin Auditorium turns into a no study zone! There’s usually a bounce house or two, a Zumba class, snacks like popcorn and snow cones, and even an arts and crafts station (a great place to make gifts for the upcoming holidays on a college student’s budget). One year, the organizers even turned the elevator into a “Primal Scream” zone. You go just go inside and scream really loud. It was great.
Hogwarts called, it wants its library back!
One of the best things about Mount Holyoke is the magnificent study space. Many times, while I was supposed to be working on a paper, I would simply lie back and stare at the ceiling, dumbstruck that I was lucky enough to go to a school as pretty as this.
I took a class on World Politics where I heard the word “hegemon” so many times I thought my brain would explode. I took a creative writing class. A class dedicated solely to the works of Alfred Hitchcock. A mediaeval literature class that comes in handy nearly every single time I watch Jeopardy. I studied Latin and Italian, so I’m concurrently fluent in neither and both.
My first year seminar was on Sherlock Holmes and detective fiction. About two weeks into classes, on a dreary, snowy Monday, my professor ordered us pizzas and let us watch BBC’s Sherlock in lieu of a discussion.
“So this is college,” I thought. “I can get used to this.”
Off Campus Work Study.
Mount Holyoke’s work study program offered me the opportunity to intern at nearby Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke. I learned about non-profit work, museum curation, arts education, and more!
The school provided transportation to and from my job each week, and the other students who rode with me worked at local high schools and homework help organizations. We were all able to really put down roots in the community. It’s one of the best things about Mount Holyoke.
One of the best things about Mount Holyoke was the people who worked on campus. The staff was constantly going out of their way to be kind. The man who drove the work study van, John, was a WWII Navy veteran with many stories to tell. He kept the car fun and on our toes.
I was always dropped off 1st on the route and one day, he mentioned his favorite pastry, a bear claw. I said I’d never had one.
The next week, he didn’t drop me off 1st. As we went from drop off to drop off, I began to wonder if he had forgotten I was in the car. Then, as we pulled up to the museum, he reached into his briefcase and pulled out a bear claw.
“I bought you one! It’s a shame you’ve never had one before. I dropped you off last because I wanted you to be able to eat the entire thing.”
The bear claw was delicious and I’ll never forget John’s thoughtfulness that day.
I love and miss this noisy, vicious little beast. Whether or not he’s the original Jorge, or even if he’s a he is still up for debate, but that doesn’t take away from campus’ resident goose being one of the best things about Mount Holyoke.
Truly, one of the very best things about Mount Holyoke is the people who study there. People who challenged me academically, spiritually, and morally. People who supported me and encouraged my growth in the exact same ways.
Friends who let me cry on their floor when my childhood dog died, when I did poorly on an assignment, or when I was just plain tired. Friends introduced me to weird Italian cinema, challenged my worldview with kindness, and called me every year on my summer birthday. Friends who flew across countries to see me. Friends who really, truly, deeply, love me.
The Art Museum.
I love the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum! The collection is top notch and lovingly curated by a team of committed experts who not only make art accessible, but also fun.
I spend hours in the museum during my years as an undergraduate, as an excited visitor, student guide, and guest lecturer. Make sure to stop in when you’re on campus.
The Pumpkin Face in the Clock Tower during October.
The spooky face is one of the best things about Mount Holyoke just because it’s so cheeky. I didn’t even notice it until I was a junior. I was walking into the library one night and there he was…just chilling like “what’s up?”
I’ve never felt more like a princess than when I lived in Mead Dormitory my senior year. The high ceilings. The Downton Abby staircase in the front foyer. While there are some definite dudes *coughcoughProspectcoughcough** in general, the living situation at Mount Holyoke is leaps above other school’s.