Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Five Weird Things People Say To Me When I Tell Them I Go To A HWC

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Mt Holyoke chapter.

When I was on the hunt for a college to go to, I’ll admit that attending a historically women’s college was not on my list of priorities. When I found Mount Holyoke, it had everything that I was looking for in a school, but I was initially hesitant about the fact that it wasn’t co-ed. I was worried about missing out on the “traditional” college experience. Once I moved out to South Hadley and dug into college life, I realized that my experience was going to be just as good (and very similar to) the experiences of my friends at co-ed schools. 

Despite the long-established existence of women’s colleges, people find them to be old-fashioned. I am also from the West Coast, which barely has any HWCs, so that might explain some of the strange looks I get when I tell people I willingly go to one.

“So, is it like one big sorority?”

Believe it or not, all 2,100 of us don’t live in one big house! There are 18 dorms on my campus, just like any other smaller school. However, since Mount Holyoke is a smaller school, there is an “everyone knows everyone” sort of dynamic, but this is something that’s just a product of going to a smaller school and has nothing to do with the fact that it’s an HWC. 

“Do they bus in boys for dances?”

It’s 2024, people. Lesbians exist. However, despite the many people who attend HWCs who are members of the LGBTQ+ community, there are straight people on campus who might find it difficult to seek out dating experiences. Many people meet guys through online dating apps, study abroad programs, or have a long-distance partner at home. It’s also not the end of the world to miss out on a few years of dating opportunities. Fun fact: Going to dances with a group of friends is just as fun as going with a date!

“You’re aware that it’s not like the real world, right?”

When people hear about HWCs, they often express anxiety about how it’s not going to prepare all of us for the “real” world. I would argue that college is an inherently real part of society, as well as it only being a meager four years out of our lives (there are not many historically women’s graduate schools). People seem to think that we exist in a feminist utopia, where everyone agrees with everyone else’s politics, and that we’re going to be in for a rude awakening post-graduation. While there is a general left-leaning culture on campus, students understand and acknowledge that this luxury of having people around them who agree with their politics won’t last forever. Many come from more conservative-leaning towns or families and have a perfectly good understanding of what the “real world” is like.

“You all must hate men”

Many people are also surprised to hear that we have male professors, students, dining workers, and other staff members, all of whom the students love and respect. People think that HWCs have a militant “no men on campus” mentality, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

“I could never go to an HWC. Girls are too much drama!”

An interesting fact about this particular comment is that I most often get it from women! Internalized misogyny, much? Besides the fact that not all of us at Mount Holyoke are girls, this remark reflects our dominant gendered assumptions that women are too dramatic to maintain healthy friendships. I’ve witnessed the most loving, thoughtful groups of friends supporting each other on my campus. If you think that women are too dramatic to have healthy relationships, get better friends!

Eva Hanson

Mt Holyoke '26

Eva is a sophomore at Mount Holyoke College, double-majoring in English and Sociology with a Nexus in Journalism, Media, and Public Discourse. She grew up in Seattle, Washington and now lives in Massachusetts for most of the year. She mostly writes about music, books, TV shows, and feminism. You can often find her curled up with a book (and maybe a cat, too!)