Jacqueline McIntosh '20

Name: Jacqueline McIntosh

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Class Year: 2020

Major: Religion & Anthropology

Hometown: Tempe, Arizona


How are you finding your sophomore year at Mount Holyoke so far? Is it more enjoyable than your first year?

Sophomore year isn’t necessarily better or worse. It’s just different. There’s a lot more to consider, especially with regards to study abroad and choosing classes that suit your major(s). At the same time, I know the school well enough that I can start being more involved. I also know what kind of workload I can handle, so there’s less uncertainty than there was in the first year. I’m a little sad that college is flying by so quickly!


Are you planning on studying abroad at some point? If so, where? What makes you want to travel there?

I definitely want to study abroad, but I haven’t decided where. That’s on my to-do list for next semester! There’s a lot of places I would like to go: Ireland, France, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Greece. I just need to narrow my interests a little further.


What organizations are you a part of on campus? Do you have a favorite?

I’m a member of the Animal Welfare Association and I love it! As someone who did a lot of volunteering with animals in high school, it’s nice to continue to participate in such activities in college. It’s something that really matters to me, so I’m happy I don’t have to give it up! I also sing in Chorale. Choir was another high school activity I didn’t want to give up in college. Both these clubs have just enriched my semester so much!


Do you have any advice for First Years who are struggling to find an academic interest?

Mount Holyoke has a TON to offer. It’s totally fine to stick with an academic interest you had in high school, but try to branch out and take a class that’s out of your comfort zone. It might surprise you! For me, it was Medical Anthropology this semester with Lynn Morgan. It’s turned out to be one of my favorite classes so far!


Which dining hall do you eat at the most? Do you have a favorite meal?

I eat most of my meals in Blanch, just because I have very little time between classes during lunch. My favorite dining hall, though, is Wilder. I can’t think of a favorite meal off the top of my head though!


Do you have a favorite spot on campus?

Mount Holyoke is so beautiful that it’s hard to pick. I spend a lot of time in Skinner because of my major, and I think the building is gorgeous. In general, I would say anywhere with a window so I can look out on the campus. The adirondacks around Lower Lake are also nice spots when the weather is warmer.


What are your plans for November Break?

I’m staying at MHC for Thanksgiving. I’m hoping to get caught up on work and maybe work on one of the books I’m writing! I've been writing creatively since I was in about 6th grade. I started out writing my 'books' on legal pads that I had taken from my dad's office. I still have them today; they mean so much to me because it's how this whole thing started. Since then, it's become an enormous part of my life. Over the last five years, I've started writing a lot and getting more excited about it. I have one fully completed novel, so far; I started it in September 2011 and just finalized my last version August of this year. But if I'm honest with myself, I'll probably go back and change things again.

Hopefully by the end of  J-Term, I'll have two more completed ones. I would love to have them published some day. But I'm not going to rush the process. I have about twenty projects started (most of them just scraps of ideas I need to fully flesh out and about eight that are partially/almost done). Since I write for fun, once I have a novel fully/partially outlined, I always start with the scenes I think I'll have the most fun writing, so I tend to procrastinate the smaller scenes that give structure to the book. That's why I have so many that are unfinished as of right now. There are probably quite a few that I'll never write because I came up with the idea when I was 15 and it's not something I feel very connected with anymore. I mostly write fantasy or literary fiction.

I love the creative process of creating characters with their own strengths/weaknesses, hopes/fears, etc... it's really like creating a new person, who comes to you with this entire background that you've invented for them. Sometimes just a walk to class or a song I hear will inspire an entire scene or give me an idea for a new storyline. On a personal note, I find writing very restorative. If I'm having a bad day, sometimes it's nice to slip into a totally different world and just write.


Do you have a certain activity you do to relax? Would you recommend others try it as well?

Music! I think a good song can cure any bad mood and really help you relax. I also like the drop in yoga/zumba classes at the gym for those days when you have extra energy to burn. I would definitely recommend both of these activities. Since we spend all day talking and moving and thinking, it’s also nice to take some time to just do nothing. Watch some Netflix, eat some ice cream, and treat yourself to a relaxing night.


And finally, who in your life makes you the happiest?

My family (including my three dogs). I talk to my parents almost every day--more than I thought I would--and I chat with my younger sister about once a week! It’s nice to have a conversation with them, since I go months at a time without seeing them. Sometimes I FaceTime them just to see the dogs! Here at MHC, my friends Daphne and Honami make me the happiest! Every time we get together, it’s all laughs. We usually order take out and watch a movie. With all the stress of college, it’s important to decompress with laughter and good friends, and I couldn’t be more thankful to have them in my life!


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