When I First Toured Mount Holyoke vs Now

As admissions decisions for the Class of 2023 roll in, I can’t help but look back at my Mount Holyoke acceptance just one year ago. Right now, I sit in the comforts of MoHome, loving college life, but back then, the idea of college still seemed so distant and far away. As a confused admitted student with multiple college acceptances and one decision to make, I toured Mount Holyoke to help me enforce my decision. The tour was what did it. As I scuttled along behind my tour guide, I craned my neck around, looking at the looming buildings and classrooms, and I could imagine myself studying here, one among nature, and one among inclusivity and diversity. So, here I am, almost a year in, to compare my initial perception of Mount Holyoke with my experience of it now.

 

Residence Halls

As the tour guide showed me the beautiful common room in Mead Hall, with its ornate furniture, grand piano and fireplace, it reminded me that I would be sharing this common space with people I did not know. The tour guide let me sneak a peek into a room, and I was flooded with nervousness at the idea of living on my own, far away from home, and having to be independent. Now I lounge in that very common room, playing board games with my friends. I admire the view of the Upper Lake through the pristine bay windows, and listen to my talented friend playing jazz on the piano (and my less skilled friend clumsily tapping out “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”). I rest against the purple cushions as I read my book. As for being independent, my roommate and I learnt how to do our own laundry together, learnt how to schedule classes together, and learnt how to live independently together. My friends from my floor, which is also an LLC (Living Learning Community), frequently hang out in my room, and now it does not feel lonely and intimidating at all.

 

Classes

When I first toured and peered into large lecture halls and round table discussion rooms, I was sure that I would never have the courage to speak up in class. However, a semester in, I realise that professors treat us as equals, love students coming to their office hours, and encourage us to take agency of our courses. Also, most classes at Mount Holyoke are small, which makes discussions much easier. The biggest myth out there is that college classes are intimidating and that professors are scary. At MHC, this is far from the truth.

 

LITS (Library, Information, and Technology Services)

The Williston library is a beautiful building with underground stacks and archives. While touring, I fell in love with this place immediately. As someone who loves books, LITS felt like book nerd heaven. However, I was confused by the different levels and floors stacked with study spaces, shelves, and desks. As the tour guide explained the amount of services offered by LITS (help with technology, research, Five College resources, citations and bibliographies), I thought that I would never learn to use all the resources the college had to offer. However, just a semester in, I navigate the winding corridors of LITS like a pro, and head to a favourite sunroom to make myself home. I now know how to use the research guides, and am not afraid to ask the amazing LITS staff for help on books, research, or help with citations.

 

All in all, while Mount Holyoke seemed beautiful and foreign when I first toured, it is now beautiful and my home. To all admitted and prospective students out there: I assure you that you will find your own here, and will bloom like the flowers at the Flower Show at the Talcott Greenhouse.

Picture of me at the Flower Show at the Greenhouse. Picture credits: Hanalei Steinhart, '22.

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