A liberal arts education intrigued me from day one
“Mount Holyoke has given me the skills to channel my fears of the unknown and turn them into opportunities to fuel my curiosities.”
As an international student from Seoul, South Korea, I initially started my college search in the U.S. because of the accessibility to the liberal arts. I wanted to learn in a dialogue-based classroom environment and pursue a four-year journey that would allow me to explore what I wanted to do before going straight into a declared major.
I also placed high importance on an interdisciplinary education, which quickly led me to look into the Seven Sisters and, in turn, Mount Holyoke.
Mount Holyoke made me feel welcome from the moment I began the decision process. After my initial interest, the admissions office quickly connected me with a current student, which greatly benefited me as an international student doing the entire process abroad. The student was incredibly helpful in answering my questions, from academics to student life to extracurriculars.
As a student considering attending a college thousands of miles from home, I found that type of immediate support system made a big difference in my decision to attend. I knew I could find great academic opportunities at many of the schools I was looking into, but it was the community at Mount Holyoke that ultimately pushed it to the top.
Although, if I’m honest, the campus’s aesthetic is great too. Seeing the library and campus shots on Instagram did something for me.
Mount Holyoke is beautiful!
Finding my Springie Community
When I arrived on campus, it was not long before my decision was affirmed. I entered my first dorm room to find a personalized letter written by a member of the International Student Organizing Committee, a student who would eventually become one of my closest friends. My parents and I were both relieved to find an intentional community of people, specifically international students, who were there to look out for each other.
Finding this group of people, a smaller and more intentional community, really allowed me to thrive at Mount Holyoke.
I also benefited from being a spring admit or a “springie.” The smaller orientation groups allowed me to connect with people more closely. Starting six months later than many of my peers could have been viewed as a disadvantage, but it drove me to engage with people and be more intentional about finding my community.
It proved to be a foundational experience for me because just a few months after I began my Mount Holyoke journey, we were sent home due to the global pandemic. The relationships I fostered early on carried me through the time we were apart, and they continued to be the friendships I leaned upon when we returned to campus.
We always say that springies stick together, and we do. When we arrived back on campus, members of the class of 2021, who were springies themselves, took us under their wing. They gave us resources that addressed what it meant to start in the spring and how we could successfully navigate everything that Mount Holyoke has to offer, from class registration to finding your place.
That camaraderie has a trickle-down effect because every spring semester, we seek out the newly admitted students and give them the same welcome to the community.
Finding this group of people, a smaller and more intentional community, really allowed me to thrive at Mount Holyoke. Their wisdom and guidance confirmed that I was where I needed to be.
Getting the Full MHC Experience
Mount Holyoke’s interdisciplinary strengths were magnified in many of my lab settings. I remember one meeting in a neurodegeneration lab when I looked around the room, noticing the collection of people across all kinds of different identities and science disciplines. We were reflecting on the commonality of our interest in the disease-related topic and the research results we could achieve together. That common interest reinforced my belonging to this community all over again.
Looking back at my four years, I can see I have learned so much from my time at Mount Holyoke. It has given me the skills to channel my fears of the unknown and turn them into opportunities to fuel my curiosities. The shared belief in me from both faculty and peers has given me the confidence to pursue my passions and move onto the next step of the journey.