Dear Mount Holyoke,
I have given you three years of my life, and here we are. I am less than two months away from saying goodbye forever and graduating. You are nearing 180 years old. We've been through a lot together and as I begin the journey as an alumna, I will meet woman you've ever inspired to speak her voice, to think critically, and to be an individual.
This week, politics tried to get the better of us, Mount Holyoke. It tried to break us down and defeat us. We've triumphed over greater threats before; we can triumph over this. When they came for us this past week, we fought back with twice the strength. When they tried to lower our ratings, we fought back. We started this weekend with a total of around 400 ratings. We are now up to 1.9K ratings with 1.6K being 5 star ratings from students, alumnae, and parents. The other 236 ratings in the 1 star category were written because people, with no affiliation to Mount Holyoke, decided to bash us with comments like we should all be deported, we are all Marxist liberals, we have been indoctrinated in the liberal bootcamp, and we have been brainwashed because of our stupid, simple minds.
As First Lady Michelle Obama said, "When they go low, we go high." Mount Holyoke, your students, alumnae, and parents came to your defense. We engaged in conversations, we spoke with rationality and confidence. We treated them with the confidence that we wanted, but were not given. We wrote and wrote and wrote because here at Mount Holyoke, we are taught that our voices matter, have purpose, and can change the world. Every debate in the classroom, every intellectual discussion in Blanchard or the common rooms or the library have been preparing us for this moment. We never asked for this moment, but when it came, we were ready. The troops had been rallied and we fought back.
I write this because there are people who now believe Mount Holyoke does not foster intelligence, free-thinking, and individuality. Below is what Mount Holyoke has given me over the past few years leading up to graduation in December.
Mount Holyoke has given me a group of friends that are not just friends for a couple of years. These students and alumnae form bonds that last a lifetime.
I came into Mount Holyoke as an overly ambitious first-year who wanted the world. As a senior, I've been given the world and I am now fighting for it to continue to grow. I went from being a slam poet for three months to a National Poetry Slam team member, the president of Conscious Poets Society, and a three-time published author.
I adore my professors more than I can even begin to fully explain. They inspire, encourage, and push students to do better, give more, work hard. As a politics and English double major, I have been blessed to have so many incredible professors and to work with so many more through students who come to the SAW Center.
As mentioned above, I am now president of the Conscious Poets Society. As a first-year, I looked at the founders as this unattainable perfection (they are all still pretty perfect), and now I am running their organization. As I write this, I am on a trip with the Outing Club at the Bookmill in Montague, MA listening to oldies music and watching the waterfall outside. I am so blessed to be part of organizations that are so magical.
We have roughly a 25% international student population in my graduating class. We have a mix of political affiliations. We have a high number of women of color. We have non-traditional age students. We have a wonderful trans and nonbinary population. We have Five College students who take classes at Mount Holyoke. We have professors from around the globe with varying political views and varying pedagogies. I am having the distinct honor of reading poetry alongside one of my favorite professors and mentors in two weeks.
6. Study Abroad
While this was not Mount Holyoke, specifically, the ability to study abroad was life changing. To live in England for three months and make friends for a lifetime was one of the greatest semesters of my life.
Since I've been at Mount Holyoke, I've worked for two summers and a winter at a law firm back home in Texas, a semester at the Northampton Courthouse, and I spent last summer at Harvard's Graduate School of Education in the Leadership Lab Initiative.
I am going to go ahead and make a guess that most colleges do not allow their students to do the kind of research students at Mount Holyoke are allowed to do. Right now, I am finishing up my English thesis on the voice of the American female poet by writing pastiche poems in the styles of six female poets who went to women's colleges from Dickinson (a Mount Holyoke alumna) to Rebecca Morgan Frank. Additionally, I have independent studies in German and Politics where I am researching right-wing extremist movements in relation to migration in Germany and France.
When everything went down this past week about Mount Holyoke being a terrible institution, current students were far from the only ones fighting and defending their school. Alums are there for us at every corner. They provide M&C's for us and so much more! I have had the opportunity over the past week to engage with even more alumnae through this bashing of Mount Holyoke. When the world tries to tear us down and break us apart, we respond in solidarity and we only get stronger.
10. Uncommon Women
That's who we are. Regardless of our perceived agendas, political beliefs, future career choices, hobbies, etc., we are uncommon, above all. We enact change. We fight against injustices. We are stronger together. And we make the world greater just by being students at one of the greatest women's colleges in the world.
Thank you Mount Holyoke. I love you for all you've given me. I chose a school that chose me back and continues to choose me every single day. There is nothing more powerful for young adults than waking up every morning with a passion and a desire to learn and through learning, change the world. Mount Holyoke Forever Shall Be!
A Future Alumna and Current Senior
Class of 2017