Monday, August 4, 2014

A Love Letter to a Women's College

A Love Letter for Mount Holyoke.

Written by Elizabeth McManus and posted to her blog on May 15, 2014.

"It began with a trip visiting my aunties in some place called Amherst, Massachusetts, and my father speaking sternly to me over the formica kitchen counter.

“While we’re up North visiting them,” he said, “I want you to look at Mount Holyoke College.”

“Mount Holyoke? What is that?”

“It’s a women’s college,” my father replied. I think he even braced himself for my reply.

“A women’s college?” I spat. “Over my dead body!”

Famous last words.

A week later I stood ankle-deep in Massachusetts rain looking out at a campus that I had arrived at, determined to dislike. And yet, something about that iron-wrought gate, something about the clock tower lit even in the downpour, something about it began to change my mind. I’m not sure what sealed the deal for me: if it was the cultural, racial, and religious diversity I saw in the student body, or the kindness with which people helped my father and I navigate what then felt like the impossibility of ordering food in Blanchard, or the lecture I attended entitled “Harry Potter and the Power of Critical Social Thought.”

All I knew was that when I called my mother that night, I had to convince her that no, I really wasn’t kidding when I said Mount Holyoke was now my first choice school.

Every one of us who chose this school has our own story of why we chose this quirky, Hogwartsian oasis nestled in the Pioneer Valley. We came, some of us from just down the road and others, like myself, from thousands of miles away. We all came with suitcases full of wonder and trepidation. We brought with us the multitude of stories that were our childhoods."

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