Mount Holyoke College student tells all: Schreiber alumni Helena Littman describes her college experience

Saige Gitlin, Staff Writer

Saige Gitlin: How did you hear about Mount Holyoke?

Helena Littman: I first heard about Mount Holyoke after I got their junior book award from the Schreiber English department. The book was Half The Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, which talks about the oppressive conditions women face around the world. It’s an incredible read! After that, I started researching the college a little bit and was able to visit when I was in the area a few months later.

SG: What is unique about the college campus?

HL: Mount Holyoke was founded in 1837, and many of the buildings have that old feeling, with nice brick walls and fireplaces. We also have two lakes and lots of trails around campus, which is super nice.

SG: What do you like most about the student life?

HL: Mount Holyoke is a historically all-woman college, and was actually one of the first schools for women’s education. While most Mount Holyoke students do identify as women, many also identify as non-binary or transgender. In addition, Mount Holyoke has an incredibly diverse student body, with people from all different countries, ethnicity, races, and sexual orientations. The particular mix of students makes for a really powerful student body that seeks to elevate each other, fight for justice, and make the world a better place. I love being surrounded by interesting and empowering people every day!

SG: What are the school activities offered that you take part in?

HL: I am a member of Mount Holyoke’s Students for Zero Waste, which is an organization that aims to reduce the waste on campus and to make our school more sustainable. I am also a writer for Mount Holyoke’s chapter of HerCampus, which is an online magazine for college women. Lots of colleges have them, and they’re a great resource for getting a feel for the campus culture.

SG: What is unique about the opportunities at Mount Holyoke?

HL: Mount Holyoke is in a consortium with four other schools in the area (Amherst College, UMass Amherst, Smith College, and Hampshire College) which means that we can take classes offered at any of the other colleges, which affords students in the consortium a lot of opportunities. This is great because while on campus, you get the tight knit community of a liberal arts school, while still having the resources of a much bigger school.

SG: What is your most memorable experience so far?

HL: Mount Holyoke has a ton of really fun traditions. One of my favorites was Mountain Day, which is when classes are spontaneously canceled and everybody hikes up a nearby mountain.

SG: What type of student would you recommend for this school?

HL: Mount Holyoke is for people who want to leave a lasting impact on the world. The students are incredibly driven and passionate about a variety of things, and are interested in learning about other’s perspectives in order to broaden their world views. The campus is very liberal and very political as well, which students looking at Mount Holyoke should take into account.

SG: What experiences have best prepared you for college?

HL: Developing a good work ethic and organization skills in high school was the best thing I did to prepare myself. College comes with a lot of responsibility, and staying on top of your courses is incredibly important.

SG: What is your favorite thing about college classes in comparison to high school classes?

HL: Classes are a lot more discussion based, and professors encourage students to think critically about topics in a variety of contexts. Professors are always pushing us to analyze our beliefs and approach topics from new perspectives. The classes are definitely a lot of work, but are also super interesting.

SG: Do you feel that the workload is more or less manageable?

HL: Classes are definitely a lot of work, and there’s a lot of homework and reading that we’re expected to do. That being said, usually the classes are very interesting so there’s a real motivation to work hard and succeed. I think as long as you don’t take on too much, the workload is definitely manageable. But it is a hard working and motivated student body!