Young Alums Recreate Community After Commencement
When commencement is over and the next phase of your life begins, it’s natural to long for the close support system many enjoyed as Mount Holyoke students. While no one is going to provide you with nightly M&Cs and friends to enjoy them with, young alums have lots of advice for other ways to recreate your community, MHC style.
- Since graduating, I’ve found that there is only one way to make a beginning, and that is to begin. I left South Hadley with the same enthusiasm I arrived with. This eagerness, I believe, is the hallmark of all Mount Holyoke students. When you graduate, the most important thing is to keep feeling eager, and to put to use all the wonderful qualities that MHC installs on top. If you make good use of the character you acquired during your time on campus—patience, humility, boldness, curiosity, confidence—if you begin with these, you will have no trouble plugging in.—Emily Wagner ’08
- Be really intentional about meeting new people, just like when you first came to Mount Holyoke and had to put yourself in really uncomfortable positions. It’s easy to forget how scary those first few weeks of college were. You’ve got to do that all over again. It’s really hard, but it’ll pay off.—Elise Hale-Case ’09
- When you’re young and you’re just out of college there’s a temptation to just run off and do whatever you want. You’re kind of frantic figuring out your life. It’s important to take a step back and ask yourself, What do I value? What are the few things that I will really need to keep myself grounded as I go through all of these changes? And then try to find like-minded people and build something around that.—Margaret Massey ’08
- When you arrive on campus as an eighteen-year-old, the college does a lot to help you get adjusted. In a lot of ways, colleges in America hand you a social life: “Go to orientation.” “Here’s a roommate.” “Here are strategies for making friends.” “Here are clubs.” But you suddenly graduate, and if you leave your college town—which, in South Hadley, you pretty much have to—you could end up without any of those networks. So you’ve got to really appreciate that you’ve been given a lot of help to start with in your first step outside your parents’ house, and now you have to take what you were encouraged to do at Mount Holyoke into the world and figure out how to do it for yourself.—Daina Agee ’07
- Go the Alumnae Association Website and update your profile. Read the Quarterly; it has those little bios of people that say where they’re from and what they’re doing. If you walk into the Alumnae Association office [or email email@example.com], you can get a list of alums who live in different cities and places. Twitter and Facebook nowadays are just full of Mount Holyoke clubs. Look around, do your research, and shoot an email to the coordinators of these clubs and say, “Hey, I’m new in the city. Can you sign me up for your events? Can you put me in touch with other alums? Can you help me out?” All you need to do is find one person, and then it will just snowball into a big thing.—Priyanjali Ghosh ’09
- I am part of the Boston alumnae club. They’ve been really great. They’re really organized, and they organize great events. I used it when I was applying for jobs, and they’re fantastic. I had one alum who is an attorney—at the time I was very interested in legal—who helped me with my résumé and gave me job recommendations. A lot of the women who are established and older and have careers in Boston are so willing to assist those of us who are young if we’re interested in their field. I’ve never had problems finding an alum to talk to, or from whom to get some help or advice.—Elizabeth Bernal ’11
- Whenever I move to a new city, I always look up old friends to connect with, and more often than not, those friends are from Mount Holyoke. Even if we weren’t particularly close at school, or even if we didn’t attend MHC at the same time, I’ve always been able to find amazing people to connect with. In Vancouver I organized an MHC dinner, and it was really fun to connect with a variety of people from all graduating years.—Amanda Leinberger ’07
Add Your Wisdom
How did you rebuild community after your MHC commencement? Share what you’ve lived and learned in the comments section below.
July 9, 2012