BY CAITLIN LYNCH ’20
As per Mount Holyoke tradition, the class of 2021 rounded out their orientation experience with a night of excitement, skits, songs and haircuts known as “Orientation 101.” Members of the classes of 2020, 2019 and 2018 welcomed first-years with chants of “2021” and “YO-KE” as they filed into Chapin auditorium. First-year students said that it was special to finally see returning students after days of orientation. Katie Hunt ’21 said that their volume and enthusiasm were an unexpected surprise. “I don’t know what I was expecting,” said Hunt, “but that was very fun.”
First-years learned the College’s alma mater from Mount Holyoke’s Convocation Choir and then settled in to watch a series of skits about life at MHC, performed by returning Mount Holyoke students. Rachel Yousman ’19 played the role of a lost first-year, still learning the ins and outs of Mount Holyoke. One of Yousman’s guides to success was a personification of campus goose Jorge, brought to life by Lila Oren-Dahan ’20. Dahan, dressed in a white goose costume complete with an orange plastic cup beak, described the experience as “quacktastic.”
Other skits poked fun at overly enthusiastic orientation leaders, students working on senior theses, student athletes and the classic Five College stereotypes. Christy Stang ’19 took on the persona of a stereotypical Hampshire student, advocating for “underwater basket weaving club” at the involvement fair. “I loved being able to make people laugh,” said Stang.
Adding to the original tradition, this year’s Orientation 101 featured not one but two Mount Holyoke chops. First up, Gargi Mishra ’18 took the stage and received a haircut from Jenna Hill ’18 in front of a sea of cheering Mount Holyoke students.
“10 years from now I’ll be able to casually say ‘yeah, I got a haircut on stage, no big deal,’” said Mishra.
Izzy Baird ’20 promptly followed suit, losing a full ponytail of hair in the blink of an eye. “I decided on a moho chop over the summer, but it was so exciting to get to do it in front of a crowd,” said Baird. The haircuts came as a surprise to many first-year students.
“The moho chops were awesome,” said Abby Bridgers ’21, “I could almost feel them in my own hair.”
Members of the orientation team noted that this year’s O101 had a focus on welcoming the first years and leaving them feeling welcomed, rather than teased. Jokes were aimed more heavily at returning students than new ones, which was an intentional shift in mindset from years past.
“I felt so welcomed into the community,” said Juliet Greenwood ’21, “which is way different than high school where the freshmen are booed.” Sabina Morris ’21 and Annie Olecki ’21 agreed, saying that the experienced made them finally feel like real students at Mount Holyoke.
Orientation Fellows Heaven Hodge ’18 and Katie Dick ’19 commented on the efforts the orientation team put into the event, noting that O-101 is the most exciting part of orientation. “After all of our hard work during orientation, getting to see the looks on the first years’ faces during O-101 was very rewarding,” said Dick. Nabeeha Noor ’20 agreed. “A lot of energy was involved in making this night happen,” said Noor, “but it was worth every bit.”