Two weeks ago, I fell behind in my classes. I had a major out-of-school deadline, so I made full use of my safety-net of extensions and excused absences. It was right before midterms, so I had to make up for the lost work *and* be evaluated within a week.
When I did get caught up, it was with the help of everyone around me. The people who helped me get back on track, academically, physically, and socially, might give you a sense of how collaborative and generous the students at Harvey Mudd College are, and how accessible and caring the professors are.
Two people in my grade helped me study for the biology midterm, sharing their notes with me and answering my questions. I had not had a full conversation with them before, but they also invited me over to their dorm to study together the night before the exam. In addition, a number of friends shared PDFs of readings, assignments, and notes with me, including for a class that I recently just switched to and did not have any of the material.
As I rushed to catch up, I missed meals from the Hoch, the dining hall at Harvey Mudd College. On one occasion, a friend bought me a salad, and on another, three people from my dorm offered me the food they stored in their dorm: granola bars, nuts, instant ramen. A friend called me over to a barbecue and made me a burger, and two other friends invited me to walk down to Pomona to attend a potluck dinner. One time, when I actually went to the Hoch for breakfast, I sat down alone because I was in a rush. By the time I got up, three people had sat down next to me.
My professors have been forgiving and patient. When their office hours conflicted with my classes, they let me visit their office at other times and ask questions on the material that I missed. One professor told me that he would always be around to talk, and another told me that I could come by anytime for tea.
I am so lucky to be surrounded by everyone here, and I am grateful for how kind everyone has been to me. If there is something I learned in my first year here, it is that there are no conditions that you must live by in order to be included in the circle of care of the community at Harvey Mudd College. Don’t worry about ‘cool’; don’t worry about ‘smart.’ We will still be here for you, wanting you to be happy and successful in whatever way you define it, in however way you get there.