Mount Mary students share their campus experiences

What’s it like to be a student at Mount Mary, and how are students adjusting to virtual classes? On Sunday evening, three current students joined in a webinar for a virtual chat with prospective students and their families.

Normally, these three campus ambassadors, Margaret Dishaw, Olivia Hickman and Nellie Suto, lead on-campus tours, but because classes are now being held online, they participated remotely from their homes. Olivia and Nellie phoned in from Washburn, Wisconsin and Enterprise, Oregon, respectively. Margaret, who is a resident assistant, participated from her dormitory on campus.


Here are some of their insights into campus life.

Why did you choose Mount Mary?

  • Margaret: I grew up in small community environment, and I like the kind of environment where everyone knows everyone.
    I knew Mount Mary was right for me because every time I was in Milwaukee after I’d taken the tour, I kept wanting to come back to campus. I felt like I belonged, and I knew I could succeed here.
  • Olivia: Mount Mary is a great university. Loved it from the moment I stepped on campus. They offered me an amazing financial scholarship. With that scholarship, I knew I could attend college.
  • Nellie: Mount Mary is one of the most friendliest communities of women I’ve ever met. And being a Caroline Scholar made college affordable, and that meant the world to me.

With all of your activities and work, how do you stay organized?

  • Margaret: I need to get everything organized at the beginning of the semester because once I set a schedule and make sure I have time for everything I’m OK.
  • Olivia: My planner is my life. As long as I can see it, I know I can get it done.
  • Nellie: It’s easy to manage your schedule as long as you are passionate about your clubs, jobs and classes. As long as you’re committed and decent with time management you will be able to succeed.

What’s it like attending an all-women’s school, and are there downsides?

  • Olivia: I love the classroom atmosphere because I am never afraid to speak my mind. One downside is that the men’s perspective is not always included.
  • Margaret: Everyone is so open, and so willing to support one another. We all lift each other up. It is funny sometimes, you’re so used to being in an all-women’s environment that when you do see a guy you wonder who they are.
  • Nellie: I was hesitant and I didn’t know what to expect, coming from a coed school. After a while you forget you’re in an all-women’s university.
    But you have a laughter moment when you see a guy on campus. It’s almost like seeing a unicorn!

What’s your favorite thing about Mount Mary?

  • Nellie: At Mount Mary you literally get to meet everybody. You will get to know everybody’s face on campus and that’s something I really like. You make so many friends with people who are both in your major and not in your major.
  • Margaret: You have personalized connections with the professors and everyone on campus. You can knock on doors and ask professors anything.
  • Olivia: I love our study abroad program, and I also love our library. I know that’s a weird thing to love, but the second floor is a quiet floor and has a great view of parkway. It’s calm, peaceful and I can go up there any time of day and automatically feel better.

How are your online classes going?

  • Nellie: In terms of my science class, it’s hard to replace a class that was entirely lab work. But my physics class is much the same as  it was in person. For my art class it was an easy shift online.
    I really appreciate how our professors have tried to adapt to the online format, it’s been way better than I was expecting. Honestly, it hasn’t been too big of a struggle to adjust. I’d like to thank our professors for making the transition so easy for us.
  • Olivia: I’m not an online person, so it’s been a challenge for me to adapt. But the professors have done a really good job.
    It’s been remarkable how they could move online and instill classroom atmosphere even if it’s online. Our group discussions still give us that back-and-forth with your classmates. I miss that.
  • Margaret: I’m also taking a lab class that has been difficult to do online. Everyone’s been doing a good job of being patient. We are getting through it together. I can’t think of a better way our university could have handled it than how we are handling it now.

Have you ever been homesick?

  • Olivia: Mount Mary is a community oriented campus so I’ve never felt lonely. Also, I’m very independent. Staying busy never gave me time to think about missing home.
  • Margaret: I only live an hour and a half away, and I haven’t been homesick before. I keep myself busy.
  • Nellie: This was my first time living 2,000 miles from home and in the beginning, I was a little homesick. But now I’m so busy I don’t have the time to think about being homesick. Mount Mary does a good job of building community.

What does your typical day look like on campus?

  • Olivia: I have two or three classes a day. Then I work in the admissions welcome center for a couple of hours. My nights are free, so I can get homework done or go do something fun with my friends.
  • Nellie: My average days are similar to Oliva’s, with two or three classes. Sometimes I have Friday labs. And sometimes I go off-campus to do my Caroline service hours.
    I’m not a morning person, so I never get up early to do homework. On Tuesdays I go get tacos with my friends, that’s kind of our tradition.
  • Margaret: I prefer to take afternoon or night classes when possible so I can work in the morning. I attend club meetings at noon.

What is the workload like for a science majors?

  • Nellie: My advice to any science major is to only take on what you feel comfortable taking on. I push myself and can take 18-20 credits per semester even though that is hard at times.
  • Margaret: It’s harder to catch up if you’ve fallen behind. But our professors make time for us, even with my busy schedule.

How do you get a work study job?

  • Margaret: There is a page on our website that shows current openings. But as soon as I did a tour at Mount Mary, I knew I wanted to work in the admissions office giving tours. I applied before entering Mount Mary.
  • Olivia: I had a friend in the Caroline program who was working in admissions, and so I applied before I started classes.

What do you do for fun on campus?

  • Olivia: Bingo takes the cake! There are games during the lunch hour with amazing prizes! I’m so ready for my retired life when all I have to do is play bingo all day.
  • Margaret: There are tons of organizations on campus. I was a band geek all through high school, so when I started school I wanted to continue to play my instrument. I made a mini band group with the assistance of my teacher at home and the music instructor here. I recommend that everyone get involved in at least one club on campus.
  • Nellie: I spend a lot of time with Tri Beta, the biological honor society. We meet once a week. I coordinate all the blood drives for the group.  And I make sure to attend any of the residence life events that Margaret hosts, like the Grey’s Anatomy watch parties.

Is it easy to meet new friends?

  • Olivia: It’s so easy to make friends. Sitting in class or eating breakfast, someone will come up to you and ask if they can sit with you. I’ve never had somebody be crabby or rude to me, and I like that.

Would you say this college is diverse?

  • Nellie: It’s awesome to be interacting with people from different backgrounds. Mount Mary is a safe haven for people to be themselves.

If you or someone you know is interested in possibly attending Mount Mary, we invite you to take the next step in the college search process. Go to to set up a virtual appointment with one of our admission counselors. We look forward to answering your admissions questions and sharing more about our academic programs and student life.


About the students:

Junior Margaret Dishaw is majoring in food science and holds three jobs on campus, as a resident assistant in the dorms; as a student ambassador and as a manager in the food science lab.

Olivia Hickman, who is majoring in International Studies and Spanish, is a Caroline Scholar and student ambassador. She spent the fall semester studying in Cusco, Peru.

Pre-med student and biology major Nellie Suto from Enterprise, Ore., is a Caroline Scholar and student ambassador. She plans to graduate in December 2020.