Squash player Ky Core '24 dives into ProjectConnect at Mount Holyoke

Squash player Ky Core '24 was quick to volunteer with ProjectConnect when it was launched a year ago by Mount Holyoke Counseling Services.
Squash player Ky Core '24 was quick to volunteer with ProjectConnect when it was launched a year ago by Mount Holyoke Counseling Services.

As a member of the Mount Holyoke College squash team, Ky Core '24 has seen injuries get in the way of competing at the intercollegiate level. But they've done nothing to keep Core from diving into other aspects of student life.

An English major from Philadelphia with a minor in biology, Core works as a resident advisor at Mount Holyoke. They have a passion for public health and community relations, and ambitions of becoming a gynecologist working in low income communities. So when Mount Holyoke Counseling Services initiated ProjectConnect to address students' loneliness a year ago, it quickly became a commitment for Core to be passionate about.

Ky's dedication to ProjectConnect stems from her personal experience during the pandemic. During her first two years at MHC, students weren't allowed to interact with anyone outside of their "star cluster," a method used to limit the spread of COVID. Core sensed isolation and depression among fellow students. "When my junior year came around, things were different, but people were having a hard time connecting with each other," she said. "A lot of people were just making convenient friendships because they didn't know how to make true friends due to isolation."

Once ProjectConnect kicked off, Ky did not hesitate to volunteer. "Mental health wellness is so important to me and I believe it starts with the community. We all know the saying 'A sound soul dwells within a sound mind and a sound body,' but I believe it goes a lot deeper than that. A sound community is a sound soul which is a sound mind and sound body. And I have seen this in action with our students."

Ky was asked how ProjectConnect impacts her and the road to her career.

"I can't stress enough that community is important," they said. "I grew up in Philly and I would love to work in communities like that. But I first need to learn how to deal with difficult conversations, issues of loneliness, depression and isolation. More importantly, I need to understand how to turn a 'good morning' into a meaningful conversation. ProjectConnect has given me ample opportunities to expand on these skills."

Core highly recommends ProjectConnect to all students at Mount Holyoke. "ProjectConnect can be such a great life changing experience for everyone. I also think it's important for people to know we are here for all different class years. If you experience just a minute level of loneliness, sign up. What's the harm in signing up?"