Seizing the Spring Semester!

Hello everyone! After a wonderful and restful winter break, I am thrilled to be back at Holy Cross for the new semester! Even though it’s only been a few weeks, it has been such a joy to reunite with my friends and spend time together. Aside from the family dinners and movie nights, one highlight has been watching both the men’s and women’s basketball teams play (and win!) against Boston University in an electric and high-energy double header (complete with plenty of Purple Pride and an appearance from the now-viral swim team). In addition, last night, we watched the Holy Cross Department of Theatre and Dance production of Oklahoma! , which was absolutely spectacular. If you have the chance, I highly recommend you come see it at the Prior Performing Arts Center on campus – it runs through this weekend as well as the next. And of course, it isn’t winter at Holy Cross without an SGA-sponsored trip to the Worcester Common Oval for some ice skating (you may remember we did something similar last year, and it was just as fun!) and late night sledding down Freshman Field.

In terms of academics, I am pleased to report that my classes are all going well! Although Holy Cross does offer the option for students to add and/or drop a class with no mark on their transcript for the first week of the semester, I personally found no need for it. This semester, I am taking a French class for the first time since high school (to fulfill one of Holy Cross’ language requirements), and I’ve really enjoyed immersing myself with the language again and having the ability to improve my fluency at the collegiate level. 

However, a new schedule of classes means that a new period of adjustment must naturally take place. These past few weeks have been essential in my establishment of a new routine for the semester (i.e. finding convenient places to study and coordinating meal times with friends) while also keeping up with my extracurricular involvements from last semester. For example, the Holy Cross Dance Ensemble has been working tirelessly to ensure that our dances are as clean as they can be for our benefit performance next Friday. For this performance, the musical theatre class and I are dancing to two songs – “Dancing Through Life” and “Seize the Day” – and it has been a challenging yet worthwhile endeavor that is sure to shine onstage.

Finally, this semester has also welcomed back my weekly tours on campus, which have been such a great way of engaging with not only prospective students and their families, but with the campus as well. In addition to tours, prospective students can also demonstrate their interest in Holy Cross by attending online webinars that offer tips to help with the college process. On February 20th at 7pm EST, a friend of mine and I will be panelists at the webinar discussing “5 Tips to Finding the Right School” if you’re interested in attending!

Thank you as always for reading!

 

 

Best Season, Worst Goodbyes

Hello everyone!! It’s wild to me how we are nearing the end of the end of the semester and this will be my last post until the New Year. This semester has absolutely flown by and although finals week was a tough hill to climb, we have successfully made it to the other side! The fact that I’m finished with another semester at Holy Cross is bittersweet: while I am thankful to have the time to relax at home with family and enjoy the holiday season, I will be missing my friends and the community at Holy Cross tremendously. I’ve mentioned before how study abroad has been quite the buzz on campus as of late, and it really puts into perspective how little time we really have at Holy Cross. While this is a troubling and even frightening realization for sure, I’ve been doing my best not to worry about it too much and instead embrace each moment as is. Besides, at the end of the day, I have so much to be thankful for right in front of me, and I honestly can’t end my third semester at Holy Cross feeling anything but grateful.

Without a doubt, the Christmas season is my favorite season to experience at Holy Cross. Though it is short-lived, as the end of the semester only allows us to celebrate about half of Advent together, it is overflowing with joy nonetheless.  The annual Tree Lighting, organized by the Holy Cross Purple Key Society and executed alongside the efforts and talents of various music groups on campus, is a great way for the student body to experience the classic magic of Christmas together. After the tree lighting, there was even a sleigh ride organized by the Resident Hall Association, and my friends and I (shoutout to the girlies!) enjoyed a lively sleigh ride around campus while singing “Sleigh Ride.” In addition, the Campus Activities Board (CAB) always does a great job at bringing the holiday spirit to campus. This year’s Winter Weekend was named “The CAB Express,” and it featured a holiday shop of local small businesses, mug-making, bear-stuffing (Barry and I pictured below!), tote bag decorating, a gingerbread house contest, and of course, plenty of hot chocolate.

The bear I was able to make (and befriend!) at one of CAB’s many holiday events.

The peak of all of this holiday celebration has got to be Holy Cross’ Celebration of Lessons and Carols. Every year, the chapel is filled to the brim with students, families, alumni and community members all gathered to participate (in-person or via livestream) in one of Holy Cross’ most beloved traditions. As I mentioned before, I was part of the choir this year, where we sang some classic Christmas songs like “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” “Silent Night” (conducted by one of my good friends!) and “O Come All Ye Faithful” (my personal favorite), as well as some newer carols, a few even arranged by members of the Holy Cross community. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to sing alongside many of my friends, who performed in the choir, in the orchestra and even in the organ loft, and seeing my family sit proudly in the front row meant the world to me.

Lastly, it wouldn’t be the Christmas season without Kimball Dining Hall’s Christmas dinner, accompanied by festive decor and Christmas songs, two Secret Santas, a Yankee Swap, and caroling after mass (you had to be there). These are the memories I will hold onto as I approach winter break – the ones spent with the people who make Holy Cross what it is. I will miss them so much over break, but I am eager to what is in store next for us on the Hill.

I hope everyone has a very happy holidays filled with joy and good health – I’ll be back in 2024 for another semester of fun, faith & friendship!

A Thanksgiving Reflection

Hello everyone! Happy Thanksgiving! The holiday season is approaching fast, and I thought I’d take the time with about three weeks left of the fall semester (!!!) to reflect on what I’m thankful for at Holy Cross.

First and foremost, it is the people. Always. Even if the way I’m thankful for them has changed, the people I’ve met and relationships I’ve formed at Holy Cross will always be insurmountably important to me in how I’ve grown and changed as a person, and how much my time at Holy Cross has meant to me.

This past weekend, I was reminded of how special these friendships are when we held a surprise birthday party for one of our friends, who was truly shocked and appreciative at what we had done. The next day, after spending the last couple hours slowly getting colder and colder at the football game against Georgetown (we won!! what a great way to end the season!), we all piled into a friend’s warm (parked!) car, oftentimes two to a seat, and enjoyed a meal together.

I can always count on these people to host a movie night, strike up a conversation at Kimball, support me in my passions, and most of all, be there whenever I need it. I’ve mentioned before how the girls I dance with have been so so supportive and kind as I embark on my dance journey, and I could not be more thankful for their enthusiasm and encouragement.

Additionally, the religious community I’ve found at Holy Cross has been an unbelievable blessing. Rehearsals for Lessons & Carols remind me of how special these events are as they bring the whole Holy Cross community together to celebrate the upcoming holiday season. Weeknights spent in adoration or weekends spent at Mass remind me of the close friendships I’ve made with people who share similar beliefs and values. However, although Holy Cross is a Catholic school, this does not mean that it is unwelcoming to other students. The mission of Holy Cross is to be people for and with others, and this is primarily achieved through our emphasis on community and service (SPUD, Community Based Learning, Spring Break Immersion), which is open to everyone — not through the exclusion of non-Catholic students at Mass or other celebrations.

Finally, being a tour guide allows me to step back once a week and be reminded of why I love Holy Cross so much — and why I chose it in the first place. Saying hi to my friends in passing as I give a tour takes me back to when I was a junior in high school and being on a friendly campus like Holy Cross was all I wanted. Being in the chapel and watching families react to its gorgeous interior makes me think of my own tour of Holy Cross, where my mom and I reacted just as excitedly (if not more) at the idea of practicing my faith in such a sacred, intimate and beautiful space.

To make a long story short, I am still in thanks and awe at how Holy Cross has exceeded my expectations both academically and personally during my first three semesters on the Hill. As December rolls around the corner, bringing along the celebration of the Advent season, I have no doubt that the final three weeks of the semester will be just as blessed as the first, and the community of Holy Cross will continue to shower me with love.

As always, thank you for reading — wishing you a safe, happy & healthy Thanksgiving!

 

Dancing into Family Weekend and the Joys of Fall Semester!

Hello everyone! Hope everyone had a fun, safe and spooky Halloween! Though I can’t believe it’s November and we are more than halfway done with the semester, it has been quite a busy and blessed past few weeks! Crazily enough, I’ve already started thinking about course selections for the spring semester, which is super exciting, and plans for study abroad have been the talk of the town amongst the members of the sophomore class. Despite all of this, I’ve still found the time to slow down and spend time with my friends, whether it be through game nights, movie nights, girlie nights (if you know, you know) and meals at Kimball. (And to all who are curious, the crusade for group gym sessions has slowly but surely fizzled out.)

A few weeks ago, I had the joy of seeing my family on campus for Family Weekend, where, despite the downpour, we enjoyed the football game, played games in Hogan, reconnected with many of my friends and their families, and enjoyed a meal at Kimball (an object of utter fascination to my family). The highlight of the day, though, was having my family in the audience of the dance ensemble performance, where the musical theatre class and I danced to “Welcome to the Moulin Rouge!” and the entire ensemble closed out the performance with a dance to a melody of songs from the Barbie movie. Being able to share the stage with my friends as I performed, and knowing that my friends and family were in the audience cheering me on, made this moment an incredibly special one for sure. I am so thankful that I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try out for the dance ensemble, as I’ve made so many great friends, surrounded myself with such a supportive community, and enjoyed my return to performing onstage more than I could have possibly imagined.

The dance ensemble is scheduled to perform again at a benefit show in February, but until then, I’ve been busying myself with involvements such as SPUD (Student Programs for Urban Development) and rehearsals for Holy Cross’ annual Lessons & Carols. This year, I’ll be singing in the choir, and I am looking forward to participating in such a cherished celebration alongside members of the greater Holy Cross community.

Finally, this weekend, I was able to see the Holy Cross Department of Theatre & Dance put on a performance of The Good Person of Setzuan, which was outstanding, and I even helped out at the Fall Open House this morning as a tour guide! I am always more than welcome to answer any questions you may have about Holy Cross – my tours and blog posts are a way for prospective students and families to get a sense of what life at Holy Cross is like, and I would love everyone to discover what they love about Holy Cross like I did!

See you all again soon – thanks for reading!

 

 

Back in Business for Year 2!

Welcome back everyone!! After a relaxing and enjoyable summer spent with family and friends, it feels hard to believe that it is already mid-September and the leaves on O’Kane and Fenwick Halls are preparing for their gorgeous autumnal transformation.

When I first moved into my new dorm in Loyola Hall almost four weeks ago, I was greeted by so many of my friends, who were all so enthusiastic about my arrival and willing to help me unpack, despite having other campus commitments at the time. I was instantly reunited not only with such amazing friends, but with the unforgettable Holy Cross community that had drawn me to the Hill in the first place. Within no time, we were back attending masses, hanging out in our dorms, going to the gym (this is a new development, stay tuned) or laughing at Kimball family dinners together. We even attended a Woo Sox game at Polar Park early in the semester, and while I cannot tell you what happened during the actual game, I can tell you that just being outside and spending that time with such great friends was a blast in itself.

And of course, we’ve been showing off our Purple Pride in the sports stands, too! We cheered on the Holy Cross football team as they won against Merrimack and during the rain delay against Boston College. This weekend is the annual homecoming football game, and I’m hoping the Crusaders can pull out another win against Colgate!

In terms of academics, I’ve found this semester’s lineup to be an exciting yet challenging journey thus far. A highlight is definitely my Worlds of C.S. Lewis class, where we are examining Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia through a religious lens, accompanied by a variety of Lewis’ other texts. I am also continuing to work through the English major with studies centered around Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson and Frederick Douglass, to name a few.

Finally, while I was eager to reconnect with the people and organizations that I discovered last year, I also wanted to take advantage of new extracurricular opportunities this year on the Hill. Last weekend, I signed up for many new clubs at the Co-Curricular Extravaganza, and even stepped out of my comfort zone and tried out for the dance ensemble earlier this month! As a girlie with very little dance experience, I was a little worried at first, but I am so glad that I pushed past my doubt and did it anyways! The experience so far has been fantastic, and I am so thankful for the dance community that has welcomed me with open arms.

If I were to leave you with one thing as I close out this entry, it would be to embrace newness. Cherish what is already there – the memories made, the friendships formed – but don’t be afraid of what’s next. Throw yourself into the year, and enjoy all that is to come!

The beautiful landscape of Holy Cross- just the way we’d left it!

 

Preparing for the End-of-Year Goodbyes…

Hi everyone! I apologize for the recent absence in posting. It is not due to a lack of exciting things happening on the Hill, but rather an abundance, making finding the time to write it all down very tricky! Luckily, I’ve found time to sit down in Memorial Plaza as the sun shines and the spring breeze rustles the ivy growing back on Fenwick and Smith Halls as I begin to write one last entry as a freshman at Holy Cross…

The past month has been filled with tying up loose ends of all sorts. Although most of these loose ends came in the form of academic obligations, whether it be finishing up classes, turning in last assignments and taking finals (as well as the end-of-year celebratory events within my Montserrat cluster (mine is Global Society)), I was still able to make time for one last hurrah to celebrate the end of the year with friends. We celebrated both the arts and each other’s talents by attending Alternate College Theatre’s end of year Cabaret Night, the Department of Theatre and Dance‘s production of RASA, and various student recitals through the Music Department, RSOs (recognized student organizations (click here for the full list)), and even the Chaplain’s Office.

Additionally, in between lengthy study sessions in Dinand (the library’s main reading room has been my go-to study spot, but everyone has their own personal preferences as to where they can be the most productive), we made sure to enjoy the spring weather on campus through ‘floor time’ on the grass behind the greenhouse. We’d set up a blanket, lie down alongside each other, and take in the sights and sounds of a beautiful spring on the Hill while we still can. Even on my own, this was a great way to relax and unwind after a particularly long day of being in the library, or even after finishing a final (pictured below!).

Me, in a pink striped top and jean shorts, lying down on a grassy hill with a teal backpack behind me.
Time on the grass after my English final! Thankfully, the weather was beautiful that day!

And of course, it isn’t springtime at Holy Cross without the high spirits and energy of Spring Weekend as the entire student body enjoyed one last weekend together. This year, Spring Weekend, one of Holy Cross’ many traditions, featured our Spring Concert (with the Battle of the Bands and Mount St. Jams preceding it a few weeks earlier, which were awesome ways to hear live performances by some of Holy Cross’ most talented musicians), Spring Fest (a daytime carnival-esque setup with games, food and prizes), and HCGlow (a nightime neon extravaganza with light-up games, swings, and bracelets). Combined with a chaotic and memorable bowling trip with friends (expected nothing less), Spring Weekend is tough to beat!

As the semester comes to a close, I truly could not be more grateful for what Holy Cross has given me in these past nine months. With extraordinary friendships and unbelievable experiences that provided me with an incredible support system and set me up for success these next three years, it is so easy to say that I have found a home at Holy Cross this year. Though I am eager to go home and spend time with family, it will definitely be hard to say goodbye (though temporarily) to everything and everyone that makes Holy Cross what it is.

To the class of 2027– you are in for an unforgettable experience. I am SO thrilled for and proud of you all! I can’t wait to help kickstart your Holy Cross experience and welcome you into a community like no other.

And to any & all prospective students and their families– thank you for reading this blog, as always! Stay tuned for next year when this blog is back in business! And who knows? Maybe you’ll even see me giving a tour…. 🙂

Springtime Happenings are Flowering on the Hill!

Hello all! I hope everyone has been enjoying the warm spring weather these past few weeks- I know Holy Cross has certainly been blossoming with new activity as we continue to work our way through the semester. Around campus, I’ve seen groups of students playing catch on Easy Street, hanging out on the Hoval, and doing work in Memorial Plaza (like me last week with my bench!), and obviously the kickoff of spring sports has invited students to cheer on their fellow classmates as well. My friends and I attended a couple baseball games recently, which was awesome!

Aside from the obvious schoolwork and spending time in the sun, the students at Holy Cross have also been busy with their various extracurriculars. There are so many ways to get involved at Holy Cross and this plethora of organizations make it very easy to find where you belong- and it’s okay for it to be in more than one place! Holy Cross encourages taking care of the whole person and crafting a well-rounded self, and what better way to do that than exploring all of your interests (and maybe picking up some new ones along the way)? 🙂 This spring brought the arrival of various performances showcasing the talents of Holy Cross students that have worked tirelessly to make their visions a reality. I had the pleasure of attending the Alternate College Theatre production of Ride the Cyclone, which was entirely student-run, the College Choir’s Celestial Harp concert, featuring the breathtaking “Requiem” (though the link I provided doesn’t do the live performance justice) and the Black Student Union Fashion Show (this year titled “The Hidden Kingdom,” inspired by the city of Atlantis)- all within two days!

Outside of extracurriculars, the academic departments at Holy Cross also do an excellent job organizing events that pertain to students’ intellectual interests and career aspirations. As an English major/creative writing concentration, it was a joy to hear that the English department hosts an assortment of writers every semester (both inside and outside of the Holy Cross community) to talk about their craft and read excerpts from some of their works. I’ve attended two so far this semester (and will absolutely be attending more), where faculty member Xu Xi gave a talk on her most recent collection, Monkey in Residence, and Irish writer and poet Seán Hewitt came to the Hill to talk about his poetry collection, Tongues of Fire, and memoir, All Down Darkness Wide. Some classes require its students to attend certain events, as it does for my creative writing class this semester, but for me, once I discovered the unique sense of intellect and strong writing community that was found in these discussions, I knew I would be coming back far more than I needed to. In college, uncertainty surrounding your career can sometimes feel like a tornado that’s too much to handle, but listening to these talks reassured me that there is light at the end of the tunnel for everyone, in however form it may take.

Finally, these past few weeks have been preparing us Christians for the end of Lent and the triumph of Easter, as Holy Cross, similarly to its celebrations of Advent, does not shy away from the spectacular. One moment that particularly resonated with me was the Palm Sunday Mass this past weekend, where members of the campus community came together to participate in the extraordinary Palm Sunday traditions so familiar to many- starting Mass with the reading of the Gospel outside of the pews, collecting palms, and witnessing the moving reading of the Passion- yet still maintaining the magic of the Holy Cross community. Though I will be going home to finish off my Holy Week with Masses in my hometown that I’m sure will be equally as special, being able to partake in some of the Holy Week celebrations at Holy Cross was incredible in its own right.

With that, I’ll be signing off for today- make sure to stay tuned in the upcoming weeks for more blog posts! Thanks for reading, and Happy Easter to those who celebrate!

The Arrival of Spring & Other Merry Things!

Hello everyone! Happy Spring! Spring is my favorite season, mostly because the weather finally starts to get less harsh (because after a while, us New Englanders start to get very sick of snow) and now we get to embrace the blossoming of all the plants and flowers! Although nothing is in full bloom just yet, and I’m still waiting for the vines on Fenwick to grow back and regain its color, the warmer weather has definitely invited the campus community to ditch the winter jackets and spend some time outside! There are countless places to work outside when it’s nice- benches are scattered all around campus and outside almost every building, and Memorial Plaza, which is located in between Fenwick and O’Kane Halls, has plenty of tables to work at as well. However, my favorite place to do work recently, which I’ve selfishly labeled as ‘my bench’ over the past week (and is the place I am sitting writing this blog post right now!) is located in the middle of the staircase leading up from Memorial Plaza to Hogan Campus Center, right above the statue of St. Thérèse of Lisieux (who happens to be my Confirmation saint, which makes it all the more special 🙂 ). The location of the bench presents a nice view of Memorial Plaza, and is located in an area that is not overly congested with students nor is completely in the sun. Here is a photo I took from the bench earlier this afternoon- you can see how the greenery hasn’t fully formed yet, but the view of the plaza is still great! (Unfortunately, though, you can’t see St. Therese from here. 🙁 )

Brick building in the distance covered in naked vines, taken from what appears to be a higher ledge with a glimpse of a computer on the bottom left corner.

This spring also welcomes the chaos surrounding enrollment for the fall semester, which, although doesn’t officially start until around April, becomes the talk of the town around campus rather quickly. Having already declared my English major and creative writing concentration, the road ahead doesn’t look too blurry in terms of figuring out what English classes I have to take, but I still have to find the ideal balance for the remaining 3 classes between taking classes I have to take for common area requirements and classes that interest me. Holy Cross places an enormous emphasis on the importance of exploring all that the College has to offer, regardless of what fits in your major, through its Jesuit philosophy of cura personalis, or care for the whole person. For me, I’m excited to take classes in religion, education, theatre and history during my time at Holy Cross, just to name a few, and although the content of these classes may not directly pertain to the English major, they will give me the skills and well-roundedness that will allow me to succeed regardless- the beauty of a Jesuit education at Holy Cross!

Thank you, as always, for reading- wishing you an awesome weekend and continued spring weather, wherever you are! See you next week!

What Makes Spring Break Immersion So Special?

Hello all! I apologize for the slight break in posting- I’m sure I’ve mentioned in previous entries how the spring semester picks up quite fast, and while there were definitely some hurdles along the way, I’ve also taken many great experiences from it all! And I don’t think anything fits that description better than my week spent on an immersion trip through Holy Cross’ Spring Break Immersion Program. With our original trip destination getting switched last minute because of COVID, sending us on a surprise flight that was actually my first flight EVER (thankfully, all went well and I enjoyed it very much), which later led to further complicating sleeping arrangements and Uber rides, adjusting to the unprecedented became a commonality for the early stages of the trip. I traveled to a L’Arche site, which is where people with and without intellectual disabilities live together in community and “make known the gifts of people with intellectual disabilities… through mutually transforming relationships” (taken from the mission of their website). L’Arche sites are located all across the globe, but my site specifically was in the Washington, DC area. I stayed in one of the four L’Arche GWDC homes with eight other Holy Cross students, and we spent the week helping with household tasks and fostering bonds with the core members that live there. Tasks included organizing and cleaning out various corners of the houses and cooking meals, but we obviously made sure to set aside time for Uno games, Wii Bowling, Gilmore Girls and casual conversation too. 🙂 It was so special to hear each core member’s unique story and watch the friendships form over the course of the week. I think one of my favorite parts of the whole trip was the Prayer Night held on Zoom for the entire L’Arche DC community, where everyone came together to sing, reflect, pray, and most of all, celebrate. It was so moving to see how everyone cherished their faith so strongly, and to be so effortlessly welcomed into this circle of friendship really emphasized how well L’Arche does what it sought out to do.

At the end of the day, though, I can’t say that my spring break immersion trip was easy. Paired with all the obstacles from the start of the week, I struggled with integrating myself into a brand-new community and getting to know the people I was working with, and the work itself was a consistently exhausting effort. However, it wasn’t a sense of tiredness I’d exchange for anything in the world; it was an accomplished sort of tired, knowing that I gave it my all every single day, despite it not always being easy. And that’s the beauty of SBIP- it is difficult and humbling in the most beautiful way, revealed to you through the most extraordinary experiences. I can say with full confidence that this is not my last visit to L’Arche, and I’m already looking forward to the new memories and friendships that will be formed in the upcoming years. Thank you to all, both in the Holy Cross Chaplain’s Office (who worked TIRELESSLY to ensure all groups were sent off to their destinations safely, even in the midst of a snowstorm!) and at L’Arche GWDC, for making this so unbelievably special!

If you are passionate about working with people with intellectual disabilities and advocating for disability rights, I could not recommend L’Arche more! They are always in need of more help and is home to such a joyful and blessed community that was so gracious and thankful for even what appeared to be the smallest task. So much light and love is shared in a L’Arche community and it deserves to be spread to as many as possible.

Thanks for reading- until next time! Remember, in the spirit of L’Arche, and in the words of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, to always do “small things with great love.”

Nine girls standing together in front of the Washington Monument in Washington, DC, under a clear blue sky with two American flags on either side in the background.
We even had some time to explore the city- here is our group at the WW2 Memorial (and you can even see some of the Washington Monument in the background!)
Nine girls, all wearing the same blue shirt, posing with three other older individuals, two of which are seated one in a wheelchair) and the third on the far left.
Here we are with some of the core members at one of the houses we worked in! We even got to take home some awesome L’Arche GWDC t-shirts (worn in this picture!)

Hockey, Company & A Spotlight on Montserrat

Hello Holy Cross community! I hope everyone has had a great week! This week was filled with lots of new adventures and exciting experiences as always, namely attending the Holy Cross Department of Theatre & Dance production of Company, which was held at the new Prior Performing Arts Center, as well as the two Holy Cross Men’s Hockey games against Niagara University at the Hart Center at the Luth Athletic Complex.

If I haven’t mentioned this before, I am a HUGE fan of theatre- I participated in theatre all throughout high school and found the most loving and supportive community there, and am a firm believer in the fact that the magic of live theatre is simply irreplaceable. So I was thrilled, to say the least, to see Company last weekend at Holy Cross, especially when I had two friends in the ensemble, one friend in the main cast and even one friend in the band! They all did a FANTASTIC job, to no one’s surprise, and being able to see Holy Cross’ rendition of a Sondheim classic was such a joyous event for all involved. Congratulations to the cast & crew for two wildly successful weekends of shows!

Additionally, this week I checked off another Holy Cross bucket list item and attended my first hockey game on campus! The men’s team played Niagara University on both Thursday (the Cousy Cup game) and Friday, and my dad, who is a Niagara alum, came up to Worcester on Thursday to see them play! Similarly to my experience with football last semester, I knew close to nothing about hockey coming into the game (other than the basic objectives), but I still had such a blast cheering on the Crusaders, so much so that I went back the next night to see them play (and win!) again with friends! Will “Hockey Marie” be the new title for this semester? It’s hard to say, but as of now I can happily say that my excitement towards the game is far from being extinguished.

Finally, I’d like to do something a little different in this post and cast a spotlight on one of the most memorable aspects of my freshman year thus far- my Montserrat seminar. Every first-year student at Holy Cross is required to participate in a Montserrat seminar, which is one of the earliest community building blocks for first-years. Each Montserrat course falls under one of the six ‘clusters’ – Self, Contemporary Challenges, Global Society (my cluster), Natural World, Divine and Core Human Questions, and the people that live in the same hall as you are almost always in your same cluster. The class runs for a full year, allowing students to form longstanding connections with both the students and the professor in the class, with each semester’s course focusing on a different idea under a larger thematic umbrella. For example, last semester my Montserrat was called “Love, Text & Performance” while this semester it’s called “War and the Quest for Identity” under the overarching title of “Love & War.” In my class, we’ve developed our public speaking skills, written and performed monologues (and cheered our classmates on, of course), read numerous plays, poems and novels (currently we are in the midst of tackling Don Quixote), gave presentations, and had countless discussions on all of the above- and more. All Montserrat seminars are different, so there is a lot of variety in terms of content and class structure, aside from a collaborative and supportive first-year environment. On top of attending class every day, Montserrat students are also required to attend 2-4 events within their cluster per semester as a way to form connections with students in their cluster that might not be in their exact seminar. Last semester, for example, we went to the stART on the Street Art Festival in Worcester, among other events, and this semester we were fortunate enough to spend an evening at the stunning Joyce Contemplative Center (located about 20 minutes off-campus) for some Ignatian spirituality, yoga and dinner. I am looking forward to more Montserrat events later this semester, as I’ve really grown to cherish the community formed within my Montserrat and it has been a staple of the first-year experience for sure.