Studying, School Spirit, and Singing!

Hello again! I hope everyone had a blessed and exciting week. I, for one, have definitely had quite the week-  from beginning the cram for finals and wrapping up all my classes to a continued celebration of Advent as Christmas approaches.

I’m someone that can never concentrate while working in the same space for too long otherwise I’ll get too comfortable, so my nights this week were spent hopping from study spot to study spot with my friends in an attempt to tie the final bow on all my projects and papers due. There are countless spaces in Dinand Library where you can study for hours (which is my personal favorite of the many libraries on campus), and I have grown fond of the various nooks and crannies scattered around Holy Cross as well, where I can work for shorter intervals of time. Some other study strategies I’ve found to be effective are studying with friends, as they keep me accountable, and putting my phone far from reach so I am not distracted. Finally, the most important study suggestion I have is to prioritize YOU! Whether it be taking breaks to walk around and clear your mind, getting to bed earlier, setting aside time to eat, or simply remembering to “breathe in, breathe through, breathe deep, breathe out” in the words of Taylor Swift, your body will definitely thank you in the end.

On the other hand, I’ve also made sure to take the time to hang out and unwind with friends during these final few weeks, as our days together on the Hill are limited (!!). We cheered along with the rest of the community during the football games against UNH and South Dakota, sporting our best Purple Pride whether we were watching in the pouring rain or in the comforts of a dorm. I didn’t have much of an interest in football prior to coming to college, but it is safe to say that through the strong Crusader spirit of Holy Cross, “Football Marie” is in full force.

In addition, I was able to celebrate the Christmas spirit through a continued presence at Mass, occasionally serving as an altar server or greeter, Secret Santa exchanges with my friends and finally, Holy Cross’ beloved Lessons & Carols. I served as a greeter for the event, where I enthusiastically welcomed students, alumni and families to St. Joseph’s Memorial Chapel for a truly spectacular arrangement of performances by the Holy Cross College Choir, Chamber Singers and Orchestra, accompanied by readings of lessons from various faculty members. I was amazed at how so many members of the community were in attendance, and I was so proud of all the outstanding talents my friends were able to showcase. Lessons & Carols is a shining example of how the magic of Holy Cross is epitomized through the holiday season, and to say I am looking forward to next year’s Lessons & Carols would be an understatement.

That’s all I have for you this week- this will be my final entry of the semester seeing as I must focus on my finals this upcoming week, but I wanted to send out a huge THANK YOU to all who have taken the time to read my blog these past few weeks! I will be resuming my blogging schedule next semester, and I’m looking forward to sharing more experiences on the Hill with you! Best of luck to all students, and congratulations on finishing a fantastic semester at Holy Cross!

Welcome! + Advent on the Hill

Greetings! Welcome to the first official post of what I hope to be an exciting, entertaining and informative blog! My name is Marie Meisner and I am a freshman about to wrap up my first semester at Holy Cross (!!!) that is eager to share all of my favorite memories on Mount St. James with you! I thought I’d take the time this week in the midst of all the chaos of finals to focus on one of the more positive parts of the month: the liturgical season of Advent!! For those of you unaware, Advent is the liturgical season celebrated by most Christians in preparation for the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas Day. As someone who is incredibly devoted to her Catholic faith (and someone who chose Holy Cross primarily for their strong faith and Jesuit values, too!), to say I was excited for Advent at Holy Cross was an understatement. Last week following Daily Mass (which I am a frequent attender- Holy Cross offers it at both 12:05pm and 9pm almost every day), I was able to see the decorations put up inside St. Joseph’s Chapel, which included a massive Advent wreath that hung above the congregation.

St. Joseph’s Memorial Chapel, featuring wooden pews, an altar with Christmas trees and white statues on either side, and a hanging Advent wreath as the center of the image.
St. Joseph’s Chapel decorated for Advent!

I think I squealed in delight at how stunning the decorations looked, amazed by how something as simple as the purple and pink ribbon can hold so much meaning. Outside of Mass, I have been able to grow in my faith here through weekly adoration and rosary through the Society of Saints Peter and Paul, and of course, spending as much time in the chapel as my schedule allows. I’ve met some of the most wonderful and kind-hearted people through the many faith opportunities at Holy Cross, and I am so blessed to have them in my life today.

Additionally, this past Thursday was the annual Christmas Tree Lighting that took place in front of O’Kane Hall, organized by the Purple Key Society and the Campus Activities Board. Prior to the event we had seen glimpses of lights, wreaths and Christmas trees scattered around campus, but this felt like the culmination of all these pieces put together into one big celebration of the holiday season. Cookies and hot chocolate were served, and student performers included members of the Goodtime Marching Band, The Chamber Singers, Fools on the Hill, The Delilahs, and Off The Record (the latter of which are the female-only singing groups on campus). Of course, this isn’t counting my friends and I caroling with members of the Chapel Choir all around campus before the actual event, which was genuinely some of the most fun I’ve had here so far. I guess it’s just something about singing the beloved Christmas carols of your childhood with some of your favorite people, making Holy Cross feel like a ‘home away from home’ even more than it already does. 🙂

The grand finale, the lighting of two Christmas trees on either side of a simply stunning Nativity scene (photo below!), filled the whole campus with so much holiday cheer that kickstarted what looks to be a joyful holiday season. Moments like these remind me of how special the Holy Cross community is, and how thankful I am to be surrounded by such a loving and supportive group of people. Though I am anxious to be done with all my papers, projects and the dread of final exams, I am definitely going to miss the magic of Holy Cross over break that is truly unlike no other.

A Nativity scene sandwiched in between two lit-up Christmas trees in front of O’Kane Hall, which is also decorated with Christmas greenery.
The final product of the evening!