A First Year in Review

With the year winding down (or maybe not in the case of final papers and exams) I have decided to reflect on all of the contents of my first year as a crusader.

Starting out the year with knowing absolutely no one on campus I had no clue how my first year at college was going to be. Would I make friends? Would I enjoy my classes? Would I stay at Holy Cross after my first year was over? If I could travel back in time I would tell past-me that the answer to all of those questions was a resounding yes.

Some of my best friends are those who I first met during fall orientation.  As I discussed with our friend group last night, while we’ve only known each other since last August, it feels as though I’ve shared a lifetime with them already. Through classes and extra-curricular activities such as mock trial and moot court, I made friends that have impacted me in ways that I never thought were imaginable. When people claim that the Holy Cross community is like a family, they aren’t just saying that to sound cute, they really mean it.

College classes were my second biggest concern. Looking back at all my courses, I can say that I enjoyed every single one so far. All of my professors were dedicated to seeing their students succeed in their classes. And while the course work at Holy Cross is very rigorous, with the right amount of dedication and effort anything is manageable.  The class content has always been interesting and engaging, and I can say that because of my first year of Holy Cross education I have become both a better student and citizen.

I almost laugh at myself when I think back to the time when I thought there might be a chance that I would transfer from Holy Cross at the end of my first year. I wouldn’t trade away any part of my first year at Holy Cross for anything in the world, even those stressful nights studying for exams or writing papers. The friends, the memories I’ve made with those friends, and everything else I experienced during my first year has made a lasting impact on me.

My experiences at Holy Cross have changed me for the better; I wouldn’t trade that away for anything.

My first-year home, Hanselman Hall.

A Campus Away From Campus

While Holy Cross has a wonderful campus with essentially unlimited extracurricular opportunities, I do have to admit that sometimes you develop that need to get away from campus for a few hours. Thankfully, the college has its very own retreat center less than 25 minutes away!

Holy Cross’s retreat center, the Joyce Contemplative Center, presents students with an amazing opportunity to get away from what can sometimes be a busy campus and simply slow things down to reflect on life. Located on a hilltop that overlooks gorgeous hills and a waterway, the JCC always offers an amazing sunset for students to look at! Most of the college’s retreats are held at the JCC. There are retreats for first-year students, the LGBTQ+ community, as well as a variety of other retreats that offer amazing opportunities. I definitely recommend trying to get to the JCC at least once during your first year at Holy Cross!

On a snowy day in February, I and my Montserrat classmates piled into school vans at Hogan to make the journey to the JCC. While pulling up the driveway our gaze was met with a beautiful contemporary building that just screamed: “forget about all your classes for an hour and just relax!” In the snow and cold, we all dashed to the entrance where we were greeted by a cozy crackling fireplace and a spacious dining room. On the left side of the building, there were hotel rooms for overnight retreats and there was a beautiful fully glass contemplation room that overlooks the surrounding nature located in the back of the building where we ended up performing our group presentations.

The main attraction for students is not just the beautiful building, the serene campus, or the escape from coursework. No, what do college students love almost more than anything else? FOOD of course! The JCC is renowned for dishing out some of the tastiest meals every single crusader has ever experienced in their lives. My meal was no different. With chicken parm as the main course with fresh veggies, salad, pasta, and garlic bread as sides I was stuffed. Oh wait, did I forget to mention that they also have freshly baked cookies for dessert?

Whether it’s for the retreat, the beautiful building, the serene campus, or the food; I can’t recommend going to the JCC at least once during your freshmen year!

An aerial shot of the Joyce Contemplative Center during the fall
A view of the deck of the JCC that overlooks the surrounding nature
Take a virtual tour of the JCC!

Hitting the Airwaves with a Bang!

Starting Off with a Bang!

Despite radio being in decline around the country, it is surely not dead at college campuses around the nation, especially at Holy Cross! Throughout the day and night students across campus tune into 88.1FM WCHC to listen to a host of shows created by their very own peers! Holy Cross provides a wide array of shows for everyone’s taste; ranging from sports talk to politics to just your regular music genre station!

A common scene on weeknights is a group of students gathering around a Bluetooth speaker in the common rooms of the dorms listening to the shows of their friends while doing work. Even members of the local Worcester community tune into the station at various times through the stereo systems of their cars. The Holy Cross radio station serves as a way to foster a greater sense of community on campus among the students. Students even have the opportunity to call into a dedicated phone line to be a part of the show themselves!

Essentially, any student has the opportunity to have their very own radio show if they are dedicated enough! All it takes is simply emailing the director to receive training to make sure you are able to operate the equipment and are aware of the FCC rules and regulations.

I was honored this past week by being selected as the first guest on Holy Cross’s very own Jacob Carey’s Sadboi Hours, held on Thursday nights at 11 PM.  The show is dedicated to emotional music that allows individuals to express their feelings. However, the show also features segments that range from pop-culture talk to humorous storying telling that is sure to evoke laughter from everyone listening.

The first airing of the show was received with applause by the greater Holy Cross community. People were posting videos of themselves and friends alike laughing at the commentary of the hosts on their SnapChat stories and other social media platforms.  Upon our return to our dorm building, Jacob and I were met by a gaggle of friends that were ecstatic at the first of many shows to come!

The logo of Sadboi Hours with Jake and Friends
The founder of the show, Jacob Carey

Off to Coast Guard!

Opportunities at Holy Cross 

One of the best things about being a student at Holy Cross it that you are handed a nearly unlimited amount of opportunities to travel somewhere, whether it be for an immersion trip or a sports game you are bound to leave campus for an interesting place!

In my case, my very first HC sponsored trip came with the annual mock trial trip to the Coast Guard Academy for a regional invitational tournament. Everyone on Friday night gathered in Hogan 3 and packed themselves into the school vans for the hour and a half journey to New London, Connecticut.

The Trip

On the way, my teammates and I sang along to 2000 throwback playlists and talked about how the first half of the semester has gone for us all so far.  Once we arrived at the hotel we excitedly grabbed our bags from the vans and ran to our hotel rooms where we unpacked. Shortly afterward it looked as though the hotel lobby had been turned into a classroom, the mock trial team had completely taken over it with casebooks, exhibits, and other various materials taking up the space on the lobby tables as we all practiced our examinations.

First Day of Competition

The morning quickly came, eventually leading to us arriving at the Coast Guard Academy and signing in for our first competition against Fordham. While we didn’t win our first couple of trials, the learning experiencing was amazing for everyone on my team as no one on the team had any previous collegiate mock trial experience before, we were all rookies!

As the day began to settle we explored the wonderful Coast Guard Academy campus (only second to the beautiful campus we have right here at Holy Cross).  Once we drove back to the hotel we had about five minutes to change before we were treated out to a night at a wonderful restaurant that had some of the most delicious pizza and cake that I have ever tasted.  At the dinner table, all of the players and coaches conversed about the activities of the day and quickly moved on to talking about other various things such as career advice and general funny stories.

Second Day of Competition

On the second day of the competition, the entire team walked into the halls of the competition with a new found confidence as we saw that even us as rookies could put up a good fight against teams that were full of veterans who had been doing collegiate mock trial for three years.

On the second day of competition, we actually ended up winning a couple of trials and generally overachieving for a whole group of rookies at a competition with well-seasoned talent!

The Tournament in Review

Looking back at the tournament, while it was stressful at certain points due to the high stakes manner of the tournament, I ended up having so much fun with all of the people across the mock trial team. I encourage anyone reading this to check out mock trial if you get the chance as you’ll make friends for life and learn lots of helpful skills along the way!