Time has seemingly flown by! It seems like yesterday I was moving into Hanselman Hall for my first year. Nonetheless, senior year has gotten off to a great start. This past weekend was Homecoming, and there were many fun events on campus. There were food trucks, yard games on the Hoval, a tailgate, and the football game against Yale. The highlight of my Homecoming weekend on campus was running into classmates and alumni during all of the festivities.
I recently played in a rugby game against Yale that HCRFC hosted. We unfortunately lost 19-47, but it was a great experience to have a home game under the lights on Father K field with the stands packed.
As spring begins, many students are looking towards what they may be doing this summer. This could mean an internship, research position, or many other opportunities. Holy Cross helps connect students with alumni and potential internship opportunities through the HC Network and Handshake. These platforms provide contact information and job postings, of which HC students can access for career-specific situations. As for research, Holy Cross offers the opportunity for students to participate in real research with professors through the Weiss Summer Research Program. This is available for students in both STEM and Humanities major tracks. Most research positions in STEM are lab based. Summer research in the humanities is self-directed, with the assistance from an advising professor. More specifics can be found on the College of the Holy Cross website.
The spring semester started off with a bang, or a flurry if you will, as campus was hit with a massive Nor’easter this past weekend. This provided everyone on campus with some extra winter fun, such as sledding down the hill at Freshmen Field and making snowmen in the Kimball Quad. I took part in it by completing a project for my 3D Fundamentals Studio course. We had to use only natural elements such as snow and fallen branches to make a simple sculpture. I decided to make a chair out of a snowbank. Winter is always a wonderful season on campus!
It’s been a great season of rugby so far! Both the Holy Cross A-side and B-side teams have had extremely successful records. The A-side team has advanced through two playoff games and is heading into the Northeast Regional playoff this weekend. If Holy Cross wins both games this weekend, they will have a chance to advance to the championship finals in Houston, Texas. Go HCRFC!
It feels great to finally be back on the Hill in the fall for the first time since freshman year. Walking around campus and seeing the whole community back in person has been extremely refreshing. Holy Cross recently hosted The Kid LAROI for our Fall Concert. The performance was great and provided a fun way to settle into the fall semester. Early in September I joined the club rugby team, which has become a nice outlet during the busy school week. We’ve traveled to Dartmouth, Harvard, and other New England schools for matches so far. I highly recommend exploring, and getting involved in, the vast amount of extracurricular groups and clubs Holy Cross has to offer. It’s a good way to meet new friends and get involved on campus. Can’t wait to see what the rest of the fall semester has to offer!
Due to the start of the COVID pandemic last spring, I wasn’t able to fully enjoy the spring season on the hill. It has been a great time watching all the foliage begin to bud across campus. Here’s a picture of a blooming tree in front of Lehy Hall.
Earlier this week I received news that my application to declare an Architectural Studies major was approved by the Interdisciplinary Studies board. Obviously, I am pretty excited about this opportunity. The Architectural Studies major is one of the self-designed majors available to students. This meant that I had to put together and organize a curriculum for my major. This also included proposing the idea of what the curriculum will accomplish and a potential capstone project idea. I’m pursuing this major in hopes of attending a masters of architecture program after my time here at Holy Cross, and then eventually becoming a licensed architect. There are a ton of options for majors and pursuing a wide array of interests, and you have until the end of sophomore year to decide so there is certainly time to find what you are interested in.
It’s been an electric start to the semester. We’ve had two major snowstorms and the announcement of our new President, Vincent D. Rougeau. Eventful to say the least.
COVID wise, our community has done a great job with protocols, and we just went down to yellow status this past week; pretty much the best status we can be at until the pandemic is over. Even with move-in and all the logistics of settling into campus, the levels have stayed very low.
It has been great to be back. I’ve been able to see all my friends in social distanced groups outside and gotten to know my roommate even better than I already did. I think everyone can attest to that, hopefully in a positive way.
I have two hybrid classes, so I’m looking forward to finally being able to go into an in-person class for the first time since last spring.
Despite the abnormal circumstances we find ourselves in on campus, there is a sense of normalcy that seems to be hinting towards an end of these unprecedented times.
It has been around 10 months since I’ve been on campus. There’s a possibility I will be back in 22 days. It is because of this upcoming arrival that I have found myself reflecting on my time during the pandemic and what role Holy Cross has played in it. There is no doubt that there have been challenges and difficulties of all kinds and varying intensities for people from all walks of life. No one was able to escape the affects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but hopefully my fall semester recap and this reflection provides helpful insight on student life within the Holy Cross community during remote learning and what I’ve taken away from my experiences.
I was in Dinand Library studying for a midterm when Father Boroughs sent out the email explaining to students and faculty that we were to leave campus by Saturday and take a week or more break before classes were reconfigured into an online format. Watching the reactions of other students also studying will always be a surreal moment to me due to the spectrum of emotions I witnessed and how unprecedented that situation was. A few days later, I packed my dorm room up and said goodbye to my friends, unaware of how long it would be again until I stepped foot on campus and just what shape my education was going to take.
When online learning truly began, I was amazed at just how much work my professors had put into adjusting their course plan to accommodate these drastic changes that had occurred. Personally, I have had very fair and understanding experiences in my coursework and interaction with my professors throughout remote learning. They have shown sympathy for the difficulties that come with the online format and worked hard to still maintain an interesting and challenging semester. I do not wish to speak to all students’ experiences, but this is what I personally found.
Before the fall semester started I had luckily been able to extract some helpful strategies from my experiences with remote learning in the spring. I kept myself on a strict routine and tried to treat each as normal as I could. Now I couldn’t replicate waking up for an 8am class and walking across campus in the middle of winter, but I certainly could get up at the same time and find something to do that filled up what would usually be a 30 minute routine. I found that my participation in class had actually increased due to the fact that it was some of my more major socialization within quarantine. That may sound crazy but I found it to be true and it honestly was a positive. And above all, still going to office hours with my professors on Zoom. Occasionally I even turned to YouTube and other sources if I really was struggling to understand concepts or get a better grip on a reading. That is what I took away academically from this online experience.
Socially, the remote format is not optimal obviously. As I mentioned, class becomes somewhat of a focal point of socialization in my experience. However, study groups did form overtime and “break out rooms” on Zoom during class were opportunities to meet other students. I stayed in touch with friends through FaceTime, Xbox Live, and Discord primarily; I’ve heard a million different ways people have stay connected. Feeling connected to Holy Cross was, and has been, difficult throughout the pandemic. With sports cancelled and most other activities also temporarily on hold, the distance was hard to ignore. However, it was always exciting to discuss the possibility of going back with friends, every email sparking debate.
One beacon of hope I found was Dr. Anthony Fauci. A former alumni of Holy Cross, his daily appearances on the COVID-19 press conferences and numerous interviews were a consistent reminder of the HC community. His work through tremendous adversity was inspiring. I saw other sources of inspiration throughout our community as well. Many current students, alumni, and faculty found ways to show support and further the Black Lives Matter movement courageously in very tumultuous times. I even remember a student being interviewed by a Boston news station for creating a charity car wash in response to the Beirut Explosion this year, giving away all proceeds to help in relief to all those affected. While these have been trying times, I found strength and motivation from my fellow student and Holy across community members and all that they have done to help those who need it. It is by following the mission statement of Holy Cross to be “men and women for and with others”, our community has stayed connected. Remote learning has provided a plethora of challenges at varying levels for each individual, but ultimately it has been the community values instilled in us that continue to form a sense of camaraderie.