Posts Tagged ‘student life’

What did you do over Spring Break?

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

 

written by Mackenzie Horl ’17

This year was my third year participating in the Spring Break Immersion Program run by the Chaplains Office. I can honestly say that my experiences on “Appa,” as the program is commonly referred to at Holy Cross, have been some of my favorite and most transformative while here on the hill.

From the time I was a first year at Holy Cross, I had repeatedly heard older students talking about the Spring Break Immersion Program. I heard rumors about how much fun people had at their sites and the friendships that lasted well beyond the one week spent in Appalachia. Unfortunately, nerves got the best of me and I did not sign up for the program as a first year student. However, when I heard my roommate’s stories about her group and all those who she served during her first experience on “Appa,” I promised myself that I would not miss out the next year.

That was a promise that I would keep to myself for the remainder of my spring breaks at Holy Cross. I have visited Ivanhoe, Virginia, Barren Springs, Virginia and Wheeling, West Virginia respectively. At each site, I met unique people and came to better understand their struggles. I found myself in parts of Appalachia that I probably would have never experienced, had I not decided to go on Spring Break Immersion.

This year, I went to Wheeling, West Virginia with twelve other students from Holy Cross. I spent the week living and working in The Soup Kitchen of Greater Wheeling. Each day we ate breakfast and lunch with the patrons who visited the soup kitchen, many of whom were homeless. There were numerous times during this experience that I felt like I had ventured outside of my comfort zone. Before this experience, I had never really come into contact with homeless people before. However, this experience was eye opening for me and taught me a lot about the society that I live in and how the homeless are treated.

I am always amazed when I meet my group each year at the Spring Break Immersion send-off held in Kimball. The night consists of an hour or two of making small talk and getting to know one another. Conversation usually revolves around questions like “what grade are you in? or “what is your major?” Usually I find myself wondering if I made the right decision to go away to a place that I have never been before with fellow Holy Cross students who I have never met before. However, after my first day of the service trip, I always know that I made the right decision. This year, I went to Wheeling with twelve strangers and I returned to Holy Cross with twelve new friends. I look forward to seeing my Appa friends around campus in between classes or meeting up at Cool Beans to chat about life.

I am thankful to the Spring Break Immersion program for opening my eyes to the injustices that people in the United States face. I know that the three weeks that I have spent in Appalachia throughout my time at Holy Cross have meant much more to me, than to those that I have served. However, I hope to take these experiences back with me to Holy Cross and wherever my life journey takes me.

 

Our Stellar Senior Interviewers

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

Hello, all! Tom Campbell here, one of the three new Admissions Counselors in the office. I’m here to talk with you about everyone’s favorite topic: aging.

While I have not yet earned the status of senior citizen, at times I certainly feel like one.  As I walk up and down the notorious Holy Cross hills (only a year after graduating from the College, no less) an unfamiliar stiffness can catch me off guard.  My age also belies my old-soul musical tastes–just take a look at my Spotify profile, which boasts far more Fleetwood Mac than Fetty Wap.  At least I use Spotify and not Limewire, right?

So in order to keep me young and hip, cue the other seniors in our Admissions office: our senior interviewers.

12227812_10100751560009587_1195165674966003179_n

photo, author’s own

Not only do these star students effortlessly balance their academics, post-grad planning, extracurricular activities, and admissions office commitments, but they also keep our staff connected with all of the exciting happenings both on and off campus. From traditions such as Senior Ball to new activities such as Unity Week and Agape Latte, our senior interviewers constantly remind all of us about the amazing things that Holy Cross students do, and how dedicated they are to the Crusader community. We are so fortunate that an amazing group of seniors is willing to work in our office and share their experiences with prospective students. Their excitement for the school is tangible, and their participation in our office is just another testament to the level of pride that our students have for the College.

If you come to campus for an interview and meet with a senior interviewer, be sure to ask them questions about their campus involvement, their transition from high school to college, and their favorite Holy Cross memories. After all, Holy Cross is all about asking more, and who better to ask than a current student?

So while growing old might seem daunting to some, take some comfort knowing that some things never change with age. For members of the Holy Cross community, a lasting love for Mount St. James would be a prime example of this. I’m sure seniors and senior citizens alike can agree on that point!

Fetty vs. Fleetwood, on the other hand, is a whole other ball game…

Cheers to our Admissions Ambassadors!

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

As my colleague tweeted earlier this month, 50 students will be spending part of their winter break visiting their former high schools as a way to help promote the College!  We in Admissions are so fortunate to have many great volunteers helping us.  Students serve as greeters in the waiting room talking to prospective students and their families; as tour guides trekking across campus with large groups of visitors; and now as ambassadors speaking to college counselors and students at their old high schools.  I wanted to share with you some of the responses that we received from students applying to participate in the admissions ambassador program.  On the maps below I have marked the ambassadors’ home states and countries!

map

 

Capture

student from Illinois: In just a few semesters, Holy Cross has challenged me academically and personally, pushing me to discover who I am, reflect upon what I want to be in the world, and search what I can do for those most in need. I have found on Mount St. James a tight-knit community and a supportive, warm environment.

student from Minnesota: Not only has living on the East Coast…been a great learning and cultural experience, but I have also come to appreciate all of the aspects that make a Holy Cross education so worthwhile: small class sizes, diverse subjects, close relationships with professors, undergraduate research, and most importantly, a commitment to cultivating “men and women for and with others.”

student from Texas: Holy Cross has given me opportunities that I never imagined I would have. I will be studying abroad in Argentina in the spring, I participate in psychology research, I made m[y] own student organization, and I have met and dined with physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

student from Arkansas: I have loved living in a new part of the country, getting to travel around the Northeast, go to a college that has rigorous academics, play volleyball with my best friends while representing the college, and so much more.

student from Georgia: Since coming to Holy Cross, I have risen through the ranks of The Crusader and will be one of the Co-Editor-in-Chiefs next semester. Also, I have strengthened my spiritual life while serving as the Communion Ministry Coordinator as well as participating in immersion trips. My love for biology has been strengthened through on-campus research investigating diabetes–the skills I acquired…helped me land an internship over the past summer…at Emory University Medical School.

student from Washington: I have been exposed to many different fields in my studies, but all of these challenge you to develop your ability to reason, write, and express yourself.  Furthermore, my experience in the Washington Semester was invaluable.  Not only was I able to apply my classroom knowledge in a professional capacity at the State Department, but I was able to interact with policymakers, United States Senators, and Supreme Court Justices.

student from China: Because I am an international student and an ESL as well, I got extra help on my writing from professors and writer’s workshop. I felt like HC really cares about its students. In this semester, I met with my peer mentor…once a week, my advisor…twice a month,…and [my] class dean once a month. [They] not only cared about my life [at Holy Cross], but also they provided constructive suggestions.

student from Japan: During classes which revolved heavily around student and faculty discussions, from my psych class to even class about Buddhism, there were plenty moments where I was able to offer an unique set of perspectives, just because I grew up in a completely different kind of society with differing tradition, values, and identity. I strongly believe that with the rise of transparency and globalization, willingness to suspend your ideology and values while trying to understand the complete opposite of it is an important skill to have…My time at Holy Cross has been a wonderful one so far, and I’m very proud to be here.

Why Holy Cross? The smiles and thank you’s.

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

As many members of the admissions staff write their biggest answer to “Why Holy Cross,” it just so happened two Associate Directors of Admissions — Andrew Carter and Lynn Verrecchia — separately chose topics that blend quite well together: the general personality and affect of the student body.

 

6a00e54ed0db8e8833010536f8f30b970b-800wiRecently at a college fair, I was asked a most intriguing question by a current high school junior – “What’s your  favorite thing about Holy Cross students?”

This is a great question – a departure from the usual questions about average GPA’s, average class size and overall student enrollment.

After a brief moment of thought, my answer was simple – Holy Cross students say “thank you.”

And it’s not just that they say “thank you,” but that they have a reason to say “thank you.”

This is a campus that values door holding.  And not just door holding for the delivery man carrying a stack of boxes – but door holding for anyone, any time.

The Jesuit principle of “Cura Personalis” encourages all of us to consider and to care for the entire person and while that influences the way we teach and learn and think about our world, it also reminds us that we are not alone – we are not alone in this world, in this moment or in this doorway.

And that is what I’m reminded of every day when I walk around this campus – Holy Cross students know they are not alone and while there might now always be someone to hold the door for, they always pause and check.

And for that pause, that awareness, I say, “thank you.”

Andrew Carter

Associate Director of Admissions

 

 

LynnVerrecchia.BLOG2Why HC? For the smiles.

When I first visited Holy Cross as a prospective student, one thing stood out to me. Everyone was smiling–at one another, to themselves, and at me. I as looking for a sign that this was the right place for me. What I read in those smiles was that HC students like one another, are content with themselves, and are eager to welcome newcomers.

As a student, I certainly found myself smiling–and being smiled at–a lot. As an alumnus, I find myself grinning on the highway when in traffic behind a car sporting a Holy Cross sticker and in line at the grocery store behind someone wearing a Holy Cross sweatshirt. I’ve made fast friends with other parents simply because of a shared affinity for our alma mater. Nothing brings a smile to my face faster than hearing my 3-year-old carefully spell out H-O-L-Y-C-R-O-S-S!

Holy Cross–it can even make you smile in traffic. That’s why.

Lynn Verrecchia ’01

Associate Director of Admissions

Why Holy Cross? Because the excitement never ends

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

AshleyIn the midst of all the “Congratulations” tweets that went out this weekend to accepted students, there were many from alumni reminiscing about when they were accepted.  Student volunteers in our office described the exact second when they found out Holy Cross would be their home for the next four years.  Many alumni and students wished they could go back, open their acceptance letters, and come to Holy Cross all over again.

 

The excitement of your initial acceptance and the welcoming arms of the Holy Cross community never really go away.  Getting accepted is only the beginning. It leads to four years on a beautiful campus surrounded by driven, eager, and social peers. Hundreds of students volunteer their time in our office not only because they love this place but also because they are excited to tell others just how much they love this place.

 

Eventually, you become a fond alum who still remembers their acceptances because it was the catalyst that spurred those friendships, memories, and connections on this campus. Of course, this is common on many college campuses; what makes Holy Cross a special place, however, is that these connections don’t end when you accept your diploma. Lifetime friendships are formed, passions are discovered, and lives are changed.

 

If you think I am being dramatic, I dare you to speak to Holy Cross graduates who aren’t eager to share their experiences — and perhaps also tell you how they found their spouse, best friend, mentor, colleague, and calling here.  I think they would back me up.

 

So that feeling you had when you saw the word “accepted” in your letter? That feeling doesn’t go away.

Ashley Johnson

Admissions Counselor

What It’s Like to Be a Walk-On

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

NiWhalen_TNck Whalen, HC ’15, is a tour guide & a member of the Holy Cross men’s rowing team.

 

When I was in high school, I didn’t really think that I would be participating in varsity athletics at a collegiate level. I was a fairly good athlete, but there was hardly a queue of Division I head coaches scrambling to give me an athletic scholarship. In fact, precisely zero collegiate coaches expressed any interest in having me row for them. Despite that, I am about to enter my third spring racing season on the men’s varsity rowing team.

As a walk-on, I have no reason to be an athlete other than for my own enjoyment. However, being a student-athlete at Holy Cross is an experience that I’ve found to be immensely rewarding so far. Beyond the thrill of competition, participating in varsity sports has provided me with a great support network of friends and teammates, the impetus to wake up early and be productive, and not to mention an excellent physical fitness regiment! Of course, those benefits also apply to club and intramural sports as well (although, you’re slightly less likely to have a 6 a.m. weightlifting session for intramural wiffleball). Some club sports even have pre-season training trips!

One thing that I would emphasize about being a student-athlete at Holy Cross though is that the term “student-athlete” begins with “student.” Here, you really are a student first. We take great pride in the athletic achievements of our peers here on the hill, but the discipline needed to be a successful athlete at a Division I level is expected to be demonstrated the classroom, too. You won’t be on your own, though: Holy Cross offers a wide array of resources to help all students in their academic pursuits. Office hours with professors, major-specific peer-tutoring workshops with upperclassmen, or even just a study group with friends are examples of all the opportunities available to Holy Cross students as they strive to make the most of their classes.

While being a student-athlete is certainly a huge commitment in terms of both time and energy, it does not have to be at the expense of other activities or academic success. Who knows – in a few years, I might be reading about how led your team to the Patriot League title and also won a Fulbright the same semester!

How Victoria Aramini, HC ’14, secured her job

Monday, January 13th, 2014

AraminiVictoria Aramini is one of our current seniors who has successfully secured a job after she graduates from Holy Cross. A huge factor in her success, she maintains, is the Holy Cross Career Planning Office.

 

 

As a current senior here at the College, I have been in and out of the career planning office more times than I can count. Now, I know as prospective students reading this blog you’re probably most concerned with topics such as the quality of the food on campus and/or how nice the dorms are as you embark on your college selection and application process. Life after college is likely not high up on your list of things to worry about, but let me put this in perspective for you: College is a stepping stone. Life exists after you graduate. After four years, you are expected to put everything you’ve learned to good use, right?

 

Holy Cross has the resources that will make life after college enjoyable and fulfilling. The alumni network is truly remarkable. Graduates not only offer their advice and their time to current Holy Cross students but also bring promising, meaningful experiences in the form of internships and jobs. A lot of this relationship-building is done through our Career Planning Office; the office also provides a huge number of workshops and networking events.

 

Career counselors are also available for various student needs. Whether a student is looking for some helpful tips regarding a cover letter or resume, hoping for some direction with a career aptitude test, or participating in a mock interview, there’s a career counselor ready to roll. Speaking from experience, I have emailed many counselors over the years with incredibly broad questions (not to mention I’ve asked these questions at all hours of the day… including the wee hours of the morning), and I am happy to report that I’ve always received thoughtful, detailed responses. During my job search this past fall, I was provided with personalized attention and recommendations that made my search manageable.

 

Career Planning at Holy Cross absolutely has my nomination as one of the best offices and resources on campus. They are an approachable and helpful group of people that I cannot speak highly enough about!

An Admissions Intern’s Perspective

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Sam Zurn, a current junior, has spent the fall semester completing an internship in the Admissions Office as part of the College’s Academic Internship Program. Now that his internship is complete, he provided us with some thoughts:

 

“So what do students actually do on weekends?” the parents ask, tentatively probing the party-life waters, much to their son or daughter’s dismay. It’s a loaded question, but one Holy Cross students working in admissions are accustomed to answering. Some of the parents ask this with a smirk, leading me to believe that they’re recalling some of their own rowdy college weekends, while others seem to be imagining their child trapped in a scene from Animal House.

As students working in admissions, we have all developed our own approach to answering this, though all rooted in honesty. I typically acknowledge the partying, then stress the alternatives to drinking students engage in that are provided by the school.

Recently, however, when the ole reliable question arises, I find myself thinking more about the open houses, the conferences, the college fairs and the high school visits that have comprised some of my weekends this semester.

This year I’ve been working as an intern in the Office of Admissions and as a result, I’ve got to see some exciting new responsibilities in the world of admissions. Working in admissions after college has always intrigued me. Among other reasons, I enjoy the type of person the job attracts and it’s one that requires the interpersonal skills I’ve continued to refine. So, after reaching out to some of the admissions counselors I had worked with in the past, they were able to create a position for me through the Academic Internship Program in which I was enrolled.

From the front desk, to the mailing room, to interview shadowing, I’ve gotten the inside scoop on the many different components that help our admissions office run smoothly. Even outside the office I’ve gotten to do some pretty cool stuff.

I remember one of my first days I walked into the office to check in with my supervisor, Diane. She goes, “Would you want to co-present our tour guide program at a New England admissions conference? Because I already signed us up…” Talk about starting off with a bang! But I think we made a pretty good team.

Over the past couple months, the entire admissions team has been wonderfully supportive while showing me the ropes, and I guess that’s why it’s always on my mind when I hear parents ask the question. So what do I actually do on the weekends? Well, I encourage prospective students, I explain our Jesuit identity, I brag about our campus, but most importantly, I spread the Purple Pride.

What to do in The Woo, Part I

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

JuliaSandersAs a Worcester native, and a representative of the Holy Cross admissions office, I spend a lot of time excitedly talking to prospective students about the city affectionately nicknamed “the Woo.”

There are many things that make Worcester an ideal college town and, over the next few months, I’d like to highlight a few of my favorites.  I hope this will benefit current Holy Cross students and future Crusaders alike.

So, without further ado, I give you the best of Worcester, installment one:

 

Question:  What should I do on a Saturday afternoon when there isn’t a football game?

Answer:  “WAM and Wooberry”

Start the day by taking the Consortium Shuttle to the Worcester Art Museum.  I love this museum because it is doable in one afternoon.  It’s a beautiful space that has a little of everything:  from ancient works to Van Gogh to Warhol.  It’s also free with your Holy Cross ID card.  Fun Fact:  A few scenes from David O. Russell’s widely anticipated film “American Hustle” were shot at the museum.

All that art-viewing is sure to leave you ready to indulge in a sweet treat.  A few short blocks away you’ll find the sweetest addition to the Highland Street corridor, Wooberry frozen yogurt.  Featuring an ever-changing assortment of flavors (Mango, Salted Caramel, and Pumpkin are just a few) , you’re sure to find something to make you smile.

Hope these suggestions help!  Feel free to call the admissions office if you’d like some more.

Move-In Day: An incoming freshman’s perspective

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Robbie Carter, an incoming first-year student from Tampa, Fla., took some time to reflect on the craziness and community that is Holy Cross Move-In Day.


August 24 had finally arrived and only one single thought was continuously running through my head: Move-in Day at Holy Cross! Driving up Mount St. James for the first time as a student, I experienced a unique mixture of fear, excitement, nervousness, and joy as I approached Mulledy, my home for the next year.

The very second I pulled into the parking spot, however, all feelings of anxiety melted away as I was swarmed with a blur of blue “Holy Cross Move-In Day 2013” T-shirts and smiling faces, each one greeting me with a genuine (and loud) “WELCOME TO HOLY CROSS!”  The move-in crew instantly unloaded my car and brought my bags up to my room. They clearly knew the drill. My roommate followed shortly behind, and within a mere hour my room was all set up.

Having nothing else to do until the closing Mass of the Holy Spirit at 4 p.m., I decided to squeeze in a workout at the field house. There, I bumped into two of my future upperclassmen teammates on the rowing team who were in the middle of their workout. They instantly introduced themselves and seemed genuinely excited to have me on the team for the upcoming Fall and Spring season. Even more, they stuck around for an extra half hour to watch and cheer me on during my workout.

Those 30 minutes epitomized my Holy Cross move in experience: the instantaneous acceptance and genuine excitement displayed by all the students towards the incoming freshmen was simply incredible. There was no apparent hierarchy of class rank that distinguished the students from one another; it was simply one big happy family that was there to help support their newest siblings as they began their journey through Holy Cross.

After only a few hours on campus, I had knew I made the right choice on where I would build my home for the next four years of my life.

For the full Move-In Day experience (without actually doing it!), click here: Holy Cross Move-In Day