Why I Chose Holy Cross and to become a Senior Interviewer

   

One role that I have on campus is as a Senior Interviewer in the Office of Admission. The reason why I wanted to become a Senior Interviewer and even come to Holy Cross in the first place are intertwined. Let me rewind to my senior spring in high school, in the midst of the decision-making process. I will be honest; I really did not know where I wanted to attend college. After countless college visits, all of the schools seemed to blend together, except for one – Holy Cross. Even still, the main reason that Holy Cross stood out to me was because my older sister attended the school, and I couldn’t decide if that was a good or bad thing at the time. However, there was a significant turning point in my college search that made Holy Cross stand out in a way which made me think it was the school for me.

 

The shift happened when I went on campus for my interview with the Admission Office. I was interviewed by a Senior Interviewer, one who made the interview feel more like a conversation, rather than a high stress situation. I remember leaving the interview thinking, “Was that REALLY an interview?” The interviewer made me feel so comfortable and at home, which opened my eyes and made me realize that those feelings spread beyond that office nestled in Fenwick. As I was walking around campus right after that interview, I realized that the Senior Interviewer reminded me of so many other Holy Cross students in the best way. Their friendly demeanor, their willingness to smile and hold the door open for me, even if I was quite some ways back, was apparent. They all looked happy to be on the Hill and to be part of the Crusader Community and I thought that was something I wanted to be a part of.

 

 As time passed and the deadline loomed, I started to think less and less about my decision and put more stock into how I felt, and I felt that Holy Cross was the place for me. It was thanks to the Senior Interviewer and all of the other friendly faces who make up the Holy Cross community that made me realize that Holy Cross was the place that I wanted to call home for the next four years. As a senior now with my days as a student dwindling down, I can say that they were some of the best of my life.  

 

 

Mike Peplowski ’20

 

Hey folks! My name is Mike Peplowski and I am a senior History major from Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Outside of the classroom I spend my time with organizations such as Working for Worcester, a student-run nonprofit, and programs such as Spring Break Immersion, to name a few. I am also on the Club Soccer team and love hanging out with my friends at Memorial Plaza (when it’s warm enough!).

Community Based Learning

 

          Community Based Learning (CBL) is an incredible program at Holy Cross and I think best represents the mission of the school. It gives students the opportunity to connect what is being taught in the classroom to the outside community, and incorporate the Jesuit mission of “Men and Women for and with others”. A professor can choose to make their course a CBL course which means the students are required to participate in a range of projects and direct service opportunities that meet community identified needs right here in Worcester. These courses are offered in a wide variety of disciplines and almost all students participate in a CBL course during their time at Holy Cross.

         I have participated in many different CBL courses which has opened my eyes to a whole other aspect of my education, and has allowed me to be more integrated in the Worcester community. During my first year at Holy Cross, one of my Spanish courses had a CBL component. Each week I would go to a high school in Worcester that had a large ESL (English Second Language) student population. Using my Spanish, I would help students with their homework and classwork. It was an opportunity to put my Spanish into practice, and to see the opportunities and value that come with studying Spanish. I ended up declaring the Spanish major at the end of this course

         As a sophomore, I took a Social Ethics course, which again, had a CBL component. For this course I went to Mercy Centre, an organization for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities through Catholic Charities. I then completed a project connecting what I had learned at Mercy Centre to what I had learned in class. Thanks to this class, I continued to attend Mercy Centre throughout my time at Holy Cross. It opened my eyes to a whole new community in Worcester and allowed me to continue to incorporate the work of Mercy Centre into the goals of my other courses. This semester (2nd semester of senior year), I am in a Seeking Justice course. It is a course with a focus on the Jesuit mission of seeking justice during our time at Holy Cross. A lot of what we discuss and our experiences stem from our participation in CBL. This program has been one of the most impactful programs I have participated in during my time at Holy Cross.

 

Shannon Quirk ’20

 

Hi! I’m Shannon Quirk from Kensington, MD. I am a senior Economics and Spanish double major at Holy Cross. In addition to being involved in admissions as a Senior Interviewer and a Tour Guide, I am also involved in the Pre-Business program, a program outside of my majors to prepare for a career in business. I volunteer at the Mercy Centre through our Community Based Learning program, and I am the co-chair of the Women in Business Club. One of the highlights of my Holy Cross experience was spending my junior year studying abroad in León, Spain, fully immersed in the Spanish language and culture. I have loved my four years here, not only because of the incredible education and opportunities I have received, but also because of the community here on campus.

The Center for Career Development—Internships and Experiences

 

     One of the great resources we have on campus is the Center for Career Development which is a great place to explore future career paths. The center features valuable workshops, caring advisors and connections to helpful alumni. In my first year, I started by working on my resumé and connecting with an advisor. The resumé workshop was a great place for me to start so I could use that resumé to apply for internships and future jobs. I also was appointed an advisor based on my interests and placed in the Health Professions and Life Sciences Career Community. Within my first semester, I was getting involved in the Career Center and making myself a competitive job applicant.

         A unique opportunity Holy Cross offers is the Alumni Job Shadowing Program. This program runs during fall break, winter break, and spring break. Within this program, Holy Cross students apply to shadow an alumnus in a field that they are interested in. The Career Center matches students based on their career pursuits and location. I was matched with a physician that I was able to shadow for a day, which allowed me to meet his patients, watch his interactions and see how the healthcare field works in a private practice. For me, it was helpful to watch the fast-moving day as well as ask questions to the Holy Cross graduate. Not only did I make an amazing connection with an alumnus, but he also connected me to a few other Holy Cross graduates who also were willing to answer any questions I had. After only one full semester at Holy Cross, I had already found the value in using The Center for Career Development.

         During the academic year, The Center for Career Development also hosts networking events on campus. They invite alumni from various fields and graduation years to come back to campus to meet with students to talk about their career paths and provide advice. These were always helpful events to hear questions answered by the panelists, while also giving students the opportunity to network after the panel session. I enjoyed having the opportunity to talk with alumni and learning more about where they work and how their journey has progressed. Our online program, Handshake, allows students to look for jobs and internships, as well as communicate with the Holy Cross Center for Career Development advisors.

         During my junior year, I knew I wanted to secure an internship for the following summer. The search for this internship started early and was aided by the help of the Center for Career Development. Finding the perfect internship would give me the proper experience to grow and improve my skills. In the fall of my junior year, I applied for the Crusader Internship Fund. This is a wonderful opportunity for rising juniors and seniors at Holy Cross to receive funding for unpaid internships. The Crusader Internship Fund is supported by alumni and generous parents to help students gain experience and connections through summer internships. I applied for the Crusader Internship Fund before I even found my internship. In April of my junior year, through the help of a former Holy Cross graduate, I accepted an internship at Sargent Rehabilitation Center in Warwick, Rhode Island. Sargent Rehabilitation Center helps children ages 3-to-21 years old who are struggling with severe learning disabilities often related to neurological impairment, such as autism and seizure disorders. I loved going into my internship each day and gaining new work experiences. Through my internship, I realized my desire to work with children in a healthcare setting. I am thankful to the Center for Career Development and our connection with wonderful alumni for helping to set up my internship and teaching me something new every day.

 

Meghan Murray ’20

 

My name is Meaghan Murray and I am from Narragansett, Rhode Island. I am a senior biology major and environmental studies minor. On campus, I am involved in admissions as a senior interviewer and campus tour guide. In addition, I am also part of the campus liturgical ministry and I work at the Luth Athletic Complex. I am interested in pursuing a career in healthcare, either nursing or occupational therapy. Over my years at Holy Cross, I found healthcare to be my interest in career choice through internships, shadowing and conversations with alumni.

 

 

How I Found Myself in Holy Cross’ Jesuit Identity

 

Coming from a Jesuit high school in Houston, Texas, I came to Holy Cross thinking I knew where to look for the Ignatian spirituality and close community I’d loved back home. I was excited to hang out in Campion House and enjoy the warm cookies baked daily for students on campus. I’d go to Mass on Sunday nights and I’d sign up for the first year retreats everyone was talking about. These were all great ideas, but I was missing the core of what Jesuit spiritual identity is: being with others and living in community.

For starters, I didn’t even know where to begin looking. Literally, the first time I walked up to the Chaplain’s house, I couldn’t find the entrance. It’s on the side of the hill, past the cemetery, up from Loyola. The door IS the one that’s right past the steps in on the side of the house. But, I, in my confident, assured way, knew that couldn’t possibly be the door to a student space. That looked too much like a home.

It took 3 weeks of me passing by and waiting to see someone else go in the door, before I allowed myself to follow them.

I like to think of this experience as a metaphor for my entire spiritual journey in college. I came in thinking God would be in this one place, and when I couldn’t find him there, I didn’t know where to look. The problem wasn’t that the Jesuit identity or community was missing, but that I couldn’t see it, even when it was right in front of me.

Holy Cross’ Jesuit identity extends far beyond the pews in St. Joseph’s chapel. One of the greatest examples of this came in my first semester at Holy Cross, when I participated in a solidarity rally in Worcester, the night the city was deciding how to move forward on legislation declaring Worcester would not be a sanctuary city for migrants. I and hundreds of other protestors, including multiple buses full of Holy Cross students, stood outside of City Hall, chanting, “Immigrants are welcome here!” over and over again. When I turned around, I recognized a familiar face, Fr. Boroughs, the president of our school wearing a thick down puffer coat. He wasn’t there as a political or religious leader, he was there as a person whose voice was equal to all of ours, in solidarity with the community. 

To me, this is the example I would like to recognize and live by. Knowing that his voice as a community member who listened first and spoke when called to do so, Fr. Boroughs exemplified the power of humility and solidarity. Jesuit identity means being drawn into the community, not just as a leader but sometimes as a voice among the crowd. The greatest lesson I learned at Holy Cross was not just how to lead, but to listen, and to use my voice where it can do the most good. I am proud to be a woman for and with others. 

Throughout my four years at Holy Cross, my faith has grown in ways I never expected: through the contemplative and reflective questions asked in each of my classes, to the conversations I had with new friends in Kimball, to my days spent studying abroad in Italy and Perú, to the care each and every professor had for me in their classes. And now as I look back on my time at Holy Cross, I can only hope to use what I have learned not only in Loyola Chapel and in my classes, but also that day in front of city hall, to go forth and set the world on fire.

 

Johanna Mackin ’20

Johanna Mackin is a senior Political Science major with a self-designed Migration Studies minor and a Latin American, Latinx, and Caribbean Studies concentration. She is from Houston, Texas and spent junior year abroad in Italy and Peru. On campus, she is involved in the Office of Admission as a greeter, overnight host, and a retreat leader.

Food Allergies and Dietary Restrictions

 

Growing up with food allergies, I always was focused on eating as many home cooked meals as possible. I brought my lunch to school every day, and knew whatever my Mom had made for me would be safe to eat. Knowing I couldn’t take that with me to college, I was definitely a little scared to see what it would be like navigating food allergies in college. 

Fortunately for me, Holy Cross has one of the most student-friendly and well-run food allergy programs in the world. Right from being accepted to the school, I was able to work with school dietitians, the Office of Accessibility Services, and Holy Cross Dining to make sure I had the necessary accommodations so that my food allergies wouldn’t inhibit my college experience. At Holy Cross, students with food allergies are able to order “a la carte” what they would like to eat the next day, and when they would like to pick it up. With both takeout and dine in options for me at Kimball Dining Hall, my food allergies have never been easier to manage. 

The team of chefs Holy Cross dining employed to make meals tailored to my dietary needs constantly went above and beyond to make sure that I not only had safe food to eat, but also I had the best tasting food on campus. I cannot thank them enough for how much they’ve done for me over these last four years. 

 

James Neville ’20

James is a senior Political Science major with a concentration in Peace and Conflict Studies from New Canaan, Connecticut. On campus, he’s part of the Admission Office as a tour guide and senior interviewer, the co-chair for Pax Christi, and Holy Cross Rock Climbing Club. He participated in the Washington DC semester and interned at the State Department within the Office of Russian Affairs. He also participated in the Moscow Maymester program, interned at Save the Children, and is a member of the National Political Science Honors Society. After graduation, James is working at Heidrick and Struggles. 

Choosing a Major

 

Hi everyone! My name is Michaela Lake, I am a sophomore Psychology major at the College, working as a Social Media Intern for the Admissions Office.  I have noticed through talking to prospective students and parents, and working our Open House, that a lot of students are curious about the process of declaring a major, and what exactly that process looks like here at Holy Cross. I know personally that choosing a major can be stressful, and looks different from college to college, so I thought I would share more of what the process looks like here.

All first-year students come into Holy Cross their first semester undeclared. This allows students to explore different academic disciplines across departments, helping solidify an academic interest, ultimately helping plan the next three years at the College. Personally, I found this to be very beneficial to my academic track, and relieved some of my stress about my first year. Coming in undeclared allowed me to feel less pressure and constraint on what I could study, and allowed me to take a variety of classes across my different interests. In my first semester on the Hill, I was able to take an Education course, as well as a Political Science class, and get a better sense of what I was passionate about, and what classes and academic track that would fit my passion. Even though coming in undeclared can seem overwhelming, it is actually a really nice benefit for first year students, not having to stay on one track from the onset of their first semester through graduation.

At the beginning of their first semester, first-year students consult and meet their first-year advisors. First-year advisors are an awesome resource for students, especially when it comes to deciding a major; they are here to get to know you and your interests, and are there to help facilitate your academic track. Advisors check in throughout the semester, and are available to answer any questions or concerns about classes, alleviate any stress, and talk to students about their interests. First-year advisors can direct students’ questions to other departments if they are unsure of an answer themselves, and can recommend what classes to take or professors to talk to going forward at Holy Cross. I can safely say my first-year advisor was a great resource for me, answering my questions about different classes and programs, and made me feel confident going forward in my academic track at Holy Cross.

Classes first semester of freshman year are a great way to guide any sort of interest a student would have. A part of why I personally chose Holy Cross was the liberal arts education, something that gave me the most academic freedom. As I wrote earlier, I took a variety of classes my freshman year, and this was a great way for me to decide on my academic track at Holy Cross. Part of the beauty of the Liberal Arts curriculum is that students can take a variety of courses while also fulfilling course requirements for graduation. Taking a breadth of courses across disciplines, especially in a student’s first year, satisfies the requirements of our liberal arts curriculum, while also providing the opportunity to explore what exactly they want to major in.

Going to college allows for students to pursue their academic interests with more freedom for the first time, something that can seem overwhelming. 

My advice to incoming students at Holy Cross is to take introductory-level courses that spark your interest. For example, if you are considering majoring in Economics, take a 100-level course and get a sense of what an academic track as an Economics major would like. Loved your French class in high school? Take a French class! Enroll in classes that spark your interest, and this will help facilitate a sense of what you would like to take going into the rest of your experience at Holy Cross. 

The best advice I could give to prospective and incoming students regarding selecting a major is do not feel like there is a rush to declare. Students at Holy Cross can declare as early as their second semester freshman year, and can change their major at any point through the end of their second semester of their sophomore year. The best thing students can do to solidify what major they should pursue is to take their time, explore any possible interests, communicate with their advisors, and keep an open mind heading into their college experience. Enjoy your academic freedom, and an academic track will become clear!

 

Michaela Lake ’22