Home Far Away from Home


Hello everyone, my name is Catherine Oberlies! I am a senior at the College studying Math and Computer Science, and I am from Omaha, Nebraska. While I love the Midwest, my college search and application processes consisted mostly of schools in the Northeast. My dad grew up in a big family from upstate New York, and every summer since as long as I can remember, my family and I have spent a week on Cape Cod vacationing with his entire extended family—lots of my cousins, aunts, and uncles. As a result, I grew up associating Massachusetts and the Northeast with some of my favorite memories from my childhood, and when it came time to think about where to go to college, I was consequently drawn to the Northeast. However, this was not the only reason I chose to apply to and ultimately attend a school halfway across the country—I wanted to further explore, live in, and meet people from another part of the country. Additionally, I felt that attending college twelve hundred miles away from home would force me to become independent which is something I wanted for myself, and something that I definitely got out of my decision to attend Holy Cross.

While I applied to other colleges and universities in the Northeast, it was Holy Cross that stood out to me as the best out of all of them. I was drawn to Holy Cross for numerous reasons: its rigorous, liberal arts curriculum (I knew that I wanted to study math or a science field, but I also wanted to have a well-rounded education consisting of humanities courses); the various clubs, organizations, and opportunities it has to offer; the beautiful campus; and most importantly, its small, tight-knit community. I attended a small, Catholic high school (my graduating class was 76 girls!) and became very close with almost all my classmates and teachers, which is something I really enjoyed in high school and contributed to my personal, social, and academic growth and success. As a result, this is something that I wanted in a college, too. Furthermore, at the time of application and decision, I had heard only positive things about Holy Cross.

Looking back on my years at Holy Cross and reflecting on my perspective as a high school student regarding the things that made Holy Cross attractive, I was surprisingly accurate. I chose Holy Cross for all the right reasons—reasons that are now some of my favorite things about the College as a current student. The “community” is easily my favorite thing about Holy Cross. As cliché as it sounds, Holy Cross is a family. I love seeing and saying “hi” to friends and classmates as I walk around campus. I love that my classmates are more than just other students in my classes, they are my friends. I love that I am more than just a number at Holy Cross—all of my professors know me and want me to learn and succeed. My sophomore year, I took a Sociology class called Consumer and Corporation Sustainability with Professor Ellis Jones. I walked into class on the first day, and he had already memorized every student’s name and face from our pictures in our online student portal. I was so pleased and impressed, and it continues to impress me. Throughout my years at Holy Cross, I have found that all my professors have made a strong effort to get to know me—they care about their students’ personal and academic growth and success. Furthermore, I have found that Holy Cross professors are all extremely dedicated to their profession. Many of my professors are always willing to find a time to meet with me, even outside of their regularly scheduled office hours. This is something that you don’t get at most schools and has contributed to my academic growth and success throughout college.

Attending Holy Cross has allowed me to meet other people from all around the country. My close friends are from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Washington DC, Wisconsin, and California. As a result, I have had the opportunity to visit these states and explore many parts of the country that I wouldn’t have if I stayed in Nebraska for college.

I chose to become a Senior Admission Fellow because the senior Holy Cross student that interviewed me four years ago had a big impact on me and my college decision. I remember the interview vividly. My senior student interviewer was so passionate about Holy Cross, even stating that her decision to attend Holy Cross was one of the best decisions that she had ever made. My conversation with her helped me to solidify that Holy Cross really was my first choice. So, after falling in love with Holy Cross throughout my years here I chose to become a Senior Admission Fellow to help impact prospective students, the same way that my Senior Admission Fellow impacted me when I interviewed a few years ago.

I respect and understand Holy Cross’ encouragement for prospective students to interview as a supplement to their written application. Interviewing provides the Office of Admission with a better understanding of the student as a person. These interviews are not intimidating, but rather more of a casual conversation that allows the Office of Admission to get to know the personality behind an application and transcript. Additionally, it provides applicants/interviewees with more information about Holy Cross, so they can make a much more informed college decision.

            Even though I am twelve hundred miles from my home in Omaha, I have found a home here, too, at this amazing place on Mount Saint James. My decision to attend Holy Cross is one of the best decisions that I have made, and I am so lucky to attend such an amazing institution and be a part of such a great community. I hope that through the conversations I have with prospective students in interviews, I can provide a glimpse of how truly special Holy Cross is.

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