What will you miss most about Holy Cross?


What will I miss most about Holy Cross?

In March 2020, my fellow social media intern, Michaela Lake, and I had the opportunity to travel to Ivanhoe, Virginia as part of the College’s Spring Break Immersion Program. The experience was transformative, to say the least. I recall that much of our week in Ivanhoe was spent learning – about ourselves, each other, and the people of the community that had welcomed us with open arms. Some of the lessons I learned that week I have kept with me to this day; others, understandably, have faded from my memory over the past two years.

And yet there is one lesson I will never forget:

“It comes from the people.”

These words were offered to us in parting by Maxine Waller, a beloved community organizer and activist who had spent over three decades serving as President of the Ivanhoe Civic League, and whose presence we cherished during our brief time in Ivanhoe.

Maxine passed away on November 6, 2020, shortly after our time visiting the community. Yet her legacy lives on, namely through the simple lesson she left us with:

It comes from the people.

When I think back on my four years at Holy Cross, I think it’s fair to say that mixed emotions are to be expected. Seemingly, each and every moment of triumph my classmates and I experienced was marred by instances of loss and hardship – being sent home due to COVID-19 immediately upon our return from Ivanhoe is but a microcosm of this turbulence. And yet, amid the uncertainty, one defining element of Holy Cross remained constant:

It comes from the people.

In my experience, it comes from the people I’ve worked with in the classroom on group projects and discussions, whether friend or stranger. It comes from the people I’ve been lucky enough to have as professors, whose ideas challenged me in my intellectual growth at every corner. It comes from the people who work tirelessly to provide the campus with food or with clean facilities, whose friendliness and devotion I took for granted so many times. It comes from the people I’ve worked with in the Chaplain’s Office, whose guidance has proven instrumental in my spiritual development. It comes from these people, and from so many others.

But most of all, it comes from the people I’ve had the privilege to love and call my friends.

I never thought I’d meet quite as many people here who were capable of changing my life for the better. Each and every one of my friends has never ceased to amaze me in terms of their talents, their intelligence, their humor, their resilience, and their stories. Whether on the intramural battlefield or in sharing a Cool Beans milkshake with those who matter most, nothing sums up my experience at Holy Cross quite like the people I have met along the way. Without these people, I’m not quite sure where I’d be.

My advice to those who, unlike myself, have a great deal of time remaining to experience Holy Cross and all it has to offer: Enjoy it, for all that it is. It will not be perfect, but neither are we. Soak in the little things, as they are moments that will not last forever. In the midst of a busy schedule, make time for yourself. But above all else, always make time for and with others. Because, as Maxine reminds us,

It comes from the people.


– Aidan Ruppert, Class of 2022


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