Looking Ahead to Next Semester

Hi everyone! I hope you all enjoyed the holidays and found time to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends. In addition to preparing for next semester, I was also excited to work for a bit as a lifeguard and catch up with friends from home.

I am excited for all my classes this semester, and I can’t wait to get back to Worcester! This semester I am taking Theory of Music 4 and History of Western Music 2, both continuations of courses from last semester; Biology of Addiction, for my science common area requirement; and French Rebels and Revolutionaries in the history department. I already have reading for some of my classes! Additionally, I will be back on campus as a tour guide as well as volunteer at Nativity School Worcester (the best SPUD site, in my opinion) and playing in the jazz ensemble and chamber orchestra.

Before the semester really gets going, next weekend I will be participating in Dance Marathon for the second time for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF). I will be staying up from 8PM on Friday night to 8AM Saturday morning, dancing (or at least standing) the night away. This event was so much fun last year, and I look forward to helping such a great cause with some wonderful friends!

Next weekend I will also attend Spring Break Immersion Program (SBIP) Reveal Night, where I find out where and with whom I will be spending my alternative spring break. I participated in this program last year and had a meaningful experience volunteering with a group of Holy Cross students in Glasgow, VA, many of whom are still some of my good friends. I am looking forward to meeting this new group of students and growing, learning, and serving with them in a new community this March!

That’s all I have before I move back to Worcester–check back in soon to hear about Dance Marathon and Reveal Night!


Ending the First Semester!

Hi everyone! I hope everyone managed to survive exams (if you had them) and is ready for the holidays! My first semester ended in quite a rush of events, from a brief break at Thanksgiving to a jazz concert, recital, Lessons and Carols, and of course final exams.

Before the stress of exams set in, students packed into the chapel for my favorite performance of the year, Lessons and Carols. This year was the our 30th year performing the concert at Holy Cross, which was started at King’s College in the UK in 1918. It combines nine Bible readings and selections from the college choir, chamber singers, organists, and orchestra, always opening with “Once In Royal David’s City.” We had been rehearsing for the performance in conjunction with the choir for about a month, and we were all so excited to share our work and the Christmas spirit! The evening was extra festive as Kimball served its special holiday dinner the same evening, featuring roast beef, mashed potatoes, salads, hot chocolate, and much more!

The chapel was decorated beautifully for Lessons and Carols (Credit: my mom!)

In the weeks following Lessons and Carols, as classes ended, students became more engaged with studying and preparing for final exams and papers. While students spend most of their days in the libraries, studying away, the rest of the campus focuses on supporting the students in whatever way they can. Holy Cross Dining serves midnight breakfast, first in Kimball with Jesuits helping to serve food and later in Crossroads with many deans and other employees in student affairs. Libraries are open for 24 hours, and many on-campus groups bring in therapy dogs and sponsor other stress relieving activities. Even if it doesn’t seem like it will ever end, all students were out of the rush of exams by December 15 to enjoy a well-earned break!

As much as I love life at Holy Cross, I am looking forward to spending time at home to relax and enjoy the holidays with family and friends. Merry Christmas!

Check back in soon to hear about Dance Marathon (quickly approaching!), moving back in, and my new classes!

Family Weekend & Orchestra Concert!

Hi everyone! Hope you’re all enjoying the beautiful autumn weather that has graced Mt St James these past couple days (when it is not raining!). I don’t have too much to say, as I’m spending most of my time in the library working on big projects and papers. But I did manage to have some fun on Family Weekend and perform this past week with the orchestra!

Two weekends ago Holy Cross invited the parents and families of students to come to campus for a variety of events as part of Family Weekend. While the weather certainly was not on our side, most events went on as scheduled! Although tailgating was tough, our football team beat Lehigh 56-0 (even though the band had to leave at half time to save the instruments!). There were also a variety of musical performances, including the Jazz Ensemble Concert the Friday night (which I was a part of!) as well as a music showcase on Saturday afternoon and two a cappella shows on Saturday evening. Everyone had a great time in spite of the Nor’easter!

This past week was one of my favorite events of the year: the Holy Cross Chamber Orchestra concert! We worked on Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 all semester and we were rewarded with a wonderful concert this past week. Thanks to everyone who attended! Our next performance is Lessons and Carols (my other favorite concert)–a big Christmas concert with the choir.

Check in soon for another November update about chamber music recitals and extended orientation events with Gateways!

Sophomore Retreat and Music Performances!

Hi everyone! Hope you’re all enjoying the beautiful fall weather we’ve been having here in Worcester! These past few weeks have been super busy but  I found time to get to the Joyce Contemplative Center for a retreat and attend a couple amazing performances sponsored by the Music Department.

The view is still beautiful even on a cloudy day from the patio at the Joyce Contemplative Center

This past weekend I was able to get away from campus for a bit and visit the beautiful Joyce Contemplative Center, opened in September 2016. It’s only about 20 minutes from campus, but it feels like a world away! I visited for two nights as part of a sophomore retreat focused on reflection, and how to find purpose in our various paths at Holy Cross, especially as we face a lot of decisions about study abroad, internships, and declaration of majors. The retreat is rooted in Ignatian spirituality and is inclusive of all faith backgrounds and traditions, like all things at Holy Cross. Although I didn’t walk away from the retreat knowing exactly what I want to do with my life, I have the tools to be able to reflect and figure it out!

Declan (a senior leader) and some of the sophomores and I enjoying the view from the patio of the Joyce Contemplative Center

In addition to hearing talks from our wonderful leaders (shoutout to Declan, Lilly, and Caroline for sharing!), we also found time to bond as a group, including going on a hike on the trails around the center as well as playing games and doing puzzles after our final prayer in the evening. I was able to make a lot of new friends and strengthened many existing friendships!

Additionally, I attended two wonderful performances sponsored by the music department these past two weeks. One was Mike Monaghan and Friends, a jazz concert with our jazz professor, Mike Monaghan and some of his SUPER cool music friends (including a pianist for the Boston Pops and a drummer who played with Dizzy Gillespie). As always, it was a great take for jazz players as well as newcomers to the genre, and everyone appreciated their immense skill and talent!

Just yesterday, violinist Michelle Ross visited campus and played a concert with two of our Artists-in-Residence, Adam Golka and Jan Muller-Szeraws. Their program was beautiful as well as moving — truly one of the best performances I have attended here! In addition to performing some truly amazing music, Maestra Ross attended a rehearsal for the Chamber Orchestra and provided some of her skilled insights as a former guest concertmaster for the London Symphony Orchestra. In addition to being a skilled player, she is a wonderful person and shared some meaningful art with us here in Worcester!

Looking ahead, this coming weekend is Family Weekend — a great weekend not just because families visit, but because there are a lot of fun shows and events for students and families, including a jazz concert, a cappella performances, and a football game! I also have my first big history paper due next week, so hopefully I can sneak out of the library and enjoy some of the fun events!

Fall on Campus: Apple Picking, Homecoming, and Fall Break!

Hi everyone, and happy autumn! I am so excited for fall this year because it is (in my opinion) the best time to be on campus at Holy Cross. These past couple weeks have been fall filled, from picking apples with my friends to midterms to tailgating and ultimately heading home for Fall Break!

Two weekends ago my friends and I piled into two minivans and drove about 20 minutes off campus to a local farm to pick apples. Even though we go to school in a city, rural central Massachusetts is never too far away! My friends and I enjoyed a hay ride, picking apples and (of course) taking plenty of pictures. We ended the day filled with apple cider donuts and many fond memories together.

My friends and I showing off our apples!

Additionally, September 30 was official fall homecoming for alumni. I enjoyed reconnecting with many (recently graduated!) friends and of course participating in the many activities campus had to offer. In addition to a pep rally and special homecoming Mass, my friends and I enjoyed tailgating and going to Holy Cross v Bucknell. We may not have won on the field, but it was still a great weekend for alumni, students, and families.

My friend Emma and I enjoying the homecoming tailgate!

After all the fun was had on the weekend, I spent my week in Dinand Library studying for midterm exams, like many of my fellow students. Because we have a whole week off following Columbus Day for Fall Break, many professors like to squeeze in exams to summarize the first six weeks of class. Although being off for a whole week in October is unusual, many students enjoy the opportunity to catch up on internship-hunting, travel to visit friends abroad, or simply relax at home!

That’s the news at Holy Cross for now. Read next time to hear about jazz concerts and preparing for my first (big) paper!

Holy Cross Celebrates 175

Hi everyone! Hope you are enjoying the fall weather! The fall semester is in full swing here at Holy Cross, and many students are already preparing for exams this week and next week. The past couple weeks have been busy, including celebrating the 175th anniversary of the College on September 14 and attending a talk on Free Speech as part of the Carroll Program.

The Goodtime Marching Band performing at the 175th Anniversary Picnic on the Kimball Quad! (Photo: @collegeoftheholycross Instagram)

As many may know, this year marks the 175th anniversary of the founding of Holy Cross. While we will be celebrating all year, the main event took place last Friday. First, Fr. Boroughs and Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, said Mass in a full St. Joseph’s Chapel. Then the campus descended on Kimball Quad for a picnic, including performances by student band SCONE and the Rhythm Steppaz. Overall it was a remarkable event–Holy Cross really outdid itself!

Celebrating Mass with Cardinal Sean O’Malley! (Photo: @collegeoftheholycross Instagram)

Additionally, last week I attended a lecture in the Rehm Library about free speech from Keith Whittington, a Princeton professor of political science. His talk was thought provoking, and he answered questions which challenged his book with remarkable language and debate skills. His lecture was part of the Carroll Lecture Series, a series of three lectures over the fall semester sponsored by the Charles Carroll Program for Political Science. As I mentioned last week, I am a Charles Carroll fellow, and this speaker series is one of the reasons I enjoy being a part of this program!

That’s all for this week! Check in soon to hear about Homecoming, whether or not I survive midterms, and more Carroll lectures!



Back on the Hill: Orientation, New Classes, and HC vs BC

Hi everyone! Hope you all enjoyed the end of your summers and are off to a great school year! Everyone’s back into the swing of things here at Holy Cross. Before school started, I worked as a Fall First-Year Orientation Leader, where I not only helped the first-years transition to college but made some of my best friends! Now, most students are already spending most of their time in the library (including me!) although many members of the community–including alumni, faculty, staff, students, and families–gathered in Chestnut Hill this past weekend to watch the Crusaders take on Boston College for the first time in since 1986!

First-Year Orientation

Me and my building team–including RAs and OLs–for Hanselman!

One of my favorite experiences at Holy Cross so far was working as a First-Year Orientation Leader in August. We moved in more than a week before the first-years to train, prep for orientation, and learn more about the resources available to not just first-years but all students. The four day orientation program, from move in day to the first day of class, allows first-years to adjust living away from home and to meet a new group of peers from their residence hall. We attend sessions from different groups on campus, play different games, and (hopefully) have some fun! Even though I was absolutely exhausted by the end of the program, I loved working with my first-years (shoutout O’Kane Orcas!) and getting to know a completely different group of people who are now some of my best friends.

First-Year Orientation Leaders dressed up for the Student Leadership Luncheon

Academics this Semester

As a declared History and Music double major and fellow in the Carroll Program for Political Science, all of my classes fall into one (or both!) of those categories. This semester I am taking Theory of Music 3, History of Western Music 1, Europe: 1890-1945, and Ethics of Capitalism, the political science seminar for the Carroll fellowship. So far, I’m enjoying all my classes–even though they keep me in the library most of the time.

HOLY CROSS vs that other school

My friends and I decked out in our HC gear!

In more fun news, this past weekend Holy Cross challenged BC in football for the first time since 1986! Holy Cross sold out the student section, and three (yes, THREE) packed fan buses helped students make the trek to Chestnut Hill. Although the outcome of the game was not in our favor, both sides played well and everyone had a great time!

My friend Anna and I enjoying the game!

That’s all I have for now! Check back in soon to hear about the 175th Anniversary celebration (this Friday!) and my first lecture for the Carroll Fellowship!

End of Semester Update!

Hi everyone! I hope you all survived final exams and are off to enjoying your summer vacations!

My last few weeks were a little stressful, because I had to both finish my classes and take exams while ill with mono. While it wasn’t my favorite couple weeks on campus, I still managed to have some fun and enjoy the warmer weather in Worcester!

One of my favorite events from the spring semester was definitely Battle of the Bands, sponsored by the Campus Activities Board. We were blessed with beautiful weather (for April) and my friends and I enjoyed an afternoon filled with music and friends. Here are a couple of my friends and I decked out in our SCONE gear!

My friends and I decked out in SCONE gear ready for the show to start!

The winner of Battle of the Bands (a first-year band called SCONE) opened for the Spring Concert two weekends before final exams. This year’s headliner was DNCE–it was truly a treat for all to have a Jonas brother on campus! While I missed the spring concert because I was sick, I heard it was a fantastic take and I am excited to see it next year. Congrats to SCONE on this great opportunity!

SCONE after their Battle of the Bands win!

Thanks to everyone who read my blog this past year! It was a joy to share my first year experience at Holy Cross and I hope everyone learned a bit more about the Holy Cross experience.

Red Sox, Working for Worcester, and Music Events!

Hi everyone! Hope you are surviving the unseasonable cold that has struck Mt. St. James and that spring comes back soon! I’ve been pretty busy the past couple weeks, making it to a Red Sox game, Working for Worcester, and looking forward to a bunch of music opportunities!

This past Friday my friends and I took the commuter rail into Boston to see a Red Sox game at Fenway Park! It was the first time I had been in a while, and some of my friends’ first time in general. Although our seats got pretty chilly, we enjoyed watching the Red Sox beat the Orioles 8-3 (except for my roommate, Elena, who will always root for the Orioles).

My friends and I at Fenway Park! (notice Elena’s Orioles gear)

Yesterday, I volunteered with Working for Worcester, an organization looking to benefit the Worcester community through acts of service. Started by two Holy Cross students in 2012, Working for Worcester has a build day every year, where members of the community, including students at local colleges, families, and government officials, all help out to improve different areas in Worcester.  My group, lead by one of my friends from spring break immersion, helped clean up a local park. My friend Ian (a Worcester native) lead a group at a local elementary school, where they helped refinish an outdoor basketball court. Take a look at this before and after shot–great job, guys!

These next couple weeks I have a lot of work to do as we close out the semester, including a variety of musical opportunities. On April 25, the Chamber Orchestra is playing a concert with the artist-in-residence Jan Müller-Szeraws, an incredibly gifted cellist and musician who will be playing the Saint-Saens cello concerto. We also have a guest clinician, Dr. Heidel, coming to work with the concert band before our concert on April 29. It is sure to be an exciting couple of weeks musically!

Check back in soon to hear about more updates from Holy Cross!

Academic Profile: Teddy Roosevelt’s America

Hi everyone! March seemed to fly by this year, as it usually does, and this week I wanted to profile one of my favorite classes. Teddy Roosevelt’s America is my 110 level history course that is all first year students and taught by one of my favorite professors, Prof. Ed O’Donnell. We examine the Gilded Age and Progressive Era through the lens of Roosevelt’s complex and sometimes controversial presidency while learning important reading and writing skills.

Each class, we usually talk as a full group and then meet in smaller groups to discuss the readings or viewings for that particular class. It is extra helpful to first be able to bounce ideas or interpretations off peers rather than in front of the whole class right away! Then we reconvene as a class and one or two people will share some of the best ideas we had in our group. We’re about halfway through the semester, but I can already tell my oral presentation skills have improved!

We also have a couple semester-long projects, including a podcast project, in which two students choose an event from 1870-1920 (roughly TR’s period of relevance) and produce a 7-10 minute podcast about it. There is a lot of research involved in not only the history aspect (mine is about the Flu Epidemic of 1918) but also on how to write and deliver an effective podcast, including narrative storytelling and background music and sounds! We will even get to record them in a soundbooth on campus before the end of the semester! Part of our homework for each class is listening to history podcasts to learn not only about the history itself but also how the narrators style and craft the podcast itself.

We also have two debates throughout the semester. The debate takes a full class period and each group member has either a major speaking role or writing role. We take a step away from our era in history to discuss modern topics, like DACA and gun control.  I am looking forward to mine in April!

Hope you enjoyed this week’s profile on one of my favorite classes, Teddy Roosevelt’s America! Check back in soon to hear more updates from the hill!