A Wiser Fool: Sophomore Year Reflection

Sophomore literally means “wise fool.” How are we supposed to feel about being called a wise fool? Is it a good thing? Does it embrace our naivety? Or, undermine our intelligence? It’s up to you. For me, it’s a fitting description for the sophomore year I had at Holy Cross. For my last post of the year (which is long overdue!) I would like to share some overall highlights, lessons I’ve learned, and some highs and lows. Precisely, I’ll take you through a year of a wise fool. 

Dinand Library

Interdisciplinary Thought

College classes are difficult. Yet, they are not impossible. After a successful first year at the college, I felt unstoppable in terms of my academic career. I earned high marks in all of my classes. I was settling into my Classics major pretty well. I couldn’t tell you what came over me, but before the spring semester, I decided to switch up half of my classes. Even though it meant putting my Art History minor on hold, I decided to take intellectual risks by taking my first Political Science and Philosophy courses. 

While I was prepared for these courses, they were well out of my comfort zone. I took a class on American Politics because I longed for some sense of political literacy and involvement. Turns out, politics is just as hollow as the politicians make it out to be. Spoiler alert: it’s all about power. I can’t see a future in politics for me, but I used my interest in the Ancient Roman Republic to fuel my involvement and interest in this course. My background in this field in Classics guided my understanding of American politics, and vice versa. It was a nice complement to my upper-level Latin class on the politician Cicero, whose Pro Caelio I read in the fall semester. 

Philosophy was a bit harder to get into, but the most rewarding of them all. The course topic was called “Metaphysics.” Yea, maybe I should’ve swapped the class when I had the chance. At the start of the semester, my professor gave several warnings about the difficulty of the class. He wasn’t kidding, these philosophers are no joke. Some days I was better off not reading the chapter, because whether I read it or not, I wouldn’t even begin to understand what these people were talking about. But, that was the beauty of the course. I learned how to better approach philosophical thought, even philosophize myself, but my professor’s lectures about the importance of the metaphysical were all worth swallowing my fear of misunderstanding the readings. I got over being wrong in class a long time ago; there is no room in college for a fear of making mistakes. 

This course was such a challenge that it completely altered my approach to my life. I saw my writing style, intent, and ideas flourish in front of my very eyes. In the same interdisciplinary nature, I was able to connect all of my classes with one another. Ancient transformation myths were now paired with Ancient and Modern political theory. I could go on and on.

New Windows of Opportunity  

This fresh embrace of life and interdisciplinary thought was not only fostered within the classroom. This year I worked as a Research Associate for the New England Classical Journal. With NECJ, I was able to write my own abstracts, host a podcast episode, and even present my very own research paper at a conference. I never thought I would have accomplished something as an undergraduate student, but I did it! Even though I was a nervous undergrad surrounded by intimidatingly brilliant grad students and professors, it was excellent exposure I am grateful for so early in my career. I even had the opportunity to produce original research in Art History for the exhibition, which you’ve heard me talk about countless times. It was truly a success! 

This year I also planned and hosted Classics Day, which was a massive undertaking. The students and volunteers all had a wonderful time celebrating the Classics. In my eyes, it was a little peace in the ever-changing world of a liberal arts education (we can get into that issue another time). This was my ultimate intellectual and leadership accomplishment that I have completed in my life thus far. Along with being Classics Day Chair and doing Community Based Learning work in my courses, I was recently named a Charles A. Dana scholar (2023-2024) for my outstanding intellectual competence, good character, and representation of the values of Holy Cross. What a way to end my sophomore year! I am beyond grateful for these opportunities and excited for what the future holds. You know, in Athens next semester! 😉 

Fools as My Friends

Turns out my fellow wise fools make the best friends. This year has posed a lot of challenges. After a particularly low fall semester, I was reminded about how much of a gift we are to one another. College is a stepping stone for our success, not the end all. Don’t get me wrong, I’m that girl who will be in Dinand for hours; but, in the spring, I found my crowd that will do the same. My people who work so hard and deserve all the accolades, but remain humble and kind. Most importantly, we have fostered a loving community that cares for one another, the kind that supports one another instead of bringing each other down. 

All the lows were worth it when I put into perspective what it means to be a woman for others. It means putting faith in yourself, your family, and your very best friends that we can do anything we set out to do. And, this is not over-optimistic, it is true. This comes out of pure joy for the people I have grown close to and those I have sadly grown apart from: you all have positively impacted my life. Thank you. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Whether it be cracking up in the main reading room, family Kimball dinner, or an off-campus walk (or two), these memories are forever. 

Well, I guess I’m wiser now. Or, more foolish? Either way, this year was wild, and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. It’s been lovely writing to you all, and thank you for sticking around. If you don’t hear from me on this blog, you know where to find me!

Go Crusaders! 

“These studies nourish the youth, they delight old age.” – Cicero

I Have More Than 2 Friends: Spring Concert 2023

Boy, has this semester flown by. Each year, we mark the end of the academic year with a Spring Concert, organized by the Campus Activities Board (CAB). For weeks now, the beautiful weather has teased the summer months. But, there is nothing better than community bonding on the Hill with music. A core Holy Cross tradition is the Spring Concert. A few weeks before this, students can sign up for “The Battle of the Bands,” a night celebrating students’ accomplishments in music, having fun with friends, and the end of another semester. At this event, CAB supposedly announces who the Spring Concert performers are, and the winner of the battle gets to open for them!

This year, the Spring Concert was…drumroll please…Two Friends! Two Friends are a DJ duo whose mixes of popular music have taken the world by storm. So, this past Friday, the campus was gathered down the Hill on Freshman Field ready to let loose and dance off any concerns of finals next week. It was truly a blast and something I’d never forget.

In the Thick of It All

I always look forward to the Spring Concert for several reasons. First, I am a big fan of live music. And, who doesn’t want to enjoy some great tunes with even greater friends?! It’s a time for all of us to come away from our work, and just be in tune with each other. We’re connecting with friends from our classes, old-friend groups, new best friends, and everyone in between. It’s an overall great experience for all those who participate. 

Last year, we got lucky and had two concert experiences. In the fall, we had the chance to watch Kid Laroi on stage. It was actually insane, you had to be there! Then, for our usual Spring Concert, we had the Plain White T’s serenade us with “Hey There Delilah.” It’s not everyday we get to do this type of thing, so I feel privileged to have been given these amazing experiences. Any guesses as to who the next Spring Concert will be? 

Squad Up (L-R: Mia B, Alexandra B, Paige D, Kaitlyn F


Ringing in a New Decade 

Many say that your twenties are the best years of your life. I guess it’s time to find out what’s so great about them. As we enter the last weeks of the spring semester, we have begun to think about what’s next. For some of us, we’re just getting started on our college journey. For others, we are soaking in the very last seconds on the Hill. For me? Well, I’m at a weird point in my college career. When you get to sophomore year you too will understand. There is not as much of a rush of newness as there was freshman year. You are figuring out your interests and friends that make you happy. While this is all and well, it’s the perfect time to learn about yourself. 

For some of us, we will be bringing Holy Cross away by participating in DC and international programs. I’m part of the latter group: I’ll be studying in Athens, Greece next semester. It’s a big jump, but I am confident that Holy Cross has prepared me well beyond my expectations. For many others, the Hill will continue to nourish their studies and relationships. 

So, I just turned 20 yesterday. And, attending my classes yesterday, Metaphysics and Latin, reminded me why I’m at Holy Cross in the first place. I am on the Hill to make mistakes (And, if I weren’t here for that reason, I would not be in college.). I am here to learn. I am here to love what I’m learning and to enrich my soul with these studies. Like the inscription in our beloved Dinand Library says: haec studia adulescentiam alunt, senectutem oblectant. Coincidentally it’s my favorite Latin author, Cicero and translates to: “These studies nourish the youth, they delight old age.”

While I have my thoughts of Holy Cross as a Liberal Arts Institution, I personally keep these values as grounding my identity as a Holy Cross student and woman for our community and our world. Sometimes we forget why we’re here, both in our world and our campus. But, learning things that make us happy, regardless of a direct outcome, is our purpose.

Holy Cross allows us to enrich our souls by studying a wide range of disciplines insofar as we consider this an advantage to our future. Of course, we are working towards a productive future in our professional lives, but like Holy Cross, I am a firm believer in allowing our studies to shape our person so that we can be the best version of ourselves in whatever workplace we deem fit. I have a good feeling that my twenties are going to be rewarding as long as I continue to flourish where I’m meant to be. 


The Spire: The Voice for Holy Cross

I used to hate writing. Now, you should just call me Alexander Hamilton. After nearly two years at the college, I feel like I’ve finally come close to finding my voice in my writing. But, academic writing can take a toll on us all. When the spring semester began, I decided I wanted to challenge myself in my writing by joining the Opinions Staff of The Spire.

The Spire is the College of the Holy Cross’ student newspaper. It has been published weekly since 1925, with a core mission to serve the Holy Cross’ population by sharing student stories in mainstream news, campus features, opinion editorials, sports, and their Eggplant (the satirical) section. To be completely honest, I didn’t know that The Spire existed, but I am so glad that I stumbled upon it. 

Being an opinion staff writer has proved to be a great opportunity in several different ways. On one hand, I am more aware of my own beliefs and values toward things happening on a daily basis. That is not to say I am not attentive in my life, but having a certain intention behind my writing has already begun transforming me for the better. 

While I would say I’m closer to attaining my personal style in my articles, I am still struggling to let my voice shine through my opinions on paper. Every week, I have the chance to write about anything as long as I have an opinion to back it up. And, there’s no pressure! So far, I’ve written movie reviews, political and news commentaries, and pieces about my personal experiences. The weekly publication of The Spire allows me to stretch out my writing capabilities and see how far I can go. 

There is a phenomenal group of writers that contribute to the newspaper weekly. And, they are some of the most supportive people I’ve met at the college. I feel lucky to have found a niche that allows my creativity and skills to strengthen. 

 For more on The Spire and how to get involved check out their website here. Or, be sure to pick up a paper issue around campus!

Tearing Up The Hogan Ballroom: Winter Formal

Many people understand that Holy Cross students are hard-working, but know how to have a good time, inside and outside of the classroom. So, who needs an excuse to attend a dance with their friends? I certainly don’t! When we returned to campus for the spring semester, the Class of 2025 student officers announced that they would be throwing a Winter Formal exclusively for the sophomore class. This was timely because this is the last semester we will all be on campus together because some of us go abroad (me!) or participate in the DC program.

Meg S, Audrey B, Mia B, Alexandra B, Ariana C. (L to R)

With this in mind, we bought our tickets and picked out the nicest dresses we had in our dorms. Not to mention that we were the best dressed. (We can “argue” about this at a later date…) The impromptu dance was held in the Hogan Ballroom, so it certainly was an intimate experience for the majority of our class who attended. 

When we weren’t tearing up the dance floor, we were going around to friends, some we haven’t seen in a while, and others we just met this semester. It was a wonderful experience for all of us to be together, especially during a stressful time in our academic lives. We are grateful to our Student Government for organizing such a fun event. 

Record-Breaking Chills on the Hill

If you’re from the New England area, or rather most places in the US right now, you probably experienced the record breaking cold last weekend. And, for us Crusaders, it was pretty cold given how windy it gets on the Hill. Either way, after our Friday classes ended, we made our way back to the dorms and settled in the warmth. 

It’s different for every one of us, but I thought it’d be fun to share what’s going on when there’s really “nothing” going on. While freshman year dorm assignments are great in itself, allowing people to meet new people and form groups via Montserrat and Orientation groups, you can choose who you live with and where you live in the years following. I definitely jumped on this, because I had great friends that would basically take up an entire Healy floor. And, good thing we jumped on snagging a room in Healy because it’s arguably the most convenient of all the dorms on campus.

My neighbor, Audrey, and I chilling in her room.

While it might not be as exciting for you to read about it, as it is for me to write about it, there’s no wrong in giving you a taste of even the coldest days on campus. On Friday, my friends and I came into one of our dorms, and we debriefed the previous academic week and talked about some things we’d love to do with our time in the dorm – because there was NO chance we were leaving! We watched Top-Gun and Top-Gun: Maverick because who can’t get enough of Tom Cruise? We can’t, that’s for sure! 

It was “warming up” on Saturday, so naturally we hit up the library so we could get some things off our shoulders. I don’t like to push myself every single day, but a little could go a long way on the weekends. After we grinded out a couple hours of work in the Debate Room of Dinand, we came back and put some comfy sweatpants on to do a fun karaoke night. Of course, it was the entire Hamilton soundtrack. If you don’t know at least My Shot, what are you doing? It’s okay, though, we’re here to get through the score together! 

Hoval. 11pm. (Probably) Felt like < -41 degrees

After indulging in copious amounts of Earl Grey and popcorn, it was a successful weekend, even amid record-breaking cold temperatures. Now, the temperature is coming up and it’s beautiful on the Hill. For now.

Jesuit Tradition and Crusader Art: Student Scholarship in Action

Holy Cross prides itself on the intersectionality of student scholarship and our communities, both near and far. It’s certainly a part of the Jesuit tradition that I find myself deeply committed to. Given Holy Cross’ top-tier academic instruction and resources, our commitment to the Worcester community (and beyond), and our scholarship goes beyond the walls of our historic Fenwick Hall. 

I recently reported back on the new Prior Performing Arts Center and how integral it is for our campus community. If you remember, you might have gotten a passionate request to come to the new Cantor Art Gallery to see the inaugural historical exhibit: “Bringing the Holy Land Home: The Crusades, Chertsey Abbey, and the Reconstruction of a Medieval Masterpiece.” Well, I am ecstatic to say that the Holy Land has finally made its way “home” on St. James Hill. 

Across several semesters, different sections of the Art History class, “Kings and Caliphs: Art of Luxury,” spent countless hours researching a particular object that would be highlighted in the exhibit. And, after years of research by the leading curator, Professor Amanda Luyster, and students along the way, the exhibition was finally a reality. The exhibition activities began with a guest lecture by Dr. William Purkis from the University of Birmingham on “Bringing the Holy Land Home: Crusaders, Relics, and the Transformation of Latin Christendom’s Sacred Material World.” This was an appropriate and engaging talk to put our Jesuit identity in connection with the Islamic and Crusader Art that would be living on our campus for the next couple of months. 

The Chertsey Tiles © Janis Desmarais and Amanda Luyster

After the lecture concluded, I could feel the anticipation from everyone as we made our way up to the Cantor Art Gallery. I was feeling a great deal of honor and privilege being able to study under the incredible guest curator, Professor Luyster. The exhibition was phenomenal. So amazing, you’ll have to come yourself to see it! You’ll certainly regret it if you don’t. It’s not everyday that you can see all of these objects in physical conversation with one another. 

Me and My Seal!

Like I mentioned before, I was in one of Professor Luyster’s classes on Crusader art. So, we had the opportunity to research an object that would be highlighted in the exhibition. As many professors and advisors have told me in the past, there is nothing like seeing something you’ve worked so hard on for the first time. And, even though the seal I worked on was tiny, it was still mighty. Nonetheless, I was so proud to see it there in the flesh. You know, someone nearly 800 years ago got a letter with that very seal on it. Now we have it. How crazy is that? It’s something you can say about every object in the exhibition, and yet, something you can’t come across very often in your own community.  

My Seal! Seal of Latin Emperor Henry of Flanders (Dumbarton Oaks)

This is only the beginning of sophisticated student research with professors, advisors, and other professionals in their fields. There are plenty of opportunities at the college for involvement in our studies outside of the classroom. And, this blog post is one of the opportunities I’ve been involved in this year alone; I’ll write some more later. It truly connects our communal Holy Cross identity with our own personal identities. The exhibit closes April 6, 2023; hopefully, you can make it over here before then!

A Close Up

New Year’s Resolutions 2023 (From an “Anti-Resolutions” type)

I’m not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions, and I tend to stray away from them. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I feel some personal power in being able to make changes any time during the year. But, since it’s the season for sharing our hopes and dreams for the new year, I thought it might be nice to share them for a change. 2023 has not yet begun for my time back at Holy Cross, but we’ll be going back to campus later this month. For the meantime, I had a lot of free time on my hands to reflect on my time at school and this past year. 

Last year was certainly challenging. It’s no surprise that Holy Cross students are such a force because of how positively demanding Holy Cross is. And, don’t get me wrong, this is the best thing for a student trying to find their way. While it’s hard to academically challenge yourself, I feel like I’m truly making progress in several areas at Holy Cross. I finally feel comfortable with my academic strengths and weaknesses and began to optimize and target them. I am so proud of my peers and myself. It’s a step in the right direction for all of us! 

While this sounds optimistic, I always seek to find new things to challenge myself. What’s the joy of having the privilege to go to school if not to embrace not knowing something. Last semester I began some professional editorial work as a research associate for the New England Classical Journal under a Holy Cross professor. The work we’ve been doing is something new to me. As someone who loves to learn, I’m having a great experience. I thoroughly enjoy getting some practical experience of the ways of editing a big and professional publication. I’m looking forward to continuing my work throughout next semester. I’ll keep you posted about it!

When we get back to campus, I’m cracking down on all of my courses and planning Classics Day! It’s an event for high school students to celebrate their knowledge of the Classics with a series of activities hosted on campus. You might remember that I wrote a blog post about helping out with this event, but now I get to lead it as Classics Day chair. I’m beyond excited (and nervous). The biggest risk I’m taking this year (so far as I know) is possibly studying abroad in the fall. I’ll let you know when I hear back, but you might be hearing from me across the globe next semester!

2023 is full of endless possibilities. I truly hope that my next year on and off the Hill will be positively challenging and rewarding by putting myself out there more. I hope to lead a fulfilling year by surrounding myself with people I love and doing things I love. I hope to be kinder and more intentional in my thoughts and prayers. I hope to live more gracefully with gratitude in an attempt to be a force for the world. I could start with the Hill and we’ll go from there.

I’ll be around a bit more in 2023. I hope you like these blogs as much as I love writing them! Bye for now!

Holy Cross Christmas: A Worcester Winter Wonderland

‘Tis the season for a Holy Cross Christmas! With the semester finally finished and the holiday season upon us, it’s always so delightful to see what Holy Cross is doing for the holidays. As a sophomore on the Hill, I’ve gotten more comfortable with everything that goes on during this season, and I already had an idea of what I wanted to come back to from last year. 

Annual Christmas Tree Lighting

First on the list was the Annual Christmas Tree Lightning in front of O’Kane. During such a stressful time as a student, it’s always so special to come together as a campus to listen to our acapella and music groups perform our favorite holiday tunes and warm up with some hot chocolate and cookies while we wait for the beautiful lighting. After anticipation built up, we all came together in prayer with our hopes going into the end of the year and blessed the tree lighting. As always, it was beautifully done.

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you know how fond I am of the new Prior Performing Arts Center. After spending a lot more time in the center, I can confidently say that it does not disappoint. It certainly is another lovely study spot and remarkable facility for the arts. Like many spots on campus, there were stunning Christmas trees in the “beehive.” During the last week of classes, my friends and I would come for the delicious pastries and hot chocolate they had out for students, faculty, and staff. This was so thoughtful to bring so many together during such a busy time. And, of course, it was absolutely scrumptious! 

The Beehive at Christmas
The Medieval Room with a Lovely Christmas Tree

While there are several other happenings for the holidays on campus, I’d love to highlight a glimpse of the Winter Wonderland in our very own city of Worcester. As you might understand, I love going to the Worcester Art Museum, and it would not be a Holy Cross semester without at least one visit. When I went to the WAM in December, it was completely decked out in holiday decor. Each christmas tree had different decorations, which was fitting for a museum with such a diverse collection of art. I personally loved it! 

It’s always such a magical time at Holy Cross, especially when you’re with people you love. From me to you, I hope you have a special holiday season filled with lots of love and happiness. I’m sure you’ll hear from me one more time before the new year, but if you don’t have a happy and healthy new year! Looking forward to what’s to come in 2023! As always, I’ll keep you updated on this blog! 

PS. If you’re into the Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel, here’s an opinion article I wrote for Holy Cross’ student newspaper, The Spire, on one of their newest movies: A Holiday Spectacular

Best Meal at Kimball

I’ve yet to talk about food on the Hill, so let’s start off strong. This might be a hot take for my Crusaders out there, but I argue that the best meal at Holy Cross’ dining hall, Kimball, is breakfast. I’m more of a brunch person myself, but breakfast at Kimball is just how it goes during the week. They basically have anything you could want for breakfast, and you must use the delicious food you’re given.

During my first year at Holy Cross, I heard about the infamous omelette station, but it’s been closed for several reasons. However…this semester it was reborn. I must’ve been out of the loop because I didn’t even know it was open until weeks into this marvelous rebirth, but glory to whoever told me about it.

Every Tuesday-Thursday before class, some friends and I meet up on the omelette line and fill up a cup with our desired components. I gently slide it over to the angel working the station at the time, and in minutes the oozy, gooey, cheezy, delicious (I’ll stop) omelette rests on my plate. I’m hungry just thinking about it.

What’s your go-to omelette order? And do you take it with cheese? I’m sure you’d find something quite enjoyable without leaving campus.

Any questions about food on campus? Reach out!