Episode VI — Second Semester Slump?

Hi everyone!

I believe in the power of honesty when it is used to help others. So, in the sake of full transparency, let me be the first to tell you that second semester slump is real.

I think it’s really important to acknowledge that sometimes, school can be really draining. Am I greatly enjoying my classes, my freedom, and the time I get to spend with my friends and other like-minded individuals here? Of course I am. But that doesn’t magically negate how tasking college life can be.

Things I miss from my first semester:

  1. The magical “summer camp” feeling.
  2. Seeing my parents on a weekly basis at football games. Oh, and their cooking.
  3. The sun setting after 5pm.
  4. Average temperatures being above 30ºF (not even considering wind chill for this one).
  5. Having matching pairs of socks (every single time I do laundry, the dryer eats one of my socks. I can think of no other explanation).

And you know what? That’s okay.

I am a completely different person than I was a year ago today. I am extremely grateful for that — college life urges you to be extremely independent and self-driven, but that doesn’t mean you’ll change without any snags or challenges.

You’re allowed to feel how you feel. You’re allowed to miss when life was simpler, when your parents did your laundry and made food for you. Mourn the past, but more importantly, remember to cherish the present and look forward to the future.

For now, I’ll put on my parka and trudge through campus in my winter boots. Because next semester, during those boiling-hot tailgates, I can guarantee I’ll miss the days when I made snow angels and had impromptu snowball fights with my friends.

So, to my fellow second semester warriors, hang in there. Make snow angels and throw snowballs with (and maybe at) your friends. Brighter days are always ahead. You are not alone if you’re feeling overwhelmed at this time, but don’t forget the resources at your disposal: the chaplains, CAPS, Tomo, Toshi, and the rest of your Holy Cross community are here for you!

A GIF of Dory from Finding Nemo, dancing and saying to Marlin (Nemo's dad): "When life gets you down you know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming, just keep swimming."
A classic! My mom always says this to me whenever I’m feeling stressed. And she’s been right every time! As long as you put your best foot forward, push through, and “just keep swimming,” you’ll be just fine.

I’ll see you all soon! Best wishes for a great week ahead.

Episode V — Contemplating, Creativity, and Crossroads

Hi all!

I know the week isn’t over yet, but it’s been pretty jam-packed with activities for me — let’s talk about it!

This Monday, I went on a field trip to the Joyce Contemplative Center with my Montserrat class. It’s a beautiful property about twenty minutes from campus: here’s the super cozy interior:

A modern living room, complete with warm lighting, a cozy fireplace, and wide windows showcasing the beautiful nature outside.
How welcoming is this! The minimalistic designs encourage reflection and relaxation.

Upon arrival, the chaplains instructed us to leave our phones in our jacket pockets so that we could connect with each other and our surroundings better.  We completed a quick reflection packet, which encouraged us to think about our first semester of college and all the work we did to get to this point. After that, we engaged in an Ignatian examen and a yoga session, all leading up to a delicious dinner prepared by the chefs at the JCC.

It was a really great experience, but I did have a bit of trouble acclimating to the environment initially. I didn’t realize how heavily I rely on technology in my day-to-day life — it’s a constant source of entertainment, socialization, and information, so much so that it felt a bit foreign to be in an environment where you’re completely separated from that. I mean, I’m typing on a computer now, you’re reading this on the internet, and I spent the vast majority of my high school experience online, whether it was my classes on Zoom, remote AP exams, or even FaceTiming with my friends.

Nonetheless, my visit to the JCC was most refreshing. I feel like it really got my creative juices flowing — I had my first Creative Writing Club meeting of the semester the day after, and I had so much fun with all the activities the club leaders had planned for us. I’m ashamed to admit that as last semester went on, I made less and less time for the Creative Writing Club until I really wasn’t going at all anymore. Rediscovering personal passions is always thrilling, especially when you know you have a community of people with whom you can discuss and share that passion.

Speaking of rediscovering passions, I forgot how much I enjoyed the chicken caesar salads at Crossroads. They are divine, especially when you get them with crispy chicken instead of grilled chicken. As much as I love to set up shop in Kimball and have multiple-course meals over Montserrat readings or Netflix shows, there’s nothing like grabbing something healthy and tasty when you’re in a rush.

That’s all for now! Thanks for tuning in. I’ll see you shortly!

Episode IV — Guess Who’s Back!

Hi everyone! Gosh, I haven’t seen you guys for like, a year or something!

Sorry. I couldn’t not make one of those clichéd jokes.

In any case, I hope you all enjoyed your holiday breaks! I certainly did—I know I spent my last post bemoaning my finals, but as it turns out, they weren’t too bad. Given that they were pretty much just final papers, I was able to do them from the comfort of my childhood bedroom, which was a nice dose of nostalgia. Nothing like the good old days of senior year, when I couldn’t be bothered to sit at a table and do my work—heaven forbid—my bed is the way to go!

I spent my break mostly working, which was honestly pretty nice. I’m a person driven by routine, so I found it really helpful to have something to do to occupy my days. Granted, I did take a break for about a week, just so I could have some time to decompress from one lifestyle before jumping into another—and it was atrociously boring. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great for a day or two, but when both your parents are heading off to work and you’re crafting yourself a delectable breakfast of Froot Loops and apple juice at 3pm (totally not based off of a real experience…), you get kind of lonely.

That made seeing friends (new and old) over break even more special. I loved checking in with my hometown friends, and adored the times I had with my friends here at Holy Cross, even if it was spent getting lost in small Massachusetts towns or repeatedly losing at GamePigeon 8 Ball—I’ll win someday!

That’s all for now. I hope you’ll forgive the delay in my posting, but as I said before, (re)settling into routines can be tricky. Be gentle with yourself! I’ll see you all in the next edition.

Episode III — Baby’s First Finals

Hi everyone! Wishing you the best, and hoping you’re well. I wanted to pop on here briefly just to check in during finals season, which can be seriously overwhelming. The end is in sight, but it’s so easy to be consumed by exams, papers, projects, reports, and anything else you might be assigned.

This is a unique experience for me, because I’ve actually never had finals before. I’ve had midterms—my high school was able to squeeze those in before the pandemic hit—but finals are completely uncharted territory for me. Sure, I’ve written final papers and done AP exams, but I’ve never been in an environment with so many people all stressed about the same thing.

Scratch that. I was in that environment literally a year ago today when applying to college. And, upon further reflection, I not only made it through, but ended up here!

So, as it turns out, you actually can push past adversity. But that doesn’t make those feelings of anxiety, stress, and fear magically disappear. The good news is that we are men and women for others here at Holy Cross, so remember that you’ve got a community to fall back on when you need that extra support. And if you’re where I was a year ago today, read above. You will get through this. I promise!

Have a wonderful holiday season, everyone. I’ll see you all in 2024!

Episode II — Holiday Reflections

A warm hello to you! I’m back on The Hill circa yesterday (many thanks to my dear older sister for dropping me off on the way back to her university) and ready to conquer the last few weeks of the semester.

It was a great joy to see my family over Thanksgiving break: I fielded many questions about how I was finding the semester and the college experience overall, and found myself incredibly thankful that I could answer their questions with ease.

It spurred me to reflect on how I was feeling a year ago around this time. In a word? Frazzled. My relatives seeking small talk about college plans were received with nervous smiles and anxious fidgeting from yours truly. They all told me I would be fine, and trust me, I really wanted to take their word for it, but my worries still nagged at me.

For those of you in the thick of college applications, take my (recycled) word for it: you will be fine.

As it turns out, we are a species that can adapt to quite literally anything. It takes time, and sure, there are bumps in the road and tough moments, but it’s nothing we can’t handle. We are equipped to grow, to change, to adjust.

And oh, is college an adjustment! The independence and freedom are both refreshing and overwhelming. Invariably, it will be daunting, and when it becomes too daunting to handle, you lean on your community. You call your mom. You watch the Peanuts holiday specials with your friends. You FaceTime your friends from home. And soon enough, you realize…

I am going to be fine.

So, to any high school seniors out there, keep the faith. You are going to end up exactly where you are meant to be. And for my fellow college students, keep up the great work for just a few more weeks! We’ll be back with our families before we know it.

In the meantime, enjoy my new friend Snoopy being his fabulous self. He’s lacking his stylish puffer jacket, but adorable nonetheless:

A Snoopy plush from Kohl's wearing a fabulous tiara, with a vintage filter on the photo.
Many thanks to my friend Molly for getting this Snoopy plush for me over our Thanksgiving break: he’ll be a great study partner! Note: I was able to get this vintage filter using the Lapse app.

I hope you all enjoyed your holidays! I’ll see you in the next edition.

Episode I — The Beginning of the Blogs

Hello, Holy Cross community! I’m elated to introduce myself as a new blogger in Holy Cross’s blogging program. I’m Allison, a freshman here at the College and having a wonderful experience thus far.

A girl wearing a black zip-up hoodie and green flowery skirt pretends she's holding up the stones at Stonehenge, with a huge dorky grin on her face.
Here I am at Stonehenge, helping to ensure one of the great wonders of the world stays upright!

A little bit about me: academically, I’m planning to study English, thinking about adding Spanish as a second major, and looking forward to taking an Environmental Studies class next semester. I’m currently on a huge Grey’s Anatomy kick right now, and Taylor Swift has been gracing my Apple Music as of late—but, in all honesty, when is she not? Hailing from my hometown of Westwood, Massachusetts, I’m finding Holy Cross to be the perfect distance: a nice change of scenery, yet I’m able to go home for a weekend if the homesickness really sets in.

I’m excited to share my thoughts and experiences with you all! The tentative plan is to post once a week, but my workload is increasing as the semester wraps up. In any case, you can expect to hear from me at least once every two weeks.

That’s all from me for now! Just wanted to hop on here and quickly introduce myself. I’ll see you soon!