A Holy Cross education centers around the question: who am I for and with others? This question continues to swim through my head as I quickly approach the end of my first semester. Since starting school so many social justice issues and question have come to fruition on an off campus. In fact my Montserrat class centers around Social Justice in conjunction with the Christian faith. I am proud to proclaim my Catholic faith; it is very much a part of my identity and how I choose to exist in the world
Upon my arrival at Holy Cross, I immediately involved myself in Pax Christi, a Christian social justice group here on campus. Through this group, I accepted the opportunity to go to DC for a weekend conference called the Ignatian Family Teach for Justice. There I engaged with high school and college students to learn about the issues that still plague our society in a Christian context. The two main issues from the conference root themselves in racism. Mass incarceration is a structural form of anti-black racism in the United States and Family Separation at the border is a major act of Anti-immigrant racism.
What I learned through this enriching experience was that I am called to be an active warrior for social justice in this world. Holy Cross makes this tangible. We recently participated in an on campus conference called the Engage Summit where our community came together to discuss how we can engage we social justice issues spanning from LGBTQIA+ to Sexual Assault on and off campus.
I want to be a woman for others and at this point in the semester I think I am a woman for others. But who am I with others? That’s the real question. I will stand with those who have been oppressed before me. I will give them a voice. The last semester made me realize that I can make a change in this world as long as I keep remembering that I am a woman for and with others.
I’m looking forward to a future in politics or law. Perhaps I’ll be a civil rights attorney fighting for the ones who can’t always fight for themselves. I’ll always remember, however, that the best work is done for the other. Helping people and standing next to them: that is who I am for and with others.
When I think of Holy Cross, I automatically think of my family. I think of the long laundry list of graduates that are related to me or just friends. And I think of pressure. Pressure to find a school just like Holy Cross or go to Holy Cross. As a junior in High School embarking on the journey of college applications, my mind was made up. I was not going to go to Holy Cross (I thought). HC was my family’s school, definitely not mine. I was going to have my own experiences somewhere far away and more exotic. There was even a period of time where I thought I was going to move to London.
Today I’m sitting in Dinand Library at Holy Cross writing this blog post as a Holy Cross student trying to explain how wonderful this place really is. I’m sure there are so many students reading this right now who feel the same way I did in High School. You want to pave your own path. I completely get it.
Whether everyone in your family went to Holy Cross or you’re the first in your family to go to college, you can blaze an amazing trail at Holy Cross. In the last six weeks, I’ve formed strong relationships with peers, gotten involved on campus in several activities, become close with my professors, and established incredible support systems from students and faculty alike.
Don’t worry about living in the shadow of a cousin or sibling, Holy Cross will be excited to have YOU. Someone very close to me told me to “shine as brightly as I can” and at Holy Cross you can. You will make your own experience regardless of whether or not your family came here.
Holy Cross has so much to offer, don’t be afraid to fall in love with this place. It will be your own and it can be your own. Take it from me, after living on campus, Holy Cross becomes home and you quickly forget about those who came before you. Trust me, your education is all about you and the community at Holy Cross wants you to be happy. Your alumni family already took their shot, now it’s your turn.
When you arrive on campus for move-in day as a first-year student, it is quite possibly the most magical day of your life. Your whole family tried to tell you what it would be like. Everyone in my family lived the Holy Cross move-in day experience. And still, their descriptions were nothing like the actual experience. Picture this:
When you get off I-290 cars are backed up on the highway to get onto College St where Students, faculty, and alumni line the roads to welcome you to campus and for the first time, you feel like you are in the magic of the Holy Cross community. Here are a few things to be excited about:
Move In Crews
Yep, you heard it here! Holy Cross students are ready to move every first-year student into their dorm. They carry everything upstairs for you. Be sure to thank them for all they do, because some of them may end up becoming your Orientation Leaders.
Seeing Your Dorm For The First Time and Meeting Your Roommate In Person
The dorms aren’t huge, but the feel like home after you unpack. Bring lots of decorations and be sure to cover your wall with an approved tapestry or posters. Also be sure to buy extra layers for your bed like a Tempurpedic pad and an egg crate.
My roommate and I also became fast friends. Holy Cross matches students according to their habits and usually does a wonderful job in placing like-minded people together. Meeting your roommate for the first time can definitely be scary, but is always really fun. You automatically have a friend to hang out with during orientation, and your roommate is in the same Orientation group as you.
First Day of Class:
Don’t be nervous! College is academically intense but really fun. Picture your favorite classes in High School, but ten times more interesting and enriching. My first class on the first day of classes was Introduction to International Relations and to say that it was amazing is an understatement. You learn more in one class at college than you do in two weeks of school during high school.
As you decide where to apply for college, keep all of these things in mind. Holy Cross’ community-based approach to the beginning of freshman year makes the transition that much easier and worthwhile. Holy Cross is an extremely special place that anyone would be lucky to experience.