Tomorrow night I’ll board a redeye flight to Massachusetts to begin my second year at Holy Cross. I’m looking forward to seeing my friends and returning to my second home. On Saturday, the Class of 2018 will move in and become the newest members of the Holy Cross community. Welcome!
These are things I was told or wish I was told and eventually discovered during my first year on the Hill. There’s two pieces of advice I left off the list because I consider them to be inherent qualities in every Crusader. Those two qualities are that you work hard as well as play hard. Those two aside, here are ten more things to try.
1. Say, “Yes!” – My RA told me that when he was a freshman someone told him he should go around being a, “Yes!” man in order to get involved on campus and try new things. I took his advice and said “Yes!” to many opportunities. One of my yeses was chapel choir. Even though I was the only male singer, I enjoyed singing at 7:30 masses on Sunday evenings with this talented group of women and several of them became some of my best friends.
2. Don’t be afraid to quit – Some of the things you say “Yes!” to may not work out for one reason or another. One of the new things I tried was crew. Even though I enjoyed working out with the team and I met a handful of great guys, I wasn’t passionate about the sport and it was taking up a lot of time. So I quit. Quitting was hard but I wouldn’t trade the experience of trying something new or the friendships I made for anything.
3. Practice humility – This was, without a doubt, the greatest lesson I learned during the year. Being humble was especially helpful when dealing with some roommate problems. I asked myself how I was part of the problem instead of constantly pointing a finger at my roommate. Taking responsibility instead of made all the difference in resolving the situation.
4. Go to office hours – You’ll probably get tired of hearing this one within a couple weeks. Our classes are so small and our professors are so accessible at Holy Cross, you would be foolish not to make the most of this time our professors set aside for us. While taking Calculus 2, I went to Professor Konate’s office every Monday after lunch to do problems on his chalkboard. Even if you don’t need help or have a specific question, consider going if only to foster a relationship with another member of the Holy Cross community.
5. Never eat alone – Okay, maybe some days you’re in a rush and you can’t devote the time to talking over a meal but this is a ”rule” I created for myself to meet new people. Every time I went to eat in Kimball, I’d make it a point to find someone to eat with and if there wasn’t anybody I’d already met, I would sit with someone new and meet them. I met so many people this way and had so many wonderful conversations.
6. Go on a retreat – First, I totally recommend visiting Campion House, the Chaplain’s Office. Even if you don’t need to talk to a chaplain, stop in for one of the homemade cookies they always have in the kitchen. There’s a great retreat just for freshmen, Escape. Definitely go if you can and are interested. You don’t have to be religious at all, you just have to be open.
7. Serve others – Join SPUD (Student Programs for Urban Development), be a Big Brother or a Big Sister, or join Working for Worcester. Find something to do that helps someone other then yourself. Holy Cross has so many opportunities to serve, especially through the Chaplain’s Office. I joined a SPUD that gave me the opportunity me to prepare and serve dinner at a Salvation Army Soup Kitchen every third Sunday. Spending time with some of Worcester’s needier individuals opened my eyes and helped me to see how blessed and grateful I was to be at Holy Cross.
8. Say “No.” – There will come a time when there are too many great opportunities to choose from. You are going to have to say no to a lot of them. I’ve learned the hard way that it’s better to devote myself wholly to a few things than spreading myself thin by making too many commitments.
9. Be yourself – I know it may sound cliché but seriously, Holy Cross will be made better by you sharing who you really are with the community there. Make friends with people who it’s easy to be yourself and I think you’ll be surprised at how much those friends help you grow into the person you want to be.
10. Be patient – For me, first semester was not easy and I did struggle. I thought I would be a lot better at college then I was. But, I tried to make the most of the situation and I tried my best to be patient. In time, things got so much better. I had such a great time second semester. The best advice I can offer is to try and never lose sight of all the things that are going right. Even though freshman year might be difficult, think of the people and experiences that make you happy to be a Crusader and soon enough you’ll be having the time of your life.
I look forward to meeting you, members of the Class of 2018. I wish you all the best as you begin your time here at Holy Cross. To everyone who has read my blog this past year, thank you. This will be my last post. It’s been a pleasure sharing my experiences with you.