Katrina Black '18

This is my third year being in “Fools on the Hill” and each year being in the group just gets better. We had our annual big campus event Foolsapalooza last Saturday and it was so beautiful. Our group selected some songs we did this semester and other groups (The Delilahs, Off the Record, and WPI’s Technichords) performed a collection of their songs as well. Every year, we also vote on a specific charity we want to send our donations to and this year I recommended a charity my sister and I began about five years ago. The charity raises money for the Cove Basic School in Clarendon, Jamaica. This was actually the elementary school my mother attended as a little girl and we have been in the process of rebuilding the two-room school. Each year we go down to Jamaica and bring them school supplies, Christmas gifts, games, and the funds to start renovation.

 

happy. friends. smiles. hugs. laughter. love.

 

 

me, my mother, and my older sister

 

It was amazing having my family come up to see me perform with the a cappella group that has helped me grow so much at Holy Cross. It was even more amazing having such lovely support from the Fools, who are so immensely talented and brilliant. Each year I feel that we grow closer and closer, though each year I do shed real tears when the seniors graduate. However, next year I’ll be one of those graduating…

That’s for another post.

 

 

a group picture we took at the end!

 

So, the blog take-away is: Holy Cross has some awesome organizations and some awesome people in those organizations. I can definitely find a group that I feel comfortable in if I come to Holy Cross, a group that both challenges and excites me. 

Don’t feed the plants.

In other words, College of the Holy Cross’ Alternate College Theater (ACT) put on a production the 80s musical, Little Shop of Horrors. The unique thing about this year’s musical is that it was directed by 2015 alum Julia McCarthy, who previously directed a musical her senior year. Click HERE to read more about Julia and the production.

Every year, the college presents wonderful productions of both plays and musicals. Recently, they have put on “Middletown” and before that “Hamlet” and “Chicago.” ACT also has smaller, more improv-heavy events like Midnight Theater or The Festival of One Acts. Here are some photos from Little Shop below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have always loved musical theater and always wanted to do it here on the hill, but I knew I didn’t have the time to balance everything. However, eventually, I kind of just decided to do it anyway and I’m so, so, so glad I did. Sure, there were many late-nights (and forgotten meals), but the outcome was more than I could’ve hoped for. The cast, crew, and band were all so amazing and I am forever grateful for Little Shop. 

So, the blog take-away is: I should follow Nike and just do it — that “it” could be trying out for a club sports team, joining an organization, talking to the cute guy in my Bio class, or even quitting the activity I’m no longer interested in. During my time here on the hill, I should aim to do what is both feasible and fun, but ultimately allowing myself to do what makes me happy. 

Doors in wrapping paper, stockings lining the coffee shop counter, and the Kimball cafeteria filled with crafts, free cookies, and Santa?

Yes, it’s my favorite season on the Hill – the holiday season. I wrote a post about this last year, entitled “Miracle on College Street,” and if I was feeling the Christmas spirit last year, then I’m drowning in it this year. From literally decking our hallway in all things Winter to blasting Christmas music in October, I have been anticipating this time of year for a while now.

 

My fellow fool and friend Lauren and I before we sang at our Christmas a cappella show.

My fellow fool and friend Lauren and I before we sang at our Christmas a cappella show.

However, my roommate and I do love to joke that though it is the most wonderful time of the year, it’s also the most stressful time. Papers and projects are coming in hot. Finals are coming up soon. Winter is coming full force. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the work and even the change in weather.

Still, every year this time rolls around, I always find comfort in the sweet spirit on campus. Yes, one of my friends just pulled an all-nighter and yes, one of my other friends has two 20-page papers due in three days, but there is something about the holiday time and this hill that makes everything (even if momentarily) okay.

Sometimes it does feels as if there’s just too much to do and absolutely no time to finish it all. Then, when I catch up with friends over a Kimball Holiday dinner or I go sing carols with much of campus and the Worcester community at the Tree Lighting, I can find the silver linings. Or in this case, the silver bells.

 

 

 

My residents were truly feeling the Christmas spirit and got really creative with the board outside of the room.

My residents were truly feeling the Christmas spirit and got really creative with the board outside of their room.

Our a appella group, "Fools on the Hill," at our Christmas show.

Our a cappella group, “Fools on the Hill,” at our Christmas show

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, the blog take-away is: Indeed, there is no place like home for the holidays and I will soon learn that Holy Cross will become a second home to me. Yes, I’ll have a lot to do, but I’ll have wonderful friends and a warm community to remind me how blessed I am. 

Let’s just jump right into this one, yes?

Perhaps you’ve heard of the phrase “safe space.” A safe space is usually referring to a discussion, a room, an event with an open atmosphere. What I mean by that is people in these rooms and discussions are encouraged to speak their minds, to share their stories with no fear of judgment. These spaces are vastly important, because without them, there are not many other spaces to fully and freely express oneself.

Holy Cross, like many other institutions, still does have some way to go in terms of having more and more similar spaces as the ones mentioned above. However, I can say that these spaces do exist on campus. Surely there are not always going to be people who share the same views or backgrounds and that can lead to tension. What many organizations and groups on this Holy Cross campus emphasize is the importance of “agreeing without being disagreeable” or the adage “agree to disagree.” I am most inspired when I attend an event where people from all different faith traditions, political standpoints, and cultures are having open and respectable dialogue. These events are needed when the atmosphere in the nation often seems so divisive and quite frankly, terrifying. These events provide a great deal of comfort to many during such times.

Examples of some of these open discussion events within this first month at Holy Cross:

1. The Art of Difficult Discussions: “Themed Parties”

2. Ignite: a workshop series focused on the experiences of women of color in predominately white spaces

3. Screening of the film “Profiled,” a documentary regarding police brutality and racial profiling, as well as a Q&A with the producer Kathleen Foster

4. A Social Justice retreat this upcoming weekend at the new contemplative center

And much more.

My last point is a phrase I’m hearing more and more often. I was talking with a peer on my way to the Ignite and we were discussing how wonderful it was to have such a workshop. I said I was so happy to have a “safe space.” My peer smiled and said, “I prefer saying brave space.”

I thought that was so powerful. There is such power in safety, in feeling that when you stand up or speak out, you will still be supported and comforted by those around you. You can be brave, because you have a ton of people rooting for you.

Yes, not everyone is on this brave space bandwagon just yet. There are still those students who aren’t necessarily actively rooting for everyone, still those who refuse to look beyond their own views and beliefs. However, I think the Holy Cross community is taking those essential steps toward the bandwagon’s door. My evidence? The photos posted below.

 

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The Ignite Workshop Flyer. This workshop began just last year, but already it is already a favorite workshop here at Holy Cross.

 

The flyer sent out for a Multicultural Peer Educators event last week.

The flyer sent out for a Multicultural Peer Educators event last week that was fully attended. 

 

A demonstration that took place during our Homecoming football game.

A demonstration that took place during our Homecoming football game. A range of students supported this demo, that being men, women, students and faculty of color, as well as termed white students and faculty. It was inspiring to see the community, even if just a selection of it, come together. There are more photos of the demo below.

 

 

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Stand Against Racism shirts that many wore to the game demo. Some wore Black Lives Matter shirts as well.

 

The group gathered to take a picture in front of Kimball Dining Hall before walking down to the field.

The group gathered to take a picture in front of Kimball Dining Hall before walking down to the field.

 

Father Boroughs, the president of the college, also joined the students during the homecoming game.

Father Boroughs, the president of the college, also joined the students during the homecoming game.

 

So, the blog take-away is: There will always be issues in the world at large and on the Holy Cross campus. Nonetheless, I will find people, groups, and even faculty who are willing to discuss and discern these important issues with me. I will find my brave space on the Hill. 

 

To quickly quote Chance the Rapper, “…and we back.”

Indeed we are. I’m so excited for my third year in Wheeler and my third year at Holy Cross. Living as a junior in a first-year residence hall might prove to be difficult at times, but I also think it will also be an interesting and incredibly fun experience.

Having lived on the same floor for three years, I’ve learned some important (and cliche) things. I’ll share them with you below:

  1. Friends come and go: Quite literally, many of my friends have gone out of Wheeler. But literal aspect aside, though some friends are forever, the friend group you develop your first year aren’t always your friends for the rest of your college career. So don’t be afraid to meet new people and be open to new experiences.
  2. The more things change, the more they stay the same: Each year, aspects of Holy Cross change. It can range from people going abroad and seniors graduating to new athletic buildings and exciting new school courses. Even in Wheeler, some traditions have changed. However, the same Holy Cross community and shared love still remains.
  3. You’ll get the hang of it eventually: This can often be hard to believe, but it’s very true. When I first arrived on campus, I was quite nervous and I definitely wasn’t blogging right away. It was only after I got more comfortable with who I was and who I wanted to be that I decided to start blogging. And look how far we’ve come!
  4. Love your neighbor: Again, this is not the easiest thing to do for some people. However, I cannot stress enough how important it is. Something I’ve learned time to time again in my life and especially here at Holy Cross is that the more love you spread, the more love you feel. A small smile or a nice note can go a long, looong way.
  5. Work hard: Work hard in the classroom, of course, but also make sure you’re working hard on maintaing both your physical and mental health. College can be overwhelming, so make sure you’re being kind to yourself. Please?
  6. These are the best years of your life: yeah.

 

I’m so excited to learn new lessons with an incredible Wheeler staff (see below) and a wonderful third floor.

The lovely 2016-17 Wheeler Staff <3

The lovely 2016-17 Wheeler Staff <3

One of our first staff activities together was kayaking!

One of our first staff activities together was kayaking and it ended up being so much fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wheeler 3rd floor College Side represent!

Wheeler 3rd floor College Side represent!

 

So, blog take-away is: I’m going to learn A LOT at Holy Cross, especially inside the classroom. However, often times the lessons outside of class are even more important. 

 

Hopefully you were so curious about that title that you’ve continued reading this blog post. If so, hello! This blog post will be about Holy Cross’ only co-ed a cappella group, Fools on the Hill. There we (most of us) are below!

 

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Fools Fam! 

Last week Friday, we had our biggest campus event Foolsapalooza. It’s our end of the year a cappella show, where Fools and other Holy Cross and off-campus a cappella groups perform as well! This year’s turnout was incredible and the energy in the room was just fantastic!

We advertised with some foolish facts about each member on our Facebook page! Might regret adding this photo later, but here is a little snippet of it!

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Some of the songs we sang were All These Things I’ve Done by the Killers, Water Under the Bridge by Adele, Sweater Weather  by the Neighbourhood, I See Fire by Ed Sheeran, and a really fun Queen Medley. As you can see, there’s no real common thread or certain genre — it’s just the love of all kinds of music that makes a cappella groups so fun.

Usual Holy Cross a cappella performances happen right in front of the Hogan cafe, Cool Beans, on different days during the week. However, this event was held in the Hogan Ballroom so that friends and family could attend as well.

Speaking of family, Foolsapalooza (coincidentally on April Fools Day) was my sister’s birthday, so she too attended the show and I got to sing my solo to her! Here we are after the show below:

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Yay, family.

If you love music and everything about it, you can join one of these groups! Many of the groups have YouTube channels, so I’ll post the names of the groups below so you can check out any videos. If a cappella isn’t an interest of yours, there are also many choir groups you can join as well! OR, you can do both!

A cappella groups:

Sons of Pitches

The Delilahs

Off the Record

Sound of St. James

And of course, Fools on the Hill.

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So much thanks to Colleen Paddock '16 for taking such lovely photos!

Thanks to Colleen Paddock ’16 for taking such lovely photos!

So, the blog take-away is: If I’m having a rough week at Holy Cross (which won’t necessarily be a normal occurrence), I can always go grab a coffee and head to any of the a cappella performances that week. AND if I love music, then I can join one of the many different music-based groups on campus! How exciting. 

HI!

I’ve written many posts about the glorious time that is the week before break, but I’m back at it again with a more positive outlook. Sure, this week (this semester, really) has been intense with work and activities, but as I always emphasize, the love shown on this campus continues to make it all worthwhile. Plus, it’s the day before break–Mama, we made it!

Last Friday was one of the school’s biggest and best events — the Black Student Union Fashion Show. The event is held at Mechanics Hall, which is absolutely beautiful in itself. Students participate as hair and makeup designers, clothing designers, models, and performers. It’s not just Holy Cross that shows up either, but rather what seems to be everyone in Worcester. Needless to say, it’s a big deal.

This year’s theme was Television and each segment of modeling portrayed a different channel (Safari, Weather, etc). There was also a performance from Worcester’s Boys & Girls’ Club, Holy Cross’ Fusion Hip Hop team, and a touching tribute to the many black lives lost to police brutality and other injustices. Here are some pictures of the wonderful event below:

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Mechanics Hall — ain’t she a beauty?

Along the lines of beautiful things, last week was RA Appreciation Day and there was such outpour of love that I know did not go unnoticed. Being an RA can be quite overwhelming at times, so I believe we were all grateful for a day when our deeds were acknowledged. My admiration and appreciation goes out to all the RAs out there who continue to walk around with a smile on their face or who are always lending a helping hand. You all rock!

Enjoy some pictures (and some instas) from that glorious day:

 

 

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Had to post for my Wheeler fam. 

 

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Appreciation for all those in the Residence Life Department too! They put up all our names so that we could write positive notes for everyone! 

So, the blog take-away is: What the world needs now…is love, sweet love. Holy Cross has lots of that love and when I show up as a first-year student, not only will I be welcomed and accepted, but I’ll be wholly loved as well. 

Hellooo from the INSIDE … of the dorm because it’s freezing outside. 

I know, so totally done with the “Hello” parodies, but I couldn’t resist.

Whenever I look at my posts from last year, I always laugh. Almost all of my posts had some phrase about how cold it was outside (and some posts were solely dedicated to this fact). The truth is, it gets cold. 

It’s cold, yes it is, but it’s also beautiful! If you are one of those people who hates the cold, but loves the scenery (me), then you’ll love this school! It already looks like Hogwarts, so when it snows and it’s gorgeous, you’ll fall even more in love with it.

Also, as I said last year, there’s a certain bond here at Holy Cross. Just like you bond with your sibling when you both dislike going to that one specific aunt’s house or how you and your friend became close from having mixed feelings about that one class, you too will bond with your Holy Cross classmates over how cold it is.

You and that student walking to the library share an unsaid, but understood sentiment and it’s honestly something that makes you a Holy Cross crusader.

Some pics of the beauty below:

HOGWARTS

HOGWARTS

 

So. Much. Snow.

So. Much. Snow.

 

That snowy pathway, though.

That snowy pathway, though.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, the blog take-away is: Let it snow, man. Yes, it’ll be incredibly cold. Yes, I will probably have some mixed feelings about going to class when the temperature is below average, but hey, it’s okay. Everyone is enduring the knee-high snow and the seemingly super-strong wind. In fact, it’ll bring us closer. Body heat hugs, anyone? 

 

 

Oh, I’m awake alright. Hi, again!

The radio silence is now over. I spent all of my Winter Break at home with family, so I did my best not to check or use my electronics and the sort. I guess I was a little too good at doing that, since I did not blog at all. However, I’m back on the Hill and ready to let you in on all the happenings!

Well, for one thing, our good ‘ole friend work visited us all on the first day of classes (hence “spring awakening”). Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a unified reaction to the first day back from break. Everyone was walking around in a sort of daze, because though we all know Holy Cross is rigorous, we figured we’d at least have the first day back clear of any assignments. I myself found out that was wrong when my roommate told me she was emailed work the week before we got back to campus.

What am I saying? I’m saying get ready to work, ’cause Holy Cross is no joke.

BUT, that doesn’t mean all joking around is banned. Where Holy Cross is super strict about its academics, it’s even more hands-on about student involvement and development. Every time I return to campus after break, my heart gets a whole lot happier and my joy even greater. Every first day back feels like a huge welcome-back-surprise-birthday party.

I’ve been asked by more faculty and staff members than students how I feel about returning, how my day is going, how my break was, and honestly how I myself am. There have been so many programs in first-year and upperclassmen buildings, welcoming students back with open arms. Whenever I start to feel a little overwhelmed with work, I’ll text a friend to grab a bite to eat or I’ll reflect on that unexpected, but completely relatable anecdote my professor told in class.

Again, you might be thinking, what.is.she.saying?

I’m saying get ready to be work, ’cause Holy Cross is no joke AND I’m saying get ready to be welcomed, ’cause Holy Cross is super stoked…(to have you).

Last but not least, I want to mention some aspects of my job as an RA this year. The RAs returned a bit earlier than most students, to get the buildings ready and to review policies and the sort. I’m telling you, it was like a massive celebration seeing everyone again. It was like 6th grade class parties all over again, minus the debacle of deciding what two-piece to wear and the petty drama.

Anyway, we changed the themes in our hallway and I decided to go with a Disney theme for reasons that need no explanation. It’s Disney.

Here are some pictures below:

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My bulletin board was basically the introduction to “Disney Channel Original Movies,” explaining that my floor’s first year at Holy Cross was like their own “Holy Cross Original Movie.”

 

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                      Some cartoon characters!!

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I wrote little blurbs about some older Disney Channel Original Movies, but made them relevant to this second semester.

 

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90s Hilary Duff, anyone?

 

So, the blog take-away is: As Katrina has often written before, Holy Cross academics are serious stuff, but with the support of faculty, friends, and sometimes FOOD, I will be able to get through it. Sometimes balancing outside activities, the workload, and you know, being a human may seem impossible, but as the great Walt Disney once said, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” 

Hello and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

As you can see (or rather read), the holiday time is very special to me. It is true that during the holidays, everyone just develops this really sweet and rich holiday spirit, especially here at Holy Cross.

This week alone, there have been over five holiday events. Kimball dining hall is looking beautiful with decorations as are residence halls. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Kimball Dining Hall

Kimball Dining Hall

3rd floor residents were really excited to decorate the hall after our floor meeting.

They covered their doors in wrapping paper and put up decorations everywhere.

My apologies that pictures do not do it justice.

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Okane Hall

 

 

One of my favorite Holy Cross holiday events is the annual tree lighting in front of Okane Hall. People from the Worcester community, as well as faculty and students gather in front of the hall to sing carols, drink hot cider and cocoa, and watch numerous holiday performances. My a cappella group is singing again this year and I am incredibly excited.

 

 

 

 

Our Wheeler RA Staff also decided to make a Christmas card! Though I can’t show the final product, here are some fun before pictures!

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Fellow 3rd floor RA Michelle on the right and 5th floor RA Meghan in the 2nd left-square picture.

 

Also, living on the Hill means you get to really show your Winter fashion (AKA, my favorite fashion).

Also, living on the Hill means you get to really show your Winter fashion (AKA, my favorite fashion).

So, the blog take-away is: Holy Cross does the holidays RIGHT — they’ll be numerous events and people to rally that great holiday spirit. Holy Cross will become my second home and everyone knows there’s no place like home for the holidays.