Katrina Black '18

It makes complete sense that it has taken me three months to write a blog post on my time being a part of our production of Legally Blonde the Musical. I have been in love with this musical since middle school and seriously always dreamed of being a part of the ensemble one day, so when I found out it was the musical for this year, I did indeed legally bawl my eyes out. It’s all things happy and hilarious, all things musical and meaningful. It finds that balance between not taking itself too seriously and making sure it emphasizes essential issues.

 

 

The production: ACT is a student-run organization. This means that students are the producers, directors, stage managers, and more.  It is the students who truly put on the show. Legally Blonde the Musical was probably one of their largest projects yet, as everything in this musical is quite over the top and extravagant. We had the most hard-working, talented students ever working on the show and they are the reason it was such a success!

 

 

The cast: This was the sweetest cast I’ve ever been a part of. I’ve done musical theater since the first grade and those casts were definitely sweet as well, but this cast of LB was amazing. There were only five seniors a part of the cast/production, so the majority of the cast were underclassmen. In some cases, that could have caused a divide between these various students, but it was the most welcoming, most accepting cast. Our group chat is still used every week, even though the musical has been over for months.

 

 

The outcome: Knowing that this musical would take all of our effort to pull off, our director, Emma Callahan ’18, had rehearsals starting as early as late September. So when February rolled around, we all felt super prepared to put on five shows. The show sold out within two days and each night had that electric energy that only comes with live shows.

Even as I write this, I haven’t yet watched Act 2 of the video recording they sent us. I think once I watch the whole thing, the finality of it being over (and senior year rapidly coming to an end) will hit me hard.

So, I’ll just reread this blog a bunch of times and probably watch the second act in August and then put on a one-woman production of the whole thing for my friends and family back home — what, like it’s hard?

When I was younger, I was kind of the class clown, always trying to get the class to laugh and doing my quirky thang. However, after I was hit with the classic: “yeah…so you’re no longer cool, so we aren’t friends anymore” bit right before high school, I stopped embracing my foolish side.

 

First Foolsapalooza

 

I came to Holy Cross super shy, super quiet, and super uncomfortable with the idea of making a fool of myself. I tried to be this picture perfect version of myself who made no mistakes and never tripped up the stairs.

One day during my first year here, I was idly painting a clay bowl at a weekend event (let’s bring this back, yes?) and having a very normal conversation with the people sitting at my table. A sophomore guy I had never met before was sitting across from me and he kind of tilted his head as I spoke.

So, naturally, I froze. And then I freaked. I had done all the right things! I had barely talked the entire time, had nodded appropriately, and even smiled when warranted. Why was he staring at me?!

“Do you sing? You sound like you can sing, like an Alicia Keys kind of vibe. You should audition for Fools On The Hill,” he said.

 

Second Foolsapalooza

 

I kind of blacked out from there, because the entire conversation was making me very anxious and I knew I was no Alicia Keys! However, I agreed to audition, thinking that he would forget and I would continue blending in on campus. A week later, though, I saw him in the cafeteria and he told me he couldn’t wait to see me at my audition time.

So, I auditioned. Then, I got in.

 

Third Foolsapalooza with these beautiful ladies who became beautiful friends

 

And I slowly remembered how FREEING it is to be FOOLISH. Fools On The Hill was filled with loving, hilarious, talented human beings who made me feel valued every day. We all shared foolish facts about ourselves, without judgement! We sang at the top of our lungs and voice cracks were welcomed! It was refreshing, cleansing even. I remembered that I didn’t have to be wholly put together all the time, that my faults came together to make me who I am.

Cliche? Maybe. But beautiful, nonetheless.

So thank you to this wonderful group, to each and every member over the past four years, for reminding me that it is not foolish to love yourself.

 

Fourth and Final Foolsapalooza

 

 

 

 

heart & soul

 

 

 

 

My niece and nephew said they enjoyed the show!

 

 

 

Made some of my closest friends in this group (Lauren Carey ’19)

 

 

 

Friends from home came for my last show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOOLS Alum also came back — Jackie (’17) was one of the first friends I made.

 

 

 

One of our flyers from my sophomore year

 

 

Will always reflect on our Christmas shows

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The a cappella battle is one of my first and fondest memories at Holy Cross

 

 

 

Fools Family

 

 

 

 

Thank you.

Matthew Silberstein, a student of the Class of 2018 and a superb supervisor, suggested that I write about this topic since Holy Cross does indeed give exams. Here’s the truth: we often don’t reflect on stressful times, because of the whole out of sight, out of mind thing and I guess I’d been doing that a lot on this blog when it comes to midterms.

Senior year, though, calls for a revisit to midterm seasons and the such, as this might be the last time I endure these trying times. That being said, everyone deals with assignments and exams in different ways. What seems like a chill week for me might be a hectic week for someone else. However, I’ve written this with experiences of friends and myself in mind, so it is authentic and hopefully beneficial to all:

  1. Get ahead. Cliche, maybe, but oh so true. If I took the time to get ahead in terms of studying or starting a paper and didn’t wait until the last possible second to begin studying or submit the aforementioned paper, I would be much happier. Also, I could watch that Netflix Original without all the surrounding guilt.
  2. Talk to your professors. Office Hours can seem daunting, even discouraging, but they are especially helpful. Who better to go to with your questions about the course than the person who created it? It seems obvious, but I’ve definitely forgotten this time and time again (I’m looking at you, Bio Midterm).
  3. Don’t forget to eat. To echo the sentiment from #2, this probably seems obvious, but it needs to be said. I’m the kind of person who gets a migraine if I don’t eat for a long period of time and then once I have a migraine, my desire to do any work diminishes for some unclear reason. Moral of the story, always have a snack packed. 
  4. Be a human. Maybe you’re thinking, “Okay, so this list has gotten increasingly odd” and perhaps it has, but hear me out. Finals are stressful, stress can cause unhappiness, and unhappy people sometimes get cranky. Be human during these times, because we are probably all overwhelmed. So buy your friend a coffee, don’t leave your stuff overnight on a desk in the library (or at least don’t do this every night), smile encouragingly at someone on the way to Kimball, and if your friend does get cranky, don’t hold it against them. Maybe give them that snack you packed. 

 

Michael DeSantis ’18 cradling his lengthy readings last year.

 

 

Photo from left to right: Tessie Salatas ’18 and Matt Silberstein ’18 doing work.

 

A visual of me (or rather of my foot) in real time in real midterm season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My room!

My place of residence.

We as human beings change daily, in mindsets, in development — in so many aspects. Therefore, I have no doubt I underwent a dynamic change from my first year at Holy Cross to my final year. This change is evident in the decoration of my room.

Here’s what it looked like then:

 

 

 

Classic college clutter. No inspiration or theme. No matter what college you go to, whether it’s Holy Cross or another, you won’t fully know yourself when you first arrive. Like first/second year me, that might reflect in your words, your actions, and even in your room decor.

 

Here’s what my room looks like now (feel free to click on the images to make them larger):

 

My “Scrapwall,” since I don’t always have time to really scrapbook like I want.

 

 

 

My wardrobe, made to be both aesthetically pleasing and apparently practical. I can get everything I need.

 

This is above my wardrobe, giving my room the pink inspiration I wanted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Though my four years at Holy Cross are some of my favorites, I definitely struggled a lot with homesickness and sometimes schoolwork. However, a positive spirit and faith definitely brought me through.

A picture showing the view I get every morning as I grab pens, jewelry, or lotion.

 

A shoe shrine, ’cause why not?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I share all this just to say that you don’t have to have it all figured out as soon as you get to college. In fact, you probably still won’t have it figured out when you leave college. There’s no shame nor harm in that. Life is a learning process and you’re forever developing. My years at Holy Cross have taught me that no matter how winding or windy the roads, eventually you’ll make it to your destination. My destination at school at the end of the night is always my room and it is now my favorite place to be.

 

So, the year flew by.

Everyone’s saying it. Everyone’s correct. 2017 was a whirlwind.

Semesters always fly by, but my first senior year semester flew first class, private jet plane fast. Like, whoosh.

November

I participated in my favorite theater festival I’ve ever been a part of. The Holy Cross Theater Department is absolutely brilliant. In 2017, I got more involved. And I loved it! I did the Greek Festival during my junior year (the same year I had the honor of being in the musical) and then this semester, I participated in the 5-10 Festival and the One Act Festival.

Our One Act piece was all about body image. Our cast was beautiful, empowering, and encouraging. Here we are below: Alyssa ’18, Adeline ’19, Tanusha ’18 (our director), me, and Eve ’18.

 

 

Senior Ball was a blast. My roommate and I love any reason to dress up and senior ball was no exception. It was just nice to see all your friends (and the people you had no idea were even in your grade) come together for a night and take in the year.

 

 

 


 

 

 

December

I actually don’t have much to say about this month, as finals season often erases my memory. However, I do know that my a cappella group this year has become super close and the holiday season was magical. We sang at my favorite event of the year (the Okane Tree Lighting) and had our Christmas Cool Beans performance.

 

 

 

Looking forward to 2018! Last Semester. Legally Blonde the Musical. My friend’s getting married. Graduation. Stay tuned!

Seriously, whooo would’ve believed September would fly by fast?

Well, actually, I did. As mentioned in probably every blog post before this, my time at Holy Cross has indeed flown by like an owl flying to catch its prey (prey, in our sense here, is graduation). Not only are we in the second month of the school year, but Homecoming has already passed as well. Yes, Homecoming, when all my once senior friends return and indirectly remind me that my time at Holy Cross is nearing its inevitable end.

The Wheeler Resident Assistant Staff from two years ago is still obsessed with each other. Here some of us are reuniting.

 

However, it’s not all bitter. As you may have guessed, it’s bittersweet. I’ve already made so many wonderful senior memories in my classes, in Figge, and in different departments. People often make senior year the year of “yes.” People fear missing out, so they say yes to every and any event. My approach is slightly different, but with the same sentiment. Whether it’s going to a professor’s Office Hours for either help or just to catch up or heading out to Boston for a Girls Day with my closest friends, I’ve decided to only say yes to things my soul feels absolutely content with.

 

 

Reading a beautiful poem entitled “A Flor e a Náusea,” meaning “The Flower and the Nausea” for the Holy Cross Fossil Free organization. I love attending events I find empowering and essential and I was honored to read at such a special event.
Taken by Anthony Saltarelli ’18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking time to stop and reunite with friends I haven’t seen in a while. This was a glorious day and definitely made my soul happy. Ran into so many lovelies.

 

 

My sister and a friend of mine flew down to Atlanta for a weekend for a surprise engagement. My soul knew I’d want to be there, even though I still very much had a lot of homework due for when I got back. This is a picture of priorities in action, as my sister and my friend headed out for the night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turns out my soul likes to do a lot of things at night. I’ve always been a night owl, but it’s reached a whole new level during my time at Holy Cross. Don’t get me wrong, I love me a good sleep, but I also love being able to have a full, meaningful day (even if that means having a late, late night of work). Holy Cross has always reminded me to see and find God in all things, so even though my schedules can be beyond packed, I can dissect the day to find little moments of peace and contentment. I have no doubt that this ability to discern what I need from what I want, what I think from what I feel, and so on will help me in the long run. Throughout my time on the hill and especially as a senior, I’ve learned that being intentional with my actions can only ever be beneficial.

 

 

So, we’re here, right? In September. Surprisingly (though it shouldn’t be a surprise after three years on the Hill), it’s already freezing most mornings. I put a good chunk of my winter clothes in my first laundry run of the year.

In other, more relevant news, senior year has begun! Classes are in full swing, everyone is reuniting with friends who were abroad, and seniors are grappling with the fact that this is their last year. Thankfully, I’ve got a great staff on the Figge Hall staff. We gelled right away — something that is quite rare, and there is a level of trust and comfort that is wonderful to see in a staff.

I’ve gone through Resident Assistant (RA) training three times and this summer’s training was definitely one of the best. Being a senior RA is definitely different from my two years as an RA in Wheeler, one of our first-year halls. Everyone is kind of on their own groove as a senior, especially since they have their roommates, a kitchen, a bathroom, and everything else in their apartments. My goal is to still create a warm atmosphere on my hall and in the building so that our last year on the Hill is still welcoming and encouraging.

Excited for this year and grateful for a wonderful staff!

 

This was one of the first days of training. In fact, I think this was the first day.

 

This was the last day of training. <3

 

This was after we found Nemo. There was a training scavenger hunt and the theme of training was Disney.

Disclaimer: This was written in August, but is being posted now because work is the real deal. 

Officially got back home from Jamaica at 3:45AM Friday morning and now all of a sudden I go back to school in four days. To say this summer flew by would be the understatement of this speedy summer. I remember backing up my Wheeler room vividly, so to think I’ll be moving into Figge as a senior seems surreal.

As promised, here is the recap of July and August I will probably tell all of my friends when I see them in a few weeks (and days).

JULY

July consisted of summer camp and getting ready for our upcoming trip. I’ve always loved working with children, as I’ve always been able to put myself back in the mindset of those younger than myself. In other words, I understand the importance of the newest TV musical or the fun in making group pool dances. What I love most about being a counselor is having the opportunity to invest and influence the minds of all of my campers. I have strong memories of my own summer camp experiences, so I hold myself accountable as a counselor.

AUGUST

August consisted mainly of one thing: Jamaica. Whether it was planning for the school opening or for stuffing last minute clothes into our suitcases, we had Jamaica on our mind this entire month. What made this trip so special was that a bunch of our friends and family traveled with us down to the island; my family-friends, church members, and of course my immediate family joined us for an unforgettable trip.

The school we have been dreaming of building for the past seven years is finally open! The ribbon cutting ceremony was beautiful and sweet, a gathering of people determined to sow seeds into the lives of the young children of my mom’s hometown.

We also had a chance to explore the ever beautiful island more than we ever had before. We found the most beautiful beaches and even went bamboo rafting, celebrating a successful foundation. So much love.

Here are some pictures below:

The one room school the 60 children used to go to school in.

 

 

The new multiple-room school with indoor plumbing, a cafeteria, and a principal’s office.

 

 

Bamboo rafting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me, one of my longest childhood friends, and my sister’s friend from high school.

 

 

 

Cousin love!

 

 

 

Clear, clear water! So beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • July 12th, 2017

May & June

Because the last semester runs to into the summer, May is included in these summer stories. May is the month of both “ugh, final exams” and “ah, it’s finally summer!” This past May was one of the most stressful months of my life and collegiate career, but it was also one of the most eventful. As soon as I got home, my sister reminded me that we had booked a flight to Atlanta…for the next day.

A couple of my friends, my sister, and I went down to Georgia to visit family friends who had moved away. That first night back home, after having unpacked my entire Wheeler dorm for the last time, the last thing I wanted to do was start packing once again. Needless to say, I was not the happiest waking up for that early morning flight.

However, this trip was beyond amazing. Not only did I get to de-stress from quite a grilling and hard semester, but I also got to catch up with my friends from home and explore the beautiful Atlanta. We went to a bunch of different restaurants, reminisced about our childhoods, and even rode bikes at night (I fell a total of three times). It was the trip I didn’t know I needed.

 

My sister and I with our friends in Atlanta. <3

About two weeks after that, my sister, mother and I traveled down to Jamaica to visit the elementary school we had adopted over five years ago. We have been raising money for the Cove Basic School since my sophomore year of high school and this summer a brand new school building is being made! The ribbon cutting ceremony will take place in August and we are beyond excited for the children to starting learning and growing in their new school! You can follow our efforts on by clicking on the picture of the students below!

 

The kids of the Cove Basic School in Clarendon Jamaica

We also visited family during the trip. It was wonderful to see my aunt!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, in July, I am working at the summer camp I have worked at for the past two years. I work with 8-12 year old girls and our goal this summer is to encourage female empowerment. Both my counselor and I realize these are the ages where bullying, negative self-image, and other adolescent problems arise. We want to do our best to give them the most enjoyable and empowering summer of 2017. It’s already a packed summer, but that just means more memories.

Weird.

Next year I’ll be a senior. The majority of my friends will be seniors. I have been blogging since my first year, so those memories are documented and dear to my heart. This senior year, however, is probably going to go by faster than the past three. So, I thought I’d start blogging about it earlier — now, in the summer.

Packing up my belongings in Wheeler was not only other-worldly, it was also bittersweet. Living in a first-year building for three years is rare and people always questioned how I did it. The truth is, it was amazing. It is true that first year RAs have to do a lot, that some nights are crazy loud, and the halls aren’t always the cleanest. However, there is always a sense of joy and the great future of possibilities in those buildings. For most of its residents, that building represents the start of their college career! I got to experience that fresh-faced, beautiful atmosphere three times in a row. I count that as a blessing. Three years on the third floor of Wheeler could not have been more perfect.

Next year, I’ll be living in Figge, one of the senior apartments. I’ll finally be living with my grade again, with my friends down the hall and my peers all around me. It’ll be a transition, seeing as I’ve only ever worked as an RA for first years. However, our Figge staff is fantastic. Though the building will be full of different kind of atmosphere, that same sense of joy and future of possibilities will still surround me — just in an alternative way. I mean, we’re starting the next chapters of our lives in Figge. I can’t even imagine how strange and wonderful it’ll all be.

So this summer, as I snapchat those returning from abroad and those departing for it, as I cry-laughing texting those who I’ll be seeing every day come September, and as I tearfully (and repeatedly) say goodbye to those who have finished their last year on the Hill, I’ll keep this blog updated. Holy Cross gave me memories and family for a lifetime; it feels only right that I share these sentiments with those thinking of coming here as well.