Katrina Black '18

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.

Spring Weekend came and went with the help of a week full of rain! I must say that though the weather wasn’t as sunny as my first year or as humid as last year, this year’s Spring Weekend was still great. Our Spring Concert opened with the winners of this year’s Battle of the Bands, The Nate Chung Project. They were followed by Timeflies and T-Pain. The concert was full and fun, with Timeflies even improvising about Holy Cross and T-Pain singing his heart out. Inflatables, food trucks, and other Campus Activity Board (CAB) events. That ended the first night of Spring Weekend.

Saturday was full of events, like the Easy Street Fair, fireworks, and the Outdoor Edge, which is a campus wide dance that happens twice a year. The fair is hosted by the CAB and the House Council’s of each building — little stations stand in front of each building and students can feel free to stop by each one. There is often caricatures, inflatables, fried Oreos, and more. The fireworks are my favorite event, because it’s adorable to see everyone snuggled next to their best friends on blankets or gazing up at the sky. The Outdoor Edge, however, is probably the most attended and most exciting.

 

On Monday, the club Developing and Educating South Asian Ideologies (DESI) puts on the Holi Festival, which is also known as the festival of colors. Later at night the Kimball Carnival takes place, where fried dough, carnival rides and games are free to all. Though it was rainy, many still made it to enjoy the last day of Spring Weekend.

 

So, the blog take-away is: College can be fun. Or at least, it can be really fun right before we start finals. The fried dough makes it all worth it, right? 

 

 

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.

 

ignite

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.

 

 

image1

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.