This time of year seems to always bring out the best in everyone. People seem to be a little bit kinder, a little bit friendlier, a little bit more generous. Everyone seems willing to take a minute to reflect on the year they have been through. I have not been able to discern if this is because it is the Christmas season and suddenly religion becomes important to the non-religious community again or perhaps because the New Year is coming and people are acutely aware of the passage of time. Whatever it is: the end of another year, or the Christmas season or both, it’s refreshing relief from the depressing news stories and the seemingly hard life that happens here on Earth.
As I take my own moment to reflect, I am startled (once again) at how fast this semester has flown by. It is shocking, especially since this semester has been my favorite and yet most difficult so far. There has not been a dull moment and it has been exciting to follow some of my friends study abroad adventures. Here on the hill, I have had some moments. There have been moments of joy when old friends come back to visit and celebratory moments when someone lands a job. There have been moments of sorrow when I learned that I lost a loved one. And there have been moments of happiness when I make it through a particularly stressful week and I get to sleep in on Saturday. Through it all though, my friends at Holy Cross have stood by me and supported me. I am finally beginning to understand why people say that your college friends will be your friends for life. You get each other through the long nights before exams and big papers, you help each other through the sad times and the stressful times. As I am reflecting on my college experience so far, and my time on Holy Cross’s campus as a junior begins to close—I realize how thankful I am to be surrounded by such caring and loving people. I realize how many gifts and experiences at Holy Cross have shaped me, only some of which happened in the classroom. My life at Holy Cross has made me a more aware person, not just of myself but of other people. It draws my eye to the injustices happening in our world and calls me to take a second look at the life I lead and determine if it is one I will be proud to have lived 50 years from now. Holy Cross and the people I am surrounded with have given me so much outside of the structured classroom. It’s a gift. And one that I need to take a step back and be thankful for more often.