Lauren Tilmont ’16

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.

View of Worcester from Campus :)

View of Worcester from Campus :)

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.

This summer, I worked at my very first internship at BMO Harris Bank doing marketing with the Marketing, Communications, and Digital Content team. As a part of the intern program we learned and were exposed to other parts of the bank. Each week, we would sit in a two hour presentation learning about various branches of the bank to understand more about BMO (Bank of Montreal) as a whole.

This experience interning in downtown Chicago, in a corporate business environment has been an invaluable experience and one I will take with me for the rest of my life. I got the experience of mastering how to ride the train downtown everyday. I learned how to navigate public transportation and I found that I really enjoyed it. Everyday I was downtown working with a talented team that supported me and wanted to further my knowledge of business and marketing. I learned quite a bit about the corporate environment, and what it takes to be a project manager. It really opened my eyes to the corporate marketing world and what a future like that could hold for me! As my first internship, I welcomed the opportunity to have access to high levels professionalism and took the chance to ask questions and see how things worked.

I was constantly impressed by the caliber of people I worked with and their passion towards their job. Their commitment and enthusiasm really pushed me to reach new levels of achievement and bring tons of fresh energy to everyday that I worked there. I learned so much that cannot be taught in a classroom. And I did not only learn about marketing from the client side, my coworkers even arranged to have us visit an advertising agency to understand round out our understanding of marketing and advertising. I understand so much more than I ever could have before. My baptism by fire was completely worth it and I cannot say enough good things about my experience there. Thank you BMO for an incredible summer!

Coming Back to the Hill.

Hi everyone! We are back on the hill for a couple weeks now, and things have been in full swing. We are super busy already immersed in classes and homework and extra-curricular activities. It feels so good to be back. The campus is so green and alive with the chatter of student’s conversations and the new class of first years.Cannot believe this sky!

There was so much waiting for us when we got back to campus. Kimball Dining Hall renovations, newly renovated study spaces, a new science Geoscience major, as well as mobile food ordering apps were just a few of many new things awaiting us. It’s been exciting to discover all these new additions!

There were things that we did not realize we missed. For me, I actually missed the slight burn in my thigh muscles after walking up all the stairs from Kimball to the Hogan Center.  I missed the ivy covered buildings. I missed how green and beautiful it all looks. I missed our class discussions. I missed how you can walk through Hogan and get completely wrapped up in a conversation with someone sitting in CoolBeans. I missed the feeling of accomplishments when you make it to Friday after a long week of exams, papers, and class lectures.  I missed the discipline it takes to balance everything and the sense of pride that comes with succeeding.

Welcome Class of 2018! We are so excited to share this wonderful place we call home. :)

Although I love being at Holy Cross, being at home has been wonderful. Most people like coming home because it means home cooked meals, sleeping in, and free laundry services. Theses things are nice –and make no mistake, I love being with my family–I also love being closer to Chicago. I always miss this city when I leave for school(You see where I am going with this. ;) ).

When I tell people I am from around Chicago, they often say,  “Oh hey! I’ve been there! Well, not really, I’ve been in O’Hare airport. What’s Chicago like?” In these situations, I find it difficult to figure out how to describe this amazing city that I live near. However, since this situation come up more times than I can count, I have figured out a way to explain Chicago by listing a bunch of reasons why Chicago is awesome. And whether you wanted to read this or not, today I am going to talk about where I live and why it is phenomenal. I cannot do it full justice, but I am going to convince you to give it a visit sometime!

Chicago Skyline from Willis Tower

Chicago Skyline from Willis Tower

Chicago is a large, international city like New York City with some elbow room as you walk down the streets. It’s historical but modern, bustling yet easily navigated. There are clear neighborhoods like Chinatown or Greektown. There’s a theater district and financial district. Chicago functions just like any other major city. We have trains, planes, and automobiles. As the famous play Twelve Angry Men depicts, Chicago is home to the elevated train or the “L” for locals. The “L” goes around the “Loop” of downtown Chicago. We have Italian beef, deep dish pizza, and Chicago style hot dogs. Not to mention Willis Tower (the world’s tallest building from 1974-1998), the John Hancock building, the Tribune Tower, and Wrigley Field. The Cloud Gate, affectionately referred to as “The Bean” resides in Millennium Park.

The Field Museum in downtown Chicago is home to “Sue” the dinosaur, the most complete skeleton of a T-Rex dinosaur on record. We invented spray paint in 1949, the Ferris Wheel in 1893, the vacuum cleaner in 1868, and the zipper in 1851. You’re welcome for making state fairs more fun, household cleaning easier, and clothes better.

Every year we host Lollapalooza in Grant Park, a large three day music festival in August.  We also hosted and broadcasted the first televised presidential debate in CBS Studios between JFK and Richard Nixon in 1960. Not to mention that Chicago is the home of current president of the United States, Barack Obama.

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Beach on Lake Michigan

And if none of the aforementioned things have convinced you to think Chicago is fantastic, let me leave you with one more.  Batman’s Gotham City? Yeah, that is largely based off of Chicago. The most recent Batman movies? They were mostly filmed in downtown Chicago. BAM! POW! Chicago is great.  Holy St. Patrick’s Day Parades Batman! I love my home. I’ll miss it in a couple weeks. <3

As we are deeply entrenched into summer and starting to look forward to our time together on the Hill, you might start getting antsy and a bit homesick for late nights in Crossroads and starry nights on the Hart Lawn. I know I am! However, with a little less than a month left, I am soaking up my time at home and the last few moments of sleeping in before we get back to the books. Before we get back to the steps and coffees at Cool Beans, there are some things that need to be done beforehand, check out these tips for getting ready to come back to Pakachoag.

  1. Start ordering your textbooks. If you haven’t done this already, you will regret it. It’s so important and  much easier buy your textbooks ahead of time. Then, just pick them up when get back to campus.
  2. If you are ordering things for your dorm room, ship it to your Holy Cross mailing address. Holy Cross will hold anything you send to your mailbox and it will be there when you go to your mailbox at school. This way, there will be less things to pack in the car and a few less things to worry about and keep track of during move in.
  3. Start making a list of things that you need for school and then start tackling it week by week. Maybe one week you tackle cleaning supplies and the next week you make up your list of food or school supplies.
  4. Call your roommate! If you haven’t done this already…you REALLY need to get this done. It’s most likely that you need to coordinate who will bring the fridge or the stereo.
  5. Read up on some of Holy Cross’s history. Finished packing and still looking for your Holy Cross fill? Research the history of Holy Cross and how the school got started.
  6. Start thinking now about clubs and activities. Start thinking now, because trust me you will get back to the hill and sign up for more clubs than you have time for! So start narrowing down and realistically think about what you have time for.
  7. Put together an address book. Whether you are a senior or a freshman, it’s never too late to put together a compilation of your friend’s college’s addresses! We all know how great it feels to get something in the mail, so why don’t you prepare now to surprise a friend for their birthday?
  8. Start exercising! There are over 1,000 steps on Holy Cross’s campus and nothing kills reunion conversations more than when everyone is winded walking up all the steps to go to Hogan Center. Get that body back in shape for the stairs!
  9. Do all your laundry. You most likely be packing clothes for the future months and the last thing that you want is to pull out a dirty sweater on the first windy day.
  10. SLEEP IN! Because let’s be honest, you’re going to be so excited that you won’t sleep much once you get back.

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Students relaxing and playing Frisbee on the Hoval

It has way been too long.

I’m sorry everyone for dropping the ball for the better part of two months. April was a crazy hectic time for me and my classes and I found that I blinked and suddenly it was finals! My apologies and I will try to pick up the ball a bit for the fall semester. Now that the school year is over, I am marveling out how I was able to bring all my stuff home. Gosh, most of it is a blur. I have to say though, of the two processes, moving in and moving out—moving out is by far more stressful and crazy than moving in. It’s a wonder how much stuff we accumulate over the school year. Moving in there’s a lot of excitement coming back (or for the first time) to the hill and you are more than happy to unpack everything and settle into your new home for while. Moving out is an entirely different story. You have to take everything that’s in your room, everything that you have collected over the past year and compact it all into your car–that seemed to fit everything when you moved in at the beginning of the year! (Where did all this new stuff come from? How is it all going to fit? What am I going to do with it all? Yikes!) Things can quickly escalate but if you follow these tips below, everything will go much smoother!

Here are 3 tips for how to properly move out quickly and stress free:

  1. Start packing early during the study period(especially if you move out late), use it as a study break. Those winter sweaters that you aren’t wearing anymore? Start putting them into a suitcase!
  2. It is never too early to start organizing and emptying your desk. You would be surprised how stressful this particular place in the room can become when you open up your desk and discover millions of gum wrappers or useless papers while your parents are yelling at you to hurry up. Start going through your desk at the beginning of the study period.
  3. Stay as calm and relaxed as possible. It’s going to be hectic when your parents arrive to move you out. They just want to get you home and you want to make sure everything gets in the car properly. Just breathe and stay calm(repeat as necessary). If you are calm, then your parents will be too and everyone will be much happier for it!
My Dad came and moved me out this year! :)

My Dad came and helped moved me out this year! :)

This past year has been absolutely incredible. I finally declared my history major and a peace and conflict studies concentration. In addition, I attended the Spiritual Exercises back in January that helped me discern a great deal about myself and what I want at Holy Cross. I grew outside of the classroom as much as I grew inside the classroom. I have grown in areas of my life where I did not know I needed to grow in. And there is one thing I know for sure: I am in love with Holy Cross. It has completely stolen my heart and never have I been more sure than I am now that I chose the right school for me. Underneath all that ivy and those red bricks lies the heart of a place that has enveloped me in its arms to foster my learning, my understanding, and my growth. This place, my home away from home, is preparing me for the real world. It is preparing me to go out and question the world around me while shaping it into a better place. And although sophomore year is over, (What? When did that happen?) I am very excited and happily looking forward to the fall semester of my junior year! If it is anything like this year, it will be a crazy, fun filled ride and I cannot wait!

Coming back from break is always difficult because the transition back into our workload can be quite the wake up call from relaxing and sleeping on Spring Break. Going home was a great way to recharge my batteries, unwind with my family, and bake TONS of cookies before coming back to campus and getting ready to hit the books again.

Last weekend the Holy Cross Ballroom Dance Team traveled to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. Shannon and I finally placed and got our first ever ribbons together as a dancing couple! Out of the six dances we compete with, we got ribbons in Foxtrot, Cha-Cha, Swing, and Rumba! It was quite the successful day for the entire ballroom team with almost all of our couples placing! I think I speak for the entire team when I say that we were all extremely pleased with ourselves after waking up and leaving the campus at 5:45am.  Next weekend is another ballroom competition at Rhode Island College! Here’s to hoping we get more ribbons!

Campus is finally starting to thaw and the weather seems a bit undecided whether or not it wants to be warm. For now though, it seems that spring is finally here!! After this long winter, I am very excited to start shedding my heavy winter coat for something a little bit lighter. It makes giving tours around campus much more pleasant. We can stand outside longer and talk about how Holy Cross is a registered arboretum, which means that all of the trees are protected on campus and that is just a small part of what makes it so beautiful on campus.

We keep getting emails about housing for next year and advising for fall semester classes and sends my head reeling. It seems like Spring semester just started and we already have to start thinking about next year?! I just try to close my eyes and relish in the time I have right now being a sophomore.  Oh look at that, it’s time to go get another coffee and some candy to work on the endless writing assignments

Until next time…

“This is survival of the fittest, this is do or die. This is, the winner takes it all.” 

The lyrics of Eminem’s song, “Survival,” echo through my head as I walk around campus during this week. This is midterms week, aka the busiest week in the semester besides finals week. It seems that we just got back and it is already time for midterms! You can feel the stress levels rising. Common indicators of these high stress levels include: the coffee line lengthening at cool beans, the library populating as it gets later into the night, the chocolate is always gone from the Lobby Shoppe, and the circles under every student’s eyes are slowly darkening. We amaze ourselves with just how far we can push our limits; how much can we get done in one day? We fashion ourselves indestructible and believe that we must continue to function that way. The coffee will sustain us…or so we think. Despite how stressful midterms week always is, the stress is never what I remember from the week.

What I remember from finals and midterms week is laughter. The laughter of me and my friends as we sit together trying to memorize our french vocabulary and screwing up the pronunciation every time. I remember being on the floor of my room, laughing until I cry after my roommate made a funny, off hand comment. I remember laughing at ballroom practice during the week because I felt like a jelly fish when trying to execute a move in cha cha. I remember the encouraging texts and support from my friends as I walk into my exam, convinced I am not prepared in the slightest. I remember the relief and relaxation that washes over me once I return back to my dorm room, a little bit lighter for having taken an exam. Through the whole experience I remember how fantastic my Holy Cross family is and how, through it all, we support one another through sleeve after sleeve of Oreos. ;)

This weekend was the first annual Worcester Classic Ballroom Dance Competition!! Our team got to sleep in a little bit this weekend since the competition was only across town in Worcester; it was a beautiful morning waking up at 6am instead of 4am. :)

Check out these mini ballroom dancers!! They were maybe 10 years old and already competing at silver level!!

Check out these mini ballroom dancers!! They were maybe 10 years old and already competing at silver level!!

The competition was small but the venue was excellent and wonderfully run. The competition ran almost on time, which is a miracle because ballroom competitions never run according to schedule. Our team was successful with several of our couples placing!!  Will and Julie placed in Newcomer Rumba, Shannon and I placed in Bronze Swing, Taylor and Justin placed in Silver level Smooth, and Megan and Andrew placed in Silver Viennese Waltz. Overall, it was a great day for Holy Cross and a fun time was had by everyone! We got back in the early afternoon and decided to crash on our beds for a nap before dinner. Thank you WPI and Clark for a fabulous day!

This coming Sunday is the Holy Cross Ballroom Dance Competition! I am very excited to once again be competitively dancing in the Hogan Ballroom on our campus. Not to mention that finally my friends can understand what me and Shannon do for hours of our time. :) There is going to be chance for us to dance salsa and hustle too! Fingers crossed that it is another successful weekend!

It is finally the start of a new semester! As fun as chilling in Chi-beria was over Christmas break, it has been fantastic to come back to campus and be with everyone again. Despite the cold and the snow, I have a feeling this semester is going to be wonderful and hopefully the best one yet.

As is becoming tradition for me on campus, this past weekend was dance marathon!!  Dance Marathon is a fundraiser that Holy Cross puts on to raise money for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation. The dance marathon requires each participant to  be on their feet for 12 hours from 8pm Saturday night to 8am Sunday morning. It was a blast!! The music was awesome and it was a night well spent being awake for 12 hours. I participated in dance marathon last year and I think that each year it is just going to get better and more fun. It is definitely one of my favorite nights on campus every semester. When we finally got to bed on Sunday, my friends and I passed out trying to fully recover to rest up for this week’s homework and activities. I think some of us are still feeling the effects, but it was worth it. Dance Marathon raised over $40,000 this year which surpasses last year’s fundraising goal by at least $5,000! I have been on this campus for almost 2 years now and the dedication of Holy Cross students still never ceases to amaze me. I feel lucky to be surrounded by such passionate people.