Lauren Tilmont ’16

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.

 

As you may or may not have guessed, ballroom dance season is well underway and the season has been extremely fun so far!! Things have been crazy awesome far and it is incredible how much time has flown.

Shannon and I at the Tufts Competition

Me and Shannon at the Tufts Competition!!

Due to the skewed girl to guy ratio in ballroom, this year, I decided to become a lady leader in ballroom. A lady leader is simply a woman who decides to learn how to do the part that is (stereotypically) the gentleman’s in ballroom. I am the Fred Astaire in this dance relationship, I get to wear the pants (literally). It has been quite a learning experience and I will admit I am surprised at how much I enjoy being a lady leader. My partner is my friend Shannon, and it has been extremely fun to be on this learning journey with her! For me, ballroom dance has become a much larger and more integral part of my Holy Cross experience, I have thrown myself headfirst into a new situation in ballroom and I have discovered a new side of ballroom that I love.  It’s wonderful!!

If you are anything like me, you constantly question whether or not you are in the right place. You question whether you are making the right decisions and whether or not you are on the right path for your life. You second guess decisions and hope that you have not accidentally closed a door for yourself. Lately, I have been having some moments of clarity where I have realized that I am exactly where I should be, doing exactly what I should be doing, at this exact moment in time. The only way that I can think to explain it is that during these moments, I feel extremely happy and it seems that most pieces of my life are shifted in their proper places. Lately, I get this feeling when I am dancing and when I am walking around campus. The feeling reaffirms my decision to attend Holy Cross, the decision to continue Ballroom Dance and the decision to apply to study abroad. It reminds me that sometimes, if you take the initiative in your life, and make decisions for yourself and your best interests—things will work out. If you take the lead, if you take the initiative, your life experience is greatly enriched because finally—it is YOUR life, being lived by and for you, not by anyone else.

Finals week is upon us!!!! Good luck to all on finals and Merry Christmas!!!!

Yes, I wrote it.  The M word. That dirty, nasty, little word that eats at the back of your brain the minute that you start looking at colleges. It is viewed as the key to your future and by extension, your ultimate happiness in life. It’s a huge step. Don’t pick the wrong one. It determines your life!!! (And the list of endless imposing statements goes on and on) However, everyone take a deep breath because I am here to tell you that declaring a major is NOT scary and it is a huge step but a satisfying and fulfilling one. Not knowing what you want to major in or pursue for a career is very normal. Your major does not have to determine your entire career. That is the best thing about Holy Cross, you can do ANYTHING with just about ANY major.

Last week, I finally decided to declare my major in History and a concentration in Peace and Conflict Studies. This was a GIGANTIC decision for me. I wrestled with it for weeks and I was nervous about committing to a department. I am a person that loves having options so committing to one thing was daunting for me. My class dean helped me considerably in assuring me that if I changed my mind, it was going to be fine and no one was going to tar and feather me. ;) So after some careful debating with myself, I took the plunge and got my papers signed! It was both relieving and exciting to have a plan for my life for the next 2 1/2 years. :)

Now, you are probably sitting there wondering, “Lauren, what is a Peace and Conflict Studies concentration, is it a theme in your history major?” The answer is no. My concentration is separate from the History major. Peace and Conflict Studies is a multidisciplinary concentration spanning across three or more departments. This concentration really intrigued me because it adds an extra dimension to what I am learning that can be directly applied to today’s world. Which is unfortunately so often torn apart by violence and conflict in our world. This is a great program, especially since I think I might want to pursue a job with international opportunities.

At Holy Cross, you are not required to declare your major until the second semester of sophomore year. So freshman year, explore classes you might not have normally taken in high school! Who knows were it could lead?

The semester is flying and I cannot believe that we are already going on fall break! All of our schedules are filled and our studies are ongoing. My head is reeling at how fast these weeks have gone by.

Last weekend was Homecoming!! Although it began with a rainy friday afternoon,  the weather cooperated for the pep rally on the Hoval! We had games and the cheerleaders and step team got everyone pumped up for the game on Saturday afternoon! Campus was swarmed with alumni who could remember when the college was men only to the class of 2013. It was a fantastic showing of purple pride and although our team did not win Homecoming, the weekend was still punctuated by friends, celebration, and bleeding purple! :) Having all the alumni back to campus this year really struck something within me that caused me to realize that Holy Cross is not just the place I attend college, it will always be home once I graduate. It is the incredible sense of community and the connection we all feel with each other.

Fall break is a much welcomed pause in the whirlwind of this semester and I am very excited to be reunited with my family for a week. :)

The year has gotten underway without too many hiccups and it has been a fun one so far!

To celebrate the end of summer, my friends and I went to a Red Sox game last friday! It was quite an adventure!  We actually took the train to Fenway Park. Most of my friends are not from Boston, so the night was a learning experience. However, once we got on the train, it was not too difficult from there. We got off at the right stop and made our way to Fenway! Hot dogs, popcorn, peanuts, clam chowder made up our dinner in the classic baseball game style! The Boston Red Sox won the game to clinch the East Division Championships and are advancing to the playoffs. A fun time was had by everyone there and it was cool to sing “Sweet Caroline” along with thousands of others. :) This was my first time at Fenway Park and boy, it is an awesome baseball field! Built in 1912, Fenway is the oldest baseball field in the country. It reminded me a little of Wrigley Field in Chicago, which makes sense since Wrigley was built around the same time period as Fenway in 1914.

Fenway Park

Ballroom dance season has begun again and it is exciting to see all the new faces of the first years and all of the dancers back from abroad. We had a large group of fresh recruits this past monday and they are looking great so far! It’s fantastic to see so many people excited about ballroom and I cannot wait to see how everyone develops this year. :) I even got a few of my friends to join. It’s awesome to see them pick up the steps and go from appreciating dance to being a glittering ballroom dancer! ;) Tonight is the ballroom social and the theme is pirates vs. ninjas. This should make for a fun night! Hopefully pictures will follow soon!

See? I have already begun to fulfill my goals this year! Can you believe September is practically over already?