Lauren Tilmont ’16

Are you a high school senior looking anxiously checking your mailbox every day waiting to hear back from colleges? Are you having problems deciding on a “first choice?” Do you not know what you want to do with your life? If your answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then congratulations, you have come to the right blog!!

When I applied to Holy Cross last year, I had no idea where I wanted to go, what my first choice was, what I wanted to choose as a major, or what I wanted to do with my life. I applied to Holy Cross and seven other schools and within a few weeks decided to visit. I actually was not sure that Holy Cross was in my top three before visiting. The reason I looked at Holy Cross initially was because my parents and my school counselor encouraged me to. When we came and visited, it was a bone chilling day over the freak snowstorm Halloween weekend in 2011. However, once we checked in and got on the tour, I found myself enchanted by this institution situated on Mount St. James. People were friendly to us here, coming up to our tour guide and saying hi or welcoming us to campus. Every effort was made to ensure that we felt comfortable asking questions about Holy Cross. Unlike many other institutions, Holy Cross was not seeking to intimidate us, and that was first reason I liked Holy Cross. The second reason, what really made me happy I applied, was how accepting and encouraging Holy Cross was about applying undeclared and not really having any idea what you want to study.

When acceptance letters started coming in and decision time rolled in, I had narrowed down my choices between two schools. While I was not one of those people who had a big epiphany moment about what school I wanted to go to, something drew me to Holy Cross. When trying to make a decision, I found myself on Holy Cross’  website, reading student blogs, and learning about majors. I would read the blogs and discover that there were people like me at Holy Cross. People who enjoyed volunteering, having fun, and exploring Boston. Ultimately, I made my decision and chose Holy Cross because I wanted to attend a college with strong academics, approachable professors, relatively small class sizes, friendly, down-to-earth people, and a great community atmosphere. Other schools I looked at fulfilled some of these things, but not all. And none of them had the incredible campus atmosphere Holy Cross has.

Now that I am here at Holy Cross, I can safely say that Holy Cross has been everything I needed and wanted. We are encouraged and required to try every area of study, and being undeclared is not looked down upon. My professors are very approachable and they make every effort to make themselves available if, for some reason, you cannot make office hours. I have had incredible time here so far and I have no regrets about my decision. I cannot even envision what my life would be like at another school. I am so happy I chose being a Crusader. I have made fantastic friends, tried new things, and loved all of it. I cannot wait to see what my Holy Cross life holds in store next. 🙂

Adventures in the snow 🙂

This second semester has certainly kicked off with a bang! In addition to the great experience I had at Dance Marathon (In total, we raised $35,200 dollars), my Montserrat class, Music as Expression, took a class trip to New York City to attend a rehearsal of Arye, composed by Holy Cross’s own, Osvaldo Golijov. Winner of two Grammy’s, Professor Golijov is the composer-in-residence at Carnegie Hall for this year. In addition to the rehearsal, we were also going to tour Carnegie Hall, and then have some time to explore the city.

Outside of Carnegie Hall

It was a beautiful, windy day when we got into the city. Attending the music rehearsal was very neat. Watching the musicians play and silently communicating amongst themselves was enlightening–we were watching the development of a phenomenal, dynamic performance. It was a fantastic thing to have the privilege of watching. The magnitude of what we had witnessed really hit home after we had a tour of Carnegie Hall. The rehearsal we had just watched was eventually going to be performed in Carnegie Hall and we had already gotten a sneak peak! Unfortunately, we could not take any pictures inside the Hall but it was beautiful inside. To stand in front of the stage and realize that all the legends, from Frank Sinatra to Joshua Bell to Lady Gaga, have played at Carnegie Hall is breathtaking. The space is stunning and befitting of its prestigious purpose.

After our tour of Carnegie, we were given some free time before we had to get back on the bus. I was able to meet up with my friend Cam, who attends NYU. It was great to catch up with him and see a familiar face among the bustling city. We walked around the city for a while after grabbing a bite to eat and we even walked through Central Park for while. 🙂 Hopefully I can visit again soon–three hours is just not enough to walk around New York City.

Night view from Central Park

As I sit and write this post, I am watching the blizzard Nemo descend on Worcester. We are expected to get at least 18-24 inches. It looks so beautiful!! Although it is windy and cold, it was kind of magical to walk back from classes as the snow started falling. When the sun comes out on Sunday, it will be so pretty looking on campus!

On my way to class. Already, the snow was starting to stick. 🙂

Snow covering the track at the top of Mount St. James

The first week of classes for our spring semester as Freshmen has commenced and it couldn’t be colder!!!! While temperatures descended to single digits and snow fell to the ground, we all moved back into our dorms for the start of an exciting semester.

The four day week was packed full of reuniting dinners at Kimball and snowy treks across campus to classes. It was wonderful to start getting back into routine and being with my friends again.

View of campus the morning of Dance Marathon. How beautiful!!!

For my first weekend back on campus, a couple of my friends (Amber and Maggie) and I participated in the Holy Cross Dance Marathon. It was a 12 hour long dance marathon raising money for the research to end Pediatric Aids for the Elizabeth Glaiser Pediatric Aids Foundation. During the 12 hour long marathon, we were educated on the HIV virus and ways to prevent the spread of AIDS through short 10 minute lectures by wonderful professors in both the psychology and biology department. We had awesome DJs from our very own student body who played song after song in order to keep us on our feet and full of energy. The steering committee who organized the event were wonderful at keeping us all motivated through the wee hours of the morning. Although we were worn out and exhausted by the end, it was such a rewarding and worthwhile experience. We were able to raise over 28,000 dollars!!!! Even with a nap I was pretty exhausted all day Sunday but I think I might do it again next year. It was so much fun and I got to listen to great music with my friends nonstop! That sounds like a good time to me. 😉

Love the Hart Center!!! Go 'Saders!

Also on Saturday, my friends and I decided to check out our Men’s Basketball team home game against Bucknell. Although the Crusaders lost, it was fun to go and socialize with everyone else in the purple student section. I love our basketball gym in the Hart Center. Personally, I like going to basketball games better than football games.

Although my New Year’s consisted of being curled up on the couch with a book, it was still a great way to ring in the New Year. I got to finish The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling and set a precedent for this year–read more books. 😉

Visiting high school is definitely one of my favorite parts of break so far. It allows me to see and truly understand just how far I have come. One year ago, I had sent in all my college application before Christmas, but I had no idea where I was going to college. I did not know if I was going to be at Holy Cross. I did not know what I needed to take to college and I did not know just how much I was going to enjoy my first semester. Then, I was stunned by the fact that I was a second semester senior–college still seemed something that was happening in the distant future. It was an unknown. And yet, here I am now–looking back on my first semester with happiness and fulfillment.  I am excited to go back in a few weeks and dive head first into my new schedule, while exploring Boston and meeting more people.

Sledding in the Snow! Cannot wait to try this on Mount St. James!! 😉

In addition to visiting high school and enjoying old friends, I have been baking tons!! Baking is my favorite pastime when I am home. Fortunately, the holidays provides a great excuse to bake all the time!!!! As many of you already know, I bake a lot of cookies with my friends at college but there is something really wonderful about baking cookies completely from scratch and having all the adequate supplies right there in front of you.

Beautiful Gingerbread house I made with my friends from high school!!

Goodness it has been a while since I posted last!!

In the interim, these past weeks have been a whirlwind of papers, quizzes, and preparation for our final exams which will be taking place next week!! In the meantime, Holy Cross was getting into the Christmas spirit by decorating campus with our very own tree lighting ceremony, life size manger, and tree lights on the Hoval. Our acapella groups on campus put on Christmas shows, and Kimball Dining Hall had beautiful decorations up, complete Christmas music being piped through the speakers during every meal. 🙂 With everything going on, the Christmas music was a welcome distraction from the stress of final exams.

Cool Beans 2 with Christmas Lights!

While final exams were stressful, my friends and I tried to set aside an hour each day that we spent as our study break. On top of being good for our brains, this was an incredible motivator to keep us focused. The nice thing about being done with classes and having a study period was sleeping in!! You can study and still get enough sleep if you budget your time well enough. 🙂

Santa!

Last Monday was my birthday, and I was feeling a bit anxious about it because: 1. it was on a Monday (who likes that? NOONE!!!!), and 2. how could it possibly fun without my old friends? We couldn’t go to my favorite restaurants or walk around and window shop down Michigan Ave in Chicago. I was not going to be woken up by my parents with birthday hugs and singing or yummy breakfast.

Or at least, so I thought……

I am blessed to have the friends I have here at Holy Cross. They really know how to make a girl feel special, and this past birthday is at the top of my favorite birthdays. (Right up there with the time my parents and I went to Disney World for my 7th birthday.)  In honor of my wonderful experience, I have compiled a list of things that you can do for your friends next year at college in order to make their day special.

Top 10 things you can to make your friend feel special:

  1. If your friend is a night owl and takes showers at night, go into the bathroom while she is in the shower at midnight and sing Happy Birthday at the top of your lungs to her. (This has a great effect because you scare everyone else in the showers too.)
  2. Once you know she is awake on the morning of their birthday, knock quietly on her door and when she answers, hug the snot out of her.
  3. If your friend is a coffee or tea lover, give her a mug for their birthday. It does not matter if she already have one, I promise. Everyone can use at least two.
  4. Decorate her door with streamers and put Happy Birthday banners all over the door, bulletin board, and white board.
  5. Get balloons of that person’s favorite color, blow them up, and write funny messages on them. Then, when you know she is not her room, get her roommates to open the door and put the balloons on her bed and desk.
  6. If you have time, get a card and have everyone on the hall sign it.
  7. If she does not have any food allergies, order a cake, cookies, or special cupcake for her.
  8. If you participate in a club or sport with this person, make sure you tell the superiors it is her birthday. Then embarrass her by getting everyone to sing to her at the end of practice/ meeting.
  9. If you don’t have much homework, watch a movie together, go out to dinner, or just hang out together.
  10. Tell she looks extra nice today, and how happy you are that she was born, so that you could be friends with her.

In case you were wondering, several of the things on the list happened to me. I will leave up to you to decide which you think happened……. 🙂

Sorry for the late post guys. It’s been a hectic week as the professors are adjusting their schedules and assignments to keep us on track to be ready for the finals.

Beautiful Morning.

Jess and I decided to nickname the three buildings that are connected on campus, Fenwick, O’Kane, Brooks, and Smith, FOBS. We think it works well because this way everyone knows the general direction you are going in. Since there are technically two Smiths on campus, (Smith Hall and Smith Labs) this solves everyone’s confusion!! 🙂 We have started popularizing it on campus, it is beginning to stick a little bit!! Our goal before graduation it to get everyone to refer to those buildings as FOBS. If you decide to come to Holy Cross, please help us accomplish this goal!!!

Jess in front of Fenwick, affectionally referred to as FOBS.

Last friday, my friends decided that it was going to be an experimental food day for me. I am not a picky eater, but I guess my friends think I need to try more things. After hearing that I had never tried an egg salad sandwich, Jess decided that it was time for me to try it in Kimball. I was not allowed to watch as she put it together, and once she handed it to me, I was not allowed to smell it. I had to simply take a bite. I looked at tentatively, and her response was, “I’m not trying to kill you Lauren; I didn’t put arsenic in the sandwich. Just eat it.” Taking a bite, I thought it was pretty good!! Jess had a smug grin on her face for the rest of breakfast as she considered her mission successful.  Then at lunch, my friend Gaby brought me a piece of homemade flan. I didn’t realize what it was at first, I thought it was cheesecake.  I stared at it for a good 10 minutes, then I decided it was time for a bite. Wow, it was tasty! A nice treat after going to the gym that morning. 🙂

Yummy flan!

Last weekend was an adventure. We decided that it was time to try and explore around Boston. As the typical college freshman girls, we got all excited and dressed up for our walk around the city on Saturday. Hopping on the shuttle that leaves Holy Cross on Saturday, we excitedly chatted about what we were going to do. Since this idea had been kinda last minute, we did not really have a plan. We thought we would just make it up as went along. Once we got there, we walked around Faneuil Hall, smelling all the delicious foods. It was great to be walking around a different terrain, which for most of my friends, was completely new and unknown. After doing some shopping, we ate a delicious dinner at this Mexican restaurant called Zuma. Getting back on the shuttle, I realized for the first time how easy that whole process had been. We resolved to come back downtown closer to Christmas so that we could have our shopping before we go home for break. Mission Accomplished.

Amber with her giant cookie sandwich from the Quincy Market

This past week was just as action packed!! We had out first snowfall of the year!!! On Wednesday, the sky was gray, chilly and it was extremely windy. As I was walking back from classes, the snow started to come down. For me, this was the first time in while I was experiencing a real winter. It was so pretty to watch!! This is the start of sledding season, and I cannot wait!!! 🙂

About a half hour into the snowfall....everything was covered by the time it stopped

A little bonus post today in honor of Halloween!! 🙂

Kinda eerie huh??

My friends and I found the weather oddly appropriate for the Halloween today, especially since most of the leaves were blown off the trees during Hurricane Sandy. It was creepy because the sky was dark grey and we kept thinking it was going to rain. It was one of those days where you carry around your ponchos, rain jackets, and umbrellas because you are convinced it is going to pour buckets on you at any second,  but it never does.

I am not sure if you saw the Crusader news recently but Holy Cross bought Smart Cars and they decided to bring them out right after we got back from Fall break. I think the cars are really cool, except I would have made them purple with white writing. It is kind of funny to see these tiny cars zooming around campus. 🙂 One of the cars even had a friendly passenger today for Halloween!

Scarecrow driving the smart car?

It seems pretty crazy that this semester is already half over, I just started registering for 2nd semester classes. Registering for thee 2nd semester seems so much more confusing but also exciting than the 1st. Unlike over the summer where the thought process was something along the lines of, “Okay, just take something you like and see how that goes…” 2nd semester seems more focused on where the studies are going. It is neat and intimidating to start to draw up a master plan for college and see where you might end up. Thank goodness I am only a freshman and the possibilities are endless!!

SMARTCAR!

Oh, I forgot to add this into the Hurricane Sandy post but here is an extra picture from being locked into our residence halls on Monday.

The picture does not do justice to the amount of wind and rain that was going on outside

For the first time in 50 years (or so the rumors say) Holy Cross actually cancelled our classes for Monday and Tuesday!!! This caused chaos and confusion all night Sunday as my friends and I sat in our dorm rooms and calls came through from campus security saying there would be no classes for the next two days. At 2pm on Monday, we were issued a “shelter in place” warning, meaning that we should not leave our residence halls unless otherwise ordered. Kimball dining hall closed, handing us boxed lunches and supplies for dinner that night and breakfast the next morning. As the Sandy encroached, the winds picked up and we saw trees bent practically sideways as the heavy rain descended. It was crazy to watch! We kept getting updates from our families. Many of my friends families lost power and took the brunt of the storm. Please keep them and anyone else who was hit hard by the hurricane in your prayers as they get back to their normal routine. For the most part, Holy Cross came out okay, we only had minimal damages with downed branches and TONS of leaves everywhere. Including inside the buildings where windows were accidentally left open.

Hurricane Sandy as it storms up the East Coast

My friends and I mostly spent the day working on our various papers and homework. There was so much to do even though the storm had extended many of the deadlines for our papers. It was great to hang out in sweatpants the whole day though!! (Gotta love the college mindset) 🙂

Last weekend was parents weekend!! I got to see my family, and even though it had only been two weeks, I was jumping up and down with excitement when I found them in the Hogan Campus Center. Over the weekend, we went to the football game and I showed them some of my favorite places to hang out on campus. We also went into Boston and visited my cousins. 🙂 If you ever go to Boston and you are looking for great seafood, go to The Barking Crab. I had the lobster mac and cheese and my taste buds had a small party in my mouth!! It was SO good. On Sunday, they helped me get groceries and loft my bed higher. Special shout out goes to my Dad, he is the best. He deconstructed my bed and then put it back together at the height I needed. What would I do without my family? By then it was 3:00 and they had to leave for the airport; it was really difficult to say good-bye even though I will be seeing them at Thanksgiving. It was tough knowing that I would be missing one my little brother’s birthday on Monday. Sometimes it is the little things I miss more.

Ladies and Gentlemen, fall has officially arrived! Well, I am finally noticing it arrived. I was getting used to being back on campus last week, and I did not notice until today that Holy Cross is awash in vibrant hues. The trees are gorgeous, fall is definitely my favorite season at Holy Cross so far, campus is so pretty!

The other day, there was a “Dancing Calligraphy” event that happened on the Hoval (Hogan +Oval). I thought I would post a small clip of it for you guys to see. The participants put large sheets down on the grass, then while a drum was playing, they wrote calligraphy across the sheets. I thought it was really neat, and I did not realize what was going on until I saw the huge crowd standing on the Hoval.

Dancing Calligraphy on the Hoval

Last weekend, I went to my first ever ballroom dance competition at Harvard University in Boston. I did not realize, until a few days before the competition, just how much prep work goes into your appearance, especially for the ladies. After a quick tutorial on hair and makeup on Thursday, I was really excited but also extremely nervous. This was unlike anything I had ever done.Getting ready early Saturday morning was fun. My friend Maggie also does ballroom, so we helped each other pin hair into place and put on the necessary make up for the dance floor. After I got to the competition, it did not look like I had any make up on compared to some of the other competitors. There were so many different costumes and hair styles, I definitely got inspired for the next competition. 🙂 And it was so much fun to dance and watch all the different couples (If you have ever seen Dancing with the Stars, it gives you a great idea as to what the higher levels look like).  Although I did not place at my first competition, two of the veteran couples did!! Congrats guys!

Justin and Taylor, one of the couples from HC who placed at the competition

Parents weekend is this coming weekend! I cannot wait to have my family up at campus. I was looking at my calendar today and I realized there is only one week til Halloween, October is more than halfway over!! Are you dressing up? I am not sure if I will and what I will be if I do dress up…maybe I will find something at the store this weekend…. 🙂

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Lauren Tilmont '16

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