October 31, 2008

Salvete, amici!

Today has been a lovely day. Not only is it Halloween, one
of my favorite holidays, but the sun is shining and everyone is in a very fun
and spirited mood. Classes today were semi-serious (Professor Joseph did manage
to get much covered both in Greek and Montserrat), but after them I went to a
nice long lunch at Kimball with my friend Ellie and some of her friends.
Halloween has been the perfect end to this stressful week.

Strangely, yesterday I had my advising appointment for next
semester. I cannot believe how quickly this semester has flown by! Time flies
when you’re enjoying yourself (and spending hours in Dinand…I spent four hours
there the other night without even realizing…). Professor Nagy, my advisor,
gave me great advice and steered me towards a very productive second semester
of freshman year. I plan on continuing Greek and Montserrat with Professor
Joseph, as both are year-long courses, as well as taking a Latin course in
Early Christian Literature which will count as a religious studies core, and
then a class on Global Climate Change. A few of my friends are planning on
taking the science class as well, so that should be a good time.

As for my Latin midterm Monday, I managed to survive! It
wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, and I actually knew everything
Professor Hamilton asked. I only had time to get to four of the seven odes he
wished us to analyze, but I did those so thoroughly that it should make up the
difference. I wrote and wrote and ended up filling out nine or so pages of my
blue book exam. Not bad for a little freshman! My Philosophy paper which was
supposed to be due Thursday was pushed to Monday, so that saved me a lot of
stress and allowed me more time to think about the topic I want to explore
within Plato’s Republic.

Despite the fun I’m having right now on campus, I do kind of
wish I could have been in Philadelphia to watch the Phillies win the World
Series! As I write this, the parade is going on downtown. My dad sent me
pictures- the streets are packed to capacity and, as my mom thinks,
approximately a million people are out to support the Phils! The City of
Brotherly Love is showing our boys some love for ending our 28-year World
Series drought.

Hope everyone has a very safe, happy, and fun Halloween!
Happy Haunting!


October 27, 2008

Salvete omnes,

My Latin greeting today is especially appropriate, since in one hour I’ll be taking my Horace midterm. I’m beyond nervous, despite having studied all day yesterday, this morning, and even a bit after lunch. At 4:15 this will all be over- then I can start my Philosophy paper! Halloween seems a long way away from this view…

As this weekend was Family Weekend, my dad and sister made the trek up from good old Pennsylvania to hang out with me. It was so comforting to see them. I took them on a tour of the campus, and later that evening we went out to dinner and then went to my cousins’ house a few minutes away to watch the Phillies play in the World Series. Despite an hour and a half rain delay, the game went on, and the Phils pulled off a win!!! Tonight I’ll be taking a much-needed break and will hopefully watch a Philadelphia sports team win a championship for the first time in over two decades…wish them luck for me!
I will continue to update on this hellish week.

Have a great day! Xairete!

October 23, 2008

Hello to everyone!

Right now I’m dealing with about a million things at once — I have a Greek quiz tomorrow, a Latin midterm Monday (over which I’ve been freaking out for weeks), and a philosophy paper due next Thursday. To top it all off, this weekend is Family Weekend, and my dad and sister are coming up. That leaves me with one day, Sunday, to get a ton of studying done and a paper started, as well as normal assignments. I’ve spent a lot of time in Dinand in the last couple days doing work, and I must say that I am in awe of the sheer size of the place! I decided to venture into the study rooms on the sides of the grandiose building, and ended up two flights down in a cozy little nook under a staircase – a perfect spot to crank out some Greek and to read a whole heap of Plato.

Last night I attended my second required Self cluster event for Montserrat. Our entire cluster read and discussed Helen Keller’s The Story of My Life in class this week. I wasn’t sure how pertinent this was going to be to my Montserrat class, Memory and the Past in Ancient Greece, but as it turned out Professor Joseph used as a segway the Greek tragedy Oedipus the King, which explores the issues of literal vs. symbolic blindness. Through Keller’s account of her history, we determined the role others play in the development of our own Selves and the process through which we become more fully who we are. Quite interesting!

At the event (which was kindly located in Mulledy basement…the nights are getting insanely cold up here), we did an activity which required some of us to become blind, deaf, or blind and deaf like Helen, and others of us to play the role of Anne Sullivan, Helen’s guide. My role was to observe the interaction between the guide and blind/deaf individuals in my group. It was really interesting because our guide (my friend Amy) had to lead our “Helen” to retrieve a family portrait from her room- all without saying a word. Amy used finger spelling in order to communicate, and we successfully made it back to Mulledy basement, picture in hand. It’s probably a good thing that I wasn’t the deaf/blind individual, because we all would have come back to the lecture with some bumps and bruises…I’m clumsy enough even with my 20/20 vision.

After this activity we listened to two deaf/blind women speak. They used sign language in order to make their speeches, and an interpreter would say aloud what each woman was communicating. It was quite an interesting experience, and the women both spoke honestly and from the heart about both the difficulties they face and the amazing steps they have both taken in order to overcome their limitations. I took from them a message of hope, perseverance, and courage, and most of all, a true sense of the many blessings I have been granted throughout my life.

A quick nap, dinner, then back to Dinand for (it seems like) the rest of the night… valete!

October 18, 2008

Salvete omnes!

Today was a simply lovely fall day. It was finally cold enough for me to break out my new vest and cute new shirt (complements of my Columbus Day weekend shopping extravaganza), which I was very excited about. I got my Montserrat midterm back and I’m proud to say that I got the job done, even though I was anxiously anticipating going home a few hours after I took the exam!

This morning was a bit stressful, since I had to get up to finish a lot of work (I go through phases of procrastination — most of the time I’m great about getting work done, but sometimes…not so much). This afternoon it was a relief to relax and hang out with the girls. Best of all, I decided to take a walk around campus because the sun is shining and it’s just plain beautiful out. I really soaked in the changing leaves and, as always, wondered just how I found myself here at Holy Cross. I suppose for you graduating seniors, it’s a tale worth telling.

In junior year of high school, when the “college stuff” really started to heat up, I began to realize that I was most likely going to study something Latin-related. The more challenging my Latin class became, the more I fell in love with the language- its logic, its ingenuity, and the pure dedication it took to get a translation right all fascinated and inspired me, as they do to this day. A trip to Italy in the summer before senior year sealed the deal. Ironically, the professor who led my Italy trip is a visiting professor here for the year! Figuring out I was heading toward studying Classics gave me a great advantage and allowed me to narrow down schools with really fantastic reputations for Classics- Holy Cross included.

Holy Cross was the first school I visited. As you know, I absolutely fell in love with it, so that every school I visited after helped strengthen my love for this place. I discerned innumerable reasons for wanting to go here through visiting other schools (all ranging in size, religious tradition or lack thereof, and location), and in doing so I narrowed down Holy Cross as the only school I could see myself spending my college years. My mom could see it in my eyes — they lit up at Holy Cross. Nowhere else did that happen.

A lot of my decision had to do with feeling — how I felt on campus, how I felt about the students I met, how I felt about my academic future, and so on. My gut told me to go with Cross. My advice to those in the difficult position of narrowing down a school is to go with your gut as best you can. Don’t let names and reputations get in the way of a blissful four years as an undergrad.

I’m off to dinner! Valete!

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October 16, 2008


I’m very sorry for my dearth of entries in the past week or so; I was at home for Columbus Day weekend. It was so incredibly nice to be back in Philly (ESPECIALLY WITH THE PHILS’ WIN!). My mom cooked all my favorite meals for me, and even baked dozens upon dozens of cookies for me to take back! I saw my friends and really got to relax for the first time in a month. I feel as if I’m constantly on the go when I’m here on the Hill (my mom rightfully calls me the energizer bunny) — I’m always on my way to class, running to Hogan, to some meeting or another, a lecture, work, or the library — so this little respite was nice to ground me and to keep me focused.  I definitely need to take more time for myself here- whether it’s a well-deserved nap, a walk around campus (you know how much I love that), or just time to chat with my friends.

I’m glad to report that, however nice it was to be home, I did miss Holy Cross while I was away. In a few short weeks of living here, it has become my second home — somewhere I feel comfortable, safe, and ridiculously well-placed. As I thought back over my first month and a half at Cross, I realized with pleasure that I am indeed accomplishing the goals I have set for myself. I have jumped full force into my academic pursuits, have enthusiastically embraced an array of activities, and have made some really awesome friends. For all of you potential Holy Cross students (and for anyone in life, really), it is so important to make the most of your time at a particular institution. Whether you want to be there or not, you will both shape and be shaped by that place at which you find yourself.

That turned out a bit more reflective than I initially intended, but I’ll go with it! Now for the fun part. I mentioned in a previous blog that I had a craving for a real Philly cheese steak — not the green-pepper laden knock-offs that one sees everywhere else in the country. A true Philly cheese steak is utterly repulsive yet completely delicious, and is smothered in cheese whiz (if you want to do it right). So on Saturday night, perhaps at my prompting in the blog, my parents took us into Philly to get steaks! Now the really fun part: while I was eating at Genos — the cleaner and, in my opinion, arguably more delicious of the feuding cheese steak joints — I met a Holy Cross sophomore who was in line! His glaring purple “God’s on our side” shirt gave him away. We had a nice little Holy Cross moment, and found out we live in adjacent dorms. I was quite pleased to be part of a mini Cross takeover of cheese steaks that night!

Until next time! Xairete  (Greek for farewell)!

October 5, 2008

Hello all! Hope you had a great weekend.

Mine did not start off on such a great note. I got sick on Thursday night, woke up feeling miserable on Friday, and had to take my Greek midterm. Somehow I got through that (making only a few minor mistakes, according to my professor’s initial glance at the test!), ate something, and thought I felt a little better. I was wrong. About fifteen minutes into my Montserrat seminar (for which I have the same teacher, Professor Joseph, as for Greek), I knew I wasn’t going to make it. I fled the classroom and hibernated from 1-5 in my room, and emerged only to eat a little something and watch a movie with my friend Lauren. I was a little delirious because I had a slight fever, so for some reason I cleaned my whole side of the room, including my bookshelf, closet, and drawers. It was quite an odd night.

Saturday I felt much better. That night I went into Boston with my friends Simone, Beth, and Jill, and despite the cold, we had such a good time! I’ve come to love the city of Boston already, for its accessibility to walkers, gorgeous buildings dating back to the Revolution, and amazing shopping. Although, while at dinner, I noticed that the Phillies game was on (GO PHILS) and it made me miss the City of Brotherly Love a little. I haven’t really been homesick at all (I’ve been too busy to be!), but the fact that I’m going home in less than a week is making me yearn to be back in Drexel Hill more than at the beginning of the year. Or maybe it’s just my craving for a real Philly cheese steak…

I’m smack in the middle of midterms, but I’m not too overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to get done. My midterms are spaced out very well- I already took Greek, I have Montserrat on Thursday (I’m taking it a day early because I won’t be here Friday), and Latin is in two weeks. My grading in Philosophy is based on papers, which is fitting due to the emphasis on thinking and discussion in the class.

Ah well, back to work. Two chapters of Plato’s Republic are calling my name. Valete (goodbye)!

October 2, 2008

Salvete! (I really do hope that you’ve used this greeting in your daily life…to say it in the singular, it’s Salve!)

I can’t even explain how excited I am to be in New England for fall this year. You’ve probably gathered by now that I love to be outside in the fresh air, and especially love walking around at Holy Cross. Fall is my favorite time to observe nature- the peaceful dying of summer’s life is calming and beautiful to behold. While on my way to Philosophy this morning, I noticed that the ivy creeping its way across the front of Fenwick is already starting to turn a bright shade of red. This made me tremendously happy. Some trees are starting to show a little color, and crunchy leaves are becoming more abundant as the days pass. This place is going to be leaf-pile heaven in a week or two!

October is probably my favorite month of the year, especially because of Halloween. I love the spooky ambiance of the holiday. Most of all, I love that it is a time when legends, myths, and creepy tales become just a little more real- one can almost trick herself into believing that an ax murderer will show up on campus on Halloween, or that there really was an exorcism room on Fenwick IV (ironically, where the Classics department is located!).

Tonight I stopped into a lecture in Mulledy’s basement given by Fr. Kuzniewski, the historian of the college, about the myths and legends of Holy Cross. For those of you don’t know (and I’m guessing that’s the majority of you), the two aforementioned legends actually exist here on campus. The story of the ax murderer hails from an astrologer’s prediction a few years ago that an ax murderer would come to a dorm in a Catholic college overlooking a cemetery. Check, check, and check- Holy Cross fit the bill! The other, undoubtedly scary legend, states that there was once an ‘exorcism room’ on the fourth floor of Fenwick, where it meets with O’Kane Hall. One can still see a staircase leading up to a locked door, and next to the door is a railing leading to nowhere- for there is a wall built right behind it. I’ve checked this ghostly staircase out for myself, and have already dragged two of my friends to see it, too.

Now, whether these legends are true or not, perhaps you’ll just have to come to Holy Cross to find out for yourself…

Happy Haunting omnes!

October 1, 2008

Salvete amici (friends)!

Today was an odd day- when I left for Greek this morning (barely on time), the sky was once again a steel gray and I found myself passing yet another miserably drenched tour group. However, the sun poked through mid-afternoon and brightened my spirits, for Wednesdays are always my long days (I have three classes, all Classics related!!!).

It is also my last day with a special journal that my friends and I are sending to each other over this school year. In August, we all got together for one last goodbye and initiated our “Seven Journal” — which works much like the Traveling Pants of a certain Sisterhood.  Each girl gets the journal for two weeks — and after her two weeks are up, during which time she writes about her experience in college so far, she sends it along to the next girl. We picked the order and I was lucky enough to get it second! I’ve filled the journal with lots of my thoughts and have wished them all well. As much as I love it here at Holy Cross, my high school was a special place which, because it is all girls, fostered some really amazing friendships.

In other news, I’m officially heading home the Thursday before Columbus Day, which I’m really excited about! I can’t wait to see my family and my cat, Chloe (don’t cat-hate, she’s awesome!!). Most of my friends go to college in the Philadelphia area, so hopefully I’ll get to see them all between next Thursday and Tuesday!

Happy October omnes!