February 16, 2009

Xairete, everyone!

Well, I survived my week of absolute academic chaos. I had a debate in Montserrat and a Greek test on the same day (Friday), so I spent the week trying to get ready for both. They went well, despite my obvious time crunch, and I just have to write a paper for Montserrat for Wednesday. Otherwise, it’s a pretty quiet week. I expect to sleep in a few times (and by that, I mean until nine or ten), which will be amazing.

This weekend was a blast, despite the fact that almost every single one of my friends went home to spend Valentine’s Day with their significant others. Amy, whom I had claimed as my valentine in November (on a card to cheer her up one gloomy November afternoon), was actually in Ottawa and had to be my valentine in spirit. However, she sent me on a chase throughout our hall for my present, providing clues to keep me running around. Her gift ended up being a little book of poetry by Billy Collins, who is one of our favorite poets. Saturday night was our class dance, so that worked out nicely. My good friend Tom is our class president, and he coerced me and my other friends who were still on campus to come and dance the night away. I’m so glad I did, because it gave me the opportunity to hang out with girls on my hall that I have always been friendly with, but have never actually gotten the chance to do anything with. They were beyond sweet and provided fabulous dance partners in Hogan Ballroom!

I’m pretty sure that it is not going to last, but the weather lately has been divine. I am always in awe of the sheer power of a New England winter — the wind on this mountain has a knife-like ability to cut one to the core, negative temperatures bite at every exposed bit of skin, and piles of snow provide a most interesting hindrance to getting to class dry. In the last few days, I have barely had to don a jacket…and coming from Philadelphia, where I consider a temperature of thirty degrees to be bone-chilling, I am amazed at how I have adjusted to living in the hellish cold that New England throws at us. I just don’t think of cold the same way anymore. Nor do I think of sports devotion the same way (more like air and water than just a bunch of guys sweating on a court or field), but hey, that’s a different story…
And now, a much-needed nap before I tackle the last of this Montserrat article. Although, Billy Collins is  also a tempting option!

Ciao, Valete, and Xairete (which can apparently, as I learned today from Professor Joseph, be used as both greeting and goodbye)!

February 6, 2009

Salvete, amici!

Hope everyone is doing well this lovely Friday in February. Today was the end of a very, very busy week for me. It was full to the brim with assessments, meetings, Kimball, and other general shenanigans that had me running around and studying for hours at a time. It’ll be nice to take a break this weekend and just hang out with the girls for some downtime. Although, I have a fair amount to get done in a short two days, so we’ll see just how quickly this weekend goes (the week has absolutely flown by!).

Today and last night I spent a lot of time just chatting with professors in the classics department. I love all of them, because they’re so enthusiastic about what they do and make you feel like they have the time to honestly get to know you. Especially nice was my chat with Professor Nagy, my advisor. We don’t see much of each other, so it was good to catch up and tell him about the semester that he had helped me plan in early November. I showed him some of my Greek script (apparently, Professor Joseph thinks it is neat…he should see my copybook…) and we laughed over the fact that I have pretty much become a “Joseph-ite” because I see Professor Joseph so often. Hey, I’ll take it!

Tonight I’m heading to Blackstone on the free shuttle to go out to dinner with a fellow blogger and dear friend, Colleen Curran. We still work on a shift together at Kimball, which has been our only real time to talk…so we should have a really fun time eating and hanging out without having to restock the pancakes or sort silverware.

For now, a nap. I stayed up really late studying for my Greek quiz today.

Xairete for now!

February 2, 2009

Salvete, all!

Last week was crazy, to say the least. Unfortunately, I had to go down to Philadelphia from Wednesday-Saturday for my Grandmother’s funeral. Everyone here, especially my friends and professors, were really supportive and are helping me get back into the swing of this still-new semester. I have a lot of work to make up, but I’m chiseling away at it and will be back on track very soon.

I just completed a really interesting assignment for Montserrat. We’re currently reading Vergil’s Aeneid — and I’m pretty much in heaven, since I’ve read it once already and translated it senior year of high school. The best part about discussing the book again is that my opinions of certain events and characters in the epic have had time to sink, and I have formed definite opinions about them. This was evident in class last Wednesday, when we were going over one of my favorite parts of the book and I could not keep my mouth shut. The Aeneid is basically a myth about the founding of Rome, and foreshadows all of its greatness to come. So for class, Professor Joseph is having us write our own myths explaining a natural phenomenon. I spent a happy two hours writing mine on the origin of an owl’s hoot, and look forward to sharing it with the class on Wednesday.

The weather has broken a bit lately. It’s around 40 degrees out, which is unheard of compared to some of the negative temperatures we endured not so long ago. However, it is apparently going to snow and ice tomorrow. Go figure. The joys of a New England winter!

Astronomy is calling my name. I have a test Wednesday for which I should probably start reviewing.

Xairete for now, and Happy February!

January 19, 2009

Salvete, everyone!

I am a very sore but happy camper today — I finally got to go sledding! Beth and I went with a couple of her friends from crew and it was an absolute blast. It was still snowing when we went out, and the whole campus was covered in a perfect layer of powder with awesome ice underneath — the perfect conditions to go flying down Healy’s (an upperclassmen residence hall) hill, or the always intimidating Quad hill leading from Fenwick down to Kimball, or best (and scariest) of all, Freshman Field. I used my handy-dandy Kimball tray and was effectively five years old for the night. It was a glorious end to a very hectic day — I decided to pull a double shift at Kimball since I had the time (we have no classes today), which meant that I spent 8 hours there in one day. If you can’t tell, that is a long time to be at Kimball.

Classes went very well this week! I’m in love with my schedule, have incredibly intelligent professors, and have successfully made my way through the science complex without getting lost for a second. Professor Garvey, my astronomy professor, is exceedingly eccentric and never fails to capture my attention. I think he looks and acts rather like Mark Twain, for he has a big mustache and is very witty and intelligent. I feel so lucky to have gotten professors who are sincerely in love with what they do and are completely set on helping us see why their subject matter is pertinent and important, all while connecting with their students so well. For example, Doctor Bender (my Archaeology professor whom I’ve known for a while) gave out a sheet of all kinds of questions just to get his know his students, their study habits, their likes and dislikes, and strengths and weaknesses in the classroom. Things like this make Holy Cross truly unique.
Well, I’ve been to the gym every day now (except yesterday, but I think I worked out more than all the other days combined in that one day), so I suppose I should get there before another 2  feet of snow is dumped on this mountain. I think getting to Hart will be a workout in itself! Valete!

January 14, 2009

Salvete, omnes!

I’m so happy to be back at Holy Cross! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season — I know it went by so very quickly for me. I saw a ton of people, hung out with my family, went out to eat far too many times, and even did a Winter Ambassador meeting at my high school for the Admissions dept. (during which I found out there is a potential Classics major in this year’s senior class!). I got back to campus on Sunday night, which was quite the experience. The campus was dead and not a single one of my friends was here! I just took the time to completely re-organize my room, clean, and relax before all of my girls returned on Tuesday. We watched movies the entire day, helped each other unpack (well, I helped other people unpack…), and soaked up each others’ company for the first time in a long, long month!
Today was the first day of classes, and what a busy day it was for me. I had my two usuals, Greek at 11 and Montserrat at 12:30, both with the ever-entertaining Professor Joseph. Then came the really exciting part — my first Astronomy class! How I ever managed to find my way to the classroom in the labyrinth-like science complex, I don’t think I’ll ever quite know. After about 10 minutes of wandering and only 10 minutes until class, I informed a random professor in the hall that I was a Classics major , had no clue how to get to O’Neil (never having had to step foot in this place before), and he pointed me in the right direction without another word. I took astronomy in senior year for a semester, but I can already see that this is going to be a new experience. Professor Garvey is extremely knowledgeable and very funny, and also recognizes that most of us are taking his class because we need to fill a science requirement. Such understanding is right up my alley!

Tomorrow is my first day of work, and my friend Colleen, a sophomore Kimball captain (and blogger!), will be on my shift again, so it shouldn’t be too painful. I also have a class I’m greatly looking forward to — Classical Archaeology with Dr. Bender, the visiting professor whose trip to Italy I went on before my senior year. It will be really neat to study some of the places in Rome where he took us in the classroom setting. The sad part about tomorrow is that the weather is supposed to be absolutely, positively, viciously cold. It was quite a shock when my parents and I pulled onto campus to find piles of snow and a bitter wind that was markedly absent in Philadelphia. Ah, well, the joys of living on a mountain in New England! I’ll be sporting a record number of clothing layers tomorrow, I think.

I’m so happy to be back at Cross, and look forward to entailing the next couple of months of my first year here for you! Valete!

December 17, 2008

Salvete, omnes!

SNOW! FINALLY! Last night there was a lovely snowfall that
blanketed campus with a pretty covering of the fluffy white stuff. As I
(almost) officially finished exams yesterday with Montserrat, which was
definitely manageable although required a lot of writing, snow was the cherry
on top of my feeling of utmost relief at the end of exams. I managed to
convince Simone to come outside with me around 1 in the morning so that we
could play a bit in the freshly fallen snow—that’s when it’s best, after all!
We threw a few snowballs around, tried to hit Jill’s window multiple times, and
created “crop circles,” as we dubbed them, in the untouched snow in the street.
If I had had my way, I would have gone sledding, but Simone dragged me back inside.

Exams overall went very well for me. I had a lot of time on
my hands during the study period (much more than I actually needed), so I had
time to relax and to continue to get better after my awful bug, or whatever it
was I had last week. On Sunday night was the community mass for Christmas, the
last mass of the semester, which went beautifully. All of my friends came to
see me sing in the choir (perhaps to avoid studying…), and afterwards Jill and
I went to the traditional Midnight Breakfast at Kimball, served by faculty
members during finals week. It was a blast. The place was packed and Jill and I
were thankful for the opportunity to do our two favorite things on earth: not
study and eat.

Tomorrow I head home to my dear Philadelphia until Jan. 14th, the first day of classes next semester. Speaking of
Philadelphia, today I pinned a Kimball captain as being from the City of
Brotherly Love just by his accent — he said “wooder” instead of “water”, a
blatant trademark of my hometown. I trained myself to pronounce the word
correctly so I would not be made fun of up here, but back home I always slip
back into my native tongue. Anyway, tangents aside, I am so sad to leave this
first semester of college behind. It went much, much too quickly. In the past
three months, I have confirmed my love for Classics, made some of the sweetest
friends on the planet, challenged myself physically (remember Monadnock? I sure
do!) and mentally, and enjoyed life in so many ways. I love climbing Mt. St.
James day after day, adore the towering turrets of Fenwick, and the grand
columns of Dinand. I love Holy Cross, and could not envision myself at any
other school. I am so excited to see what next semester brings!

Congratulations to all Early Decision candidates who are
just now finding out about their acceptances! This was a supremely exciting
time for me, and I wish all of you the very best of luck.

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas, a safe break,
and enjoys the extra time with family and friends. Valete until the New Year!

December 10, 2008


Well, I’ve had a rough couple of days. When I went home for
Thanksgiving break, my entire family was very sick with some form of the flu. I
thought I had gotten away clean, but that was evidently not the case. Monday
night, as I was writing my final Philosophy paper (woo!), I felt very cold and
thought it was just because the study room in Mulledy’s basement was a bit
chilly. However, my chills got progressively worse until I ended up with a 102
degree fever and was seriously out of commission for a few days. I missed my
last day of classes, which I was sad about, but the good news is that I didn’t
have to miss any more classes because right now is the finals study period.
It’s a very useful three days before finals begin in which we can get ourselves
together and start studying before finals actually start. Mine do not start
until Monday, which is a real blessing, for I have to work at Kimball a ton
this weekend. All workers have to work three shifts during finals week, which
is a bit hard to juggle with studying, but I’ll get my studying done in between

I only have two actual finals, Greek and Montserrat — both for
Professor Joseph. They’re on consecutive days at the same time, 2:30 in the
afternoon, which is kind of funny. I’m glad I’ll get to sleep in a little
before them, and do some last-minute review. I have a ton to memorize for my
2-hour Greek exam, so I think I’m going to get started on that tonight.
Montserrat will be a ton of writing, but that’s alright, because the class has
been graded based on writing throughout the semester, anyway. My assessment in
Latin is interesting. Instead of a final, we’re reviewing our papers and the
papers of those in our class for part of the session, and then for an hour
we’re doing a translation of a part of an ode we’ve never seen before (with a
dictionary, of course!). It should be a fun challenge.

Unfortunately, I missed the Christmas tree lighting ceremony
on O’Kane porch because I was practically delirious from my fever. However, I
still got my share of holiday cheer yesterday, because my hall went all-out for
the hall decorating contest. There are lights everywhere, a painted fireplace,
Dear Santa letters (one of which I composed myself, wishing, as always, to be
in Rome), stockings, and snowflakes. My friends and I all did a Secret Santa
gift exchange today, and baked holiday cookies (well, Amy baked holiday
cookies). So despite the stress of looming finals, there is always the promise
of home and Christmas to brighten the mood!

I suppose I’ll start to study Greek now—I have a horrendous
amount of verb principle parts to re-memorize! Valete omnes!

Dovember 5, 2008

Salvete, omnes!

As the semester winds down, I cannot help but think of all
the impressions I had about college life before I got here and experienced it
myself. I was nervous this summer about so many things—living in a dorm, living
with someone I didn’t know, making friends, passing my classes, doing my
homework and still finding time for hanging out…the list went on and on. All of
my worries seemed to dissipate, though, the moment I got here and just jumped
right in to life on the Hill. I’m going to dedicate this blog to those seniors
(and even juniors) who are wondering just how the heck one goes to college and
lives to tell the tale.

Dorm life

I’ve found living Mulledy a generally pleasant experience.
My roommate and I get along very well, and respect each other’s time, stuff,
and space. It wasn’t hard to grasp the dynamic of living with someone
completely new. When one of us wants to study and the other would like to
sleep, the bookworm just goes down to a study room in Mulledy (which I’ve
recently discovered, thanks to my friend Jill) or to the library. All it takes
is a little compromise. Noise level in Mulledy is the only thing I have ever
had a problem with — sometimes a girl just wants to sleep, and for others in the
hall this is the last thing on their minds. Quiet times go into effect at 10
p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends, but one can always just go out and
nicely ask the noisy ones to quiet down. The best part about living in a dorm
is having your friends around all the time (which can put a damper on
productivity, but I’ve gotten into the habit of not doing my work in my room,
as to cut down on distractions). My friends and I spontaneously watch movies,
make nachos (or “chips and cheese,” as Amy insists) like it’s our job, and
order out sometimes. It’s quite fun! As far as sharing showers/bathrooms are
concerned, that’s just something you get used to with time.

Making friends

Now, honestly, I don’t know how I could have been nervous
about making friends here at Holy Cross. Everyone is so nice and most people,
like me, will talk to anyone. There are so many opportunities to create lasting
friendships here from the get-go, such as orientation groups, hall shenanigans,
classes, and clubs. My friends are a lovely, crazy group of girls whom I know I
can turn to for anything. We’ve had so much fun in the past couple months, and
I can’t imagine my Holy Cross experience without them!


 This is the one thing
I was especially nervous about when coming to Holy Cross. I had this impression
that every class was ridiculously impossible, and that the professors would be
inaccessible or difficult to follow. How unlike reality my worry was! At Holy
Cross, most classes are very small (my largest is in the 20s), and the
professors, though absolute geniuses, have an uncanny knack for making their
material accessible. My favorite part about going to class here is the level of
enthusiasm both the professors and students have for teaching and learning,
respectively. Within my own major and even in my group of friends, I am surrounded
by passionate individuals who have drive and conviction. The homework is
manageable, and usually very pertinent to the course material. If you stay on
top of things and make sure to resist slacking off most nights, you’ll be in
top shape. Since we only take four classes here (trust me, they’ll keep you
quite occupied), a lot of free time is devoted to getting caught up, as well as
to activities. All in all, although things get a bit hectic at times (right now
is one of those for me!), one always gets through the work and usually enjoys
herself in the end.

Well, speaking of getting work done, I must finish a paper
due at midnight tonight for Latin. Only a page to go!

Xairete (in honor of my
last Greek quiz of the semester, which I took today)!

December 3, 2008

Salvete, amici!

I hope everyone had a very nice Thanksgiving and break. I
had a blast back at home — I hung out with family and friends, shopped, and had
what was one of the best Turkey dinners I have ever had, lifetime (compliments
of my mother — thanks mom!). I even managed to get work done while I was home,
despite all the distractions and running here and there. I finished my
Montserrat paper due next Monday, and got started on a killer 10-page Latin
paper due this Friday. I’ll be working on that all day today.

Finals are just over a week away. How incredibly scary that
thought is! My last class of the semester is next Tuesday (philosophy), and
then study period begins on Wednesday. So far, I have a Greek and a Montserrat
final, which is completely manageable. However, the “X” factor will be whether
or not we have a Latin final or not. We’re not supposed to, but I have the
distinct feeling that Professor Hamilton just may give us one…that would be
hard to swallow after this huge paper.

Just wanted to give a quick update. I must run to Greek!

November 24, 2008

Salvete, omnes!

I am so incredibly sorry for the lack of posts lately. My life has been quite the whirlwind! The end of the semester is fast approaching, and with it a flurry (of snow, I wish!) of assignments and papers has come. I have two major papers to do for next week: Montserrat and Latin. Latin is a grand 10-12 page masterpiece that should take me a solid week to get done. Montserrat is a bit easier — 1200-1600 words on two contrasting bodies of work we’ve studied and how the Greeks preserved themselves through them. I’ll be working on those from the comfort of my own home…

Tomorrow I’m heading down to my beloved Philadelphia with my cousins, who are spending Thanksgiving in PA this year. I can’t wait to see my family and friends! Even though I have an incredible amount of work to get done (trying not to think about that!), it will be so nice to relax and eat some of my mom’s fantastic cooking. It’s so odd to think that I only have a few weeks left after this break until I’m finished my first semester. I’m enjoying myself so much and cannot believe how quickly the time has passed. It seems like in the wink of an eye, three months have sped by. Ah, did not mean to get poetic!

As I said, the past week and a half or so has been absolutely jam-packed. On Thursday the 20th, all first-years had to register for classes. Now, enrollment at Holy Cross is quite an event. One must get up at the crack of dawn (my roommate got up at 5:30 to secure a computer with an Ethernet cable!) and sign onto a program called STAR to enroll at exactly 7 a.m. in four classes. I was up and signed in, with my classes picked out and ready to go, at around 6:45. By some miracle, I managed to get all of the classes I wanted to take! So you’ll be hearing about Introduction to Astronomy (with which I’m fulfilling my last Natural Science core), Classical Archeology, and my second semesters of Intro Greek and Montserrat, which switches to an emphasis on Rome. I’m very excited to continue studying Astronomy—it’s a hobby of mine, and I took a semester class on it in senior year of high school.

Friday I had a really fun and relaxing Montserrat class, even though the day itself was a tad stressful. I had Professor Joseph all day, and happened to have both a quiz in Greek and a presentation in Montserrat. However, we held class in a very nice classroom on Mulledy’s basement floor and even had lunch delivered from Kimball! Giving the presentation was quite easy because of the relaxed atmosphere of the day. For me, little things like this make Holy Cross special. We have so many opportunities to forge real connections with both our professors and our fellow classmates. Smaller class sizes and professors who are genuinely interested in our education and well-being make this beautiful school all the more enjoyable.

As beautiful as Holy Cross is right now in the last throws of fall, I must say that I have never felt such bone-chilling cold as I have here in the past couple days. This weekend was so brutal that I cringed even at the thought of stepping outside of Mulledy. Saturday night was especially terrible. The wind chill had the temperature down in the single digits…in Philadelphia, the temperature might not get that low even in January or February! I’m being thrown full-force into the nasty reality of a New England winter, I suppose!

Off to organize a bit before my long journey home tomorrow. Xairete, and a very happy and safe Thanksgiving to all!