Spring Break is Here: A Look Back at Weeks 1-6

Hello, all! I am currently typing this post while sitting in my room in a very empty Clark Hall. The reason why? Spring break is here! Almost all residents have already moved out, but I’ll be on my way home tomorrow morning. It seems crazy how quiet it is here at the moment—usually the residence halls are bustling with people and activity at this hour. Still, the peace and quiet isn’t entirely unpleasant; I used the opportunity to tidy up my room after my roommates left, and my plans for tonight consist exclusively of watching some NBA basketball on our TV.

Six weeks have passed since the beginning of my second semester, and only six weeks remain at Holy Cross before our Easter break. After that, we only have a few weeks before final exams begin. It’s absolutely crazy to think how quickly time is passing. I feel like I just began a new schedule, yet much of the semester has already come to pass.

In addition to my Montserrat and German classes, I decided to use this semester to complete a couple additional common requirements—as mentioned in a previous post, I am enrolled in Philosophical Inquiries and Fundamentals of Music. After having completed six weeks of these courses, here are some of my thoughts and comments on each class I am taking:

 

  • Conflict (Montserrat): As mentioned, my Montserrat seminar spent the first half of the year discussing sport psychology and athletic careers. We spent the first few weeks of this semester discussing and examining literature addressing athletic career transition, as well as coaching. We have now begun the second component of the course: military psychology and and careers. This past week, we read the entirety of Jon Krakauer’s biography of Pat Tillman, Where Men Win Glory. Tillman was an outstanding football player for the Arizona Cardinals, but passed up an enormous contract in order to enlist in the U.S. Army following 9/11. Tillman was killed in Afghanistan in an incident of fratricide, but the U.S. Army formulated an elaborate cover-up story to maintain public support for the war. Our classroom discussions have focused on such injustices committed within military circles, and even at governmental levels. Such discussions have certainly improved my ability to think critically in matters of public relations, and evaluate aspects of the U.S. military that I had never even considered.
  • Intermediate German: Not much has changed since the first semester in German. We are currently studying the city of Salzburg, Austria, and have recently learned some very useful grammatical skills, such as relative pronouns and coordinating and subordinating conjunctions. We have also spent our time in Practicum reading through an interesting play, Der Besuch der alten Dame. We continue to write papers in German every other week, and our most recent paper pertained to our personal experiences with art and music in our lives. I am definitely enjoying our discussions on German culture, in addition to learning the language.
  • Philosophical Inquiries: This class has been a bit challenging at times for a variety of reasons. The texts with which we engage are often difficult, but the course is quite heavily based on classroom discussion of such texts, so it often  much easier to understand after having these discussions. This past week, we submitted our first paper for the course, which was an interesting challenge. Writing a philosophy paper, as it turns out, as rather different from writing an English paper. My professor, however, was quite helpful in the process. Visiting her office hours certainly helped quite a bit. Currently, we have transitioned from Platonic texts and Aristotelian ethics into discussing more contemporary commentaries on the distribution of wealth.
  • Fundamentals of Music: Originally having enrolled in this course to fulfill my arts requirement, I knew it would be a bit of a wild card. I had some background in music, but nothing very extensive at all.  Thus, I was worried that I may fall behind in a subject in which I had little knowledge. The class, however, has proven to be extremely enjoyable. Our professor is not only an extremely talented pianist, but also a very effective educator. Admittedly, the course has moved at a frenetic pace, but this is perhaps necessary in order to cover all basic components of music in a single semester. The homework for this class is more extensive than I initially expected, but I actually find myself enjoying the assignments quite a bit. Learning music is almost like learning a new language, yet it seems to make so much sense to me now. I’m definitely excited for this class moving forward.

Again, these six weeks have absolutely flown by, but I feel that I have learned so much in such a short period of time. I’m definitely happy to have enrolled in the courses that I did, and I hope for continued success in each one. Spring break is much needed, however, and I cannot wait to be home in just eighteen hours! Be sure to check back soon for an update on my break! Until next time!

“The Show Must Go On”: An Anecdote

Hello, readers! Three weeks down, three weeks to go until our first break of the new semester! It has been an extremely busy stretch for me academically, but I have managed thus far to remain afloat in all of my classes.

As mentioned in the profile page for my blog, I am a member of WCHC 88.1 Sports. More specifically, I am a color commentator for radio broadcasts of men’s and women’s basketball games. I actually found out about the program primarily through one of its co-president, seeing as he as a fellow alumnus of my high school. WCHC is extremely easy for anyone to join, however, and I would encourage any person with an interest in broadcasting (sports or music) to consider the organization.

Anyway, I have now been on the air for two women’s basketball games, as well as for one men’s game. Even though I’m a color commentator, rather than the play-by-play broadcaster, I put a fair amount of time into preparing for each game. I do brief research into the tendencies, backgrounds, and statistics of the opposing team’s key players. This preparation allows for a more smooth, fluid broadcast, as was the case during the women’s games I’ve called over the past two weeks.

Last Wednesday, my job was to provide color commentary for the men’s game against Army West Point. Unfortunately, however, one of our current play-by-play broadcasters was unavailable for the first half of the game. I figured that we would be unable to broadcast that night, seeing as it isn’t very easy to offer a comprehensive radio broadcast with only one commentator. I then realized, however, that I may not have the opportunity to offer play-by-play commentary again for quite some time. I decided that, as the adage goes, the show must go on! In my very first men’s basketball broadcast, I served as the play-by-play commentator for the first half of a 56-42 victory over Army. I did so without even having a color commentator alongside me. Although this was certainly a challenge, being a dedicated fan and follower of our basketball team certainly paid dividends. The broadcast, though quite far from perfect, went fairly smoothly. Although I much prefer offering color commentary for broadcasts, the experience was valuable for its spontaneity and difficulty nevertheless.

That’s all for this week’s installment! I’ve had a lot of awesome, blog-worthy experiences related to basketball as of late, but I promise I will write about my other experiences very soon. Until next time!

 

First Weekend Back: Hoops Galore!

Hello, all! It is currently the Sunday afternoon before our second week of classes of the new semester. My courses have had a fairly encouraging start, so I am certainly looking forward to seeing how the semester unfolds academically.

Today, however, I am writing about the wonderful, action-packed weekend I’ve had. Though it was only the first weekend of a long semester, I’m certain that I will remember it for quite some time.

Friday night began in a manner similar to other weekends on campus: treating myself to a delicious meal at Crossroads. As most Holy Cross students can attest to, a large number of students love to indulge in the food items Crossroads has to offer, particularly after a long week of classes. After dinner, I spent several hours socializing with other students back in my own dorm. Everybody seemed excited to have returned, and it was enjoyable being able to relax with one another once again.

After a quick breakfast at Kimball on Saturday morning, my dad arrived on campus after having made the drive from Rochester, NY. We then visited the Holy Cross Bookstore before getting lunch off campus at Wings Over Worcester. As a chicken enthusiast myself, I would HIGHLY recommend Wings Over Worcester for their large portions and quick service. Be sure to check them out!

An order of boneless chicken wings and waffle fries from local restaurant Wings Over Worcester
A supersized order of boneless wings provided not only a delicious meal, but also leftovers for later!

After lunch, my dad and I headed back to campus to check out our men’s basketball team in their home matchup with the Navy Midshipmen. The Crusaders emerged victorious in an exciting contest, winning 69-64 after trailing at halftime. The atmosphere at the Hart Center was electric, perhaps in large part due to the number of alumni in attendance as part of Winter Homecoming 2019.

A view from the stands of Holy Cross and Navy basketball players preparing for tipoff.
A view of the Hart Center just seconds before the beginning of an exciting afternoon game against Navy.

Following the Navy game, my dad and I left campus for (arguably) an even more exciting basketball game: Celtics vs. Warriors in Boston, MA. This was our sixth NBA game together (fourth at TD Garden), but no game prior had ever presented the same level of anticipation and excitement. In short, the game tickets were the best Christmas present a Celtics fan like me could ever ask for. After checking into our hotel in Boston, we made the short walk to TD Garden. There, after spending a bit too much money on apparel from the team store, we found our seats. We then witnessed one of the most exciting basketball games either of us had ever seen live, with the Celtics tragically falling 115-111 at the hands of Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors. Though the loss certainly stung, I find some solace in knowing that the Celtics should exact revenge on the Warriors in the NBA Finals come June.

Me (Aidan) holding a new Jayson Tatum Celtics jersey with TD Garden's court in the background
Fortunately for Celtics fans, I am now thoroughly equipped to replace star Jayson Tatum if he were to suffer an unfortunate injury.

In conclusion, it was a Saturday filled with great food, extraordinary basketball, and a good time with my dad. It will be difficult to surpass this weekend in terms of enjoyment, but with a long semester to go, anything is possible!

Thank you for checking in and reading this week’s installment of my blog. Until next time!

 

 

One Year Ago: My Holy Cross Application Story

Hello again, all! First things first: I am simply dying to get back on campus for the second semester. I have had an outstanding time in Rochester for the past month, but this Sunday still cannot come soon enough. I am excited to see my friends and roommates, and I’ve gotten enough of a mental break to be refreshed and motivated for the upcoming semester.

It’s hard to believe, but tomorrow (January 15th) is the application deadline for Holy Cross. Again, congratulations to all students who have already submitted their applications. If you are uncertain about submitting an application, however, allow me share a few details regarding my application status on January 14th, 2018—exactly one year ago today:

A photo taken from the stands of a Holy Cross Men's Basketball game against Boston University
“I knew little to nothing about Holy Cross. My dad and I simply stopped by because we wanted to watch a Division I basketball game”

1 ) I knew little to nothing about Holy Cross. My dad and I simply stopped by because we wanted to watch a Division I basketball game.

2 ) I was seriously considering attending a larger, public university in my home state.

3 ) I actually spent the long car ride home from Worcester typing an application to an honor’s program at another college.

 

In short, I applied to Holy Cross essentially as an afterthought. I found the thought of attending college hours away from home preposterous, and I honestly had no idea if I was even a qualified applicant for such a prestigious school. How appropriate, then, that exactly one year later, I happen to stumble upon old photos from that afternoon basketball game in Worcester. One year ago, I never would have thought that I would later call Holy Cross my home. One year ago, I had not even begun my frantic, last minute application to the college.

Although it is extremely unlikely that any person shall read this particular post and subsequently submit a last minute application to Holy Cross, there is certainly a message I wish to convey: NEVER sell yourself short. I was a rather late bloomer in terms of having the confidence and ability to make my own college decisions, but had I not decided to try my luck in applying to Holy Cross, I cannot imagine where I might find myself today. In short, what’s the harm in trying?

Thank you for reading this week’s installment in my blog. Next time you hear from me, I will be comfortably settled on Mount Saint James once again. Until then!

 

 

 

(Almost) 2019: Resolutions for the Hill

Hello, readers! First of all, I hope that each and every one of you had a wonderful Christmas with friends and family, and that you all are enjoying your time away from classes as we approach 2019. Coming home for Christmas for the first time as a college student presents, in my opinion, an interesting dynamic. The importance of being surrounded by family member seemingly becomes magnified, seeing as it is mere weeks until the next semester begins, and I will leave my home in Rochester for Worcester, MA once again.

That said, I am already extremely eager to return to campus and resume my studies. More importantly, I am very excited to see my friends once again. Although I enjoyed my first semester as a Holy Cross student tremendously, I have an even better feeling about this upcoming semester. Time need not be spent becoming acclimated to the college climate; I am confident and ready to jump right in and find success.

I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions, but I figured an attempt at such may be fitting for my final blog post of 2018. Thus, here are a few resolutions I have made pertaining specifically to my second semester at Holy Cross:

 

1) I would love to attend breakfast at Kimball more often! I’d say I attend breakfast an average of 3-4 days per week, but I’d love to see this number increase to 5-6 days. It can be hard to wake up early enough, particularly after a late night studying, but the benefits of eating a good breakfast certainly outweigh the costs. Breakfast is my favorite meal at Kimball, and I would do ANYTHING for a Kimball bagel (my personal favorite).

2) I need to learn the new schedules for student fitness centers. Construction of a brand new Recreation and Wellness Center begins next semester. I’ll miss the old Field House, but I’m excited to have an updated facility in the future. The construction will result in altered hours for community use of facilities in the Luth Athletic Complex. I’m a person that needs to work out several times each week, so I’ll definitely keep an eye out for information pertaining to the scheduling of community hours.

3) I definitely wish to keep working hard academically, but I could use some improvement in terms of time management. I’d describe myself as a perfectionist when it comes to my courses. For example, I ended up writing/typing well over 200 pages of notes for my Social Psychology course last semester. Although I did this because the content was particularly interesting to me, it probably took up at least 60% of the time I spent on homework— all for one class. I’m looking for a more equal distribution of my time next semester.

 

2019 will surely be an exciting time for all Holy Cross students. I’d like to congratulate any Early Decision applicants who will be joining the Holy Cross community next Fall. I look forward to meeting some of you, and I wish you the best of luck finishing up your high school careers. Until next time!

End of Semester One: Update from Rochester, NY

Hello again, readers! I hope you all are well, especially as we approach Christmas 2018. I cannot believe I am writing this, but my first semester at Holy Cross is officially over! I finished up exams on Thursday morning, and have been back in Rochester for a few days now. I’m fairly confident that I did well on my exams, but I’ll know for sure on Tuesday when grades are published.

It honestly feels a bit strange to be living at home again. I am definitely used to having roommates and living in the same hallway as my friends. That said, it certainly is exciting to have time at home for family and old friends. Christmas break lasts so much longer than other breaks (over one month!), so I definitely feel less immediate pressure in terms of doing all the things I want to do. One thing I am looking forward to most is going to all my high school’s basketball games to watch my former team in action (I’ve already been to one!)

Of all the things I’ll miss about Holy Cross over the next month, I’m definitely going to miss my friends the most. It feels as though we’ve known each other for much longer than a few months. I never thought I’d have such an easy time developing these friendships. Truly, shoutout to my gents in Clark and ladies in Brooks-Mulledy. If you’re reading this, keep being awesome!

That’s all, folks! Be sure to check in soon for updates on Christmas break, as well as things I’m looking forward to next semester. Until next time!

Montserrat Madness: Former NFL Linebacker Appears in Seminar

Hello everybody! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.

Today was quite an interesting day for my Montserrat seminar. Even as final exams draw near, our class was lucky enough to host a very special visitor, Mr. Dave Rozumek. Mr. Rozumek played for the National Football League’s Kansas City Chiefs 1976–1979, and currently works in education with the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association. My Montserrat seminar, “Competition,” is essentially an introduction to the field of sports psychology, and Mr. Rozumek’s story provided valuable insight into the concepts of head trauma and athletic career transition.

Former NFL Player David Rozumek smiles for a photo during his coaching career
Since his playing days, Dave Rozumek has also pursued a coaching career at the high school level (Photo: eagletribune.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Rozumek described in great detail his unlikely journey to becoming an NCAA Division I athlete, as well as the obstacles he had to overcome throughout his NFL career. I found his account of the manner in which NFL teams used to address player injuries particularly interesting, and certainly relevant to seminar discussions we have had regarding the various pressures placed on athletes. Additionally, though Mr. Rozumek has certainly enjoyed a successful life since his playing days, he describes his career transition as quite difficult and rather abrupt.

Overall, Mr. Rozumek’s story offered a glimpse of some of the peaks and valleys associated with being a professional athlete. It was a pleasure to have him in class, and I appreciate the fact that such an opportunity for enriched learning was offered even as final exams approach.

Speaking of finals, better start studying! Until next time!

 

Second Semester Enrollment: Tips and Advice

Hello everyone! Thanksgiving is nearly upon us here at Holy Cross, which means a few different things:

1)  Snowball fight season has arrived! Worcester received quite a snowstorm on Thursday evening, and I’ll admit that I had to dodge a fair share of snowballs from my friends while walking to my dorm that night. I’d be willing to bet that our next snowfall is sure to instigate round two.

2) Most students have left or are leaving for Thanksgiving break within the next couple of days. I love the Hill, but even I could use just a few days at home to rest!

3) Last week was freshman enrollment, meaning that most of our class schedules for next semester are now complete.

Enrolling in courses for the next semester can be a fun, but stressful time. Unlike high school courses, college classes last only one semester, rather than an entire academic year. Though this allows for a great deal of academic flexibility, it also requires more thorough planning on the part of the student. Here are a few tips I have for prospective students when it comes to enrolling

  • It is not that likely that you will receive all of your first choices in enrolling, especially as freshman. Don’t fret! There will often be plenty of opportunities to enroll in such courses, whether they are courses you intend to take for your major, or you are simply interested in trying something new.
  • Some students become obsessively worried about network speeds, etc. during enrollment. Though it is true that internet speed can certainly become slower with hundreds of students trying to enroll at once, I generally find the WiFi at Holy Cross to be quite reliable. Unless you own a particularly slow computer, there is probably no need to camp out in the library overnight. (I enrolled on my laptop from the comfort of my own bed, and only missed out on one of my first choices—a course that I can easily take next semester if I so choose.)
  • Try to “double-dip” when it comes to choosing courses. In addition to the requirements of a particular major, Holy Cross students must complete courses that are part of the common requirement. For example, some courses within the Psychology department may count as a Natural Science credit. (Note, however, that no more than two courses from a single academic department may be counted toward fulfillment of the common requirements.)

Next semester, in addition to my Montserrat seminar and German class, I will be taking a Philosophy course, as well as an introductory level Music class. I’ve enjoyed my classes this semester tremendously, and it’ll be somewhat strange to be finished with them in a few more weeks. Such is college, however! Be sure to check back soon for more updates from the Hill as we rapidly approach finals week!

“Guten Tag!”: Studying a Language at Holy Cross

A German textbook on the windowsill of Clark residence hall
German is just one of the many languages available to Holy Cross students!

 

 

Hello everyone! Colder weather seems to have arrived here in Worcester, but students’ spirits remain high. The mornings, though brisk, are quite beautiful here on campus, and make getting out of bed just a bit easier. That said, I’m not sure I’ll feel the same way once we start experiencing snowfall. We shall see…

In transitioning to Holy Cross, one aspect that I feel is worth sharing is my personal experience in studying language in college. I am currently enrolled in German 201, and will be taking German 202 next semester, thus fulfilling the language component of the common requirements at Holy Cross. Both courses are intermediate level offerings. Having taken four years of German in high school, I was able to skip the introductory level courses via an online placement test that I took prior to enrollment.

High school language classes, however, are entirely different from those offered at Holy Cross, and presumably at most other colleges. Having always performed extremely well in German classes, I entered the course quite confident in my knowledge and ability. On the first day, however, this confidence quickly dissipated. Much to my surprise, the entire course was taught in German. I now realize that only a very small percentage of my high school courses had actually been taught in German. For the first couple weeks, I did not think I could succeed in the course.

Luckily, however, I decided to persist. German was my favorite subject in high school, and I realized I needed to find a way to rekindle the pleasure I once took in learning languages. I worked extremely hard not only in completing my coursework, but also in reviewing vocabulary and grammar from past years. Gradually, I’ve found myself able to understand most of the discussions that occur in class, and I am thoroughly enjoying German once again. I’m not sure if I intend to pursue German after this year, but I’m certainly open to the possibility.

It is worth noting that not many freshmen choose to take a language in their first semester. For those considering doing so, however, I would advise against being too confident. Once again, taking a language in college is incredibly different from high school. Classes are based on active discussion and participation, and daily practice is a necessity. That said, my German class has thus far been a rewarding experience, and I am performing quite well in the course.

Thank you for reading this blog post! Be sure to check back soon for a recap of  my forthcoming second semester enrollment!

Team “Volleyballerz”: My First Intramural Sport Experience

The website logo for imleagues.com
imleagues.com makes playing an intramural sport fun and easy! (Photo: imleagues.com)

 

 

 

 

 

Hello everyone! It took an entire week, but I am finally back in the swing of things following an eventful (and much needed!) Fall break. I spent most of my time back in Rochester catching up with my friends that attend other colleges, and even took a quick road trip to Baltimore, MD to visit my family and attend a concert.

Being back in school meant more than a return to my coursework, however. This past week, my co-ed intramural volleyball team, the Volleyballerz, played in the league playoff. Unfortunately we lost our first round matchup, thus ending our season. Nevertheless, I had such a good experience with the team over the past several weeks that I wanted to write a little bit about it.

I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when my roommates asked me to play intramural volleyball with them. When it comes to sports, I am extremely competitive, and I worried that I wouldn’t find the level of play exciting enough. It turns out, however, that I need not have worried. Although several intramural participants are trying a sport for the first time just to have fun, there are just as many legitimate athletes looking to prove themselves and, more importantly, win the game. Such a combination made for a fun, yet competitive atmosphere.

I was also impressed with how organized intramural sports at Holy Cross are. Prior to competition, all teams use a website, imleagues.com, to sign up for the season. The website updates league standings, rosters, and schedules in real time to provide an easy intramural experience for all players.

I would HIGHLY recommend intramural sports to any current or prospective Holy Cross students. Although the Volleyballerz finished the season 1-4, I found myself truly looking forward to the chance to step out on the court every Monday night. Aside from the fun of competitive play, it was a great opportunity to get to know my (awesome) teammates. Mark my words, the Volleyballerz will be back next year.

That’s all for now! Be sure to check back in soon to see what else is happening on and around the Hill. Until next time!