Looking Back, Looking Forward: Welcome 2020s!

Hello, readers, and Happy New Year! I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season with friends and family. I once again find myself in my hometown of Rochester, N.Y., anxiously awaiting the start of my fourth semester at Holy Cross. Although being home has been restful and quite enjoyable, I simply cannot wait to return to the Hill. I definitely miss my friends, as well as having more of a structured schedule to my day. Let’s face it—a person can play only so many hours of NBA 2K20 each day before even it becomes boring.

There are several additional reasons, however, for my eagerness to return to campus. As mentioned in a previous post, I am very excited for the classes that I was able to enroll in for the upcoming semester. I will be taking Research Methods for the Psychology major, Development of Social Theory for the Sociology major, Kafka, Hesse, Mann & Contemporary Literature for the German minor, as well as Ecological Spirituality as a Religious Studies requirement. I must also mention that I was able to create a schedule for myself in which I have ZERO classes on Fridays. If that’s not something worth looking forward to, then I’m not sure what is.

Additionally, I have been spending a portion of my break preparing to apply to a UK Summer Fulbright Institute. Specifically, I have my sights set on spending a month of this coming summer studying at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Although the scholarship is extremely competitive, I believe the program would be the perfect alternative to studying abroad for me, and I am extremely interested in the University’s summer course offerings through the program. More on this process to come!

As mentioned, I also have several sports broadcasting opportunities this coming semester. In fact, I will be scouting out the men’s basketball team in their home matchup against Navy on Sunday, January 5th. I will admit, however, that I am not making the long journey to Worcester for the sole purpose of seeing this game. Rather, I will stopping by Worcester on my return home from a Celtics versus Hawks game in Boston on Friday. I can’t wait to catch some great basketball!

Clearly, the opportunities to begin the new decade are abundant. I’m very grateful to be in this position, and I feel ready to make this year even more memorable than the last. I truly do believe that the best is yet to come, and I cannot wait to write about it. Until then, Happy New Year, and Go Crusaders!

 

Sophomore Year Update: The Blog is Back!

Hello, readers! For those of you new to this blog, my name is Aidan Ruppert and I am a sophomore from Rochester, N.Y. I found writing about college life to be a rewarding experience throughout my first year at Holy Cross, and I was lucky enough to be offered the same opportunity for this year!

Seeing as this is my very first post of the new semester, I figure that it may be worthwhile to offer a brief timeline of my experiences on The Hill thus far. Here are some of the significant events that have transpired:

 

August 28, 2019: I actually moved in early for training for an organization I am a member of: Counseling Outreach Peer Educators (COPE). In short, COPE is a peer-educator organization devoted to serving as student ambassadors for the Counseling Center, as well as sponsoring programming designed to promote emotional well-being on campus. The orientation took place over the span of six days, and involved extensive training on mental health concerns, particularly as they pertain to college students. It was a fun and informative week, plus it was super nice to settle into my new home before my friends arrived on campus.

September 4, 2019: This was the first day of classes for the Fall 2019 semester. I am currently enrolled in four classes: PSYC-200 (Statistics), Cognition and Memory, German 301, and Sociology 101. Although I am currently a Psychology major, I am also interested in potentially adding Sociology and/or German as a major and minor, respectively. I have found that my classes are significantly more challenging this semester, but I am certainly doing my best to keep up with all the work!

September 29, 2019: The first Open House of Fall 2019 was on this particular Sunday. As you may recall, I spent time working as a “Greeter” in the Office of Admissions last year. This year, I was actually offered a position on the executive board of the Admissions Outreach program, which has proven to be a great leadership opportunity thus far. My fellow E-Board members and I were tasked with creating schedules for all Open House volunteers, as well as ensuring that the event ran smoothly, which it did!

October 1, 2019: October marked the beginning of my new SPUD program! Whereas last year I served as a tutor for an entire class of high school students, this year I am working as a one-on-one tutor to a sixth-grader at Nativity School of Worcester. I have already found that I am much better suited to this style of tutoring, and I really enjoy the atmosphere of the school. I am definitely looking forward to a new year of SPUD!

 

Well there you have it! It has been a challenging, but rewarding start to my second year at Holy Cross. Currently, most students are away from campus for Fall break. I, however, chose to stay on campus in order to get ahead in my classes, work out, and have some time to relax throughout the week. Thankfully, this also (finally) gives me time to get back to posting on this blog! I hope you enjoyed this post, and I’m looking forward to getting back to writing regularly. Peace!

The End is Near: A Look Forward at May 2019

Hello, readers! Apologies for being a bit late in posting to my blog. Following the publication of my “vlog” installment (see previous post), I had two extremely busy weeks, including, most notably, enrolling in four courses for Fall 2019. Following several hours of thought, I decided that, in addition to pursuing a psychology major, I will attempt to complete a sociology major, as well as a German minor. I actually spent quite a bit of time mapping out my future courses and how I can meet the requirements of each major/minor. Although pursuing three separate tracks of study will certainly be challenging, I find these fields quite fascinating, and definitely believe that I am capable of managing the coursework necessary in each of these courses of study.

In addition to this development, it is worth mentioning the awesome Easter break I had! Following my last class on Wednesday, my dad (having driven to campus) and I took off for TD Garden in Boston, MA once again. This time, we watched our beloved Celtics in Game 2 of their first-round sweep of the Indiana Pacers. This marked our first time attending an NBA playoff game, and the atmosphere was electric. I’ve already promised myself that I will save up enough money this summer to catch some weekend games next season.

Easter back home in Rochester, NY was relaxing, as expected. My nineteenth birthday was actually on Holy Thursday, and although I had to spend much of the day traveling, the time I spent with family and friends back home made it more than worth it. As I drove out of Rochester on Monday, I simply could not believe that it was the last time I would be leaving my hometown for college during my freshman year. I have mentioned this in previous blog posts, but freshman year has absolutely flown by. To think that I will be home for good in just nineteen days seems absolutely crazy. That said, there is still business to be taken care of! Here is my list (in no particular order) of the top five things I still have to look forward to in the next three weeks:

1.  My 5v5 intramural basketball team, the Kimballers, has its first playoff game  tomorrow night! We are 2-1 on the season, but Thursday night’s matchup promises to be a very challenging contest, seeing as we will be facing off against a number of Club Basketball players. I have served as the captain of this team, and I must say that I am proud of how the team has played over the past few weeks. Now let’s get this win!

2. The housing selection process for next year is coming up in a couple of weeks. I’ve already registered with my roommate for next year, so now we are just waiting to be able to select our room for next year! My new roommate lives in Rochester as well, so that should make buying things for next year even easier. Naturally, however, all of my friends and I are maneuvering to try to live near each other next year, so fingers crossed!

3. For my Fundamentals of Music course, I am currently completing a song analysis of “Rainbow Connection” from The Muppet Movie (1979). This project, which is part of my final exam, has offered me a unique opportunity to apply everything I have learned all semester in this course to a song of my own choice. The project includes analysis of melody, harmony, rhythm, meter, lyrics, chord progression, key changes, etc. I’ve found my work on this song to be a difficult, yet rewarding experience. I will admit, however, that I am becoming increasingly tired of this particular song, seeing as I have now listened to it in its entirety dozens of times.

4. Speaking of music, the Holy Cross Spring Concert is fast approaching! This year’s concert, sponsored by Campus Activities Board (CAB), will be headlined by Loud Luxury, as well as Jay Sean. Although I am not particularly familiar with either artist, I still think that the concert will be an awesome time, especially seeing as it will be the last “true” weekend of the year. I’ve already purchased my ticket, so now all I can do is wait!

5. Lastly, these last three weeks will simply be a great opportunity to spend time with the friends I have made this year. It seems impossible that most of us will have to go over three months without seeing each other. Such is college, however, seeing as students come from all over the U.S., or even beyond. That said, these last few weeks are going to be a blast, and I’ll definitely savor every moment.

Hopefully this post wasn’t too lengthy! I definitely had a lot to share, and was glad I finally found a bit of spare time to be able to do so. To all students, best of luck during these last few weeks of classes! Stay tuned for updates on how the aforementioned events unfold, as well as some concluding remarks on my amazing freshman year at Holy Cross. Peace!

Heating Up: Spring Has (Seemingly) Sprung!

 

Fenwick Hall, as seen from nearby building Stein Hall
A view of Fenwick Hall on a beautiful afternoon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello again, readers! Seeing as it is the first official day of Spring 2019, I figured today was an appropriate day to blog about my experiences over break, as well as my more recent undertakings here on Mount Saint James.

Over spring break, I went home to Rochester to visit my family and friends. Upon returning to campus, I learned that several of my friends chose to travel with immersion programs to various states to take part in service projects. Although I did not have such an opportunity this year, I heard wonderful things about the programs, and would very much like to attend one of these trips in the future.

Nevertheless, my time in Rochester was far from wasted. On my third day home, I visited my high school and delivered a speech entitled “Masculinity and Sexual Scripts: Discussing Consent and Injustice” as part of the school’s week-long series of discussions on masculinity. It was a great opportunity to discuss an important issue, as well as a chance to apply knowledge I garnered from my Social Psychology course last semester.

Additionally, I spent the rest of the week catching up on my German, attending the play The Humans at my local theatre, and taking a quick day trip to Buffalo, NY.  It was certainly a much needed break, seeing as schoolwork has certainly had the tendency to pile up as of late.

Still, it was great being back on campus for Saint Patrick’s Day weekend! As it turns out, the entire Holy Cross student body is quite enthusiastic for this particular holiday, and I could not think of better people with whom to spend it, although having to take two midterm exams on Monday certainly put a bit of a damper on things.

This week, I’ve been putting in many hours of work in the library. This isn’t always easy, particularly given how much nicer (albeit windier) the weather has become. Course offerings for Fall 2019 were released today, so I’ll be spending time planning which classes to take next semester. Still, I’ve certainly made time for extracurriculars as well, especially my late-night basketball sessions at the Hart Center.

Overall, things have been going very well on the Hill. I look forward to the challenges and rewards that the next several weeks will have to offer. As always, please feel free to comment any questions you may have about the Holy Cross student experience, particularly those who are considering attending Holy Cross. Until next time!

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 things are 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!

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!