The Best and Worst Decisions Freshmen Students Make at Holy Cross

Holy Cross Freshman

By Features Editor
By Ashley Holyoke
Unigo Campus Rep at Holy Cross

First-year students at Holy Cross are very much like first-year students at colleges everywhere: fresh-faced, earnest and eager to learn. These new kids on campus are inclined to make mistakes, but like most students, they learn to overcome them and make better decisions as they make their way through the school year. The upside to being a freshman? You always have next year to make things better.

As a very homesick freshman 600 miles away from home, I began my numbered Post-its of “days left until Thanksgiving break” very early in my college career—sometime around the second day of orientation. Every day, I would pull another piece off of the seemingly never-ending pile, and think that I was one day closer to going home again. Now, having gone through an entire year of school and watching the freshman residents in my hall go through the same motions that I did, I can’t help but sincerely regret that I had wished that time would go faster. As an RA of a freshman hall, I walked through orientation with my residents. From reflection time to discussions on campus policy, awkward lunches with new acquaintances to our first mass as a Holy Cross community, I found myself lamenting the fact that I had wasted this exciting time in a young adult’s life wishing that I could be in another place and time.

My first piece of advice to my homesick residents is reminding them that there is only one freshman orientation and there is only one freshman year. Yes, it’s natural to miss what is waiting at home–hot meals, showers without flip-flops, and perhaps more than six square feet to call your own–but these are the elements that define your college experience. A familiar phrase to classicists is tempus fugit (or, to the non-Latin speaking, time flies) and before you know it, freshman year is gone. My greatest regret is my wishing that time would go faster because, as I found out, it did.

However, once the impediment of my own insecurities had vanished (at least, to some extent), I found that the best decision I had made was to get involved on campus. A glance at my planner now would give people of weaker constitutions fits, but running from volleyball practice to my Classics honors society to RA check-ins is how I prefer to manage my life. This is mainly because I would never trade these activities for anything. I cannot say for certain which of the activities is my favorite (for how could you compare a Christian life community to ballroom dancing, or student advising and tutoring for Classics majors to Eucharistic ministering at the 10 p.m. mass?) but I know that as I run through life, trying not to be late to this meeting or strapping shoes on for that competition, I have found myself. I have found myself in the passions that I have discovered through trying new things and pushing myself to the limit. Not only that, I have made lasting friendships, and meaningful relationships are the best cure for homesickness and loneliness. College is truly a time to find out what you’re good at and where your passions are. The secret is to put your insecurities aside and reach outside your comfort zone.

Every freshman has a different experience, but they all go into their second year a wiser person. Here are three examples of good and bad decisions other Holy Cross students made during their first year.

Aaron Brosnan, junior, Chemistry/Art History major 

Worst: Dating the ex-girlfriend, because he was defined by her and made friends by her who, when they broke up, were no longer mutual friends with him

Best: Joining the swim team, even though class work was hard, and the work in addition to swimming was even harder

Erin Golden, senior, English major 

Worst: Getting too worked up about classes instead of going out and seeing what was available to the new college student

Best: Joining ballroom dancing, because the relationships made there remain some of the best friends she have

Francesca and Allie Bruzzese (twins), sophomores, Italian/Spanish majors 

Worst: Studying too much and getting stressed out

Bests: Getting to know the professors within the department
Making really good friends
Knowing your roommate in advance