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An Interview On
College of the Holy Cross

Background

Interview Date:April 2020

Gender Identity: Female
Race/Ethnicity: Hispanic
Sexual Orientation: Straight
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: Public school in Western Massachusetts with a graduating class of about 200 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First-Generation College Student: No
Major: International Studies with a Latin American regional focus and a Developmental Studies thematic focus
Minor: None
Extracurricular Activities: I’m part of The Agency, which is a marketing and communications club. I’m part of the Purple Key Society, which helps promote Purple Pride Day and just everything about Holy Cross. I’m also part of Holy Cross for a Cure, which helps organize and volunteer to raise awareness for breast cancer and other cancers.

Have any of your extracurricular activities had a particularly big impact on your experience?
I think the biggest two for me were The Agency and the Purple Key Society. For The Agency, Holy Cross doesn’t have a Communications or Marketing major, so we talk to a lot of alumni in this field and ask their opinions on how to use our liberal arts education for these roles. The Purple Key Society is also fun just because we help promote school pride and school spirit.

Academic Experience

Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
For me, it’s a mix of essays and exams. It depends on the class you take since I have a mix of classes from different departments. For example, for an Anthropology class, I have a lot of writing, but for a History class, it’s more test-heavy. Holy Cross is very big on reading, so, no matter what class you have, you will have a lot of reading.

Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or especially poorly?
I like how my major is very holistic in that you have to take a language, history classes about the region you’re focusing on, and then have the electives that give you the freedom to pick classes you want. There is also, no matter what class you’re taking, links between the different classes you’re taking in the department. For example, in my Anthropology class that I’m taking right now, we are learning about the informal economy and I can see links about that in my History class where we are learning about two formal economies.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s competitive or collaborative?
Most classes are pretty small, so you get to know the professor and people you’re in class with pretty well. Generally, everyone’s a little competitive in that people always want to improve. But, at the same time, people want to get to know people and collaborate, so I think it’s a great learning environment.

How accessible are your professors?
Every professor is required to have office hours, so you can always stop by those. If you ever can’t make it to those, you can just email them and they will set up an appointment for you. I’ve never had an issue meeting with a professor.

Do you think people are open to multiple schools of thought in the classroom?
Yes, I think so. Everyone has their own opinion and I think if someone says something, everyone will understand it, think about it, and move on to a different thing. Everyone’s able to say what they feel and no one will judge them for that.

Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your major choice?
I was between Psychology and International Studies, and the more I looked at the program with International Studies, the more I thought it aligned with who I am and what I like to study. I’m pretty happy with it. I like that there’s a language involved and I like the flexibility it offers.

How has the HECCMA impacted your academic experience?
I personally haven’t taken much advantage of it. I don’t know much about it.

What has been your favorite part of the academics at Holy Cross?
Freshman year we have the Montserrat program that allows you to get to know your professors really well, as well as the group of people in your class. I’m still in touch with a lot of the people in my class just because we had that one year together. I think that was something that really impacted me. I’m still in contact with the professor I had even though she’s retired from the school.

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Brooks-Mulledy Hall with one roommate

Sophomore: Clark Hall with one roommate

Junior: Carlin Hall in a quad with three other girls

Senior: Off-campus house with seven other girls. It’s a house that’s split into two apartments.

How do you like going to school so close to your hometown?
My town is about 40-minutes from Worcester. I like aspects of being far away from home but not too far. I like the aspect of knowing that I am close to home if I want to study for a big exam there.

Can you describe the level of safety you experienced on and around campus?
There is the blue light system all over campus and in some places off-campus. We also have public safety monitoring everything, so I think the safety is pretty good.

Pros and cons of being in Worcester, MA?
Pros:
1) How big the town is and the number of things you can do. I don’t think Holy Cross people explore Worcester as much as we could.
2) The campus is on a hill in Worcester and we have amazing views and get to see all seasons.

Cons:
1) The safety aspect in Worcester is sometimes a concern. I wouldn’t walk around Worcester without a group of people at night. [There are about 7.4 violent crimes per 1,000 people in Worcester, MA, almost double the national median of 4.]

Social Opportunities

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
Holy Cross is a bar school and a house party school. Even though we don’t have Greek life, off-campus housing acts as a party location. During certain weeknights, people will go to bars, then Friday nights there will usually be a house party, and Saturdays people like to have day parties, which are a big thing here. Usually, athletes will host parties on Saturdays and then groups of friends that are non-athletes will tend to host things on Fridays.

What is the impact of sports teams on the weekend options?
The main difference I see when it comes to when my friends and I host something versus when people with ties to sports teams have something is we only invite people who we want to see and tend to be in our grade, while the sports teams have an obligation to invite younger people that are on the team. One thing that makes Holy Cross different is that it’s a Division I school, yet some of my best friends are athletes. I wouldn’t ever assume that they have some kind of superiority over us. They’re friends with everyone and love academics as well as their sports.

What is an alternative to going to a bar or a party for a weekend option?
Holy Cross has Food Truck Fridays in August and September when we first arrive on campus. There are also movie nights and other events that the Campus Activities Board puts on.

How happy are you with the weekend options at Holy Cross? Is there anything you would change if you could?
There’s nothing I would change. I’m very happy. I love that we get to go to bars and also house parties.

Campus Culture

How did you meet your closest friends?
Since Holy Cross is close to my home town, I had already known a few people who were going to the school and I had started to talk with them before. I came to meet my core friend group through classes and through other friends. Most friends I met during my freshman year are my roommates right now, so you get your close group of friends pretty early on.

How would you describe the social scene at Holy Cross?
I love it. I think it’s a great balance. You get what you want, and however you want to spend your time, you can find something to do. If you want to go out and have a good time, you can and you will probably have fun, but if you want to spend a night in, you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything too big. I think it’s awesome in that respect, and I wouldn’t want to change anything about it.

To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I think people mix. Although Holy Cross, in general, attracts a certain type of person, you see everyone and no one would ever exclude someone at the school. The majority of the school is White people, but that’s something that Holy Cross is definitely trying to improve. There is also a strong international population. [About 71% of the population is White and about 4% is international.]

How do you like the size of Holy Cross in terms of undergraduate enrollment? How has that impacted your experience? [Holy Cross has about 3,100 students.]
My class is about 800 people and the largest class I’ve ever been in was an introductory Economics class that had about 50 people in it. I love the small class sizes and small school size. I know everyone in my grade on a first-name basis and you can walk around campus and say hi to people, which is something I really wanted out of school. Also, with the small class sizes, you can tell the professors make sure that you fully get to know your classmates.

How would you describe the student body?
Everyone works hard, and it’s a work hard play hard type of mentality. The school we go to is hard and everyone knows once you’re there that there is a lot of work to do, but you can also enjoy the weekend. Everyone’s focused on their academics as well as enjoying time with their peers.

How strong is the Jesuit presence on campus?
It’s definitely there. You can go to church on the weekends, but it’s not forced on you. You’re never going to feel obligated to go. You can tell that the Jesuit education is really big here and it’s part of the mission statement for the school, “men and women for others.”

To what extent do athletes mix with non-athletes socially?
They mix a lot. It’s not like there are groups of athletes only, it’s always a mix.

How would you describe the Hispanic community? How strong is it?
I don’t hang out with a lot of the Hispanic students here, but there are definitely clubs that you can go to for them if that is what you are looking for.

Careers

Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
The alumni network is really strong at Holy Cross, that’s one of the things that stuck out to me when I was looking at schools. I personally didn’t use it in my last internship, but now with everything happening with COVID-19, alumni have been willing to set up interviews and help us out. Like, next week I am participating in a video chat with six alumni that work in recruiting and will help us touch up our resume and give us tips about how to better promote ourselves.

What have you used the career office for? How helpful have they been?
They’re really helpful. We use Handshake, which is a platform that a lot of jobs and internships are posted, and to get onto Handshake you have to have your resume checked by career services. They help you review your resume and proofread cover letters.

Have you learned any computer programs or languages through your coursework that will be helpful to you professionally?
Since my major has a lot of flexibility, I took a Computer Science class where I learned more about programming languages and web design.

In what ways have the academics at Holy Cross prepared you for life after your college?
Even though we get so much reading, we have discussions about it in class where we have to synthesize it. You really want to read the stuff that is assigned because it will help you in class discussions and your professor will know you’ve done the work. That, along with the class discussions, really improves your critical thinking skills. That is something the school emphasizes in every single class.

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something you wish you knew about Holy Cross before entering as a freshman?
Freshman year I came in with the idea that I had to be a specific major, so I wish I knew that it’s okay to try and fail and not be too stressed not knowing exactly what you want to do.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
I think one thing they miss is just how small the class sizes are and how that impacts your experience. That plays into how much every single person who goes to Holy Cross loves Holy Cross. I think if they had an opportunity to talk with an alum, that would help them understand that.

Reasons to attend Holy Cross:
1) The people you will meet. People here are so great and accepting.
2) The alumni network is huge. If you wear a Holy Cross hat, they will stop you and ask. It’s a strong bond.

Reasons to not attend Holy Cross:
I don’t have any.

Notice: College of the Holy Cross is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by College of the Holy Cross.

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