May 27, 2011. When I first arrived at Holy Cross on August 24, 2007, that date seemed so far away. In my mind, graduation would never arrive – four years seemed like an eternity at that time, and leaving the idyllic gates didn’t seem possible. Now it’s May 27, 2012, and I’ve been an alumna for a year. All of it seems a bit unreal. It seems like it couldn’t have been a year ago when I walked down to Fitton Field in my graduation gear, when I walked across the stage, when I said good-bye to friends and Holy Cross. Okay, I might be being a bit dramatic, but it really doesn’t seem real.
Graduation itself was a wonderful day – to be able to celebrate all of our four years with friends and family was an incredible experience. The day itself was nostalgic and anxious – we were all excited about what the future held for us all (and still does hold), but we were all worried about leaving Holy Cross, saying goodbye to the friends and professors that we met, not living in such close proximity to such wonderful people, trying to find jobs, and learning how to live on our own (I am still working on the last one). We knew that there would be no more Sunday brunches with Kimball waffles, Thursday nights at Blackstone Tap, or daily emails from every single department about the events that they were putting on that day. I remember walking around Holy Cross the night before Graduation and just thinking, ‘This can’t be over.’
Although we were all anxious about leaving the immediate Holy Cross community, I think we’ve all learned something in just a year after our graduation. The alumni network is, perhaps, even stronger than the community that we knew at Holy Cross. Yes, our time at Holy Cross is over – it has been for a while. But the experience is still growing. Walking across that stage was merely a step. Looking back through all of my photos from Holy Cross (well over five thousand, and I’m not exaggerating), I can associate at least one funny story with every single photo. The time that we stole trays from Kimball and went sledding. The time that Mass wasn’t set up at all so Jordie and I had to shout out the readings so people could hear us. The time that we painted ourselves purple for Homecoming against Harvard. The time that we slept outside right before graduation. The time that we took the midnight train back from Boston because we couldn’t remember what time the bus back to Holy Cross came. I sit here now just thankful for all of the memories that I have from Holy Cross and the wonderful people that I met along the way. My freshman year roommate and several of the girls that I met on my first Kimball shift are my best friends. I still keep in touch and use my professors as resources, including the late Prof. Murphy’s book on Apocalypticism. One of the main reasons why I’m in Oxford today is because of the Study Abroad department at Holy Cross. Every day is a constant reminder of how my experience at Holy Cross shaped me into who I am today.
Logging into Facebook brought back so many of those anxious memories, since that’s the day that the Class of 2012 graduated. I remember being at the Mass of the Holy Spirit for the Class of 2012; their graduation (and still mine) seemed so far away. So, to the Class of 2012: after being an alumna for a year, I can tell you that you will miss the Hill. There will be times that you want to go back and re-live all of your four years. You’ll miss your friends living so close to you, Sis saying your name when she swipes you in at Kimball, and, yes, all of those daily emails. But, in my experience, you’re truly never far from a Crusader or reliving your Crusader memories. Congratulations to you all, and good luck with your future endeavors.