My name’s Andrew Cook, I’m new at the Cross this year. I moved into Wheeler dorm about a week ago, loving every minute of college so far. I got your email offering up the opportunity to blog, and would love to take you up on it. I was with my high school paper (the teacher in charge of it was a HC grad), and also worked as an intern at my local newspaper, so I have some pretty good experience with writing. In terms of blog content, I’m on the XC team and I’m probably going to be a pre-med/English major, so I figure when I’m not passed out unconscious from exhaustion I should have some good and interesting things to write about.
Thank you so much for the opportunity and for your time,
That’s the entire body of an email I sent on August 30, 2011 (the first day of classes my freshman year) responding to a public affairs office “casting call” for student bloggers. It’s almost laughable, reading some of my bio information from that period, considering how much of it’s been altered in the years since. It’s unbelievable how much has transpired since then, both in my own personal sphere and in the big wide world at large; for information on some of those more important goings-on, you’d probably be better served checking a history book. This humble blog has just been my attempt to chronicle those personal events that have marked my college years as the incredible period it was – and it’s with no small amount of bittersweetness that I acknowledge the use of the past tense was there. As I sincerely hope, these blog entries have successfully charted my progress over my four years as a Crusader, and have given you some sense of what a truly incredible place Holy Cross is – I understand my experience isn’t the same as anyone else’s, and I’m only a single perspective out of the many thousands on the Hill at this very moment, but I want to say that it’s been my distinct honor and privilege to even have had that voice in the first place. Moreover, I want to express my gratitude for this blog as an outlet for that voice; I’m a writer through and through, so I like to imagine I would have kept some kind of record of my college years regardless, but to have the opportunity of expressing myself so publicly, in such a circulated forum, has been an absolute dream come true, and one I don’t think I’ll ever stop being appreciative of. Most of all, thank you, reader: whether you’ve been here faithfully from the first October 2011 posting or are merely humoring this pesky blog writer who’s blown up the Holy Cross Twitter feed the last few years on his last hurrah, it’s the highest honor a writer can receive to have an audience – any kind of audience – and I am deeply, deeply humbled to have had you as mine.
To wrap things up, I’ll share some pics from last Friday’s commencement exercises; if you can forgive me, I think I’ll just focus on graduation itself rather than the lead-up to it. That lead-up in question included a week with friends at Cape Cod, a boat cruise in Boston harbor, a Newport, RI, clambake, and a foray into the world of square dancing – each worthy of their own individual blog, I assure you – but in the interests of time, just let me summarize by saying that this has probably been both the greatest month of my life and the most exhausting. By the time last Friday rolled around, I think a few kids were ready to have it done and over with, if for no other reason than to finally get back to that strange human activity called “sleep.” A few days filled with it later, I’m still not sure the enormity of the graduation events has set in 100% yet, but here at least are a few stabs at capturing the experience. I had the day accurately described to me by a friend as “both the happiest and saddest day” of their entire life thus far, so really, I couldn’t ask for a more worthy final topic.
Just as we were leaving, seniors were given a sealed envelope containing a letter we had each written ourselves the first weekend freshman year (probably right around the same time I sent that blog email out). I’m not usually a fan of those kinda things: I begrudgingly pried mine open, dreading to find some incredibly naive, short-sighted, no-longer-applicable advice that 18 year-old me had probably thought was pure gold but was now face-palmingly embarrassing. Funnily enough, 18 year old me was waaaaay smarter than he could possibly have guessed, and actually rooted me to the spot as I read his letter. He’d written down only three pieces of advice; I figure, since I don’t know if I’ll be able to share them in a forum like this again anytime soon, I might as well reveal them here.
1) Do your best. Always.
2) Live without regrets.
3) #2 happens because of #1
I have spent my time at Holy Cross totally without regrets. There’s not a single thing I would have changed about the experience, and even if I was given the chance to go back and repeat the four years, I doubt I’d take it. My walking across the graduation stage last week was probably the biggest accomplishment of my life thus far, and one that I’ll be forever proud of. It took me thousands of running miles (and hills…lots of bleeping hills), hundreds of hours in the library, dozens of classes, four natural disasters, three Boston Marathons, a few changes in Major, and 67 blog posts to do it… but I am now a PROUD alumnus of the College of the Holy Cross, and will carry that accomplishment with me loud and proud till the end of my days. I thank each and every single person who’s been with me on the journey along the way, and I guarantee you that we’ll meet again someday: it might not be as regular a thing anymore, but Holy Cross is in my blood and the blood of every other fellow Crusader, and that’ll bring us back together eventually (you can’t get rid of me that easily). Until that time… GIVE ANOTHER HOYAAA!!!