It’s hard to imagine that there is only a month left in the semester, when it feels like I was just starting my freshman year last week. I still remember the first night I slept in my own dorm, the new sense of independence being the last thought I had before I was dreaming. Now, the chatter on campus is all about how Easter break is approaching and accepted students are visiting this weekend, marking a year since I announced my own acceptance into Holy Cross.
When talking about how I started my own experience at Holy Cross, I cannot forget to mention the amazing Odyssey program which helped me transition from high school to college status. It was a great experience that I had the opportunity to be a part of, so if you do qualify for Odyssey, here are some reasons why you definitely do not want to miss out on it!
- Introduction to resources. Odyssey participants get a chance to learn about the resources available to them at Holy Cross. It’s important to know where you can get help when you need it. Students are given the necessary tools to help them transition into life as college students on The Hill through informational activities and workshops. Topics cover concerns about financial aid, academics, and social issues.
For me, this was especially helpful given that I was a first-generation college student. My parents were born during the Cultural Revolution in China and basically had their opportunity of higher education stripped from them, so I carried an immense weight on my shoulders to succeed all my life. College is hard to figure out though, and definitely not something I could’ve done on my own without guidance. Being a part of the workshops answered a lot of questions I didn’t know who to ask.
- Meeting new friends. If it isn’t already hard enough to say goodbye to friends at home going separate ways, you’re going to have to make new friends in a new, unfamiliar place. Odyssey is a great chance to meet people before classes begin and it doesn’t take long before you find people that share your interests. Odyssey allows you to connect with the most diverse community at Holy Cross, with students from all over the nation and the world participating in the program. Even if you don’t get the chance to meet every person in Odyssey, it is a great similarity to bond over in the next four years.
- Mentors for life. Each year, there is a intense selection process for Odyssey Mentors (OMs) for the upcoming year. Every OM that makes it through the application process earned the position and Odyssey participants are very fortunate to get to know them. Because Odyssey groups are fairly small, I got to know my OMs very well. I still see my OMs around campus a lot and I know that I can contact them whenever I need guidance.
- Lasting memories. You will be exhausted from the previous day’s activities each morning, but it’s totally worth it. Odyssey activities are fun and meaningful. You will learn to be a knowledgable member of your community at Holy Cross, in Worcester, and in society. It’ll be hard to top some of the memories that you make during this week with your new friends at Holy Cross.
- It changes you and will continue to change you. I can say truthfully that I was a changed person by the end of this week-long program. Odyssey pushed me to do things out of my comfort zone and to look at the world in a new perspective. Rather than presenting change to me, it provided me with the necessary tools to know how I could make the change for my community.
Until next time,