Caitlin Zeng

#longdaysshortyears

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!

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Odyssey 2020 group photo.

Until next time,

Caitlin

Rangeley, ME!

Yes. While most people who decided to travel during the holidays hopped on the first flight to get away from the cold city, this story is about a family that squeezed thirteen people and four days worth of luggage into two cars to drive four hours…just to get to an even colder and icier destination.

Welcome to the annual He and Zeng family snowboarding-trip experience!

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Group photo! Plus a random stranger waving in the back…

I slept through most of the four hour drive, knowing from experience that sleep is the only way to make long-distance trips feel faster. (Let me tell you, when traveling to see relative means fifteen-hour-long flights, being able to sleep for eight hours straight is a blessing.) We rented a beautiful country-style Airbnb house with a cozy living space where we spent the next few nights dueling through card games, poker, and Catan.

We’ve been snowboarding for the last three years, but this is the fourth year we’ve made a trip like this and the first year up in Maine. Usually we drive to New Hampshire, but Maine was offering steeper slopes that we just couldn’t turn down. This year, we signed our lives away to Sugarloaf in Rangeley. (Snowboarding is safe, I promise. Just real hard on the butt.) We enjoyed some snowfall on the first day but the wind began to pick up the next few days, so we stayed lower on the mountain for the last days were were there.

Snowboarding is the purpose of the trips, but I mostly enjoy the nights we spend together as family in our temporary home. We used to rent the same place in New Hampshire every year, so it almost felt like we were staying in our expensive, winter cottage up in the mountains. This year, although we were at a new location, it didn’t feel too foreign because of the people we were with. We did the same things we did every year: hot chocolate waiting for us when we got home, big feasts cooked by my mom and uncle, calling dibs on who gets to shower first, movies next to the fireplace, and board games late at night even though we had to get up early the next day.

It can be hard sometimes to find a balance between work and play, but this break has long been needed.

To me or anyone reading this during a finals week in the future, it’s been a long semester, but you have to pull through! It will be worth it in the end!

Until next time,

Caitlin

The turkey dinner has been digested (and passed) and hopefully the crazy Black Friday shoppers won’t return until next year. Now that the end of the semester is rolling in, it is time to buckle up your seat belts because…

 

here it comes. Finals week.

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Here, take mine!

 

In reflection of the last and first four months I spent here on the hill, I wanted to share some photos and stories that I think best described my overall experience so far.

 

I’m sure that many freshmen started out the academic year feeling apprehensive about leaving home, including myself. However, Holy Cross did a really great job with gradually immersing me into college life. I arrived a week before classes began for my first day of Odyssey. To this day, I am so thankful I signed up for the program which introduced me to such a connected and inspiring group of people. I want to talk forever about the friends and memories I made, but Odyssey deserves its own story, so I’ll save that for another week.

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This was Odyssey 2020’s Group 8 (we lit!)  and the photo was taken at our end-of-the-program Banquet. S/O to my OMs Laura and Andrew!

 

I experienced many firsts this semester, including but not limited to: group trips to Walmart in a much-too-small uber, clown scares and a flooded campus. And I got everything on film.

After my Kimball shift, I learned that it had been pouring outside for the past few hours. The walk back to Brooks-Mulledy took a lot longer than usual after the campus turned into a waterpark…

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watch the video here

We celebrated our friend Princy’s 18th birthday in the Brooks-Mulledy common room. Sweet venue, no?

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And with Halloween 2016 came Clown Scares 2016. But I think the campus should have been more cautious of the Grady twins. (My cousin, Carrie, and I diy-ed our costumes and won the SGA costume contest!)

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DIY Grady Twins Costume:

– Two light blue dresses. You can go all out and buy vintage dresses if you’re willing to splurge or go with simple ruffle dresses like us. Ours is supposed to be off the shoulder but we pulled it over to get a more closely matching look.

– A pair of white hair clips. You’ll probably have more luck finding these in the children’s section of the store.

– 1” pink ribbon.

– White felt and white ribbon to diy peter pan collars if your dresses do not come with one. There are many tutorials on Youtube that show you how.

– Two pairs of white knee-high socks.

– Two pairs of black flats/high heels and black ribbon. We put the black ribbon over the shoes and taped the ends at the bottom to create an illusion of straps on a pair of mary janes.

– Optional, but recommended: add some dark circles by applying a layer of blush around the eyes and darkening with brown eyeshadow over. The Blush creates a flushed look under the brown and creates a more realistic look. Apply other makeup as desired.

– Optional, but recommended: curl the ends of your hair like the how the girls had it in the movie.


 

Whether you are someone who is thinking about coming to Holy Cross or a current student, know that college will be a time to change, develop your character, and create lasting memories. It is where you choose to have these memories that will make all the difference. I really hope that that place will be College of the Holy Cross for both you and me.

 

Until next time,

Caitlin