CBL: Putting the “with” in “for and with others” – Clare Orie ’18

Though many unforgettable memories have certainly been during the allnighters in Dinand, with stocked up sugary candy and last minute 12:59 AM pre-Cool Beans-closing coffee, I have learned above all that it is the people, not the grades, that will make your four years at Holy Cross what they are. I say ‘people’ generally because it is precisely the variety of people I have been fortunate enough to engage with that have fundamentally shaped my time here.

Most certainly, my friends, Dinand usuals, professors, and many mentors make my days brighter and more fulfilling. However, Holy Cross has provided a very special avenue through which to create genuine relationships. Through Community-Based Learning, I have learned more than I could have ever given, and importantly, I have felt – felt the pride of recently arrived refugees showing me photos of their families and homes in their respective home countries, felt the motivation of non-English speakers trying to master job-readiness vocabulary, felt the fatigue of young students who worked untill close every day of the week, and felt the pain of asylum processes, war-torn communities, and separation of families. It is through this touch of heart over the past four years that I have developed such close relationships of shared humanity – shared joy, frustration, and communion – with so many different people.

In this way, CBL has personified a critical aspect of Holy Cross’ mission statement that I had long overlooked. It emphasizes being for others, but importantly, with others. It is through genuine communion – a togetherness in shared humanity – that we develop care for those around us, particularly, those victim to unjust systems that do not provide for all. To be with others, inherently means your struggle becomes mine; your joy becomes my joy.

My CBL experiences have instilled quite deeply in me a personal responsibility to those forgotten and disadvantaged by modern normative economic and political structures, nationally and globally. I have learned first-hand that is through feeling by contact, through the touch of the heart, that injustice at the micro and macro level begins to actually impact you beyond the immediate. It informs how you spend your days, what you care about, who you spend your time with, and what motivates you to work for justice and equality, especially in today’s world with tragedy plaguing our every day. I cannot express my gratitude to those who have opened their hearts to me – on and off campus- and in doing so, opened my heart to them, and to this world.

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