Life at Holy Cross is busy. This semester especially, I’ve noticed that people’s schedules are crazier than ever. Successfully planning something with others is becoming an accomplishment, and having time to yourself is becoming rare. Seeing the campus revert back to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic has been exciting. However, the stress that process has brought on students is extremely taxing, and, dare I say, “unprecedented.”
As a CBL Intern, I was worried about the impact that this unexpected stress would have on students going to their CBL sites (myself included). Having what seems like a million things to do is distracting. This kind of distraction seemed like it would take away from students’ experiences at their sites, and their desire to connect with others.
At the beginning of October, I helped facilitate a reflection session in a Montserrat seminar. As I prepared myself for this session, my fears about students and CBL were heightened. At that point, most of the students had started going to their respective sites, and I was so worried about what they would say. However, the second I sat down, I was pleasantly surprised. I barely had time to introduce myself before students started telling me what site they were going to, who they met there, and what had happened. Whereas most conversations I had on campus always seemed like everyone was just trying to get to the next place they had to go, this one was different. Everyone was engaged. Everyone was fully present. Most importantly, it seemed like everyone was truly passionate about what they were doing.
After four years here at Holy Cross, I never realized the real power of connecting with one’s community until that day. This semester has been hectic for everyone. However, instead of adding to that stress, it became clear to me that our community is one of the few things that can relieve it. Forming connections with others, reflecting, and learning about oneself is something that it seems like no one has time for anymore. However, being present in the community gives people the opportunity to do exactly that.