This semester, Holy Cross is different. Whether it is different for everyone, I don’t know, but the Holy Cross I have known with all of my fellow class of 2025 classmates on campus and the familiar faces of my friends in the class of 2023 no longer. This semester, three of my closest friends are studying abroad: two in Dublin and one in Australia, along with many of my other classmates and the class of 2023 is figuring out post-grad life. Up until lately, I resented this change and was even afraid of it.
When August rolled around and I came back to campus after moving my little sister into college, I found myself worrying about new classes, not having some of my closest friends on campus, my sister getting acclimated, and my parents adjusting to being empty-nesters.
During our CBL orientation, we were asked to describe how we were feeling in one world, both at the beginning and end of the session. At the start of orientation, I said “excited”. At the end, we went around again. Delaney, a senior Intern, said “whole” and when it came around to me, I found myself echoing her. Up until that moment, I didn’t realize that I was waiting for the fulfillment I get through the community of the CBL Intern program and my CBL placement at Girls Inc.
CBL makes me whole.
In preparation for this blog post, I’ve been thinking a lot about my time at Holy Cross so far and the most impactful experiences I’ve had here. I was unbelievably lucky to have a Montserrat with a CBL component and through that, have found Girls Inc. and been accepted into the CBL Intern cohort. I’ve volunteered at Girls Inc. since then and truly haven’t looked back. As I’m writing this, I just went back to Girls Inc. to start my third year there, just like I am starting my third year on campus. It’s funny to think when I started volunteering at Girls Inc. I worried about fitting in there and enjoying myself. The connections I have found there have been influential to my personal growth, understanding of social justice in practice, and my connectedness to the Holy Cross and Worcester community.
To sit at a meeting with the other Interns, people who also fiercely believe in the importance of community-based learning, is truly like nothing else I have ever experienced. Every Intern is driven to be a “person for and with others” and brings lived experiences and community partner connections. Furthermore, community-based learning at its core, transcends religion, politics, and other social divisions in the pursuit of positive change through civic engagement.
It would be presumptuous to say that my worries about this year and the life transitions I am experiencing have subsided due to CBL, but CBL roots me in accepting and embracing this change. My work at Girls Inc. is the reason I am so motivated in class, so willing to engage with people I don’t know well, and so determined to discern how I will incorporate CBL’s mission into my career and life post-grad.