Appalachia 2009!

February 27th, 2009 by emhest09

For the third year in a row I spent my Spring Break doing an Appalachia Immersion Trip. This year I was actually a group leader for 13 students who headed to Waverly, VA on February 28th. We had the unique experience of having another Holy Cross group join us as well as a group from Boston College so we had 42 total volunteers at the site. The Spring Break Immersion programs work to immerse students in a culture different from what is found on Mount Saint James and gives us a chance to reflect, through prayer and nightly reflections within our small groups, on the blessings, challenges and goals of our own lives. I had a truly eye opening experience in Waverly and I formed connections that I know I will remember fondly and always cherish. I kept a journal, knowing I would blog when I got back so here are some of my thoughts, pictures and videos to capture the time I had there!

February 27, 2009

February 27th, 2009 by emhest09

How in the world did February go by so fast? I know it is the shortest month but I just can’t believe it is March already! The passage of time was something I was forced to think a lot about this past week when the senior class had their “100 Days Ball”. 100 Days is a dance just for members of the senior class that supposedly marks 100 days until graduation. My roommate Kena did the math and there were actually only 91 days but I will take the extra nine if the college is willing to give them! The dance was a lot of fun and a unique experience to have a great event just for my class; the Purple Key Society did a great job planning it and everyone seemed to have a great time.

Last week was also a big one for the Holy Cross Men’s basketball team. On Saturday they played our big rival Bucknell….and lost. It was really heartbreaking but I did enjoy seeing the randomness of some Holy Cross students. In the attached picture, see if you can spot the chicken (no, I am not joking). The game on Wednesday made up for it though, we beat Navy in a real nail-biter! The game was especially fun because my grandmother, aunt and two cousins came up from Holyoke to see the school and watch the game with me. It was great to see them and having my parents come the next day was another treat! We walked around campus (well, my mom and I did while my dad sat in the room with a broken foot). I showed off the new science complex and then made a trip to the bookstore WITHOUT BUYING ANYTHING! That’s a big achievement, believe me.

It has been a fun-filled past couple of weeks but what I have really been looking forward to is Spring Break, specifically Appalachia! This will be my third time going to Appalachia through the Spring Break Immersion Program  and this time will be a little different because I am a group leader. My group of 14 students will be driving, yes driving, 10 hours to a town called Waverly in rural Virginia. There is another Holy Cross group at our site and a Boston College group as well and it seems like we’ll be doing some construction work, lots of painting and even some dirt moving. We will immerse ourselves in the community there and work to make it better in any way possible. Waverly is also home to the world’s oldest peanut museum so that will obviously get a visit. All kidding aside, I really cannot wait to head down there. It may not be as relaxing or tropical as Florida or the Bahamas, but I feel that doing a service program like this leaves you spiritually and mentally invigorated, though maybe not physically. I attached a picture of my group from sophomore year (Rural Retreat, VA) and junior year (Glasgow, VA)…can’t wait to add more!

I have written so much about the Appalachia program in some of my applications for programs after graduation that it comes as second nature now. I am currently applying to the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) and the Providence Alliance for Catholic Teachers (PACT) program. I will definitely write more about those as the time for decisions gets closer but my next entry will probably be full of lots of exclamation points and excitement over my week in Virginia. I will have many pictures and probably some videos, wish me luck!

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February 15, 2009

February 15th, 2009 by emhest09

You know you are from New England when you break out the flip-flops the minute it goes above 45 degrees. We have had a stretch of nice weather which has definitely helped in melting all the ice around here and while more snow is predicted for the upcoming days, at least it won’t keep building up! School has been moving right along, I can’t believe there are only 13 days until Spring Break!

Speaking of Spring Break, I am going to be spending my 7 days on an Appalachia service trip for the third time in a row. Holy Cross has numerous immersion programs but there is a special place in my heart for Appalachia. Each year about 250 students spend their break in either the Gulf Coast or Appalachia, living simply and trying to make a difference within a community doing everything from demolishing houses, to painting bathrooms to working with students. This year I am lucky enough to be a group leader and will be headed to Waverly, VA with 13 of my classmates. I can’t wait and obviously many pictures and videos will be taken so you can all see what it is about!

There is still a lot of work to be done in my classes before leaving however and since I just realized I never described what I was taking, I will do that now! I have to say I am a bit proud of myself and my ability to plan ahead. As a double major in History and English I am currently in 2 elective courses in my last semester of college, not too bad for having to take upwards of 20 classes to fulfill both majors! One of my electives is Introduction to the Old Testament with Professor Murphy. I haven’t taken a religion course since freshmen year even though I work in the department and it is great to study a part of the Bible I am not as familiar with. My second elective is education: social & political change with Professor Dobles and by far my favorite part of this class is the CBL (Community Based Learning) that goes along with it. Every Thursday afternoon as part of the class I go over to Heard St. school in Worcester and work with two third graders (Brooklyn and Brittany) in an after school program devoted to preparing for the MCAS tests. I have grown very close with them and I love being around kids and helping them learn.

My other two classes are fundamentals of music and artist’s books. I took the music class to fulfill my art requirement and it is something I have always wanted to take so I can learn to read music again (I played the guitar until 6th grade) and learn to play the piano. Artist’s books is my last English class to fulfill the major though it is something completely different from any other English class I have had. We study books with the viewpoint of an artist and since the course has a studio art portion, we are working on making our own books through printmaking. To give you some idea, the first day of class Professor Sweeney brought in a delicious cake which had “I am a Book” written across it and pages made out of icing. We spent the majority of that class trying to figure out what constituted “a book” in the traditional form. My favorite part of this class so far would have to be the field trip to the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester; it is truly a hidden gem! We toured the stacks of over 2 million newspapers, manuscripts and prints, all made before 1876…it was a librarian’s dream come true!

Next week will be a bit stressful with papers and tests, but I am looking forward to presenting at two information sessions for Admissions! On Tuesday and Friday at 11:15 in Rehm library I will help talk about admissions, the application process and Holy Cross in general in prospective students. Hopefully all goes well!

January 28, 2009

January 28th, 2009 by emhest09

Since returning for my last semester of college…..sorry I need a moment….alright, I am better now; since returning for my last semester of college I have had two great experiences that have helped my deal with the fact that this truly is the last semester. The first was Senior Convocation which took place the day before classes started. As freshmen, we attended freshmen convocation in St. Joseph Chapel where some students volunteered to speak on their hopes and expectations for the next four years. This time around we heard speeches from students reflecting on the past three and a half years (read them if you have a chance!) as well as musical pieces, one of which featured my roommate Kena playing her double bass! Probably my favorite part of Convocation was Dean Peace’s speech which brought everyone to their feet. It began:

We are blessed.
We are blessed to be.
We are blessed to be here.
We are blessed to be here now.

Which then led, naturally, to a discussion of penguins. Yes, penguins, you read it right and really there is no better image then a bunch of scared yet intrepid baby penguins to associate with the class of 2009. Some of us are ready to leave the ice sheet while others (I would put myself in this category) will simply wait to have the tide draw them away. It was a very moving speech and convocation in general was a great way to start the year.

The second wonderful experience I had to start off the year was at the 2009 Vault Reunion in Amy, Delia, Alicia and Erin’s room. I lived in a hallway called “The Vault” freshmen year; the name comes from the fact that it is one of the only halls that is split boys and girls with a huge, thick metal door separating the two, creating a vault-like atmosphere for the girls. It was a fantastic hall of about 22 girls and I still count many of them as my closest friends here. Carlin 411 happens to be all Vault girls (original roommate pairs too!) and they decided to have as many of the girls over as they could and the turnout was larger than expected! It was so great to just hang out with freshmen friends and seeing how everyone had changed…for the better of course! I think it speaks volumes of the community feel of this college that so many of the Vault girls remain great friends and even roommates (like Kena and I!) to this day. I put up a couple of pictures from the reunion of roommate pairs, the entire vault and (for old times sake) a picture of all of us three and a half years ago at freshman convocation!

I will finish this entry with a short list of great things at the school, I will fill you all in on my classes next blog after I have had a few more of them!

  1. ITS, or Internet Technology Services for the common folk like me. I came back to school with a really bad computer virus (thus the lack of blogging) and after a quick my computer was fixed in less than 24 hours. This would not have been a happy occasion if I had not backed up my files on my roommates external hard drive so I will restate what has been told to me since freshmen year…BACK UP YOUR FILES!
  2. Parents. Not just my own but those of my friends who have sent me Christmas socks and Asian food on occasion, it’s great that families are brought together through friends made here at Holy Cross. Sorry for not blogging more Mrs. Mullen!
  3. Birthday night at Kimball. Once a year there is a wonderful dinner in Upper Kimball devoted to birthday and especially birthday cake. In the past there was a large spread of various frostings and cakes which we students could use to decorate our own birthday cakes. I guess some students who shall remain nameless would get carried away with frosting so this year the good people at Kimball decided to have 12 different huge cakes, one for each birthday month. May was the best though I might be a little biased.
  4. Peach Cobbler at Kimball. I don’t really like it but Amy really does so I will mention it, she was in Spain last year (read her blog!) and they took it off the menu for the fall semester, leaving her heartbroken…luckily it’s back!

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December 30, 2008

December 30th, 2008 by emhest09

I am happy to report that the paper writing went well and I ended my semester successfully! Looking back I was very lucky with the classes I took this fall; as a history and English double major I usually get asked, “How do you do all the reading and paper writing?” but I have never seen it as a hassle. This fall was the third time I have taken only English and History classes and though it was tough at times, it helps that I truly enjoy both subjects. Rhetoric was probably my favorite class this semester, maybe even at Holy Cross; it was something very different for me and it certainly wasn’t your typical English class. We did read passages on the art of rhetoric and wrote papers as well, but most of our grade was focused on our speeches and I think the practical art of Public Speaking is something I realized I not only enjoyed, but was good at!

Public speaking was central to my many extracurricular activities this past semester. My involvement with CAB grew, especially through the NACA conference that I attended, and it was mostly due to the presentations, committee meetings and proposals I contributed to. Looking back I realize that I have not talked as much as I should have about my other major commitment this past semester-Senior Interviewing (which is really unacceptable, considering I spent 5-7 hours each week working with admissions)! Unfortunately my time as an interviewer is over, it’s only a first semester post because students usually do not interview in the Spring, but next semester I will continue to give tours and talk at some open houses. I have been thinking a lot about Senior Interviewing since going out to dinner with my mentor Amanda, Tran from admissions and fellow interviewers (everyone’s first time at the Soul Proprietor should be on the college, DELICIOUS!) I am so lucky to have had the chance to work that closely with admissions, it opened a new path for me that I had never thought of before and allowed me to meet really amazing students. It’s bittersweet to realize I won’t be at Holy Cross when they embark on the same journey I did three and a half years ago, but I have faith that the class of 2013 will be one of the best yet, if the students I have interviewed are any proof!

The last days of finals are always some of the most crazy and strenuous of the year; my mentality is always “you can relax and sleep when you go home”…therefore I basically collapsed when finals were over. I returned home to a beautiful Christmas tree, a roaring fire in the fireplace and candles in the windows and while I adore Holy Cross, I was happy to leave it for a few weeks to spend time home for the holidays. I had a great Christmas, we always spend time in Holyoke which is where most of my family lives and is about 15 minutes from Northampton. The one downside to seeing my family is the question I got at least 20 times on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day… “so what are you doing next year?” I didn’t help that my cousin Danny heard me complaining about it and proceeded to tell EVERYONE who would listen that I was graduating in the Spring and that they should ask me what my plans were. This break is really forcing me to face the fact that my future after Holy Cross is a reality and I need to start building it for myself. I am lucky to know what I want for a future career, and I think I will use the rest of my break to figure out how to achieve that goal!

For your enjoyment, I attached some pictures of our “Christmas-y” room at school, the ice storm we had, and various holiday pictures (including the Heston annual Christmas card picture, complete with college sweatshirts)!

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December 1, 2008

December 1st, 2008 by emhest09

I am going to start this entry by saying that I really should not be writing it. The
list of things I have to do stretches for miles (slight exaggeration, yards
would be better) and I should probably either be doing things on that list or
sleeping in preparation for doing the things on that list. I am sure most of my
fellow classmates can commiserate with me, the study rooms are packed and
though Thanksgiving definitely left us a bit more relaxed (and in my case, very full) there is still a lot to be
done before the end of the semester. I remember one of the girls I interviewed recently
asked me if Holy Cross was extremely hard and if students had a one track mind
towards their academics. I responded that yes, Holy Cross was one of the most
demanding liberal arts colleges in the country but that students were not
necessarily solely focused on their work but that they were passionate in all
areas of their Holy Cross careers. Right now, for instance, I am feeling very
passionate in writing about Senior Ball but about five minutes after I finish
this I will probably become even more passionate about finishing the 10-12 page
paper I have due on Dorothea Dix….onward to Senior Ball!

Every class here at Holy Cross has some sort of dance. The
first year it is OppKnocks (which I wrote about before), then a sophomore semi,
a junior dance and finally Senior Ball. I slipped up many times and called it “Senior
Prom” but that is essentially what it is; everyone gets dressed up in their
finest and heads off to venue for a nice dinner and dancing. This year’s Senior
Ball was at the DCU center in Worcester which was great because it meant that everyone could go and the number of
tickets was not restricted. The day of the dance was a lot of fun; I went with
my friends to get our hair done (after class of course!) and then put on my
dress and took thousands of pictures. The worst part of the night was
definitely the walk up the hill to Hogan, possibly the furthest building away
from the apartments and the one with the most hills in between. I am not that
great at math but I will say this:

Hills + wind gusts + sub zero temperatures + high heels +
ball gowns = MISERY

Luckily that did not last long and we were able to board the
buses to the DCU center without incident. I had a fantastic time at the dance
and as we were leaving I felt the strange urge to cry and cheer all at the same
time. The night was a complete success, great fun and a memory I will never
forget, yet it was over. Maybe that is a parallel for senior year in general
but the feeling that my time at Holy Cross is drawing to a close is certainly
becoming stronger. Luckily I was able to drown my sorrows in a plate of
pancakes from the Boulevard Diner; Lexie, Amy, Jimmy and I went there in our
ball gowns and tuxedos right after the dance and got a hearty breakfast….at
1:00 a.m.

I have attached pictures and was glad that my family and
friends got to see them over Thanksgiving Break. It was great to relax with my
family for the past few days and while Thanksgiving Break itself always seems
like one big tease, the holiday is wonderful. About 25 members of my extended
family gather together at my grandmother’s house to gorge ourselves on a 30
pound Turkey ,
complete with stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, jubilee roll and about
four different types of pie. Being with my family is always a joy and this
break was just what I needed to get back to work!

That being said, I am starting to feel a bit antsy from
being away from my work for this long…perhaps I will get back to paper writing!


November 18, 2008

November 18th, 2008 by emhest09

I always tell prospective students and their parents that I want to go through my college years putting every penny in my rather large tuition bill to good use and over the past few weeks I have definitely done that! I attribute “success” in college not just to a good grade on a paper or an award of some kind, but rather to having experiences that shape you as a person and that profoundly move you. Over the past four years I have had numerous experiences like this but there are two I want to write about at length because they meant a lot to me in the past few weeks.

The first was Election Night, November 4, 2008. This was the first election I was able to vote in and I actually sent in an absentee ballot in Mid-October. Our campus is VERY politically active and since I literally live right next door to the leadership of the College Democrats on campus I knew that election night would be special. On Tuesday Nights, CAB usually runs the 10 Spot, a time between 10 and 12 when student musicians can take over Hogan basement and play music. For November 4th, CAB teamed up with the Student Government Association (SGA), College Democrats and College Republicans to turn the basement into a political center of the campus. There was music being played, in typical 10 Spot fashion, but there was also a large screen and projector with CNN running and a map on the wall which was colored in as the state’s results came in. In Crossroads (Hogan Basement), the tension grew with each state – cheers, boos, and excitement pouring in from all directions. By 10:00 there were probably 150 people down there and as Wolf Blitzer announced the projected winner I watched as the majority of students cheered and hugged, members of the College Democrats (many of whom had worked for two years with this campaign) burst into tears, and people from across campus poured in to the building to watch history, regardless of their political leanings. Everyone stayed through his speech; I called my parents twice almost in tears with just the enormous weight of the experience. As a history major, these are the moments I learn about and to actually be living it is something I can’t even describe. My dad kept saying “remember every second of this” and I know I will; I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but here at Holy Cross in this moment of History and it’s just another “success” the college has brought me.

The second event took place last weekend; we sent the largest CAB delegation ever to the NACA (National Association for Campus Activities) Northeast Conference. This conference was for all the programming boards of North East colleges and it gave us the opportunity to see potential acts that we can bring here, talk to agents, then book acts at cheaper prices than normal. I had gone to this conference as a sophomore but I definitely got more out of it this time. I got to see “showcases” which included a harmonica playing rap artist, a hypnotist and a multitude of comedians; I got to attend marketplaces and (as treasurer of CAB) handle the booking of all the acts, talk to agents and get LOTS of free stuff. Most importantly for me though was the experience I got with the Educational Sessions, one of which I ran! Jimmy, Ben and I ran a session on “Mentoring Within Your Organization” and we had about 50 people who all seemed really interested in what we were talking about. In typical fashion with our personalities, Ben talked about the research that goes into mentoring, Jimmy talked about the structure and execution of mentoring within Holy Cross CAB and I talked about the personal touches and experiences associated with good mentoring practices. We got a lot of comments after we spoke and I definitely used some of the skills I have learned in my Rhetoric class this semester in my part of the presentation. CAB also saw some success in the NACA awards; our brand new website ( won “Best Student Designed Website in the Northeast” and Jimmy won one of only four Student Leadership Awards that were given out at the conference! It was very exciting and our presentations, awards and experiences will definitely work to cement CAB’s place on campus. I attached some pictures of the fun so everyone can see!

My next entry is going to be devoted to a much more trivial matter, but another “success” I hope…Senior Ball!!!!

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November 1, 2008

November 3rd, 2008 by emhest09

The end of October has been a rather stressful but altogether wonderful time! The academic workload is really getting intense as more papers and tests have rolled around but my professors are definitely stepping up to the challenge of keeping us engaged. In my Victorian Novel class we just finished Bleak House by Charles Dickens, a 1,000 page novel with over 25 characters. We spent approximately the ENTIRE month of October on that book and to keep us engaged, Professor Coriale instituted “Bleak House Fridays” where we would discuss the book for 30 minutes then partake in doughnuts and movie watching (of the Bleak House mini-series of course) for the other 20 minutes. I am actually starting to miss those “Bleak House Fridays”, though not the 1000 page novel I must admit!

I also had a “Learning Opportunity” (it took me a good week to realize that meant “exam”) in my Age of Jackson course with Fr. Kuzniewski.  He held a study session the night before but the best part was definitely the email we got prior to the session…

Fellow Jacksonians,
           With Halloween near, you may be worried
           As you study hard with schedules hurried,
           That the mid-term's content will be quite scary,
           Loaded with traps and questions most hairy.
           No need to worry, tonight we'll review
          All you remember, whatever seems new.
          At eight in the evening, O'Kane 365
          Feel welcome to be there, bright and alive.

So when I say that the professors are one of my favorite parts of this school to the students and parents I am giving tours to or interviewing, hopefully now you can see why!

Halloween also made the end of this month fun. Last Monday the CAB Co-Chairs all went to Ben’s house (he is CAB’s advisor) to carve pumpkins and eat his delicious apple pie, apple crisp, apple dip and apples. I definitely ate my weight in apples that night but Jimmy and I carved a fantastic pumpkin…well, I drew the face and cut the pieces out while he dealt with all the icky goop inside. I attached a picture of course!

The actual night of Halloween fell on a Friday and was a lot of fun! I feel that by senior year, most of us understand the importance of a costume. Freshmen year we were still unsure about how “cool” we needed to be but by the time senior year rolled along, everyone was ready to go all out. I found a $7 yellow dress at the costume sale so I decided to go as Belle, my favorite Disney princess because SHE READS! Over the course of the night I met a hot dog, Priscilla Presley, Candy Corn, five or six Jokers, the Spice Girls (literally, there was Oregano, Paprika, Chili Powder…), Jesus and the number nine. I have attached some pictures but they really don’t do the night justice, it was a great time!


October 21, 2008

October 21st, 2008 by emhest09

I think I am going to call this entry the “I can’t believe” entry and I think it will be fairly obvious as to why.

I can’t believe how wonderful fall in New England is. Yes, I have lived here my entire life, but the early weeks of October and especially Columbus Day Break were just spectacular. The foliage is at its peak here at Holy Cross and the sound of crunchy leaves makes me smile on the way to class. The nice weather made Columbus Day Break perfect; I went apple picking with my family, took a walk in the woods with my Dad and played Manhunt with my cousins using only the light of the moon. This past weekend I went to the Head of the Charles in Boston with Lexie and soaked up more of the great weather while watching the regatta. I am posting pictures of the regatta and nature in general, just to give you a peek into how nice it is.

That being said, I can’t believe there are rumors that it will snow tomorrow. Highly doubtful in my opinion.

I can’t believe I went to my last OppKnocks Dance ever, after four years of dressing up and dancing the night away, I can’t believe its over. For those of you that don’t know the Opportunity Knocks Dance (or OppKnocks) is the biggest semi-formal dance of the year and it is sponsored by the CAB Social committee (headed by Silvia and Caitlin this year). They did a fantastic job pulling together the night and the decorations, playing off the theme of “A Night in New York City”, were a huge hit. I posted a bunch of pictures from the night so everyone could see!

I can’t believe how many fond memories I have from Luxembourg, we had a reunion dinner tonight in Kimball and it was great to catch up with everyone and swap stories that I had forgotten.

I can’t believe I have been a Senior Interviewer for two months, time is flying by! I have met so many interesting students so far and have become so grateful I am not on the selection committee…Holy Cross is truly blessed to have such talented and unique applicants and I could never choose between them! I met with my mentor Amanda (one of the admissions counselors, you can find her on the Admissions blog) along with Ani (another blogger) to talk about our progress. It is so nice to have that support system in place and swapping stories, interesting questions and advice is definitely helpful. Also helpful is the fact that we get free breakfast (thanks Admissions)!

I can’t believe how many opportunities this school presents me. Just this past week I attended a CABA (College Advisory Board on Alcohol) meeting on behalf of CAB which was interesting and informative; I learned a lot and gave some comments on how CAB’s role as a programming board gives alternatives to drinking and how we can work together on various initiatives. I also went to the Post Graduate Volunteer Fair where I learned about various programs that definitely seem like options for after graduation (I squirmed in my seat when I just wrote that….is it absolutely essential that I graduate in 2009?).

Finally, I can’t believe how much I have to look forward to in the next few weeks. My Mom is coming on Saturday for my roommate’s Chamber Orchestra concert and for the Family Weekend Mass so that should be great. Halloween is coming up and I got a costume for $7 at the Theater Departments annual costume sale (you’ll have to wait to see what it is though!). Amy, Lexie, Meg, Sasha and I are seeing High School Musical 3 in theaters (please try to withhold judgment, I love embracing my inner child) and Senior Ball is on the horizon. The National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) Conference is also coming up and I will be presenting with Jimmy and Ben, hopefully putting the skills I have learned in Rhetoric to good use. Senior year is certainly shaping up to be unbelievable!

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September 25, 2008

September 25th, 2008 by emhest09

I feel like the beginning of this year has been one giant puzzle and all the pieces are slowly falling into place. I sat down last week and planned out literally every hour of the last few days and it really helped me to know exactly where I was supposed and what I had to be doing. It also helps that I am feeling more confident in the commitments I am doing, whether it be learning how to use Excel for CAB or practicing a firm handshake for interviewing.

Speaking of interviewing, it has finally started! After doing two shadow interviews and meeting with my mentor in admissions Amanda (you can check out their blog) I got to “go solo” for the first time on Wednesday and then again on Thursday. I can honestly say I was surprised just how much I enjoyed it! I’ll admit, I was probably much more nervous than the first girl I interviewed but by the end everything seemed to run smoothly. I already can’t wait for next Tuesday when I get to do it again!

Along with interviewing there have been some fun events here at Holy Cross, one of which was on Friday when CAB brought a HUGE outdoor movie screen to show Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on the Hart Lawn. It was a chilly night but lots of students grabbed blankets, pillows, Kimball trays and even an air mattress and made the trek up the hill for free popcorn and a great movie. I added some pictures of the set up, including a humorous one of some CABbies standing by the 125 foot screen with an interesting movie playing!

After Friday I went home for the first time this semester for my grandmother’s 72nd birthday and had a great time with the masses of relative who assembled; I added a picture from Christmas to give you some idea! It was great to be home and with Columbus Day weekend coming soon I am looking forward to relaxing from the hectic schedule I have made for myself. Only Apple Picking, Cranium nights, 1000 pages of Bleak House by Charles Dickens and a celebratory speech about a yet-to-be-determined subject stand between me and home! It should be an exciting few weeks!