Bridget Flaherty ‘21
On May 21, 2021, I will officially graduate from the College of the Holy Cross. I will have spent four years of my life here. Some will say these are the best years of your life and others will disagree. These weren’t the best four years of my life, but they were pretty good. As I walk across the stage on Fitton Field in my cap, gown, and face mask, I probably won’t be looking out across the sea of familiar faces, reflecting on special moments, and preparing to say goodbye; rather, I’ll probably be focused on not walking like Mac Jones at the NFL Draft. So, I’ll do all of my reflecting right here, right now.
My time at Holy Cross has taught me a lot about myself and the person that I want to become. Growing up, I was painfully shy. My parents used to call me Cassie after the pink dragon in the iconic television series “Dragon Tales” who physically shrinks when she’s feeling shy. I rarely participated in classes and suffered from notorious bouts of stage fright that delayed class presentations and talent shows. Despite my crippling shyness, I always wanted to participate in theatre. It wasn’t until I got to Holy Cross that I acted on this secret desire and indulged my inner theatre kid. Thanks to my next-door neighbor freshman year and other kind souls, I slowly became acquainted with ACT and dipped my toe into the Theatre department by taking some classes. Sophomore year, I participated in student-directed pieces and enrolled in more theatre courses, including Basic Acting, all of which ultimately led to me being cast in the department’s production of “Once in a Lifetime.” I’ve never been more proud of myself than during those few months of rehearsals. I had the time of my life, met wonderful strangers who became close friends, and challenged myself in ways I never thought I would. I learned that I could be confident and creative. I learned that the kindness, fun, and authenticity that my castmates showed were characteristics that I cherish and should encourage in myself and look for in other people. I found a spot in a group that I connected with, and I don’t plan on ever letting go.
These four years also taught me that I don’t like walking up hills, and that I like Shakespeare but I don’t like Keats. At Holy Cross, I became a vegetarian (I’m not blaming the Kimball grilled chicken for this transition, but I’m also not not blaming the Kimball grilled chicken). I learned that I look great in purple – thank goodness or these definitely would have been four rough years. I learned that the school’s sense of community is real and not overrated; I learned that window fans are overrated. I learned that CB2 has better coffee than Cool Beans does, even though they serve the exact same things. I learned that the Chaplain’s Office is a great place to cry, and so is the Dinand bathroom in the basement. I learned that Coco-Roos are better than Cocoa Puffs and that stacking a bunch of cups isn’t actually helpful to Kimball employees. I learned that dining dollars disappear quickly, especially once you discover the penny candy section of the Lobby Shop. I learned that friendships can be formed in a second, and will be right up until your last day on the Hill. I learned that a person can change a lot in four years, and that thanks to Holy Cross, I changed for the better.
My time here wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty great. Enjoy it while you can and make the most of it!