The Importance of Semester-Away Programs

Julia Maher ’23

Opinions Editor

When I entered college, I knew that I would want to have experiences off campus to enrich my education at the College of the Holy Cross. I thrive on adventure, which is evident in my choice to attend college 3,000 miles away from home. When I heard of the New York Semester Program, I was determined to participate in it. New York is an incredible city, and there is so much to do all around you. The liveliness of the city inspires me to reflect on my life, set goals, and adjust accordingly. My experience in New York has been just as I envisioned—a remarkable opportunity to grow personally, academically, and professionally.

I love the composition of the program, which includes working 32 hours a week at an internship, attending a seminar once a week, and writing a capstone project throughout the semester. The internship lets you learn outside of the traditional classroom environment and gain professional skills. Although the classes at Holy Cross are amazing, I also really love seeking wisdom from the outside world. I’ve really found my niche and feel happy about where my life is headed, and I hope that many other students can experience the same.

In New York, I’ve learned what it’s like to be even more independent than a college student. There are more responsibilities, such as working 32 hours a week, going grocery shopping, and making meals for myself. It has been a nice peek into what post-grad life will be like. It’s easy to think that being at college is a lot of independence, and it is to some extent, but the New York program allows me to get a feel for being almost entirely on my own and responsible for more of my life.

This is a valuable skill to have. I really appreciate that I have the opportunity to live more independently, because I will feel more prepared for after graduation. And when I return to Holy Cross, I will feel even more grateful for the last moments of college with less responsibilities. I highly recommend that students apply to the New York or D.C. semester programs. It is an experience of a lifetime and one you will never regret.

Photo by Julia Maher ’23

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