Holy Cross Student Awakens from Twenty Year Slumber

Matthew Nickerson ’24

Features Staff Writer

Over its one-hundred-and seventy-nine year history, the College of the Holy Cross has been the setting of a wide variety of humorous stories and compelling escapades. There’s the fire that burned Fenwick Hall down in 1852 and nearly shut the entire college down, and there are the persistent rumors of ghosts of students and faculty past lurking around campus. I was at first compelled to write an opinion piece addressing the latter, but when my laptop started floating around without explanation, I decided to make a switch in article topic. Luckily for me (perhaps not for him), the word around campus is of a recent discovery: a college student who had been missing ever since the school’s one-hundred-and fifty-ninth anniversary party was finally discovered safe and sound. He had accidentally drifted off in the study room of his dorm, so no one had ever found him. Quick as ever to provide an unsubtle literary reference, English majors at the college have begun calling the student “Rip Van Worcester.” Rather than letting the student attend Health Services, or perhaps a session at the Counseling Center, the Spire saw fit to have a one-on-one, exclusive interview with him.  

Expressing dismay at the length of his beard over the course of twenty years, Rip Van Worcester became delighted when informed he was fortunate enough to wake up during “No-Shave November,” in which he would be unanimously deemed the winner. With that dealt with, we commenced with our interview. 

Rather than expressing shock or dismay at the fact that the oldest students at the college were babies when he fell asleep, with a sizable majority of them being unborn, Rip Van Worcester instead posed questions of this new future. While his first question was if the retro futuristic vision of flying cars had been realized, he also questioned whether 5-D printing had become a reality– whatever that could be.    

“Did they implement a moving escalator up and down the whole campus, then? Or some kind of monorail?”

“No and no…but they did just construct a new $110 million performing arts center.”

“Well, is there some sort of satellite campus where you get to study abroad on the moon?”

“That’s not a thing either. I think most students would still decide to study abroad in Europe anyway. How much do you think the world changed in twenty years?”  

“Do students still have to book it over to the registrar’s office when they have to decide their courses for the next semester?”

“Oh, you’ll like this answer. It is so much better now. You do it online– on this website called STAR– but first you’re completely at the whim of your advisor– and some people have multiple– to grant you permission so you’re even able to select potential courses. Then you have to wake up before 7am, two days in a row, to log onto the computer, and then everybody does it all at once. So the website doesn’t load and nobody gets the courses they want…well, I guess it’s not better at all, actually.” 

“Why is the newspaper called the Spire now? And why did they change the dorm name to just Brooks?”

“Uhhh…next question, please.”

“Did they get rid of daylight savings time?”


“Did Kimball improve their rice?”


“One final comment. I just learned about the newest Holy Cross President, Vincent Rougeau. And I must say, I am shocked and outraged that the college would betray all of its ideals, tracing back to its founding traditions, and select a president who is…a layperson.”

“You have a problem with him being a layperson? Did you come from 2002 or 1902?”

And with that, our interview concluded. The Spire sends best of luck to Rip Van Worcester as he works to adjust to our modern society. (“What’s Covid?” he asked me cheerfully as we were packing up.) To end on a positive note, Rip Van Worcester has become somewhat of a hero to the student body, due to being someone students finally have to point to as an example of someone worse when their parents berate them for napping daily and sleeping until noon on the weekend.

Photo courtesy of Inc. Magazine

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