Washington Semester

From Thanksgiving on, study abroad is one of the most discussed topics on Campus among second year students.  While not technically an “abroad” program, the semester in Washington D.C. is one of the opportunities students discuss in the winter and spring months.  In my opinion, the Washington Semester is one offering that distinguishes Holy Cross from some other similar liberal arts colleges.

The program lasts for one semester.  Roughly half of the students accepted to the program go to D.C in the fall, while the other half attend the spring semester.  Holy Cross has deep connections in Washington, meaning the internships that many current students apply to are places at which other Holy Cross students have made strong impressions.  One can find a list of just some of the impressive internships that past Holy Cross students have had here.

The program consist basically of three parts.  First, every student takes a public policy seminar.  Second, each student completes an internship. Third, each student completes a 40-50 page research thesis about their respective internship.  Irrespective of the nature of their work experience, it is easy to see how the Washington Semester would prove to be an invaluable experience for any student considering a life in law, politics, policy, academia, etc.  It shows a great deal of responsibility and academic promise if a student can manage an intensive seminar, a full time internship in D.C. and complete a substantial writing assignment.  Even students interested in public or global health should apply, as there are plenty of internships in Washington relating to health care and medical ethics, to name just a few.

Internships and career- related work experience are aspects of college life that can sometimes be stressful.  Over the summer, many students are looking for something paid.  The great thing about the Washington Semester is that it is built right into one’s academic year.  It is one’s only focus during one semester of junior year.  When else would it be feasible for anyone not local to the D.C. area to spend 14 weeks in one of the busiest cities in the nation?  The Washington Semester is just example of how strong the Holy Cross network is.  Take advantage of it if you find yourself here!

Second Semster Underway

At Holy Cross, the “grace” period between arriving back on campus and being busy once again is as short as the winter break is long.  Many Holy Cross students joke about the lack of “syllabus week,” but many are ready to jump right back into their lives at HC after being on break for over a month.  Winter break, especially for sophomores, is a popular time for job shadows with HC alumni and service trips to underserved areas here and abroad.  Upon arriving back on campus, one hears chatter about every students unique break experience.

At the outset of the semester everyone is excited to take on their new classes and set a routine that will take them into the spring months. Last semester’s lunch and dinner schedule might not remain the same, but the fresh faces you see walking from class to class is a welcome change.  Familiar friends are eager to have another great semester considering many students have just sent their applications to the study abroad programs of which they hope to be a part their junior year.

Whereas the first semester of sophomore year felt a bit strange insofar as the “newness” of freshman year has worn off, the second semester of sophomore year brings with it a new sense of purpose.  One’s major needs to be chosen by the end of this year, and many students have either joined a new organization or become a well known part of one they were in last year.  Personally, I had a successful season as a part of the Moot Court team  (I encourage you to “meet the coaches” on the web page!) as my partner and I finished top 40 in the country at the National Tournament in Dallas, TX.  More importantly, the Moot Court team is something I have felt more connected to thus far this year.  Being involved on top of the workload can be a lot at times, but the personal rewards of staying with an activity year after year are invaluable.