Five Reasons to Look Forward to Summer Orientation and the Academic Year

Class of 2016 to get introduction to life at Holy Cross during Gateways

Between June 14 through June 22, members of the Class of 2016 will be on campus for Gateways Summer Orientation. Praised by students and parents alike, Gateways provides a sneak peak at life on Mount St. James. Here are five things the new class can look forward to at both Gateways and the first year on campus. 1. More than 20 student leaders will be on deck to welcome members of the Class of 2016.

"Gateways offers incoming students an opportunity to establish friendships and connections with classmates and get a better understanding of the College's academic, social and spiritual life before they begin their first academic year," says Stephanie Montilla '13, head orientation leader for Gateways Orientation. "We aim to help students — and their parents — know that they have made the right college decision."

Meet all of this year's summer orientation leaders.

2. This will be the fifth class taking part in Montserrat, the College's unique first-year living and learning program. Students live and study in one of five clusters — the Natural World, The Divine, the Self, Global Society, Core Human Questions — and will take part in a yearlong seminar.

"Because class sizes generally run between 16 and 18 students, Montserrat is a fabulous opportunity to participate frequently and receive great feedback on your work," says orientation leader Alison Franco '15, who took part in the Global Society cluster. "Montserrat made me feel like I was a valued individual both in and outside of the classroom, so it was an integral part of settling into Holy Cross my first year."

Some of this year's seminars are "Beauty, Suffering, Truth," "Competition and Cooperation," "Hollywood Meets Latin America," "Identity & Values in Dark Times," "Music, Self, Self, and Society," and "Environmental Justice."

Read the entire conversation with Franco, and view the website her Montserrat class created as part of their second semester seminar titled "You—the Ethical Consumer."

3. Students will meet their newly-appointed class dean Francisco Gago-Jover.

Like incoming students, Gago-Jover, a professor of Spanish, is also beginning a new chapter: this is his first year as class dean.

"During my years at Holy Cross, I have come to appreciate the bonds formed between faculty/advisors and students and advisees," he says. "Gateways, Second Year Opportunities, advising, and office hours — all of them unique opportunities to interact with students, to try to understand what makes them tick, to guide them, to offer advice, to listen to their dreams, fears, and problems — have become very satisfying moments in the academic calendar; and every year I look forward to meeting with new and returning students.

"However, we live in the real world, and while we would like to have positive interactions with our students, I am aware—sometimes painfully aware—of the difficulties that can bring us together. So, it is during these difficult times when students need us the most, and when I can offer my help and guidance. I believe I am ready for the position of class dean, and at the same time I am also energized and concerned by its responsibilities and challenges."

4. The first-year class reading, "How to Live: Or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer" by Sarah Bakewell, will help students learn "the lessons of life."

Gago-Jover chose the common text for summer reading for several reasons.

"Montaigne (1533 - 1592), one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance, is also the creator of the essay as a literary genre. He became famous for his effortless ability to merge in his writings serious intellectual speculation with casual anecdotes and autobiography — and his massive volume 'Essais' (literally, 'Attempts') contains, to this day, some of the most widely influential essays ever written. Admired by some later thinkers, reviled by others, Montaigne is remarkably modern even to readers today. His attempt to examine the world through the lens of the only things he can depend on implicitly — his own judgment and personal experience —makes him more accessible to modern readers than any other author of the Renaissance," he says.

"The book 'How to Live: Or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer' is a hybrid biography which compares and contrasts biographical details with excerpts from the 'Essays,' thus describing Montaigne's philosophy using stories from his life. The book also explores different approaches to life derived from Montaigne's 'Essays,' such as 'Be ordinary and imperfect,' 'See the world,' 'Guard your humanity,' 'Wake from the sleep of habit,' 'Let life be its own answer,' and perhaps most characteristically for Montaigne, 'Question everything.' If there is a central message it's about individuals trying to find their way through life. At heart Montaigne was just one of those individuals — the difference is that he wrote about it.

"What I would like students to learn from reading 'How to Live: Or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer' is not that they should live like Montaigne, as he never claimed to have the answer for the right way to live, but rather something simpler, that they, like Montaigne, should reflect on the circumstances of their life and what happens to them — the everyday — to learn the lessons of life. There is enough material in daily 'stuff' to provide a lifetime of philosophy."

5. Rev. Philip Boroughs, S.J., the new president of Holy Cross, will offer his own words of welcome. Since his arrival to campus in January, Fr. Boroughs has been a regular figure at campus events. And that will be the case for Holy Cross’ newest students, too. Just before each of the three orientation sessions end, Fr. Boroughs will give closing remarks to members of the Class of 2016 in the Hogan Campus Center Ballroom.

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