A Plan Only Matters When You’ve Found Purpose: Martell Audate’s Story

A young man smiles wearing a collard shirt
Martell Audate '24 reflects on his time at Holy Cross before graduating later this month.

Editor's Note: On May 24, more than 800 members of the Holy Cross class of 2024 will walk the commencement stage. Each path to the stage is unique. As we celebrate the class, HCM asked several seniors to share their journeys in their own words. Listen and read their uncut narratives — how they got here and what they’re taking with them — as they reflect on the Holy Cross chapter of their life.

Listen to Martell Audate '24 read his reflection.
Audio file

As the winter air filled the atmosphere, all of my personal belongings were jam-packed in my aunt’s pickup truck at the bottom of College Street. I barely had room to move in the car but I didn’t care because my heart was pounding with anticipation as my dad took a left and followed the procession of cars on Easy Street. It was my first day of college, a day I had been dreaming of for years.

The looming cloud of the pandemic tempered my excitement as masked faces directed me throughout the campus. A daily routine of Zoom classes, walks to Kimball and constant testing at The Jo became my norm. I recognized people by their eyebrows or custom masks, building friendships through waves and on Zoom. The vision of Holy Cross became apparent to myself on the days of hot weather when we played frisbee on the Hoval, the organized game nights on Zoom, and in the daily interactions with Kimball staff who worked so hard to make us feel at home. I became involved in different organizations and consumed myself with my Montserrat. Throughout that whole semester, I could see the growth in my social skills and that I made the right decision to move on campus. My first semester taught myself patience, but also that good things come to those that wait.

The past three years have been a whirlwind of emotions and personal growth. Each year brought its own mix of challenges and opportunities for self-reflection. It often felt like for every moment of triumph, there was a hurdle to overcome. From grappling with the loss of loved ones to battling through academic setbacks and wavering motivation, I found myself constantly navigating uncharted waters. The path I envisioned for myself upon entering Easy Street seemed to falter in many ways. Each setback, whether it was a disappointing grade or a missed internship opportunity, shook me to my core. It was as if the success I had known for the first 18 years of my life was suddenly slipping away, replaced by a sense of impending failure.

Yet, through these trials, I came to understand that what I perceived as failure was in reality an opportunity for profound self-reflection and growth. With each setback, I discovered a newfound resilience and determination to succeed. Surrounded by a campus filled with incredibly talented individuals, I channeled my fear of inadequacy into a fierce drive to succeed. Failure became my greatest teacher, shaping me in ways I never could have imagined and fueling my ambition to reach new heights.

A sound mixer with Wu-Tang's logo in the center
Martell Audate spent the summer of 2022 interning with the Wu-Tang Clan, helping organize a tour with the hip-hop group and Nas.

I took up leadership and mentorship roles in different organizations out of determination to impact others and contribute to a community that taught me so much about myself. I found the best conversations were the most vulnerable ones and the best experiences were in unchoreographed settings. My time on The Hill taught me that the plan matters only when you have found your purpose. My Holy Cross journey in a nutshell has been about constantly striving for personal growth. 

It's been through taking risks and dedicating myself to my work that I've found success and happiness. I have invested in myself knowing now that I can and I will achieve whatever I desire. As I've matured, physically and emotionally, I've noticed the College evolving alongside me. The opportunities I've had during this experience, from spending a summer with the Wu Tang Clan to interviewing presidential candidates, have shaped me in ways I never imagined. These past four years have been indescribable, filled with triumphs and trials that have shaped me into the person I am today.