Brandi Ramos ’12

Remember, remember, the Fifth of November, it was the last time I updated my blog.

Excuse me while I cringe in horror for having the gall to forget you, Readers.

Once again, I have plenty of excuses to make for falling off the edge of the earth. Take, for example, Organic Chemistry. I thought of you while studying for that exam in the science library. I wrote a lovely introduction to an entry that went like this:

“After over a month, I should not be updating my blog right now. This should be amongst the last things on my mind, along with how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie pop, and if bacon will be served at Midnight Breakfast tonight. However, I could not resist sharing my sheer joy at not only saving more than thirty sheets of paper by not printing every copy I made of all the answer keys to all my former exams in organic chemistry, but for having finally found an empty cubicle in the science library, where I am now typing this entry, with several packets worth of reactions in front of me.

Tomorrow, at 2:30 p.m. I shall begin the very end of a year long sequence of orgo. I will be depressed, not only because I will be facing three hours (although Dean Jarret, my chemistry professor and class dean, says it should only take two) of a final exam, but because I appreciate organic chemistry. That’s right, I said it. After complaining, yanking out my hair, and staring with glazed eyes at the blackboard as Dean Jarret …”

At this point I stopped, remembered I had a final the next day, and pushed that entry off for some other night. As it is, bacon was served at Midnight Breakfast and the final did take me all three hours…because I plan my time inefficiently.

I regret to say that I left my camera cord at school, otherwise I would upload a picture of the massive laundry pile I did last week. I had $1.35 left on my card (you can put money on your I.D. and use it for things like laundry, instead of carrying around a bunch of quarters), which was enough for one load of laundry…but no dryer. It was very sad, until Kimball came to the rescue, decided I was a good worker, and gave me five bucks for student appreciation week. I spent all of it on laundry.

I’m at home now, a wondrous place where laundry is free, and while food might still come from a can, at least the can is opened with love. Enjoy your holidays everyone, and I’ll see you all in the new year!

P.S.- I stalked STAR (Student Academic Records—it’s where all of your important information goes, including housing, schedules, and grades) and finally have all my grades in! It’s been my best semester yet! Yay!

P.P.S- I keep meaning to point this out, but see the nifty little sidebar there? I’ve now included links to places of interest, including SaderLink and The Advocate. As we’re all on break, the sites won’t be active again ‘til the end of January, but you should still check them out! On SaderLink, click on the ‘Organizations’ tab at the top of the screen to see a list of everything Holy Cross has to offer. You don’t need to be a member to poke around, so poke away!

Annual Winter Wonderland '09, sponsored by CAB. This year there was a candy wall, cookie decorating, and this picture on the green screen. Cutting a long story short, this is my HC Family Photo. I'm the sketchy girl in the back. Picture scanned to computer, courtesy of Clara.

Annual Winter Wonderland '09, sponsored by CAB. This year there was a candy wall, cookie decorating, and this picture on the green screen. Cutting a long story short, this is my HC Family Photo. I'm the sketchy girl in the back. Picture scanned to computer, courtesy of Clara.

It’s been a long time since my last update, although I have been thinking of you, dear Readers. I almost wrote an entry about this year’s apple picking trip, as well as our second adventure at making apple crisp (alas, we missed a crucial ingredient and were thwarted again—we made apple turnovers instead). I almost wrote about how last Wednesday/Thursday I survived on one and a half hours of sleep. Likewise, I almost wrote about how on Friday night I went ghost hunting with a large group of other students when CAB sponsored a professional ghost hunter to guide us. I ended up going to bed at 6:30 in the morning partly because I was a little unnerved and partly because me and Goebel were setting the record for the longest conversation our dorm hallway has ever seen. If I wanted to, I could write about how Kimball owns my life. Alas, what brings me to you tonight is the misfortune of some strange boy I met in the O’Neil computer lab.

I sandwiched my laptop in between two of the computers here because I am currently using excel, and I dislike how the computers in the lab automatically open to the new version. I’m doing this for genetics, and while I think I have all the right numbers, I have yet to find out what they mean. I asked Professor Lemay earlier today, and he explained it to me. Unfortunately, grasping biology is sometimes like grasping sand—it slips through your fingers too easily. I even asked the Excel Paperclip for help—you know it’s bad when you ask office supplies for help. The computer lab technically closes at 10 pm, however, if you are already in the lab, nobody really kicks you out. I ended up alone here with two boys who were using the Macs on the other side of the room. I feel that they were doing some sort of math/physics/upper level chemistry type of homework. As I was reading over my lab manual for the answers to my problems, there was a sudden yell and one of the boys exclaimed “The computer just froze, all my work is gone!”

Of course, I felt bad for him, but did not realize the extent of his troubles until a few minutes later he was lying facedown on the floor banging his fist against the carpet. He repeatedly asked what we all ask in situations like that—“What did I do to deserve this?!” He walked in only his socks from between his computer and the printer trying to let it all sink in. He tried bringing back his work. Sadly, all ten hours worth of work was gone. As the two of them left to get food, the boy’s friend turned to him and said, “On the bright side, if you start now, you can be done by six.”

Six in the morning.

The moral of the story, dear Readers? Save, save, save. What do I not do? Save. What should I do? Save. What will I do? Save, save, save.

And now I shall return to genetics.

Until next time!

p.s. New favorite phrase: Me Hercule! (According to Professor Lao, it means By Jove! Every time Pat decides I’m having an “Oh Brandi…” [insert weary sigh] moment, I try to respond with this phrase).

See, I knew sleeping past my alarm would come in handy one day. Well…no, but I can pretend, can’t I? I’ve gotten into the nasty habit of hitting the snooze button in my sleep when my alarm rings at 8:30, and not actually getting up ‘til at least 9:00. Those of you still in high school probably think I’m weak for being unable to wake up by the time you’re sitting halfway through first period class, but—actually, there is no excuse; I am weak. It’s especially hard when you were having such a good dream beforehand. There was one time where I had this dream about an epic battle between dinosaurs and I just had to go back to sleep to continue it…but that’s a blog post for another time (or rather, never).

Anyways, on Friday I got out of bed at nine-something and went through my usual routine: bathroom, clothing, and hair-brushing while turning on my laptop to check my email and facebook (I am insanely addicted). I saw an email (which I would never have read if I woke up on time) about a prospective student who needed a host because her original one had canceled last minute. I mulled over hosting for a minute, looked at the time, and figured I might as well. My first time alone at Holy Cross had been for an overnight weekend program, and I had come late because I had an AP practice exam that day. Because I came in the afternoon, there hadn’t been anyone to pick me up, so I spent an hour or so by myself in Hogan reading. It was a nervous hour.

Clearly, there was no reason for anyone else to repeat it.

Aly the prospective was awesome. I really hope she comes here! I felt badly that she ended up sitting through my science classes when she wants to major in something humanities related, but I tried my best. I had never hosted before, and she was incredibly patient with me as I scrambled to figure out what aspects of HC would be most important for her to see. In the end, Clara, Cynthia, and I took her adventuring to all the most important places regular tours don’t show you at HC—the best bathroom on campus (located down the hall from Admissions), Fenwick Theater, O’Kane computer lab (I never learned where it was ‘til a good month into my first semester), Public Safety, various elevators, and out to eat in Kimball, to name some of the less obvious ones. I like to think I introduced her to nice people as well, like Goebel the Kimball captain and Debbie the Classics major.

Of course, introducing anyone to Debbie is generally a good life decision.

In the end, she had to go to her interview with admissions, but I wish her and everyone else applying the best of luck!

I can’t wait to host again!

I am terrified of needles. Sharp, pointy objects that inject things into your bloodstream make my insides writhe with terror and disgust. I had gone home this past weekend to get my flu shot with my younger brothers at our doctor’s office, where I technically am not allowed to look afraid. Seeing small children terrified of getting their flu shot somehow pushes me into the direction of confidence where I give them an “it’s going to be okay” smile in passing. Unfortunately, the flu clinic was canceled, thus I had to go get my flu shot here, where trying to be reassuring to freshmen isn’t quite the same as being reassuring to a five year old.

The wait was long, but probably shorter for me than others, because I got there ten minutes early. For the thirty-two excruciating minutesI stood in line, I panicked about the shot. I ran into Heidi on the stairs on my way to Hogan, and she tried to persuade me against getting the shot at all. I considered the thought for a good second or so, then in a Star Wars like fashion, the voices of my parents echoed in my head and the brilliant idea of not getting jabbed was lost forever.

When it was my turn to get the shot the nurse looked at me and told me I looked unhappy and nervous. I told her that I usually did. Her response was “Around needles, or in general?”

Suffice it to say, I didn’t understand her question at first, so while I answered that I was only nervous and awkward around needles, I can’t help but wonder if perhaps the proper answer would have been “all the time.”

But beyond this, my public service announcement is: get vaccinated, wash your hands (Health Services actually sent out an email awhile back linking to a YouTube video on how to properly wash your hands, here:–vv0w), cover your mouth when coughing, and for goodness’ sake, try and stay healthy!

See you next time!

I’m sitting in the computer lab in Stein right now, with an hour left before my first Latin exam. I feel as if I know what I’m doing, but terrified that once I see the test, I’m going to forget it all. Normally I would be sitting downstairs at one of the little round tables next to Cool Beans 2, but all of them were taken when I got here, so now I find myself in this computer lab that is the only non Pepto-Bismol colored room I’ve seen in the entire building. Go figure.

Before I resume my last minute studying, I’d like to make note of the event of the week. On Wednesday, Greg Mortenson, co-author and protagonist of the book Three Cups of Tea came to give the 2YO keynote speech in St. Joseph’s Chapel. For those of you who don’t know (nor I, until last summer when I realized we had summer reading…again) the 2YO program is a series of events Holy Cross provides to its sophomores to help them find direction in their studies. Earlier this year, we had an “academic extravaganza” where we could all learn more about different majors and research opportunities.

But back to Greg Mortenson.

The first thing I’d like to say about him is that he was just as tall and bashful as his book described him to be. I find being bashful and interesting trait for someone who has taken such great strides to go from selling nearly everything he owned to build a school in Pakistan, to becoming someone who has risen so high that his book is now required reading for head military forces in the Pakistan/Afghanistan area. I suppose he never let being bashful get in the way of anything. For all of this, he was a lovely speaker. He threw in jokes here and there (I can’t help but think of Fr. McFarland as our ‘tribal chief’ now) and gave us all a more in depth version of how he went about building his schools and what we could do to help. When it came around to getting my book signed, his assistant took my book first, so when he held out his hands, I assumed he wanted my book, which I didn’t have. Awkwardly, I put my hands in front of me, which he took for a handshake. I was horribly confused and flustered, and ended up scurrying away quickly when the ordeal was done.

In terms of shyness, I reckon I’m far worse than he is.

Oh well, off to pass my Latin exam!

p.s.- This post was written Friday…and then I didn’t get around to posting until today, Sunday…oh well…

p.p. s.- More information about Three Cups of Tea and Greg Mortenson can be found at You should definitely check it out.

The substituted benzene rings are drawn so that it looks as if a long column of hexagonal eyes are staring straight at me, wondering why I can’t “provide a good laboratory synthesis for each compound”. I will learn—fast—how these compounds are created. My first organic chemistry test of the semester is on Friday. If last year taught me anything, it was to not wait ‘til the day before to start studying for exams. So far, I’ve made some good headway into the review packet, but now I’m stuck on how to attach Iodine to a benzene ring. It feels as if this should be more simple than I’m making it out to be, and I’m sure I’ll slap myself on the forehead when I realize how easy it is to attach one little halide to the ring.

In the meantime, I’ll distract myself from chemistry and ramble, as per usual.

As I’ve mentioned before, my SPUD this year is Salvation Army Tutoring, and on Tuesday my entire SPUD group crammed itself into a SPUD van and a student car and drove to the center for SPUD site orientation. We got to see the kids and say hello, and they were wicked excited to see us, just about as much as I was to see them! I can’t wait for next Tuesday to meet some of them more personally. My only concern is that Major Babbit (the woman in charge) mentioned that they were going to try to teach the kids music on Tuesdays. My musical talent is near to nothing, short of high school chorus in senior year where I learned I had abominable singing skills. My computer skills are decent though, so maybe that’ll be more helpful…

On Friday, I went to see Angels and Demons with some friends of mine at Seelos Theater. The theater itself is fairly new, having opened last year right next to the Kimball administrative offices. I really liked the movie, and I’m sure my friend Tom liked it even more, as every time something mildly unexpected happened, he’d exclaim “What?!”. Ashamedly never having read any of Dan Brown’s novels, I can’t say I have any complaints about the movie. Furthermore, it had Ewan McGregor in it—of whom I am a shameless fangirl.

After the movie, I went up to the CAB sponsored magic show put on by Derek Hughes, a magician with a sense of humor to boot. It was fascinating. Never in my life have I seen a man (or anyone) magically make a deck of cards disappear, only to have them pull the deck out of their pants a few minutes later.

Today was Brickfest for Loyola Hall. Basically, we ate doughnuts and bagels while painting bricks to hold the doors to our rooms open. My room door doesn’t need a brick for it to stay open—my roommate and I keep the door open whenever either of us is in the room—but the novelty of having a brick was too much for me. I’ve been looking forward to Brickfest all week, and when I finally got to paint my brick…I misjudged the size of my letters and failed to paint my entire name. Instead, I am now the owner of a Bran brick. My roommate made a brick as well, and then the two of us painted one side each of a third brick. My side of the brick has a sparkly pi; her side has white flowers.

It’s now occurred to me that it is past midnight, hence my version of “today” is in fact “yesterday”. Ah well, and goodnight!

Or rather, good morning.The Bricks

Here is a collection of collection of odds and ends from the week past, in which I have lacked the motivation to write an honest-to-goodness well written blog entry. You have my apologies, dear readers.

Monday: I have come to the realization that I cannot maintain a straight face in Latin, as saying the words out loud tickles me to an extreme. Amamus (we love) makes me think of “I’m a moose”, for example.

Tuesday: I got to break in my new pink laundry basket. After breaking the handle of my hamper last year due to too much weight (I was stupid and threw my detergent bottle in there once), I decided to aim for the more sturdy plastic laundry baskets. There are a lot of machines in Loyola basement, and I was pleased that most of them were empty. While not as spacious as the laundry room in Wheeler, I still think it’s lovely.

Wednesday: Co-curricular extravaganza night. I was the first person on the list for Science Ambassadors and signed up for CAB (Campus Activities Board) as well. I would like it to be further noted that the CAB table had excellent M&M cookies. Currently, sign ups for clubs are now on an online forum type of thing. The paperwork is now electronic, and the emails for clubs are now sent through that website. It’s pretty cool, actually.

Thursday: I survived! Due to my poor scheduling skills, I have both of my labs that day, as well as my creative writing class jammed in between. Essentially Thursdays are a big rush from eight in the morning to five in the afternoon. However, being in the Organic Chemistry lab is always fun and in genetics, we got our Drosophila!

Friday: First Latin quiz. Before Professor Lao entered the room, everyone was talking about how they hoped that the quiz would be first. When Professor Lao got into the classroom, she announced to the class that she usually begins the class with the quiz, but since it was our first one, that she would put it off to the end of class. The irony caused me to giggle. Professor Lao asked if I was alright, which prompted a fit of full blown laughter from me.

Please note: I have been told I have an obnoxious laugh.

I later went to the Shoppes at Blackstone with Clara, Lenore, and Dominika. I didn’t buy anything, but it was nice to get off campus.

Saturday: My friend Mike was making fun of me at breakfast, so I was crafty and stole a piece of ketchup covered egg-white-with-cheese omelet off his plate as payback. I was both shocked and impressed at my success.

Sunday (today): SPUD orientation. I couldn’t get into my SPUD from last year (Grandkids—Jesuit), but I’m signed up for Salvation Army Tutoring this time around. I’m really looking forward to meeting the kids!

There’s something about doing something you haven’t done in forever that is oddly thrilling. Thrilling, because it’s something you haven’t done in awhile; and ‘odd’, only when that certain something is ‘attending classes’.


Today was my first day of class since being on the Hill. I left my room with something that should have been pride at waking up with my alarm, but was instead a feeling of regret for not having scheduled all afternoon classes.


In case it has never before been noted, I am not a morning person.


At any rate, after filling up on eggs, sausage, and hash browns at Kimball, I made my way towards genetics. Quite honestly, I’m terrified of the course, but was heartened by the fact that my lab manual has a recurring character named “Drosophy” the Drosophila. After genetics, I quickly made my way towards the chemistry building in the hopes of getting a front row seat. I slid into the classroom, found a seat right in the front of the room, and was thrilled at the fact that I had snagged the best seat in the house. A girl then sat next to me and pulled out her notebook. It was labeled “Analytical and Physical Chemistry”.


I’m only in Organic 2.


Instantly, I sprang from my seat and ran to the room next door, where all the good seats were already taken.


Several hours later, I found myself butchering an ancient classical language…also known as trying to pronounce words in Latin. Thankfully, the boy next to me had taken some Latin in high school and tried to help me out. I was actually really excited at the fact that ‘ui’ makes the “we” sound when said out loud. I wrote it down in my notes as “whee!”.


I am easily amused.


As it is, I hope all of you had a wonderful summer, and that you have an even better (although it might be impossible to believe) school year!

It’s pouring outside. I’m listening to it as I sit on my bed.


My REAL bed.


That’s right, my dear readers, this young “adventurer” has made it back home safe and sound after a year of perilous exams and papers, daring escapades into Worcester, and bold interactions with Kimball Dining Services.


Oh yes, I have survived and dragged you all along with me!


As the rain is battling it out with Lady Gaga for my attention (it’s what happens to be playing on the radio right now…I shall hold my head in embarrassment at a later time) I will tell you the story of how I happened to get here.


It was horrendous actually. Yesterday, after finishing my Organic exam, it occurred to me that I still had my poetry paper due.  I went back to my room to finish it up…and ended up falling asleep for a couple hours. The problem with the paper was not so much that I didn’t want to do it, for I have discovered a secret passion for poetry I never knew existed (I bookmarked for my own amusement), but that I didn’t know what to say. It was one of those things where you want to say something completely epic and mind blowing…and you come up with nothing.


I worked on it, and submitted the final copy ten minutes before my parents came to pick me up. I don’t consider it up to par, but we’ll see what happens. As it turns out, I hadn’t packed because I was working on my essay, so that involved another few hours running back and forth between my room and the car as bag by bag filled up. I never knew I had so much stuff! There was hardly any room in the car at all as we drove back. All of it is sitting on my bedroom floor with no where to go!


On that note, the mess in my room beckons. I hope you all have a good summer, and if you happen to be coming to the Hill next year and see me traversing along, say hello. And if you happen to be lost feel free to approach me—I’m sure I can point you to someone who knows where they’re going.


Thank you for reading!

And so, the last remnants of the year decide to speed by, leaving me with only textbooks and hot weather to remember them by. 


Am I horrified to discover that the year is almost over and that I am this close to not being a freshman anymore? Absolutely. I’m currently trying to soak up the last bits of the year with both studying and small adventures. For yes, they are adventures, even if they are on a smaller scale.

For example, last week, the class of 2012 hosted Wet ‘n’ Wild, which was supposed to be an outdoorsy type of thing with a Slip ‘n’ Slide and cotton candy and other tooth rotting goodness. As it turned out, it was far too cold for that, so the little fair was moved into Mulledy basement, where it became Dry ‘n’ Wild. Clara, Cynthia, and I all went to it, and I must’ve gotten at least three things worth of cotton candy, made by our class president, Tom. I played paparazzi and subsequently took his picture afterwards.

And then there was the Spring Carnival. It was so much fun, and involved a small fair on Easy Street (with lots more sugar!) and a carnival and picnic dinner on Hart Center lawn. There were inflatable things there, which I had never been on, so it was really cool running around some of those. There was a gladiator type thing, where you fight someone else, and between me and Cynthia, I lost. It was a little depressing actually, as I could barely stand up and lift the giant whacking stick to fight back.

It’s what I get for my lack of physical exertion.

Clara fought Cynthia though, and won by a long stretch.

There was a fireworks display that same night, which was cool watching from the top of the Hill. The views are breathtaking from Hart Center lawn, what with all of nighttime Worcester sprawled behind you on one side and fireworks on the other.

It’s sad thinking that I’ll be away from a place that I’ve learned to call home over the past few months, but at least I’ll be leaving for my actual home with some great memories of life on the Hill.