Alumni Spotlight: Tom Campbell


Name: Tom Campbell

Graduation Year: 2014

Major: Architectural Studies and History

Industry: Admissions (Holy Cross Office of Admissions)

Favorite Class: HIST 401 Seminar – Gender and Sexuality in the United States (History Seminar) with Professor Yuhl

Campus Involvement: Fools on the Hill (co-ed acapella group), ACT (Alternative College Theater), Fall Gateways Orientation Leader, Study Abroad Ambassador (Melbourne, Australia), Spring Break Immersion, HC Goes Unified, SPUD, Alpha Sigma Nu, DESI (Developing and Educating South Asian Ideologies)

College Internship/Work Experience (if you were in Summer Internship Program, Academic Internship Program, other programs): I was a preservation intern for Historic New England in Waltham, MA through the Academic Internship Program in the spring of 2014. 

What were some of the most defining events/opportunities/aspects of your time at Holy Cross?

When I look back at my time at Holy Cross, my involvement with college acapella stands out strongest among my memories. I’ve always been involved in a lot of creative outlets growing up; oil painting, drama, heck, I even Irish step danced since I was four years old. But it wasn’t really until I came to Holy Cross that I really got involved in singing, and now I feel like I really appreciate music so much more because I was in Fools. I started out just singing with the group, but eventually became co-chair my senior year and arranged all of our pieces that year, which was an amazing experience.

Now to be clear, I am no vocal acrobat. I wasn’t the Christina of the group (in fact, I always identified more with Britney), but that didn’t matter to me. What mattered what that I was having fun, letting loose and creating something unique. I’ve seen first hand how music brings people together, and the bonds and memories that it can foster. I love being able to entertain, and I definitely got my weekly dose of that at 10:10 every Thursday at Cool Beans (see, I still even do shameless plugs for them… once a Fool, always a Fool).

What is one thing someone should be certain to do before they graduate?

I’m a huge advocate for the MSOs (Multicultural Student Organizations) on campus. Not only was I in DESI, but I also frequented all of the culture nights and dinners put on by ASIA, LASO, CASA, etc. I think they are a great opportunity to expose yourself to a new culture and way of celebration. So many of our students do this in other ways: from study abroad, to coursework, to outreach in Worcester.They are seriously the most fun shows, and I was always so impressed by the diverse array of talent on campus, not to mention the diverse array of foodstuffs. I must say, I was a little skeptical when Hogan Dining prepared a five-course Indian feast for DESI’s Holi celebration, but after one bite of that curry deliciousness all my doubts seemed to disappear… much like every scrap of food on my plate that night.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in a volunteer position?

As a Jesuit Volunteer, you commit to your agency for a year, and I would encourage you to make the most of your commitment and dive right into your placement as deep as you can. Stick out the year, even if it’s not an industry you see yourself spending the rest of your life in. See how your work there is benefitting the community and take pride in the fact that you are helping others. See the year as a chance to not only do good, but also explore an industry you are only slightly familiar with. There’s a chance it’s not a good fit, but there’s an even greater chance that you find yourself appreciating the work more than you did before.

What skills have you found most useful in your professional life that you attribute from learning at Holy Cross?
Hands down, knowing my strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has them, and although it is admirable (and encouraged) to improve in areas you see yourself floundering in, it’s okay to admit them. When you’re a Holy Cross student, it’s easy to suppress your weaknesses and pretend they don’t exist. You see this talented group of young people around you who appear to be able to do everything, but remember that this is not the reality. Knowing which things you excel in at your workplace, and which areas are the ones who might need to go to a coworker for help, makes your role at your office much easier for both yourself and the rest of your company. Being honest with those around you and not filling up your plate with more than you can chew is a huge lesson that Holy Cross taught me.

What is the most important advice you could give a student who is considering doing a service year?

Let your talents shine at your placement and use your gifts to benefit others. For me, I worked at a social service program that helped families with children under 5 years old; my duties ranged from day care, to diaper changes, to distributing clothing. Now, this was my first time doing work in an agency like that. Was it a perfect fit for me? Not exactly. But I loved my clients and I wanted to improve the agency for their sake. Because my skills lied more in art and graphics, I took it upon myself to redesign my agency’s logo and prepared a bevy of different graphic brochures and features to move them into the 21st century (seriously, the Microsoft Publisher flyers I passed out in the beginning of the year xeroxed themselves into retirement). Just last week, my supervisor sent me a photo of my logo, which was made into a full-scale wall decal right at the office entrance. I felt proud that I left my mark on the office (literally). So, long story short, here’s my advice: find your own way to “leave your mark” for your coworkers and your clients to remember you by.