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Meg Pryor

Before I even began my first day at Notre Dame last year, I knew I was going to love college. My Welcome Weekend had exceeded my expectations and I made amazing friends that I knew would always be by my side. On the final day of Welcome Weekend, I went to the Welcome Mass with my parents, where Father Pete (legend) advised all the parents to leave at the conclusion of the mass. Being the last child of my parents, I knew this was going to be difficult for them.  I had never been away from them for longer than two weeks. In front of Stonehenge, we gave hugs, took a couple of family selfies, per my dad's request and said our goodbyes. My mom gave me some cash and said if I ever felt homesick I could use it at the grotto. As my parents left and headed back to California, I honestly wasn't that sad. I was excited to live on my own and take on this new experience. Being at school was amazing. I loved hanging out with friends and meeting new people in my classes. I rarely called my parents and didn’t use the money my mom gave me because I was too busy enjoying every moment Notre Dame had to offer.

Unfortunately for me, the beginning of sophomore year did not feel the same as freshman year. I said my goodbyes to my parents, as they once again were heading home after helping me move in. No tears were shed, just big hugs and sad smiles and I expected that, just like freshman year, I wouldn't be homesick. After all, I had just spent almost 5 months with them in quarantine. Around the second week of classes, I started to feel a little homesick, I was calling my parents constantly and I honestly didn’t know why. I thought to myself, I am a sophomore, this isn’t my first time at college, so why do I feel like this? I love my roommate and my closest friends live down the hall, I love my classes and although the dining hall food isn’t my favorite, I am a sucker for a Southwest Salad, yet I couldn’t get out of this funk that I needed home. I think it’s because this year is drastically different than last.  [bf_image id="q8yv0x-56h0zc-dxstuo"]

As much as I love Notre Dame, I do feel trapped sometimes. Having been in a bubble for 5 months at home with my family and now being thrown into a different environment across the country while COVID is still looming over me is frightening. During quarantine, there was nothing more I wanted than to be back at Notre Dame, but I definitely underestimated the toll it would take on me mentally. I am constantly feeling paranoid that I will get COVID and on edge around people. Freshman year, we had the gift of fall break, allowing us to recenter ourselves, but this year we are here for the long haul. It’s only the seventh week of school and there is so much time left, and I don’t want to spend it missing home because when we do go home, I will feel the complete opposite and want to come back to Notre Dame. I don’t want to waste my time being sad.  [bf_image id="qb05vt-4rn85s-81clab"]

I have found that surrounding myself with the things that make me happy tends to help me recenter and focus on all the amazing things that Notre Dame has to offer, reminding me why I came back in the first place. Whether it be laying in hammocks by the lakes, late-night chats with friends or something as simple as drinking an iced Doubleshot from Starbucks after class, it’s these small moments that remind me why Notre Dame is my home too. Just looking at the dome makes me smile, and using that money my mom gave me to light a candle at the grotto makes those bad days a little better. Although I do find myself still feeling homesick at times, especially when it seems like everything is going wrong, I know that my parents are always a call away and there are people here who care about me, as the Notre Dame community is my family too. We don’t know when we will be sent home, so it is beyond important to be fully present here while we can. [bf_image id="75ft2j8939tvq2hckbjpx8"]

Isabelle Grassel

Notre Dame '23

Hi, my name is Isabelle Grassel. I am from West Sacramento, Calfornia, majoring in political science with a supplementary major in Spanish and a minor in business economics. I love drinking coffee, running, and hanging out with my friends.
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