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Kathleen Clark: A Beacon to the ND Community

Name: Kathleen Clark

Hometown: Stamford, CT

Year: Senior

Hall: Farley

Major: Honors English

Pets: 3 golden retrievers named Atticus Finch, Penelope, and Waldo.

Kathleen in Dublin

I’ve heard you’ve been really active on campus your 4 years here, tell me about some of your experiences.

Well, I’m really involved in Hall Council. My sophomore year I was the SUB rep for Farley, and my junior year I was president. Now, I’m Co-Chair of President’s Hall Council.

I’m also part of the Dance Company.  I’ve been tapping since age 3, and now I choreograph.

I sing in the Liturgical Choir.

I work backstage and perform for the Pasquerilla East Music Company.

(Which is actually putting on a performance of The Wedding Singer March 19th-21st…come support Kathleen as she takes on the role of the Grandma!!!)

I was a mentor for the ND Vision program in 2013 and am returning this summer.

I interned in Dublin through the Keough Naughton Institute, where I worked with the archives at the Abbey Theater. It was all thanks to Notre Dame!

At the Abbey Theater

WOW. SO many activities. How does she have time for all of this, you ask? Well, I don’t know, but I can tell you that we did have this interview at 11 PM…

How did you get so involved in the ND community?

It wasn’t until sophomore year when I had that “aha!” moment like  a character in the movie The Holiday when she says, “You have to be the leading lady of your own life.” I realized I had to take advantage of all the opportunities ND offers because my time here is too precious to waste.

You are clearly involved in a variety of campus activities, but which would you say has most shaped your time here at Notre Dame?

My time in Farley. The Notre Dame housing system is really unique because it’s like a sorority but better because it mimics family life. You don’t get to choose your family you just randomly get stuck with them. So it’s up to you to find those connections even with people who are super different from you.

Farley trip to the pumpkin patch

Tell me about your time as president of Farley.

Farley has had three rectors during my time here, so it’s really been up to us girls to keep the traditions alive. As spirit commissioner I really tried to foster community in Farley, even without weird new events. I wanted Farley girls to have a sisterhood, and I wanted to make everyone feel at home.

Kathleen during her presidential campaign

My guiding philosophy: The summer before my presidency,  the results of the end of the year senior survey were released. 93% of seniors said they had found a community at ND, and while that’s great that means that a whole 7% didn’t. I really wanted to focus on helping that 7% find a loving and supportive community here.

Fun fact: Kathleen won Hall President of the Year!

Do you have any advice for underclassmen on how to get involved and make the most of their time at Notre Dame?

Mark Twain once said, “Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.” That’s how you have to take on ND.

Notre Dame gives you the shell, the foundation, but you have to fill it out and build your family. You have to be the one to take action. Nobody is going to come find you in your dorm room and force you to do anything. ND is full of awesome students, rectors, professors, etc. you just have to take the scary step to talk to them.

Kathleen with Father Jenkins at a student leadership reception

And it doesn’t happen all at once. Everything doesn’t just fall into place freshman year and nothing changes after that. It’s a constant process of adjusting, no matter if you are a freshman or a second semester senior. College isn’t supposed to be easy. Figuring out who you are, who you want to be, your relationships, it requires a lot of hard work (in addition to all the school work). Remember, college is the only time in your life when it’s okay to be selfish; you’re trying to figure out what you want and where you want to send yourself.

What will you miss most about Notre Dame?

I’m going to go with the sappy answer and say Farley. I’ll miss walking down the hallways and seeing people I know and love and that love me. What other time in my life will I get to live with 200 girls all working toward their undergraduate degree? That’s why I decided to stay on campus my senior year. It’s a truly unique experience.

I’ll miss that and not having to clean the bathroom. 

What will you miss the least? The weather.

What are your plans for the future?

I plan on getting my Ph.D. in English, but first I hope to work with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps for a year. 

 

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All images provided by Kathleen Clark.

 

Nicole (noun): 1. Writer & Marketing and Publicity Director for Her Campus Notre Dame 2. Junior Neuroscience and Behavior major 3. Avid Traveler 4. Lover of Languages 5. Coffee Enthousiast 6. Laughing Queen (can't dance)    
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