My short time here at Notre Dame has already brought many wonderful things into my life. Some of these include a newfound love for nature, a reinspired passion for my faith, a commitment to sincere and loving friendships and a special community to share the whole experience with.
Notre Dame’s campus is undeniably beautiful. A combination of the lush nature which surrounds the campus along with the notable buildings makes walking to class or a walk to get some fresh air uplifting. From the Golden Dome to the Grotto, to the lakes, you never run out of awe-inspiring sights here.
Last semester, I ended up attending daily mass one Friday afternoon, and I left feeling calm and joyful. I had never really attended a daily mass before, but that experience was so memorable that I now visit the Basilica most days to share time in prayer and worship with the Notre Dame community. This reinspired love for my faith has expressed itself in other ways too – I picked up a theology major, and I have since added a handful of Biblical classes, such as a University Seminar on the ways the Bible has influenced literature and a one-credit class on Doom and Gloom in the Bible, to my course load.
As I’ve settled into the routine of a Notre Dame student toward the end of my first semester and throughout my second, I’ve made a commitment to sincere, loving friendships. My friends have helped me recognize the importance of putting just as much effort into enjoying my time here as I would when doing schoolwork. In fact, I’ve found this to be one of the keys to increased productivity; I work harder to finish my schoolwork so I can spend special time with my friends.
Perhaps best of all, I’ve been brought into a unique community with whom I can share my experience. From my dorm, to clubs, to friends, to professors and the greater Notre Dame community, my time here has meant so much more because of the people I’ve been able to share it with. This feeling of community was solidified for me during the football season in the fall, as I got to witness firsthand the passion so many people have for Notre Dame, even during such an unusual time.
While I’ve experienced incredible things alongside thousands of other people, I’ve had my own personal victories and joys, too. I’ve learned what it means to truly support others in their victories, even if you are not sharing in them. I’ve learned how to stop criticizing others and how to refrain from getting annoyed with others. I’ve practiced listening intentionally and not just listening to respond but to understand. I’ve re-learned things about myself, such as how well I respond to setting and monitoring goals, how much I love to spend time with people and how I will keep working until someone gives me permission to rest. Perhaps most important of all, I’ve realized how special my time here, in this place with these people doing these things, truly is. Keep loving yourself and others always.
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