Thankful Senior Reflects on Our Last Football Game

On September 10, 2016, I entered Notre Dame stadium for my first game as a student at the University. Three attended seasons later, with one season watched longingly from the United Kingdom, I entered Notre Dame stadium for the final time in my foreseeable future. Many things have changed over the years, including friends, majors, quarterbacks, student section cheers and winning records. This past Saturday, I was surrounded by friends that I met during the second half of my freshman year. The boys of St. Edward’s Hall have supported me through most of the challenges that I faced throughout college. They listened to me cry about broken relationships, they supported my decisions about my education and they continue to constantly stock my life with fun memories and laughter. These boys have pushed me to appreciate the small, once in a lifetime moments, always reminding me to live in the present rather than to worry about the future. 



Next to these boys stood girls who were not present in my life until much later in my college career. These girls have quickly become important members of my inner circle. From dinner parties to movie nights, these powerful women have brought countless memories to my final years at Notre Dame and have taught me the importance of creating a strong support system for moments when you fail. I have always struggled to form quality friendships, but as I've grown and matured over the past few years, I've learned how to best serve others, allowing positive relationships to blossom. The girls that I consider my closest friends remind me to put the needs of others before my own while keeping true to my own desires and values. Would I have found similar relationships at a university other than Notre Dame? Probably. However, no one would be able to challenge me as much academically, spiritually and emotionally as these women. They have changed over the years as well, using their various academic tracks to shape their own values which they, in turn, share with me. Did we discuss the archeology of Pompeii while we watched our boys beat Boston College 40-7? Surprisingly, no. Instead, we focused on the changes that occurred in our lives. From first loves to first jobs, we were able to celebrate successes of all magnitudes together. I am always thankful for these Notre Dame women that inspire me on a daily basis with their hard work and constant love for their close friends. 



As marshmallows flew past my head during the band’s halftime performance, I was reminded of all of the traditions that I was introduced to over the past four years. From ridiculous superstitions (seriously, who walks around the lakes twice?) to supportive alumni, Notre Dame has truly instilled the importance of history and tradition. I look forward to continuing the tradition of the Notre Dame family, in addition to the traditions that my family has created that I never appreciated prior to college. I am the first member of my family to attend Notre Dame; however, I likely will not be the last. The community that Notre Dame creates is inspiring and I look forward to introducing my friends and family to the traditions that the alumni before me have created. 



Four years at Notre Dame have changed who I am for the better. I have found lifelong friendships, I have learned how to best support myself and I have created warm memories to look back on. Stepping onto the field with friends who have impacted my life in such amazing ways brought so many emotions to mind, creating a perfect end to my final football experience as a student of this amazing university. Six months ago, I did not know how I felt about my impending graduation date. As of last Saturday, I can wholeheartedly say that I am ready to enter the world as a Notre Dame graduate. I feel confident that the relationships I've developed and lessons I've learned will serve me well as I enter this new chapter of my adult life. As always, love thee Notre Dame. 


Freshman Kate, excited to take on the next four years!


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Photo 1 provided by Tim Reilly. Photos 2, 3 and 4 provided by the author.