I probably sound like a broken record, but studying abroad in London was easily one of the most influential times of my entire life. That said, the entire time I was across the pond, my heart longed to be reunited with my home under the dome. I couldn’t believe everything I seemed to be missing: parties, friendship, dorm events, football games, the list just kept growing and growing with each day that passed. While these feelings of FOMO did not stop me from having an incredible time and taking advantage of all of the opportunities right in front of me, they often sent pangs to my heart and made me realize how much I truly missed campus.
Upon returning to America, I took a slight detour and headed where my heart longed to be. I felt instantly full after simply glimpsing at the dome for the first time. I couldn’t wait to see all of my friends, especially the ones that were about to depart for their own study abroad experiences in the spring. My first stop on my return to campus tour was the choir loft in the Basilica. I had arranged my visit earlier in the semester with my director so that I could join them in song on that Sunday morning. With the intention of surprising all of my old friends, I made the climb, only to be bombarded by tons of new people. As the loft began to fill, some familiar faces filtered through, but this was definitely not the Liturgical Choir I had left the year prior. Obviously, I knew in my head that the seniors had graduated and that freshmen had come in to take their places, but seeing it was a wake-up call I was not as emotionally prepared for as I should have been.
I walked away from Notre Dame that day completely and utterly full of anxiety about the semester to come. The school that I had known and loved was gone and while its skeleton remained, its insides had vanished leaving behind fancy modern buildings and non-swipe ID cards. What on earth had happened to my school?!
This all probably sounds very dramatic, and that’s because it is, but when my expectations suddenly shift all at once, it’s hard not to be somewhat over the top about my feelings. Since arriving back on campus, I find myself looking for my place among the masses. It took me two years to feel completely comfortable here at Notre Dame the first time around, and now it’s almost like I need to start that whole process over again. However, over the last week, I have come to realize the greatness of it all. Notre Dame is definitely not the same, but neither am I. My school has grown alongside me and that can only mean amazing things are on the horizon for both this beautiful institution and for me as I go into my last few semesters of college. While change is scary, it’s also exciting, and I look forward to seeing what lies ahead!
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