University of Notre Dame
University of Notre Dame


Those First Few Days

I still remember what it was like to move in: it was scary and stressful and overwhelming. I was so concerned about trying to figure out where and even IF I would fit in at this amazingly cool and brilliant university. I was also worried about my parents: I am the first-born, and I was worried that they would be worried about me. I wanted college to meet all of their expectations for me, and all of my expectations for myself. I remember pulling up in front of Farley Hall and seeing three girls, all in Farley Tee’s, immediately start grabbing my bags out of my trunk and begin the process of moving all of my belongings to my room for me. I was already being taken care of. My parents were relieved, and I was too.

This was the first of many times over the course of the weekend where I found that everyone at Notre Dame was here to help me and my parents with this adjustment. My rectoress was kind and sweet. My RA was incredible. She was like the big sister that I had always wanted. The girls on Frosh-O were fun and interesting and I instantly liked them all. And all the other girls and guys I met that weekend were feeling the same emotions that I was. People really cared about me, and my feelings, and my family RIGHT AWAY. And I just thought that that was incredible. I still do. And I want everyone to feel that way at Notre Dame within the first 10 minutes of stepping onto the campus, too.

For some people I talk to, the most important part of orientation is the Closing Mass; it is learning about the spiritual family and community spirit that is so unique to Notre Dame. For others, it is the multitude of activities planned within the dorms, introducing the new students to their new home and to each other with fun and silly traditions. Others will site their first bonding experience with their new roommates as the turning point. Whatever the story, it seems to me that safety and love are the common denominators.