Welcome HomeBY: Nikitha Taniparti DATE: July 01, 2014 CATEGORIES: Making the Transition to College, Getting Involved/Getting Connected
It was my senior year of high school, and it was the day before the deadline to commit to a university. Notre Dame was hardly on my radar. As an international student from India, I had applied here on mere whim, and after studying French for six years, I was convinced that the school was in Paris, or at least somewhere in France. Before making a decision by that ominous May 1st deadline, I knew two things: that I wanted to study Economics and that I wanted to have a lot of fun at college. These two gallant motivations in tow, I browsed the ND website, as well as the more dubious third-party college discussion boards online.
Four full years later, I still have my “Welcome Home” packet, and I can definitely say that I’ve experienced all that I wanted to and much more. At that moment, and in this one, I realized that Notre Dame compares to the best colleges all over the world. It has some of the most renowned faculty and research facilities, not to mention the most beautiful campus. But beyond these remarkable features, my pre-college research revealed something further – an opportunity to pursue a unique sort of happiness. I was promised the Notre Dame community would become a new family away from home. During my time here, I will now not only echo, but also extend, this theme: Notre Dame is a lifelong family that strengthens over time and we should remember this going forth, because it will become a part of our multi-faceted identity and it will be an invigorating source of happiness.
Four crazy years later, it has definitely been a roller coaster ride ever since. Each year, each semester, has been full of surprises, challenges, and opportunities to both think critically and to laugh maniacally. Most importantly, it’s been full of moments for intense reflection. This journey taught me how to grow and how to develop long-lasting relationships that will enrich my life going forth. I’ve lived in the best dorm on campus and played sports I never knew existed; I’ve made all my professors adopt me as an additional daughter. I went from not even knowing what the word Catholic meant to now knowing exactly what it means. Ultimately, I’ve come out of many struggles more grateful because of the support I’ve had at Notre Dame to help me though. As graduation and commencement approach, every day still counts, and I’m glad that I can look forward to living each one here, to the fullest.
Four unforgettable years later, I’ve reevaluated many things, and I have been fortunate to encounter many special situations. After studying abroad in Greece, after interning in Washington, D.C., and after having to choose what in the world I want to do after college, I’ve learned to relish the ever-changing intellectual and cultural awareness that my education here has afforded me. I think that diversity then, should reflect a critical approach to life, and it is an inclusive diversity that is the most valuable. Though many students come here from similar circumstances, our professions, cultures and futures help us create our own kind of diversity realized by developing our Notre Dame stories. By embracing the diversity in our intentions and insights, Notre Dame cultivates so much innovation and vitality.
Four short years later, I have come to know people who’ve written books, started companies or charities, people who’ve mastered five languages, and those who’ve already begun their political career. I know I would have met great people anywhere, and that I could have learned about life in different ways at different places. Knowing what I know now, though, I would definitely go back and choose Notre Dame all over again if I had the option. Every day, every class, every shift at my campus jobs, I am constantly reminded of these people, not really for the things that they’ve accomplished or achieved, but because of who they are and what they mean to me. Past these tangible things, these people are the people who will now be forever connected to me through the Notre Dame network, and they represent the crux of family, intention, and reflection. I think it is through Notre Dame’s greatest strength – its people – that I’ve been truly educated; mind, body, and spirit.