University of Notre Dame
University of Notre Dame


What are you going to fight for?

One important lesson I learned freshman year, and continue to find beneficial, is never be afraid to ask questions. This doesn’t make you appear stupid at all, but just the opposite. It shows that you are into the subject, processing the information, and trying to grasp the concepts that are being presented. Your professors, and other presenters will appreciate your interest and feed off of that enthusiasm, and it may even promote discussions that add value to the group. Like most things in life, what you get out depends on what you decide to put in. Extend this enthusiasm by showing up for office hours that are offered by your professors. Also, never be afraid to try even if you face the risk of failure. It is important to remember that most people gain valuable experience from things that don’t go exactly according to their plans. There will probably be some challenging times when you may struggle and have to try harder or work smarter, but that will make your successes that much more special. My mom always taught me to never give up. Perseverance is a valuable character trait to practice in all aspects of life. If something doesn’t work out at first, keep trying until you find some way to accomplish your goal.

This brings up a key point that you will want to keep in mind because it can be critical to your success or failure. Practicing good organization and time management skills from the very beginning will make your life a lot easier in the long run. It is sometimes difficult to balance everything, but make sure you set priorities and get your work done, while also reserving some time to recharge yourself. This will help you feel on top of things, and more in control of your life.

Perhaps most importantly I believe that you will be morally and spiritually awakened in your time here at Notre Dame. This place has a certain Spirit that reaches far beyond the echoes of the football stadium. One of the most memorable experiences during my first year was the Freshman Retreat. I made some really good friends there, and those relationships have continued to remain close. At Notre Dame my faith has grown stronger because I see examples all around me of what it means to be Catholic. The faith community is alive and well, and this is expressed most clearly on Sunday nights at the late night masses held in dorms all over campus.

Now in closing I want to remind you that this is your time. My question to you is what are you going to fight for? Notre Dame will be ready and willing to help you as you begin to answer that question. Cherish every minute and don’t forget to thank your family, and all those who have been a source of support along the way to get you here today. From this day on, you are part of the family so Welcome home, God bless, and Go Irish!