Quality Over QuantityBY: Meghan Thomassen '14 DATE: July 01, 2014 CATEGORIES: Making the Transition to College
I grew up measuring myself. Even though competition wasn’t a big deal in high school, once it was time to turn in college applications, the questions I had thus far avoided inevitably reared their ugly heads. Did I have good enough grades for this school? Did my participation in basketball count even though we never won a championship? Had I spent enough hours volunteering?
Thankfully, the measuring game faded once the reality of Notre Dame set in. All of a sudden, it didn’t matter how well I did on the ACT. As I stepped into the most exciting and formative years of my life, the wisdom of an old adage came to light: quality over quantity.
The difference between two hours of quality studying and five hours of distracted skimming can be astonishing. When we focus our minds on a singular goal, the results are astounding. Time seems to slow down. Distractions fade into the background and we feel a rising sense of realization. We make connections between disciplines and have moments of insight into the world — eureka.
This applies to more than just academics: it can transform the way we approach relationships and personal growth. Here, we’re encouraged to seek truth, wisdom, and love in all aspects of our student lives. Virtually every opportunity is available to us craft a holistic education. That’s probably why most of us came to Notre Dame in the first place: opportunity for growth and exploration.
We’re also blessed through conversation with the other equally curious and wonderful people around us. I feel that sense of eureka when I share a prolonged meal with an old friend in South Dining Hall. We reminisce, we laugh, we catch up on each other’s lives, and we truly see each other for who we are. Like in Dante’s Paradiso, I’m consumed by the amazing person in front of me, and by the support I receive from each of them — “One universal smile it seem’d of all things; Joy past compare; gladness unutterable; Imperishable life of peace and love.”
At Notre Dame, I’m lucky to be surrounded by some of the highest-quality people I have ever met. You’re all curious, smart, talented, ambitious, strong, kind, and creative. You hold the door for the person 20 feet behind you, you draw chalk notes of encouragement for your roommates about to brave the MCAT, you light a candle and soak in the beauty of a South Bend twilight.
By choosing a school that emphasizes quality in all things, you’ve chosen to accept “joy past compare” from your companions and to seek with them an “imperishable life of peace and love.” Thanks to you — the thoughtful acquaintances, compassionate study buddies, wise professors, and loving friends that have shared their stories with me and patiently listened to mine — I no longer doubt if I measure up. Thanks to you, I measure myself by the qualities valued most by Notre Dame: the breadth of the mind, the strength of the body, and the depth of the spirit.