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Inside Column: Love Thee, Notre Dame

Joseph McMahon | Monday, April 28, 2008

I did not always know that I wanted to attend the University of Notre Dame. For a while, I thought the University of Pennsylvania or possibly Dartmouth would be my top choice. They were both good schools, close to home and a bunch of my kids from high school always went there.

I decided to visit Notre Dame on a whim. Two of my best friends from high school both went here, and I figured that even if I didn’t like the school, it would be a fun weekend anyway.

When my dad and I drove up Notre Dame Avenue, we were greeted by possibly the most beautiful sight I have ever laid eyes on – the Golden Dome. It left both of us speechless, and I never looked back. I ended up applying to Notre Dame early action, and, after receiving my acceptance letters; I shredded my other applications (much to the chagrin of my mother).

However, it was not long until she too was won over. When we came out to South Bend last fall, she still was not convinced that Notre Dame was the right choice. It was far from home in New York, and it had always been her hope that I would attend an Ivy League school.

But the energy I felt when I stepped on this campus was intoxicating – unlike anything else I have ever felt. There is this incredible aura that surrounds the University. As my dad would say, it is weird to be in a place where everyone seems so happy all the time. My mom must have felt it too, because at the end of Frosh-O she told me that I had definitely made the right decision in choosing Notre Dame.

However, freshman year has not been entirely easy. There have been times of trial and tribulation as well. I have gotten bad grades, experienced heartbreak and gotten very little sleep.

But the mistakes I have made and the hard times that I have experienced at Notre Dame have helped me grow more as a person. I am happier now than I have ever been in my life, largely because the friends I have made at Notre Dame have helped me get through the bad times and focus on the good. Together, we have tested our strength against the force of gravity, found new uses for a rope, a skateboard and a bike, fed the ducks, experienced the glory that is Fr. George Rozum, Alumni Hall and the Wake and made more trips to Meijer than I can even count.

It has truly been the greatest time of my life, and all this summer I will be counting down until next year.