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Welcome home again

Megan Doyle | Friday, September 17, 2010

They cling to resumes padded with exceptional SAT scores and extracurricular activities. Their GPAs place them in the top of their classes in schools scattered around the country. They are club presidents, team captains, AP students and active volunteers. Their eyes betray an eagerness they attempt to mask with crossed arms and nonchalant stance.

I stand before them with a stack of yellow business cards in my pocket and a crisp badge that identifies me as “Megan Doyle, Admissions Tour Guide.”

These are the prospective students for the future classes of the University of Notre Dame, and I am entrusted with the task of introducing them to my school. Through sleep-deprived eyes, I see a school that brings me stress, exhaustion and an overcrowded to-do list. I see the homework waiting for me when I finally leave my tour group and return to Lyons. I see article deadlines and reading assignments.

Throughout the tour, I spout off impressive historical facts about the Congregation of the Holy Cross, the Fighting Irish football team, Father Sorin and the Four Horsemen. We troupe past LaFun, DPAC, DeBart, MCOB, Stonehenge, CoMo and Touchdown Jesus.

As we walk, I also give them snapshots of student life. I regale them with tales of the Lyons Hall interhall football team (victor in a total of zero games last year), frozen yogurt in South dining hall and push-ups in the student section at football games. I tell ghost stories. I invite them to see themselves in my position as a student at this University.

I welcome them home.

I was born and raised on dreams of this school, and some of the stories I tell were mine before I was a kindergartener, much less a Notre Dame sophomore. But many of these high school students are walking the quads for the first time as they follow me through campus. What do they hear when I speak? What do they see when they stare at the buildings I enter every day?

What does our world look like through their hopeful eyes?

I see backpacks loaded with books, a hopelessly messy Lyons quad, candles lighting the Grotto, a sea of Kelly green in the northwest corner of the end zone and a woman cloaked in gold. I see opportunities to challenge myself, to laugh until I cry, to trust, to yell with untamed energy and to love a family that grows daily.

A high school student asked me once if I regretted my college decision at any point. I told her that sometimes I am tired, stressed, confused and overwhelmed — but I would choose Notre Dame over and over again should I be tired, stressed, confused and overwhelmed anywhere in the world. Suddenly, my overcrowded to-do list felt lighter.

So take a deep breath and look around. Remember what it was to fall in love with this place, this campus, this school.

Welcome home … again.