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From hate to love: My Notre Dame story

| Friday, May 15, 2015

I hated Notre Dame.

That’s right, I said it. I hated Notre Dame at one point. Here’s my story.

These aren’t the words that traditionally adorn these pages of tearful, emotional and heartfelt reflections from our newest batch of college graduates, but I’m not ashamed to say them. College is filled with emotion — the links of brotherhood and sisterhood that hold us together are bonded together by our memories of failed exams, late nights in LaFun eating quarter dogs that we live to regret, heartbreak, failures on the gridiron, and yes, all of the victories too.

My first year here, I felt out of place and lost. I skipped out on Frosh-O, choosing to keep high school alive with a trip to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival instead. I wasn’t Catholic. I hated many of my classes. Dining hall food was terrible, with few options for outside nourishment. I didn’t particularly care for football. I couldn’t help thinking to myself: have I made a huge mistake coming to this middle-of-nowhere place?

After a few months of feeling forlorn, I started to feel down, like I didn’t belong. Everyone talks about the “Notre Dame family,” and I didn’t think I was a part of it. Even the famed residence hall life felt empty and soulless to me. I’ve only confided this in two people before, but I spent much of my freshman year contemplating a transfer to another school and shed more than a few tears in the process. I’ll spare you the details.

Soon, that all changed.

My sophomore year, I decided I was too cowardly to transfer. I moved off-campus with a few friends. I took the classes that I wanted to, not ones my First Year of Studies advisor put me in. I became more involved with The Observer and Asian American Association and immersed myself in joining new clubs and meeting new people. I told myself I was just doing this to distract myself from being unhappy, that this was just immersion therapy.

But something strange happened — I made new friends and started to actually enjoy being in South Bend. I felt happy for the first time in ages and, for the first time, felt a bit of the “Notre Dame family.”

So for anyone who’s reading this that feels lost at Notre Dame or anywhere else, I encourage you to try new things and find your place, because everyone has one. Maybe it’s not all about reaching out to your support network, but sometimes about finding the right support network.

After some time, I finally found mine. And for that, I’m sorry to report that I’ll need to return to the sappy traditions of these storied pages.

To the friends I’ve made over the past four years, thank you for believing in me. To the awesome people at The Observer, whom I am eternally grateful for all I’ve learned and experienced, thank you for everything. To the photo department at The Observer, where I grew up, you guys are awesome, and thank you for memories.

To my wonderful girlfriend, Amanda, thank you for making me the best version of myself and staying by my side through the thick and thin, no matter what. I couldn’t have done it without you.

And finally, thank you to the famed Notre Dame family that I’ve come to know and love.

Without each and everyone one of you, from my closest friends to people I’ve never met before, this wonderful place would not be the same without you.

In words that I believe in now more than ever, love thee, Notre Dame.

Kevin Song is graduating with a degree in finance, a supplementary major in computer applications, as well as a newfound love for tigers. He would like to reassure everyone reading his column that he really does love Notre Dame. If you’d ever like to chat, he will probably be somewhere up in the air on a plane at any given moment, but can be reached at hello@ksong.me

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Kevin Song

Kevin Song is a finance and computer applications major in the Class of 2015. He enjoys playing with the latest gadgets and technology. At The Observer, he led the 2014 website redesign. He serves as the Online Editor and Associate Photo Editor in 2013-2014 and Assistant Managing Editor in 2014-2015.

Contact Kevin