To be a Domer
| Thursday, September 9, 2004
One of the most common questions that people ask me, a new sophomore transfer student, is, “Why’d you transfer?” The genuinely curious who ask expect a simple answer to this simple question. They probably expect me to respond, “I’ve always wanted to come here,” or, “I didn’t like my last school.” Yet, while all these brief answers are true to some degree, they do not adequately do the University of Notre Dame and its student body justice. Thus, in order to fully and ultimately answer this question in a way that accomplishes this task, I would like to tell you this story.
Two days ago I was sick. I had a fever, headache and stuffy nose that kept me not just from attending class, but staying awake for more than one hour at a time. I climbed into bed for what I expected to be a long day of a solitary struggle against my health. After all, when I had been this sick at Boston College last year, no one seemed to notice my absence, let alone visit. In fact, I felt like a nuisance for being slower and in my roommates’ way all day. I honestly expected nothing, especially since this is only my third week at Notre Dame and I hardly know anyone here.
It was not long before a wonderful friend of mine, whom I met a mere few weeks ago, knocked on the door. “Are you still sick? You were pretty congested yesterday.” Dumbfounded, I mumbled a response about my less than stellar condition. “Well, can I get you something? Let me go get you some soup! Give me your ID!” Still surprised, I handed it to her. “I’ll be back!” she declared. And that was that.
Less than an hour later, she returned with another new friend of mine with two large cups of chicken noodle soup and two biscuits. “The dining hall lady was something else,” one told me. “She wanted a note from the rectress, but I told her ‘My friend can’t walk to the rectress!’ so then they went and got us some cups.” I thanked her profusely, still not believing the sacred treasures that they just handed to me. “Are you kidding? It was no trouble. Now eat and get some rest, and we‚ll be back to check on you later.”
To most students at this university, this is a typical story. Yet, as a former student at another institution, I insist to you that it is a story typical only of this community.
“Nowhere else but Notre Dame” is a statement not just true of the packed football games or challenging academic coursework. This declaration accurately speaks to the amazingly thoughtful, compassionate and selfless people that make up this community. Thus, fellow students of Notre Dame, it is my pleasure to articulate to you why I transferred: you and your spirit. I cannot tell you how lucky I felt that day – and feel every day – to be a member of this family.