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Notre Dame as an institution and a family

Kara King | Friday, May 14, 2010

Everyone has that moment when they question their decision to attend Notre Dame. Not everyone is lucky enough to be reassured that they made the right choice. At least, not as an undergraduate. I think most people don’t begin to fully appreciate how lucky they were to be here until after they leave, and I am only just starting to realize how this University affected me.
I would not be who I am now without Notre Dame. I was allowed to find myself, surrounded by the strongest peers, most dedicated mentors and best friends I could have asked for. The people I’ve interacted with here have changed me. Professors taught me both in and out of the classroom how to be who I want to be. They shared both knowledge and experience, always exceeding my increasingly heightened expectations. Peers and colleagues provided an environment, more commonly called the Notre Dame Bubble, where I felt safe trying new things without worrying too much about failure. I made mistakes. But I had friends who let me make them and laughed with me at the consequences that ensued or commiserated over the lost opportunities. I cannot possibly say how much my friends here have meant or thank them for always being there and knowing how to react to my sometimes difficult-to-read moods. I am leaving with more hilarious memories and ridiculous stories than I can count, and I know I’ll never forget all I learned from my friends here. Rooms aren’t necessary when you can party in the hallways and sleep is vastly overrated when you have time to waste.
Looking back over four years here, it’s hard for me to separate my undergraduate career from my Observer one. Given how things turned out, most people would probably think that’s a bad thing. It would be easy for me to agree, but I don’t want what ended up being my last week as an Observer employee to define my entire tenure, just as I wouldn’t sum up my college experience based on a test I didn’t do particularly well on. Actually, I don’t think grades are in any way an accurate reflection of my time here. My college experience would not have been the same without the paper: It changed me more than any other activity, class or individual in my four years here.
I am not the same person who walked into the office freshman year to copy edit Viewpoint, or who hesitantly applied for Viewpoint Editor (and, contrary to certain ICPA speeches, had the ‘privilege’ of counting and reading the hundreds of letters concerning Obama’s visit to campus in my last few weeks on the job). I’m definitely not the same person who cockily assumed I’d be given the AME position after a year on Ed Board and allowed that overconfidence to affect the quality of my work. Every day I was challenged by the paper, and it was through undertaking these challenges that I was able to grow into who I am now.
Ultimately, The Observer allowed to me to show who I have become here at Notre Dame. It granted me the opportunity to prove that all the hype and rankings around the business school and its ethics curriculum are an actuality not lost on the students. While resigning was the hardest thing I had to do here, in a way it was a final lesson that I had to learn before my introduction to the real world. Actions have consequences regardless of intention, and those consequences are much easier to accept while still sheltered inside the Notre Dame Bubble. I have no regrets in how I reacted after the situation arose, and would much prefer that to the alternative.
I’m still pretending I don’t have to leave the bubble yet. But I know that after I receive my diploma and finally let go, I will be more than prepared for whatever awaits, partially because of Notre Dame, the institution, but much more so because of Notre Dame, the family. And especially because of those annoying nights spent laboring away in the basement of South Dining Hall, hoping to leave before breakfast.

Kara King is graduating with a BBA in Accounting and a BA in Economics. She still isn’t sure how useful two degrees will be, but figured that she should take the University up on its buy one get one free offer. She would like to thank her parents and siblings for everything. 800 words is not enough space to explain all the help she’s had along the way, but to those she was fortunate enough to know, thank you. Keep in touch. She can be contacted at [email protected]
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not
necessarily those of The Observer.