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Take a leap of faith

Meghan Thomassen | Sunday, August 25, 2013

Congratulations, class of 2017, you made it through Frosh-O.
You met your roommates without embarrassing yourself too badly. You managed not to look too sweaty in your student ID picture (yeah, that’s for all four years). You navigated your way to the dining hall only to find the maze of lines more confusing than any minotaur-guarded labyrinth. And, most commendable of all, you survived DomerFest.
These rites of passage may seem small compared to the goals you have for your time at Notre Dame. Most of you want to do research, paint yourself green for game day, lead the basketball team to the Final Four, study abroad in Bologna, run student government, write a thesis and/or build houses in Appalachia.
But Frosh-O was important because it taught you how to take risks here. Overcoming those smaller challenges will help you ramp up to the larger items on your college to-do list.
It also taught you the most important lesson you can learn in college: how to be vulnerable.
Being vulnerable means remaining susceptible to some kind of attack. Now, I’m not suggesting you’re supposed to accept someone coming at you wielding a machete.
It means you open yourself to new people that you know pretty much nothing about. It means you trust your roommates by engaging them in deep conversations. It means you try new things even if you’re 99.9 percent positive you’re going to fail the first time. It means coming to the grotto even when the prayers you know by heart fail you. It means pushing yourself beyond your intellectual and physical capabilities.
There’s no point of “putting yourself out there” if the self you’re giving has a barricade of defenses to keep you safe from getting hurt. You have to let go of those walls and let your guard down.
You’ve never done any of these things before. How do you know you’ll make it?
It’s a leap of faith.
Reassuring, I know. But I think uncertainty is what makes Notre Dame an incredible place.
Every time you step outside your comfort zone, put your faith in God and your peers, because they are the ones who will congratulate you when you succeed and help you up when you fall.
Yes, being vulnerable means you’re susceptible, but it also means you are open to meaningful experiences and life-altering changes. That’s what you’re here for, isn’t it?