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It’s a great privilege to “Love thee”

Katrina Linden | Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Up until last week I thought that a “Subway Domer” was a student worker that was really excited about working at Subway in LaFortune. It was only after I read an article confessing one girl’s tribulations upon being rejected from the University that the concept of a “Subway Domer” was finally realized. Though it has occurred to me that Notre Dame’s moderately exclusive acceptance rates imply that a fair amount of students are rejected each year and forced to attend another just as prestigious university – or more often than not, a less prestigious one – it took some time to fathom that a great deal of fans of the University are those who could only wish to attend Notre Dame. Excuse my triteness, but attending Notre Dame is a privilege to say the least, a fact that I force myself to remember and mull over and over again in my mind whenever as I am tested by heavy course loads and other stressful elements of college life.

I wasn’t born into Notre Dame allegiance. It was thrust upon me. When I received my “Welcome Home” letter my senior year of high school, chills went down my spine. But I don’t think I understood just exactly to what I was being welcomed. And upon experiencing Notre Dame, I now have difficulties explaining exactly what my new home is. It is impossible to explain the atmosphere of unity that encompasses the true definition of being a Notre Dame student. Such unity and tradition does not end with the Alma Mater at the end of a football game, it transfers into the integral moments of our lives as Notre Dame students. Despite recent incidents of questionable moral character, Notre Dame is a Catholic university, in both the formal and informal sense of the word, full of good-hearted people and thoughtful souls. Be it out of fear of a higher being, or from the pureness of our hearts, there is an innate beauty within the souls of each person I have ever encountered here.

Despite the greatness that comes with being a Notre Dame student, a certain doubt comes to mind each time I consider my place here. My mind goes back and forth, contemplating my worth. Why was I accepted and not one of the thousands of others? Who am I preventing from attaining a quality education and future by choosing to attend Notre Dame rather than one of the many other universities I had the opportunity to attend? What if I am not living up to my full potential as a Domer and somebody else could do it better than I could? I admit I feel guilty sometimes.

I, just like most others, know that attending Notre Dame is a privilege that most will never be able to experience. But sometimes, when I dream about dropping out of school and backpacking across Europe or transferring to a community college where life would be unquestioningly easier, I cannot help but feel guilty once again. There are those who have insufferable undergraduate years wishing and waiting to transfer to Notre Dame, but we are living the dream. Sometimes, I like to stop while walking across South Quad and just admire the beauty that stretches from O’Shag to the Rockne. Breathing in the winter air reminds me that even the air we breathe is somehow more special and the way that we walk, speak and go about our daily lives is so uniquely Notre Dame-esque, that no words can be used to describe the very aura of the Notre Dame student.

To quote one of our dozens of inspirational commercials, “There are no ordinary days, only extraordinary ones,” because, any given day, amazing things can and do happen. We shape our own destiny during our time at Notre Dame. When looking back at my college experience I do not want to have regrets of all the things I failed to do or messed up in the process. I only want to have experiences that I can reminisce on. Whether it be attending a Community Standards meetings, camping in below-freezing temperatures, or falling off benches at football games, it’s all part of the Notre Dame experience, and I have no intentions of regretting any of it.

Even though I have considered transferring from the university on multiple occasions during the time I have been here, I do not think I could ever really do so. Despite the awkward gender relations, occasional bigoted remarks, and pompous attitudes, I don’t think there is any place I would rather call my Home under the Dome. Though I could potentially attend a far more liberal university someplace in California, there isn’t anyplace else I could even begin to imagine myself being. Attending the University of Notre Dame is one of the greatest privileges I have been awarded thus far. Four years is too short of a time to live in misery, and too short of a time to waste doing nothing significant. To throw all this away would be a sin.

Katrina Linden is a sophomore English major with a Studio Art minor living in Lewis Hall. She can be reached by email at                     [email protected]
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.