Brian Hartnett | Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Welcome to Notre Dame, class of 2018. If the numbers are correct, you’re the highest-achieving class to ever enter Our Lady’s University.
Of course, numbers don’t take into account dreams, goals and ambitions, but I’m sure you have plenty of those. You probably want to double major, learn multiple languages, do service work abroad, be president of several clubs and land your dream job in [insert name of field here] upon graduation. More importantly, you want to do this while making life-long friends, giving up your Saturdays to Notre Dame football and having an active social calendar, right?
Well, I’m here to say that all these things are probably not going to happen. Sure, some of them will and if you’re lucky enough, it’ll go perfectly, but your actual college experience will likely only vaguely resemble what you have pictured in your mind right now.
I say this not because I’m some embittered senior who’s experienced the “real” world. I say this because college should not follow a formula, and I think my personal example, as well as many other examples on campus, illustrates this.
I came into Notre Dame as an intended finance and economics major. Why? I thought it was a stable choice, it is the most popular combination of majors at Notre Dame, and I figured my high school AP Economics class was good preparation. I soon remembered that math was indeed my weakest subject and writing was indeed my best talent. Now, three year later, I write this column as a Marketing major and Journalism, Ethics and Democracy minor.
As a freshman, I thought I should supplement my studies by participating in resume-boosting activities. Having sworn off journalism in high school, The Observer was not one of them, or so I thought. Nonetheless, I signed up for it and about 50 other activities, decided to try my first assignment, covering an interhall football game and instantly became hooked. Now, I’m lucky to say I’m the managing editor of a great publication, work with the best staff on campus and get to follow the Irish football team around.
In my time at Notre Dame, I’ve encountered two situations that had me quite on edge before entering them. The first came when I was assigned to Carroll Hall, and the second was just before I left to study in London, England this past semester. I was afraid to encounter both because they meant leaving the familiar behind, but I can say I met some great people and had even better experiences in both places.
Of course, a life not lived according to plan has some disappointments. I haven’t landed a cool job, figured out what I want to do when I grow up or checked off most of my college bucket list.
But these disappointments have their place, too. They’re all part of the winding road that makes up your college story, a story that all of you have just started to write.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.