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Welcome back, welcome home

| Tuesday, August 26, 2014

To the classes of 2015, 2016 and 2017: Welcome back! To the class of 2018: Welcome Home.

Here are a few words of reflection I offer to each of you as we welcome this new year with friends, peers and family.

To our freshmen: You begin this year with some anxiety, yet much excitement. We know you’re just getting used to your classes and your friends so please do not hesitate to ask anyone for help. It took us all a while to decipher the most efficient path to DeBart or the best hour to swipe in for a meal. Use the upperclassmen as guides. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to join you for lunch. One of the trickiest parts of the first few weeks on campus will be coordinating your lunch and dinner schedules — don’t give it so much thought. I met some of my closest friends by simply asking if I could join them for a meal. Also, don’t forget to get involved. Every club and organization on this campus has an open door policy; don’t hesitate to use it.

To our sophomores: You’ve been there, you’ve done that, now its time to buckle down. Use this year to really get a grasp on what you want to pursue. This is a good time to stop attending meetings you do not have a sincere interest in, and it’s an even better time to get to learn a little bit more about yourself. Make it a point to set out a plan of action for this year and next. If given the opportunity to study abroad, take it. Although I studied “domestically” in the Washington program, it was one of the best decisions I have made here at ND. Be mindful of how your time abroad will affect your living on campus and how it may affect you opportunities in junior and senior year. Many clubs and organizations transition leadership during the spring semester — something to keep in mind if you see yourself taking one or more leadership positions going forward.

To our juniors: This is truly a unique one. You are one step closer to graduation, and you are officially upperclassmen. Be mindful of the younger students and think about how you can include them in your efforts; offer them your friendship. It will feel as though your class is cut in half this year as many students will be studying abroad either fall or spring semester. Do what you can to meet some of the other juniors you haven’t really had a chance to hang out with yet, and keep an open mind. Pay attention to your plans for after senior year; they are closer than you think.

And finally, to our seniors, my class peers: I hope we can use this year to really come together as a class and as true students of Notre Dame. I hope that we can use these final months as fruitfully as possible. Let us bring together friend groups, let us support one another in our job and school searches, and let us celebrate the wins while coming together during the losses. Seniors, we have one more year here as undergraduates and I hope we can make it count. Attend the games and the shows, immerse yourself in the South Bend area, continue to love your dorms even if you are off campus, lay the lines of lasting communication with your professors, and truly enjoy being in the company of so many talented peers. Cheers to the best year yet.

Notre Dame: stay safe, stay smart and stay with it. We are the Fighting Irish, a group characterized by strength, tradition, pride and intelligence. Let’s continue to act like it.


Lauren Vidal


Notre Dame Student Body

Aug. 25

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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