From one family to another
Caroline Genco | Thursday, October 30, 2014
Growing up as a daughter of a Notre Dame alum makes it impossible to reflect on my childhood without recognizing that many of my favorite memories took place on this very campus. From my first football game to my brother’s freshman move-in day, each drive down Notre Dame Avenue brought a smile to my face and joy to my heart. Coming to camp in the summer, even if just for a week, I felt privileged to spend an extended amount of time here. Call it the product of growing up in a Notre Dame family, but to me this ceaseless and contagious energy served as intrinsic motivation to become a part of this University.
It is my personal belief that no Notre Dame experience can be identical to another. When my father began his journey to South Bend, he was the first child his parents were sending to college, as the last of his six siblings had just been born in New York. When my brother left home to attend Notre Dame, he had already experienced living far from home as he transitioned from boarding school life to the residence halls. I began my journey here as a sophomore transfer student – anxious for my time to begin but confident in my decision. Irrespective of experience, what unifies each of us is the lifelong sense of belonging to the Notre Dame family.
The difference between growing up in a Notre Dame family and becoming a part of the Notre Dame family is identifiable in the individualistic experience of each student. Whether we congregate as a community or diverge on individual paths in pursuit of our callings, it is through the relationships that we form with peers and mentors that intersect these paths, weaving together the framework that is the Notre Dame family.
A summer many years ago, my father thought it would be fun to stay on campus in one of the residence halls while my brother participated in a basketball camp. I distinctly remember walking into the room expecting it to encapsulate all the stories my father told us of his time at Notre Dame. I disappointedly looked at the crowded furniture and white walls, turned to my father and said: “Dad, how did you ever live like this for four years?” He turned to me, laughed and responded: “You would be lucky to live like this for four years.” He was absolutely right.
To me, growing up in a Notre Dame family meant witnessing the love for this University through someone else’s eyes. Becoming a part of the Notre Dame family, however, means that I am given the opportunity to participate in constructing the ever-growing framework of this community – an experience I will hold close to my heart for the rest of my life.