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She doesn’t even go here

| Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I didn’t get into Notre Dame.

Instead of following the typical freshman path, I’m part of something called the Gateway program. Basically, I’m living and taking classes at Holy Cross this year, while also taking certain classes, eating meals, joining clubs and participating in much of student life at Notre Dame. At the end of the year, provided I achieve all the requirements, I’ll automatically transfer to Notre Dame to begin my sophomore year. It is what it is, nothing more and nothing less. I always said, “I would do anything to get into Notre Dame,” so frankly, if this is my anything, it’s not bad at all.

Overall, it’s been a great experience, and I’m grateful to Holy Cross for the incredible opportunity they’ve provided me. The 20 kids in the program are like family, for better and for worse. From the first week of school, we’ve been inseparable. We took on DomerFest together, we make the “Holy Hike” from Holy Cross to Notre Dame every day together, eat every meal together, and we’ve become annoyingly close. It’s rare to have such a close group of friends for life within the first week of school, so it’s a wonderful privilege.

While I love the program, it can be challenging. I often have to answer simple questions, like where do you live or what other classes are you taking, with, “well, it’s a long story.” I realize that most things in life worth attaining usually aren’t easy, but it’s hard to admit that I don’t go to Notre Dame right now. It feels like I’m wearing the jersey but I’m not on the team yet. Each of us in the program has taken our experiences in completely different directions with varying levels of success. I’m hopeful we all get our chance on the team next year. For right now, I’m just doing my best in practice.

Occasionally, I get some negative responses to the program. For those who feel this is a bogus way to get into Notre Dame and that I will somehow “dilute” their acceptance or degree, all I can say is that I’ll try to represent the University to the best of my ability.

Prospective Gateways for the class of 2019 always ask me if it’s worth it. My answer remains the same: hands down, unequivocally, yes.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Rachel O'Grady

Rachel O'Grady is a senior Political Science major living in Ryan Hall. She most recently served as Assistant Managing Editor. Hailing from Chicago (actual Chicago, not the suburbs) she's been a Cubs fan since birth.

Contact Rachel