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Coming home again

| Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Before last Wednesday, it had been 243 days since I set foot on Notre Dame’s campus (yes, I counted).

In that time, I have been to seven different countries, at least 19 different cities (I have lost count) and spent a total of three weeks at home in Chicago.

For a while during my nine-month journey, I wasn’t sure I could still legitimately call any one place “home.” But when I drove up to Main Circle six days ago, I had my first senior year realization. Notre Dame is, and always will be, home. And coming home again is always good.

I was only able to travel everywhere I went because Notre Dame gave me the opportunities to do so. I was only able to meet the people I did and learn the things I did because I call this place home.

Now, I’m not one for giving unsolicited advice to freshmen, or really anyone. But as I begin my final year at this incredible home, I can’t help but share what I have come to learn about this place and the people who live here.

Notre Dame exists for its students. Without us, there is no Notre Dame. But for as much as this fact is a great blessing, it is also a heavy burden. It is our responsibility as Notre Dame students to take full advantage of our four short years here — to solidify our convictions and determine how our passions can combine with our talents to be a force for good.

We all chose to come to Notre Dame, to call this place home for four years and really the rest of our lives. In return, we have to give nothing but our best. Anything else is failure.

That’s an objectively frightening notion, but in the context of this campus, this small dot on the map in northwest Indiana, it becomes less intimidating. Giving our absolute best all the time is daunting, but when everyone is tasked with the same responsibility, it becomes a little more attainable.

Everyone here at Notre Dame wants everyone else to succeed, and for the most part, will do whatever they can to help those around them flourish. I truly believe that, and I think that’s a big part of what makes Notre Dame so unique.

So as we begin another school year, and we come home again, or for the first time, do not forget why we are here. To borrow from my favorite portion of the mission statement, as I often do, “the aim is to create a sense of human solidarity and concern for the common good that will bear fruit as learning becomes service to justice.”

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

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About Jack Rooney

Jack is a 2016 graduate of Notre Dame, and The Observer's former managing editor. He is currently spending a year living and working for the University in Ireland, and writing columns to keep him busy. For more random thoughts and plenty of news links, follow Jack on Twitter @RooneyReports.

Contact Jack