Students are ND
Catherine Owers | Thursday, September 3, 2015
For the past three seasons of football games I’ve attended in Notre Dame Stadium, I never really liked the “We are ND” cheer. Pushups after touchdowns? Yes. Dancing to “Rakes of Mallow” on shaky wooden bleachers? Love it. Singing the Alma Mater after games? Always. But cheering “We are Notre Dame” didn’t make sense to me, maybe just because it seems like stating the obvious. Of course our school is Notre Dame, I would think to myself as I cheered.
It was not until last spring, when I studied abroad in Dublin, that I began to think about the phrase differently.
My semester in Ireland was fantastic: It was fun and stressful and interesting and challenging. Going into the experience, I knew a significant part of study abroad is learning on a campus that isn’t in South Bend, eating food that isn’t from South Dining Hall and embracing cultures with rhythms different from the ones I had grown comfortable with here. And from midnight-stargazing in Northern Ireland, to getting rained on for three straight hours while waiting for Easter Mass with Pope Francis, to being told by an Italian priest to “Love Jesus, love each other, change the world,” I was certainly able to expand my worldview.
Yet in the midst of all of these adventures, I still had a very distinct sense of connectivity to the University because of the other Notre Dame students with whom I was living and learning for five months. I wouldn’t trade the memories from that semester for anything, and more importantly, I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to make these memories with. I realized that while I love stepping out the door onto God Quad every morning, going to class in O’Shag, walking around the lakes, visiting the Grotto and eating monogram waffles, these things don’t define my Notre Dame experience.
At the end of the day, Notre Dame is not about the buildings or campus landmarks. They do play a role in bringing our community together, but if they no longer existed, Notre Dame still would. For me, Notre Dame is about the students — the brilliant, funny, ambitious and kind people I am blessed to call my peers. Whether we’re in the football stadium or 3,000 miles away in Dublin, we, the students, are Notre Dame. We are ND.