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A minnow in the lake

| Monday, November 18, 2019

This past fall break I went to my high school football team’s Senior Night game with some friends from home, and we ran into more former classmates. To say this was a weird experience is a huge understatement. Sitting behind the high school student section watching the kids scream the same cheers I yelled two years ago, cheering for players who wear my friends’ former numbers and seeing all the teachers from my high school days produced a sentimental feeling inside me (and if you know me, I am the least sentimental person ever). A part of me wished I could relive those days, which sometimes seem to be my “peak.”

You see, my high school is pretty small. For the most part, every person knew each other and I had known some of my classmates since preschool. In high school, I was one of the big fish in an extremely little pond — a puddle. And this silly high school football game reminded me of that. 

Now, I’m a little fish in a really big pond — a minnow in a lake. And I love this lake that I call home, but sometimes this change in status is hard. I went from getting As in every high school class and every person knowing my name, to barely scraping by in organic chemistry and having an extremely small close-knit group of best friends. And that’s totally okay — I wouldn’t change that for the world. I love my school, I love the people I go to school with and I love the opportunities this school presents. This lake is one of a kind; there is no other place on earth like it. Where else would a priest promo on the Jumbotron garner the loudest cheers during a football game (shoutout to Fr. Pete, I’m a big fan)? Where else would a group of guys unapologetically dance (in costume) in a flash mob for an entire quad of visiting alumni and students to see? Where else would kids sign up to punch their friends in order to raise money for charity? Nowhere else. 

It’s just that some days are tough, and I admittedly miss being that big fish in the puddle. 

No one talked about this transition from high school to Notre Dame when I was applying, and no one really seems to now. So consider this Inside Column a start to the discussion. Notre Dame is extremely challenging, but don’t let the challenge make you regretful or fearful about being a minnow in the lake. These are the best four years of your life — don’t waste them by looking back.

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

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