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Thank you, Gateway

| Thursday, March 19, 2020

Everyone remembers the day their Notre Dame decision came out. For me, it was late March, and the Minnesota snow stood 2 feet tall outside. I was sitting in the hallway of my high school obsessively checking my email. I constantly refreshed Reddit threads, scouring the internet for new information regarding the admissions office’s answers. Every user had different input. 

“My high school counselor told me it is DEFINITELY coming out tonight!” an especially eager applicant posted.

“I got a 1,580 on the SAT, what are my chances of getting into Notre Dame?” a student with the username IRISH4LIFE questioned.

And of course, the parents (who are very active on Reddit for some reason?) commented, “I have two kids at Notre Dame:) Their decisions came out on a Wednesday, so it should come out then! God bless and Go Irish!” 

I logged onto my computer at 6:42 p.m. Eastern time. When I clicked the link in my email, I received a decision of sorts — but it was not an answer I predicted. I was not accepted, nor denied. I wasn’t even waitlisted. Instead of an image of the Dome with the words, “Welcome Home,” scrawled across the screen, I received a letter that stated: “You have been invited to the University of Notre Dame-Holy Cross Gateway Program.”

While I hate to admit it, I was very upset when I received this invitation. My feelings quickly turned to curiosity, and I wanted to learn more about the mysterious Gateway program. 

Gateway is a dual-enrollment program that allows students to have an automatic transfer to Notre Dame after one year at Holy Cross. The program requires its 75 students to take classes at both schools, maintain a 3.5 GPA or above and remain in good standing with both institutions. 

I could go into detail about the successful transfers of former Gateways, share all the ways in which we’ve gotten involved on both campuses or write about how I am constantly impressed by the motivation and ambition of my Gateway peers. But anyone could tell you that.  

Instead, as I sit here filling out my official transfer form to the University of Notre Dame, I am going to share some things that I am thankful for from my freshman year as a Gateway student. 

I am thankful for being able to see the smiling faces of my peers the minute I step out of my dorm room.

I am thankful for the long walks down Dorr Road, full of exciting conversations and laughter. No matter how often I complain about walking to class, these strolls are where some of my best memories have been made. 

I am thankful for Saturday morning brunches at Siegfried Dining Hall and late-night movie nights in Anselm 109.

I am thankful for impromptu invitations to Gateway pool parties in the Rock.

I am thankful for every single fall football game and for the formation of our own unofficial “Gateway Section” in the middle of the student section. 

I am thankful for the former Gateways who never fail to greet us on campus, offer advice and reminisce about their time at Holy Cross.

Above all, I am thankful I had the opportunity to experience my freshman year on not one, but two amazing college campuses, surrounded by people working toward the same goals as me. While this is a path I never predicted I would take, I cannot imagine my freshman experience any other way. I am full of anticipation and excitement as I look forward to my transfer to Notre Dame next year, and I am confident my Gateway family will have my back for the next three years — just as they have for the last seven months. 

I wrote most of this column before schools across the country began canceling classes as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Notre Dame’s decision to move online until April has amplified my appreciation for the Gateway program and all the memories I’ve made during my freshman year. 

I wish, more than anything, that I could continue the semester with all my friends by my side. I would voluntarily do hours of calculus homework in Hesburgh Library if it meant I could return to campus. Now more than ever, students and faculty in the tri-campus community need to support one another. During this difficult and confusing time as students, sometimes it helps to look back and reflect upon what we’re thankful for. So, thank you to the Gateway Program and to everyone I have met along the way — you’ve made my freshman year one I will never forget. 

Contact Anna Galioto at [email protected]

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

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