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Dear Flaherty Hall,

| Thursday, April 29, 2021

In light of Flaherty Hall being announced as women’s hall of the year, and in celebration “Honey Week”, Flaherty’s annual spirit week, I wanted to share my personal experience in Flaherty and why Flaherty really is the best hall on campus, especially for me.

I moved into Flaherty as a hall transfer last fall. I moved in at a turbulent time in my life, and was incredibly anxious about the school year ahead, so much so that I almost decided to take a gap semester or year. I made the decision to come to campus last fall, partly because I was told that by taking a leave of absence, I would forgo my spot in Flaherty. I had a deep feeling in my gut that  I needed to be in Flaherty, and it didn’t take long to realize that my gut feeling was right.

One night in August or September, I found myself in the Chapel taking a quiet moment to pray and reflect on my week, while another resident was playing piano. I sat and listened, and then started to cry. I don’t know that girl’s name and hardly remember the song she played, but what I do remember is that I felt like there was someone there for me and I was not so alone.

Other nights I found myself watching the Bachelor with other Flaherty residents and shaking our heads at the poor decisions being made, sitting outside on the patio to watch the Presidential Debate or attend hall council or sitting together in prayer on Sunday and Tuesday nights.

The best nights were spent with the girls in my section, who quickly became my close friends although we were virtually strangers when we moved in. My R.A, named Tiffany, hosts “Tea with Tiff” every week when she is on duty. It is advertised as a section social event in which we were invited to “drink the tea or spill the tea” in the section lounge. In other words, you are invited to drink actual tea, or share whatever exciting news or updates you have about your life. Quickly the anecdotes about our days evolved into stories about our worst dates to PowerPoints about the funniest moments in our lives.

Flaherty Hall is truly deserving of women’s hall of the year, because, more than anything, of the people who live in it. The girls of Flaherty Hall are smart, kind, welcoming and funny.  I have made friends with strangers in the elevator as we find ourselves there together after a late night, exchanged a sympathetic smile to another resident who was also up at 3 am working on a paper that we had a month to write and shared the great and not-so-great parts of my life with girls who I didn’t know until 15 minutes before over a cup of tea.

The newer facilities, beautiful chapel and close proximity to the library, among other things, make Flaherty a great place to live. But ultimately, a house is just a building without the people inside of it that make it a home. With of course some exceptions, me included, no one in Flaherty chose to be there, but they chose to stay. It’s the close friendships and deep bonds formed that make Flaherty a home, for me and so many other girls.

There is no doubt that this school year and especially last semester was a challenge. Ironically, I caught COVID when I was home in Texas over winter break and not at school. I am so happy that my fears, while legitimate, did not stop me from being part of this school year and the new friendships I have formed.

Transferring into Flaherty is the best thing that has happened to me since coming to Notre Dame, and I think that is because I pushed myself to attend as many events as I could and meet as many people as possible. It is easy to tell myself to let myself skip out of hall events to get some extra homework done or call a friend from home to catch up, but choosing to be vulnerable and share my life with others has given me the greatest blessings. I made my best friends in Flaherty at one of my section social events after sharing the funny and crazy events going on in my life.

To the girls of Flaherty, and especially 3B, I hope you know that I am grateful for you beyond any words that I can write in the Observer.

And to the rest of the Notre Dame community, I encourage you to be vulnerable and share your life with someone over a cup of tea, especially in your residence hall. You never know where you will find your best friends.

Go Bears,

Claire Miller

April 27


The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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