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The time that is given us

| Friday, August 20, 2021

Welcome to our lovely tri-campus!

I have been trying to write this for a while but cannot figure out something worth saying that has not yet been said.

So, I’ll begin where a lot of things do now: tracing back to the beginning of the pandemic. I remember at that time, one conversation between Frodo and Gandalf from “The Lord of the Rings” kept replaying in my mind.

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” the hobbit tells the wizard in “The Fellowship of the Ring.” I think he was talking about the return of Sauron.

Anyways, Gandalf replies: “So do I, and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

And, holy. If only I knew how important understanding that — especially the last part — would become as I began my undergraduate career.

Though I guess I sort of did. A cousin had gifted me a book before my first year at Notre Dame, a book that contained bits of advice and wisdom for college students. Though I admittedly never finished reading it, one piece stuck with me.

I had to let go of the idea that my time in college would be the very best four years of my life.

A very controversial — even scary — thought. But bear with me.

As life does, college would give me some of my happiest moments. But it would also deal me several blows, according to the book. And I’d better be prepared for them, as one goes into the sea. You are supposed to ride waves up and down, up and down. If you don’t expect that fluidity, you will get pulled under.

College has, indeed, given me plenty of beautiful moments that I will forever cherish in my heart. But it also has given me difficult burdens to bear. Many of us can agree the last 18 or so months have been difficult, and that’s putting it lightly.

Arming myself with that bit of wisdom did help me better prepare for when things got tough — as they inevitably do — by learning to surround myself with the right people and by learning to be kinder to myself.

I certainly hope the next few years are kinder to all of us and the tri-campus community than the past few semesters have been.

Your college experience can simultaneously be wonderful and painful, and everything in between. Most of the time, it’s not up to us. But whatever it is, this time will be yours and that of the people you are fortunate to share it with. I, for one, am thrilled to be sharing mine with you.

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

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About Adriana Perez

Adriana is a Notre Dame senior from Guayaquil, Ecuador, majoring in political science and minoring in the Gallivan Program of Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. She served as Editor-in-Chief of The Observer for the 2021-2022 term. You can find her at @adrianamperezr on Twitter.

Contact Adriana