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The holy hike never got easier

As those close to me know best, ever since I was 11 years old I wanted to go to Notre Dame. While it was due to watching “Rudy” and falling in love with Notre Dame football, I learned more about the University, its academics and its Catholic tradition. It only led me to fall in love with it more. While I was never the best student, I thought I would be able to attend school there someday. Everyone I knew, from family, friends, teachers, even my dentist, said I was like a modern day Rudy. Fast forward to my senior year of high school, I got my decision letter… denied.

It was heartbreaking to say the least. Less than a week later, I found out I got accepted to Holy Cross College. While my mom was ecstatic that I got into college. I forced a fake smile on my face, which was believable enough that she never knew that I wasn’t happy when I got my letter (I know you’re reading this mom, I’m sorry you found out this way). Instead, my whole mindset was, “OK, work your butt off and transfer over,” so I did. To keep this short, I got denied again and then again my sophomore year. I made a promise to myself to not try my junior year, as I thought only being at Notre Dame for one year would make me feel like I wasn’t truly ever a student. 

Fast forward to senior year. I have taken multiple classes at Notre Dame, work for The Observer and The Shirt committee, all while still being a student at Holy Cross. I have embraced Holy Cross like my second home, and will always continue to represent them with great pride. Saying that though, I can’t admit that it doesn’t hurt taking the “holy hike” all the way to Riley Hall, passing by the Golden Dome and thinking about what could’ve been.

It’s a weird feeling that I have been involved closely with both schools. While some deny it and try to say it isn’t true, we all know that there are people at Notre Dame who look down on those who attend Holy Cross. I’ve never known why and it confuses me everyday. There are people like me who are just as if not more involved with both Notre Dame and Holy Cross, yet they are not given as much respect, only because we proudly represent the Saints instead of the Irish.

I’ve had my fair share of experiences with Notre Dame kids (even those who are/were Gateways), some who are the nicest people I’ve ever met and those who brush me off as soon as I mention that I go to Holy Cross. It sucks that as soon as I cross the street over to Notre Dame — despite being involved in so much — that I still feel like I don’t deserve to be here. I got denied entry, I’ve come to terms with that, but all that I ask is that I get the same respect from people here that I give to them. Is that too much to ask? I thought we were called a tri-campus for a reason.

Contact Gabriel Zarazua at gzarazua@nd.edu.

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

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