If you ever happen to see me walking around campus this year, there’s an incredibly high chance you will also notice my 40-ounce water bottle.
It’s actually kind of hard to miss. Aside from how large the bottle is, it’s also a bright mint green and shows off my favorite stickers (with more on the way from Redbubble).
I think the thing that sticks out the most about this water bottle is that I have to hold it in my hand. My large green friend will not fit into the side pocket of my backpack, no matter how much I try.
So I carry my water bottle with me everywhere — whether I’m in class at Saint Mary’s, walking up and down The Avenue to get to Notre Dame or sometimes off campus to my field placement. As any large water bottle owner knows, you feel the added weight of the bottle, in addition to everything else in your backpack.
But you learn to adapt to the extra weight in your hands. If you start to walk away without picking the bottle up, you know right away that it’s not with you. You realize what you actually carry with you every day.
My vision of what college would be has drastically changed when I moved in around this time three years ago. At some points during my time in college, I have been overwhelmed by the things I’ve lost to the pandemic. But in turn, I have already gained more than I would ever imagine — my best friends, The Observer and the students I have taught in South Bend.
And while I still have another year before I’m done, I know the things I will carry with me after I graduate.
To the first-years still settling into the tri-campus, I’m definitely not the first to tell you the next four years will go by in an instant.
When I moved a few weeks ago, I sat in my room alone and thought about all the things I would do for the last time this year. The thought of everything I loved in this place ending was terrifying. Then I thought about all of what lies ahead for me.
I have been lucky enough to discover what direction I want to take my life by being involved in the tri-campus. I know what college experiences — good and bad — will shape me for the rest of my life.
So embrace all of these new parts of college. Find your way out of your room. Talk to that person who you might be afraid to introduce yourself to. Get off campus and explore the South Bend community. Don’t change yourself to fit other people’s expectations.
Fill your bottle with the things that will sustain you — long after you leave the tri-campus.