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The long train ride

Like many other students in the tri-campus community, I am someone who is constantly thinking about what assignment I have to complete, what projects need to get done and what exams I need to start studying for. So, I think I speak for many when I say that having the opportunity to put academics on pause over fall break was very much appreciated. As sad as I was to say goodbye to South Bend for a week, I also looked forward to being reunited with my family. I especially looked forward to spending time with my golden retriever puppy, Bentley. 

Months in advance, my mom and I made plans to travel to Boston to see my twin brother at Boston College. This was something that we did during my first year of fall break last year, and so in many ways, it felt like it was becoming a tradition. Last year, we flew to Boston and spent a few days with my brother as he showed us around campus. Then, we decided on a whim to take a ferry to Nantucket for the night because it’s my mom’s favorite place. We created so many long lasting, unforgettable memories on this trip, and I wanted the same thing to happen this year. Instead of spending the majority of our time in Boston, we decided to spend half of the trip in New York visiting our family friend in her apartment in the West Village.

After visiting my brother for a few days in Boston, my mom, my friend and I took the Amtrak train to New York. And because there isn’t much to do on train rides in order to pass the time, this forced us —for four hours at least — to take time to relax and reflect. 

During this train ride, I thought a lot about my time at Notre Dame so far. Even though I have only been here for a few months, I am already filled with an enormous amount of gratitude for the things I have experienced, for the people I’ve met and for where I am today. When applying to Notre Dame, current students, alumni and anyone affiliated with the University all seem to emulate a similar idea: the close-knit, welcoming community you find at Notre Dame is unlike any other community on any other college campus. 

This idea that Notre Dame’s community is unlike any other was something I always believed and knew to be true, but I realized this was something I didn’t fully understand until becoming a Notre Dame student myself. From the moment I stepped foot on campus, I finally realized why Notre Dame’s community was something that was heavily emphasized by both current and former students. 

From going to Mass at the Basilica, watching Rudy on the football field, cheering on the Irish on game days, walking to the Grotto, going on late night trips to LaFun or simply just watching a good romcom in your friend’s dorm room, being a Notre Dame student provides you the opportunity to create lifelong memories, share what you are passionate about, and grow as an individual.

Yes, I know these were some pretty deep thoughts for a four hour train ride, but I couldn’t help but look back with an immense amount of gratitude for the time I have spent in South Bend thus far.

Once the train ride was over, my mom, my friend and I all piled in a taxi to head to my friend’s apartment. While in the taxi, I looked through the car window and admired the big city that surrounded me, filled with excitement to finally be in New York, appreciation for the last few months and also hope for the future and the remainder of my college years.

Just like last year, this trip was filled with unforgettable memories. I’ll never forget staying up with my friend and my mom to wait for the release of Taylor Swift’s new album, “Midnights,” strolling through Central Park with my mom and dining at my family’s favorite Italian restaurant in Boston’s North End.

As sad as I was once fall break had ended and as much as I longed for a few extra days of relaxation, I was excited to return to Notre Dame, my new second home.

Isabelle Kause is a sophomore at Notre Dame studying sociology and minoring in journalism. When she’s not busy, you can find her listening to country music or Taylor Swift or trying out new makeup/skincare products. She can be reached at ikause@nd.edu

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