University of Notre Dame
BackgroundInterview Date:June 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Straight
Graduation Year: 2021
High School Experience: Public school in an agricultural area in Northern California with a graduating class of about 55 students. There was a really large Hispanic population and some classes were partially done in Spanish because it was the first language for a lot of students.
First Generation College Student: No
Major: American Studies with a supplementary Spanish Major
Minor: International Development
Extracurricular Activities: Student-Athlete
What is a supplementary major?
A supplementary major is between a major and a minor.
What was your favorite class last year?
Post-World War II American Art because I love US history. I liked learning about not only the art but the context of the times and the history of it all. My professor did a fantastic linking the history to the art.
What was your least favorite class last year?
My least favorite class was probably Finite Mathematics just because I’m not really a math person.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it was particularly competitive or collaborative?
I did not think it was competitive. I felt very unified with the other students. In most of the classes I know of, there is no curve. We have group chats for study groups and things like that. Everyone cares pretty deeply about academics, and being in a space where people can help each other out is very enriching.
How accessible have your professors been?
They’ve been very accessible. They have office hours every week. I’d go to my Spanish professor’s office and go over grammar with her. I didn’t utilize that as much as I could have, but I knew it was an option and it was nice having that be an option.
Do you feel that people are open to multiple schools of thought in the classroom?
Politically, I think Notre Dame is pretty in the middle which is nice. I did feel like in the minority in an Africana Studies class because I’m from a conservative family. When I said thoughts, like, “Maybe, instead of people donating more money to fund social projects it should be more employment-based,” I sometimes felt a little bit attacked. Each professor is going to lead the class very differently. I didn’t feel that way in my other classes.
How was managing both your sport and your coursework?
It makes it so much easier for me because I have a schedule. Most of my friends who aren’t in a sport come back from classes around 2PM and then have nothing else to do. It’s easier for me because I have practice and I only have a 2-hour window where I can do work. It makes it harder to put off because I have a stricter schedule.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: McGlinn Hall with one roommate.
Sophomore: Pasquerilla East Hall with one roommate
How was transitioning from Northern California to South Bend, Indiana?
I had a really easy time just because Notre Dame is such a perfect place for me. I love my school so much and am so excited to go back. I love going to class, I love my team, I love my friend group, and I love the camaraderie and community at Notre Dame. Everyone’s just so excited to be at school. I feel like every third kid is wearing something with Notre Dame on it.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Let’s Spoon Frozen Yogurt that’s right across the street from campus. I didn’t really go off campus to eat much.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
I didn’t really get away from campus. I didn’t feel the need to just because the campus is so big and we have two lakes. Whenever I wanted a break from school I would walk around the lakes and there are trees, so that was kind of an escape that was on campus.
Cons of being in South Bend, Indiana?
Cons: (1) It is pretty removed from the things that a city has to offer as far as stores and movie theaters, etc.
(2) Even though stores and things are only about 10 minutes away, I didn’t feel like those things were very accessible to me because I didn’t have a car. There is a bus and I know of people who use it a lot, but I never took the time to figure that out.
(3) The weather. It is snowing or freezing or around freezing from mid-November to May. You can’t be outside then. It was very cold.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you participate in at Notre Dame?
There are a lot of sport houses. People say Notre Dame isn’t a party school, but going to a party is always an option. There are dorm parties in the men’s dorms basically every night of the weekend. There are also sport houses that throw parties, like the lacrosse house and hockey house, and the glee club will throw parties too. It’s definitely an option. It’s also different for me because I was on a team and we’d have team parties, so that was a way I could party and hang out with people that other kids didn’t have.
What nights of the week would you regularly go out?
I went out every other Friday night, just because we typically have morning practice on Sundays. I didn’t go out that often, maybe every other weekend or every third weekend.
How happy are you with the nightlife? Is there anything you would change?
I always felt very safe. I never felt scared to walk around campus at night. If I could change anything, I would [have more large parties]. Sometimes we wanted to go out and do something and we ended up not being able to because a men’s team was traveling and if I went to a different party I wouldn’t know anybody. I’d like there to be more bigger parties where I could go with a group of people where people wouldn’t ask, “Why are you here?” because a dorm is such a small place so you would be noticed if you didn’t know anybody.
How did you meet your closest friends?
I spent a lot of time with my team because that was easiest. Most of my friends are from my team. During the end of the year, I started branching out and I met one of my closest friends in a class, and my other closest friend outside of my team I met the first weekend because we were in the same dorm. Two of my really good friends are guys from my team.
How would you describe the social scene?
People are very friendly. It’s easy to start conversations with people. When I walked alone I didn’t feel alone because you feel so involved in the campus community. It’s the kind of environment where it’s weird if you don’t open the door for someone. Also, because I was on a team it was easy because I had automatic friends when I got to campus.
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
There are definitely groups. There’s a Latino group that hangs out together and has a house that they throw parties at. There’s a group of African-American students who hang out together a lot. Most of the students are White. You hear people talk a lot about how Notre Dame has low diversity. [81%] of students are Catholic, so that usually goes with Caucasians and Hispanic students. There is not much mixing, like one of my really good friends is from Mexico and she had her Latin friends and her dorm friends. [About 10% of students are Latino, 4% of students are African American, and 67% of students are White.]
What impact does the school’s Catholic affiliation have on the student body?
I was shocked by the fact that there are not many drugs. I never heard people talk about drugs at school. I think that is because in the Catholic religion drugs are a big no, but alcohol is more endorsed, so people would drink a lot. I think that was an effect of Catholic culture. The outward happiness and positive temperament also may be because of it. There are a lot of kids who didn’t go to church and you were not judged if you didn’t go to church. It’s there if you want it. For me, my faith is very important to me, so I’d text my friends to see if they’d want to go to mass and we’d go. All the masses are for the students, so it’d be at 10 o’clock at night and nobody’s wearing shoes and people are in pajama pants. It’s very relaxed and very nice. There are lots of other religious things you can be a part of, but if that’s not what you enjoy you don’t have to be there. [Students who are found in possession of illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia may face dismissal from the University. Alcohol under 14% by volume is permitted in residence halls if possessed by a student 21 or older.]
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Notre Dame before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew that I should make sure I spend time with people outside of my team more often. It’s something that is very easy for me to fall back on because I knew where my team was having dinner every night and I didn’t have to plan anything I would just show up. I think I missed out on a lot of friendships that I could have pursued because it was just easier for me to do my own thing.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Go do a student dorm mass. Thursday night at 10 o’clock in Dillon they have Milkshake Mass and the whole chapel is packed. After mass, the priests hand out hundreds of milkshakes and people will just chat and hang out. It’s such a cool thing to be a part of. It’s a great demonstration of the community at Notre Dame for the religious side and the community. If I were visiting, I would want to go there and be a part of that.
Reasons to attend Notre Dame:
1) The alumni connections are incredible. Because Notre Dame is so tight-knit, it is easier to find internships and jobs.
2) Notre Dame will develop you further as a person and not just as a student. I had a class on conservation biology that wasn’t just on the science but also applied it to our lifestyles. Our Summer Service Learning Program is really popular. You go to different parts of the country to help people in need and you can do it to get Theology credit. I just got back from volunteering in North Dakota for two months at a Catholic woman’s maternity home, and that program is very popular. There are lots of volunteer opportunities.
3) Even though we’re a medium sized school, there’s a ton of resources. It feels big just because Notre Dame has so much money for resources for students. For instance, our physics department has a research group in Geneva, Switzerland.
Reasons to not attend Notre Dame:
1) If you enjoy partying a lot, I would suggest not to go to Notre Dame. My roommate was from Miami and liked to go to clubs and stuff and she was frustrated that she couldn’t do that at Notre Dame.
2) One of my really good friends isn’t Catholic and she feels like there is a disconnect with her and other students because other students would all go to mass together and do other things. Because that wasn’t her religion, she felt like there was a disconnect between her and her friends. [81% of students at Notre Dame are Catholic.]
3) Some people do not like the cold, and the cold is going to be a semester of the school year.