University of Notre Dame
BackgroundInterview Date:June 2018
Gender Identity: Male
Sexual Orientation: Straight
Graduation Year: 2021
High School Experience: Public school in Morristown, NJ and my graduating class was about 350. There was absolutely a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Minors: Double minor in Poverty Studies and Business Economics
Extracurricular Activities: I’m a student-athlete and I’m part of KiND club where we do random acts of kindness around campus.
What was your favorite class last year?
My least favorite class was my History Seminar, mostly just because of the way the professor taught it. It was slow and had a lot of reading.
What was your least favorite class last year?
My favorite class was my sociology class, I learned a lot of stuff about cycles of poverty and institutions and how everything is connected through networks that I ended up using in the summer. I definitely feel that I am interested in that.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it was particularly competitive or collaborative?
I came to Notre Dame because of athletics, and coming in I was worried I would struggle academically. It was not as bad as I was expecting at all. I think it was competitive, although I think it is rewarding if you put in the work.
How accessible have your professors been?
The professors have always been great. They’re always able to meet whenever you want and are accessible by email. They want to help you succeed.
Do you feel that people are open to multiple schools of thought in the classroom?
I would say so. Especially in Sociology classes where we’d have open debates with like 100 kids in the class. Kids would start going back and forth and you would see some different thoughts on certain issues or just completely different political thoughts. That was cool to see come out in an area like that.
How was managing both your sport and your coursework?
It’s tough. When they say that a sport is a full-time job they’re correct. Although, it’s nice because the sport gives you a lot of extra resources to help with academics, like free printing in the athletics rooms and mandatory academic hours for your sport. That all guides you on the right path, so I don’t know if I would be the same student if I didn’t have all those resources. [Your sport] takes up a lot of time and you feel very restricted, but at the same time, it gives you a lot of benefits.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Sorin Hall, which is the oldest dorm on campus. It’s an all-male dorm and has about 150 kids in it. Your dorm helps create what your four years will be like because it gives you your friends and your social life. Because we don’t have fraternities, your dorm is essentially your fraternity, so you get that brotherly vibe and you get to know most of the kids in your dorm.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I have always felt safe at Notre Dame. For being in the middle of nowhere, the security is pretty high around campus, so any night or weekday I feel pretty safe. During football weekends we get about 70,000 extra tourists on campus, and that’s when different people come and sometimes you can feel a little uneasy about your room. You have to lock your room because a lot of alumni will try to visit their old room. Other than that, we keep our doors unlocked because we feel very safe.
How was transitioning from New Jersey to South Bend, Indiana?
The weather was different, that was a big part. South Bend weather is not the best. It’s just cold and wet, although that was something pretty easy to transition to. It’s pretty flat out there too. Culture-wise, staying on campus I didn’t meet people living in South Bend, Indiana. Kids at Notre Dame come from all over, there are actually a lot from New Jersey, so the culture didn’t feel like a huge change.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
Probably the team’s off-campus house.
Pros and cons of being in South Bend, Indiana?
Pros: (1) It’s an absolutely beautiful campus. One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, even in the bad weather.
(2) South Bend is not doing well economically, so there are a lot of opportunities for students to learn and help in the community. We do a lot of service trips there through the school.
Cons: (1) The weather, for sure.
(2) Being pretty far away from Chicago.
(3) Transportation wise it’s hard to get in and out of the school from home.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you participate in at Notre Dame?
On the weekends I usually go out. There’s usually a party every Friday or Saturday night, or sports games at night, like basketball, hockey, or football games. I try to go to those events first. I usually go to parties with my sports team. During the week, because of my sport, I do a lot of school work at night.
What have been some of your favorite times at Notre Dame?
I think one of my favorite events was when we went to a hockey game during Thanksgiving break, so not a lot of kids were on campus.
Can you describe a typical night going out freshman year?
You finish all your classes and sports stuff, sometimes you actually try to get an hour or two of work in because going out starts a little later. Then, you know, get ready, make plans. Usually, there will be a pregame type event somewhere, and then move to the main party location either that be off-campus or in a different dorm. Most dorms have a significant event on the weekends.
How happy are you with the nightlife? Is there anything you would change?
No, I was pretty happy with it. The school has weird opinions on certain things. Like, they’re very, very hard on cracking down on drugs, so you don’t see any of that at school. Some people feel that they are more lenient on drinking, so you do see more of that. I feel like nightlife ends up beings a pretty good time for most students. [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.]
How did you meet your closest friends?
By default, I only really had three options of making friends, so my dorm, classes, or my varsity sport, just because I didn’t have much time for too many extracurriculars. I definitely met them through my sport, and also through my dorm because it does feel like a frat most of the time. Not fratty in a bad way, just the idea that there is the same camaraderie you’re looking for. Then a few in classes as well.
How would you describe the social scene?
Inclusive. It’s kind of what you expect. Everyone wants to have a good time and a lot of students are like-minded, so they’re able to get along and do social events together.
How would you describe the student body?
Very, very smart kids with a mind towards social justice. I think that is something Notre Dame looks for in applications, so you get kind-hearted, well-educated kids. In terms of demographics, it does seem overwhelmingly White at times. I know the school is trying to fight that.
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
They absolutely do, which is why I think it would be easy to alter the [student demographics] to include more people of different backgrounds because it’s so easy to get along. [About 67% of students are White.]
What impact does the school’s Catholic affiliation have on the student body?
[In the Class of 2021, 81% of the students are Catholic], there are  chapels on campus, and rectors are priests most of the time. It’s hard to avoid the Catholicism, though I don’t think it’s pushed on any of the students. I think if I was not Catholic I would love it just the same. Although if you are Catholic, it is tremendously easy to find opportunities to participate in your religion.
Being in a single-sex dorm, did you find it hard to make friends of the opposite gender?
Absolutely not, because it’s only during sleeping hours, so 2AM-9AM, which is when the opposite gender has to be out of the dorm. There will be opposite genders in your room. Classes feel completely mixed. It’s really just during studying and resting hours in your dorm that it’s not supposed to be co-ed.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Notre Dame before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew a lot of their abroad opportunities and how easy it is to get grants to study in foreign places. I would have probably taken advantage of that earlier. Now since I know I’m looking forward to doing that in future summers.
What is something a prospective athlete should know that we haven’t touched on?
I think it’s important to note that you do not room with your teammates your freshman year. It’s completely random assigned rooming. I think that’s a good thing because you meet new people and see what it’s like to live with people you may not enjoy living with.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
I’m a big advocate for the hockey team. I think they don’t get as much credit. If you’re on campus during that time of the year check it out because I think the atmosphere of the school really shows. The school band really goes all out for those games. It’s a good way for somebody to see what the school is all about.
Reasons to attend Notre Dame:
1) A good education with a ton of resources to make it easy for you.
2) Athletics. If you love big athletics. Kids go out to the games all the time, it doesn’t matter what time or the weather.
3) I think the social life is unique in that the dorms are not co-ed. If you don’t want to be part of a frat but are looking for something more, I think it’s a great opportunity to find a band of brothers from where you’re living naturally.
Reasons to not attend Notre Dame:
1) If you can’t handle bad weather, it’s probably not the school for you.
2) If you struggle with Catholic identities or being around Catholicism too much, it’s probably not the school for you. Even though it’s not pushed on you, I know people who come in with a negative mindset have trouble loving it.
3) If you’re not really social justice oriented, or you don’t care about social justice issues at all, then it’s probably not the school for you. That’s a big part of the identity of the school. They want the students to be focused on making a difference.