Author: Qai Gordon


What’s my #NDJourney? I’m glad you asked.

PART 1:

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Once I got to high school I realized I wasn’t getting the academic challenge that I needed. In the first few weeks of sophomore year, I said to myself, “I won’t have the future that I want if I stay here.” I told my mom, she agreed, and my two sisters and I began googling private school options.I was in the public school system almost my whole life. I grew up in the same house with the same friends, and I thought everything was great!

Initially, it seemed like nothing would work out. We were already weeks into the school year, private school is EXPENSIVE, and many schools wouldn’t offer enough financial aid for all three of us. But, by the grace of God, my mom’s network introduced us to Saint Cecilia Academy, an all-girls Catholic school, and after just one interview, we were dressed in our plaid skirts the next week.


 


Part 2:

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Transferring from public to private school was one of the hardest transitions I’ve had. I didn’t know anybody, I didn’t want to be with all girls, and I wasn’t Catholic. But to say that I am grateful is an understatement. I learned so much about myself, I got the academic challenge I needed (for real..it was hard), and I grew both mentally and spiritually.

Fast forward to December of 2013 - I got in! I was SHOOK! I couldn’t believe it! Tears were flowing immediately. By the time we began applying to college during senior year, I knew I wanted to stay in the South. I didn’t know what “real cold” was, (and I honestly didn’t even know that “the midwest” was a thing?? oops), but I didn’t necessarily want to find out. One day my college counselor suggested I apply to Notre Dame, and, to be real, I didn’t know what Notre Dame was either. After looking into it, I knew I should send an application.


PART 3:

 

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From time to time while I’m walking across campus, I take a minute to just look up at all of the beauty surrounding me (even when it’s 2 degrees outside), and I begin to think about all the opportunities I’ve been granted, to appreciate the relationships I’ve made, and to conceptualize the rest of my life as a Notre Dame graduate. In these moments I thank God as I get a rush of all the emotions I felt when I read my acceptance letter. Now I am a second-semester senior, graduating in May!

As a Black, female, first generation college student from a single parent household who grew up in a failing public school system, I feel like I broke so many barriers. And to think that it all started with an understanding that I had to change my situation in order to be my best self, I’m just grateful.

I couldn’t be happier with my #NDJourney, and I can’t wait to see what life has in store for me.

Love Thee, Notre Dame