I am a firm believer in celebrating everyone you love on Valentine’s Day, whether it be your significant other, your best friends, your siblings, or anyone else special to you. To me, it is a special time to give thanks for all of the forms of love in my own life. It’s a way of warming our hearts during the coldest winter month.
As a second-semester senior at Notre Dame, most things I experience now are "my last” as a student, this Valentine’s Day included. As a result, it has motivated me to reflect on all of the different ways I have felt loved and valued as part of the Notre Dame community.
From the moment my parents and I drove onto campus to Badin Hall for the very first time during Freshmen Welcome Weekend, I immediately felt at home. I was warmly greeted by over a dozen dancing and singing upperclassmen who carried my oversized luggage up 2 flights of stairs without a hint of hesitation. Throughout the weekend, this group of Badin women was there for each of us freshmen, and I couldn’t be more thankful for their guidance.
After adjusting to life on campus and developing friendships in the dorm, I decided to take the next step in my spiritual life by getting confirmed. Initially, I was taken aback because the program at Notre Dame requires all of those receiving the sacrament to have an on-campus sponsor. I felt guilty asking any of my new friends on campus to make that sort of commitment to weekly meetings just months into freshman year. Luckily, a small group of upperclassmen volunteered themselves to be sponsors for people in my position. I was paired with a junior, and I was so inspired by the zeal she possessed for her faith and her passion to guide me along my spiritual journey.
While four years have passed since my freshman year at Notre Dame, I have since deepened many relationships. Even though many of my closest friends have graduated and moved to all corners of the US, I was happily surprised to see many of them via group FaceTime on my birthday in January. Catching up with them and hearing them sing “Happy Birthday” to me was probably the highlight of my day.
After experiencing so many different kind gestures rooted in love from friends, acquaintances, and even strangers at Notre Dame, I am inspired to give back that kindness to all of those around me this Valentine’s Day.