Grass and Reflections

Author: Aaron Collier


"Home," that's a word that is pretty ambiguous if you ask me. I grew up in several areas along the east coast and now reside in the Midwest; so I’m really not sure where home is for me. This fall break, I got the opportunity to return to a place that most people would refer to as “home” - the place where my family is, more specifically my immediate family. It was far more surreal than I could ever expect. Being "home" for a few short days made the past nine weeks feel like they never occurred, as if it were all a dream.

I arrived in Orlando on Monday and spent the entire day talking with my mother and watching our beloved show “Arrow” on Netflix, as we did before I moved to ND. It was magical. Then Tuesday came. I spoke at my high school’s Christian Club meeting, the group called “First Priority,” then taught choreography to the Dance Club after school. A very busy day that was when it all went a bit sour as I found out that I’m allergic to grass…

Apparently, the move to ND was a very positive one for my health. The many pollens that circulate through the air in Florida are apparently not the best thing for me healthwise. So being outside coupled with an entirely unexpected reaction that I had to some energy drink that I tried for the first time landed me in the hospital for a night. Lucky me.

This hospital visit, thanks to my newly discovered allergy to grass, threw my entire week off. As a result, I was unable to go through with all of my plans. Instead, I spent the remainder of the week attached to my living room couch (I almost forgot how amazing Netflix was). This allowed me to think a great deal about the preceding nine weeks of my life and how I was dealing with the changes that came to be because I had chosen to attend college. It’s been tough for me: my family is a twenty-five hour drive away and Notre Dame has a way of keeping me extremely busy twenty-four-seven. The classes are certainly challenging, time management is a skill I realize that I do not yet have, and I have many extracurricular activities that I am involved with that demand my attention. Naturally, I want to be proficient in all of these areas, but I’ve come to realize that it may not always be possible. There are times where I need to fail in one area so that I may grow in others; and I have to be okay with that. In order for this experience to truly be holistic as Notre Dame desires, I have to be able to adapt and bend in some areas in order to get all that I can out of it. In some ways my allergic reaction was a massive setback, but in others I was grateful to have this time to reflect, otherwise I doubt that I would have reflected. And it's all thanks to grass.