Family From The Start

Author: Emma Fleming

During the summer of 2013, to say I was nervous would’ve been an understatement. Notre Dame had always felt like home, so why would I be nervous about transferring? Transferring had brought forth an amazing period of growth for me as a student and as a heart-beating human. As a student, transferring reminded me the gifts of persistence and dedication. It gave me a year to understand that my academic abilities were going to be a gift to whatever college I attended. This was a year to build a greater confidence in myself as a student and person to recognize that, although being a student at Notre Dame is an incredible honor, I was also going to contribute so much to the University as well.

Still though, I was nervous!

Then, I received an email from a girl identifying herself as my “transfer mom.” Full of exclamation marks and positivity, this email calmed me instantly. As transfers, we were not guaranteed housing, thus making the Transfer Orientation Process unique. Waving aside this obstacle, the weekend flawlessly linked both on-campus and off-campus students. Instead of being introduced as new students through dorms, we were brought together in groups deemed “families”.

Our families became our first friends. Our “parents” were our go-tos for anything we needed; instantly making things like registering for classes, navigating the dining halls, and getting through the first few weeks as a new kid a bit less stressful.

Though it’s been almost two years now, I still am in close contact with my transfer mom, a senior who turned out to be in my dorm! She shows me just how amazing it is to be a transfer while never diminishing the fears and doubts with coming to be the “new kid.” Though the first year at Notre Dame is amazing, the gift truly came from the struggle. By explaining to people that I was a transfer, I had to recognize the initial rejection I received from Notre Dame as a senior in high school. I had to say, “I was wait listed, then rejected,” constantly reminding myself of the “no” I had once received. From this, I struggled with doubts of academic confidence and ownership of my place on campus.

However, through the love of my transfer mom, transfer community, and the Notre Dame family overall, I was able to see how much I treasured both my former and current colleges. My formation of a compassionate heart and a curious mind was made that much more special experiencing the transfer process with two amazing schools. Through the use of the transfer families, I was given that foundation of guidance and love necessary to thrive in my unique path as a student here at Notre Dame. Through this journey, all of my support networks helped me recognize that we truly are all family here from the start.