LoveND: Falling For Extracurriculars

Author: Mario Ojadi


I was very introverted during my first year at Notre Dame.

I kept to myself, for the most part, and was very focused on my academics. It didn't help that my classes had an almost unrealistic amount of work for a college freshman to do. However, if you go through college only completing the required academic classwork and homework, you will have wasted the phenomenal learning opportunities placed before you.

I am a huge believer that the majority of learning takes place outside of the academic sphere. Because of this, I knew that I had to break out of my shell to open the door to real learning. 

In my second semester of freshman year, I got involved with section sports. Every dorm is split into sections, usually by floor and/or side of the dorm. In my hall, Keenan, sections are called by floor number and side, i.e., 1-North or 3-West. These sections play one another in fierce tournaments dubbed "section football" and "section basketball." Willing members of each section join forces and form a team, storming Stepan fields or Moreau basketball courts for battle. 

Despite our competitiveness, this environment was how I began expanding my college experience past the classroom and the first avenue by which I started making new friends. I am grateful for the Keenan brothers that I have had the privilege of playing against and alongside. Since my freshman year, I've continued section sports whenever I could throughout my four years here!


Fast forward to the first semester of my sophomore year.

A friend of mine informed me of an organization that catered especially to black men on campus and I decided to investigate it further. It didn’t take long for me to join the Wabruda. The Wabruda is an organization based upon the brotherhood among African Americans. We are focused on intellectual elevation, communal interaction, and faith in God. 

I made some of my best friends through Wabruda. It was so enlightening to meet like-minded individuals who had the same goals that I did, who aspired to be more. The Wabruda became my family away from home and pushed me toward embracing leadership roles on campus and among my peers. Our weekly discussions about current events broadened my perspective on so many controversial ideas and topics. I am forever grateful for my involvement in the club and I hope to stay connected long after graduation.


On to My Junior Year

Now, to the first semester of my junior year. I had long since broken out of my shell and was now seeking to extend my learning outside of campus entirely. 

I began to tutor at the Robinson Community Learning Center (RCLC) of Notre Dame in South Bend. I spent the majority of my time tutoring fourth- through sixth-graders. Despite my role as tutorer, I firmly believe that the kids I tutored taught me just as much as I taught them. I was so grateful to have been able to motivate and inspire the young people at RCLC. I love that I was able to learn patience and regain some of the childhood joy that one inevitably loses as life becomes more serious.

I truly love that Notre Dame provides so many different avenues through their vast array of extracurricular activities and organizations through which one can make new friends, form new families, and develop physically, mentally, and spiritually.