My ND Journey

Author: Randi McQueen

To be completely honest, I think my true “Notre Dame Journey” began the day I was born. There is even a picture of my grandma holding me for the first time, and she just happened to

Randi_Senior_HighschoolMe as a senior in high school ready to take on the world!

be wearing a Notre Dame sweatshirt to the hospital.


Being raised in Indiana, my family has always been a huge supporter of Notre Dame athletics. I think my parents began praising Notre Dame’s academic prestige before I even knew what a Bachelor’s degree was. Visions of leprechauns, sitting in the student section, and receiving my acceptance letter flooded my daydreams for years to follow.


By middle school, I was convinced I absolutely needed to go to Notre Dame, and I was not going to rest until I accomplished this goal. But so many people told me it was “impossible” to get accepted. It was hard listening to them, but I’m very proud of my younger self for blocking out the negativity!


In 8th grade, my English teacher paid me the biggest compliment that I will cherish forever. At a parent-teacher conference, she told my parents that if anyone could get in to Notre Dame, I had the determination and talent to make it happen. She was one of few people who took my lofty goals seriously, and her support gave me tremendous confidence in myself.


By the time I was in high school, I didn’t even score high enough on my placement exam to be in the “Honors” courses.  It was devastating to me. I thought I had already failed because I knew to get in to Notre Dame I had to take the highest level of courses to even be considered. 


So I took the initiative, set up a meeting with my counselor, and I decided to try out Honors English and World History. By sophomore year, my schedule was all Honors and AP classes, and I was doing well.


Badin HallI was in placed in Badin Hall as a freshman at ND

My primary extracurricular in high school was volleyball, both with my school team and with a competitive travel club team in the spring. This meant I was traveling to weekend-long tournaments 2-3 weekends a month. To finish my homework, I would have to break out my textbook between games sitting in the bleachers.  Some of my teammates and even their parents jokingly made fun of me for being “nerdy,” but I never let it get to my head.


During spring break of my senior year, I received a text from my mom that changed my life forever. I was accepted to Notre Dame! I was filled with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and joy.


Randi_Football PushupsMy first ND football game as a student. I even did touchdown push-ups!


Long story short, I think I'm proof that you don’t need to be born a genius to get accepted to your dream school. If you have a goal, whether it be getting into college, getting a specific job, or anything really, all it takes is an insatiable passion, hard work, and a TON of tenacity, falling down seven times and getting up eight. People will always be putting you down, and you’ll fail several times along the way, but one of the best feelings in the world is proving everyone else wrong :)