You may have heard that here at Notre Dame the residence halls are like families. Everyone lives together, eats together, and goes to Mass together. However, I want to expand the sense of Notre Dame family beyond the dorms. I want to spend some time talking about clubs. Well, life at ND can be much more than just your roommates; my real family is my team.
I spend most of my free time practicing with ND triathlon. We have practices everyday and usually go to South Dining Hall right after to eat and regain energy before the long nights in the library. My favorite moment at Notre Dame so far was last semester when we drove over 1,400 miles to represent Our Lady’s University in the Collegiate National Championship in Clemson, South Carolina. This experience was absolutely unbelievable. Not only did we compete at the same level of some tri varsities (triathlon varsity teams) and clubs from all 50 states, but we also spent time together as a team, as a family. Having a team once again has a pinch of nostalgia for me since I have always been part of a sports team - that is definitely something that I missed the first couple of months my freshman year. I needed a rigid schedule of practices, races to prepare for, and, even more importantly, a group of people that have similar interests. The lack of it made me get close to the feared "freshman 15", and furthermore, I felt lonely, lost, and wondered if I made the right decision of coming all the way here for college.
When I fist signed up during Activities Night, I barely knew how to swim and certainly wasn’t even close to being able to swim a mile without stopping. I knew some stuff about cycling, but I didn’t have a bike. The only thing I had with me was my track & field legs and knowledge. The team members were the ones that made me learn how to swim, improve my cycling, and love the most beautiful sport in the world.
I didn’t fall in love with my club just because I was back in shape. Overall, I was actually feeling healthier. I was saner, less stressed and my grades went up immediately. I fell in love with my club because I met people with similar interests, with similar goals. I met some crazy students that enjoy swimming, cycling, and running more than most (sometimes too much). With the time unknown goofballs became friends, and those friends became family.
Now, don’t think that you too must be doing sports to find your family here at Notre Dame. We have clubs for everyone, whatever you can imagine. Clubs dedicated to culture, religion, states, music, food, science fiction, politics, service, academic fields of all kinds, literally anything you can think of.