The Halfway Point

Author: Ellie Villaruz

As I looked at my Google Calendar and noticed that there were a few weeks left until the end of sophomore year, I have such mixed feelings. While I cannot wait to finish up with my current classes, enjoy the nice weather, and start my summer job… I feel somewhat scared by the fact that I am nearly halfway through my college career. But I guess I’m 20 (wow), and have to face the music that I’m almost in the real world. Here are my reflections at this point.

Ellie Villaruz with friends at a Notre Dame home football game, posing in stadium.

What I’ll Miss:


The Beginning

I will never forget my first month at Notre Dame. While it’s stressful trying to figure out where all of your classes are, how to get food at the dining hall, and how to use your student ID to access the gym to workout, nothing will compete with the novelty of experiencing Notre Dame as a student for the first time. I loved meeting all sorts of new people, both those who lived next to me and those who lived across campus. Everyone came from different places, had different majors, and were excited for different things– but everyone was ready to be a student at Notre Dame and take advantage of all the opportunities ND offers. Enjoy every “first” (SYR, football game, late night studying in the library, successful group project, snowball fight etc). I wish I could go back to that point in time and tell my past self to just make memories and chill, it will all work out.


On Campus Living

The dorm system is something extremely unique to Notre Dame. As most people stay in their randomly assigned dorm for all six semesters of their living requirement, you begin to identify with your dorm and all the people in it. I will miss the rush of Welcome Weekend where your defining characteristic is essentially your dorm. To all future ND students, soak in every moment of Welcome Weekend and get involved with all of the dorm opportunities provided to you. I was able to serve as the Wellness Commissioner for PE (my dorm) this past year, and loved planning events for all Pyros and attending events put on by other commissioners. I only have one semester left in the dorm and will miss the convenience of being steps away from the Library, Starbucks, and all of my classes. I’m excited to live off campus and go abroad, but will miss the community and support of Pasquerilla East Hall.



Your first two years of college are quite literally designed for you to explore anything that might interest you, in every sense. Even as a business major, I took a class called Radioactivity & Society last fall because I watched Oppenheimer over the summer and thought radioactivity was super cool! Two weeks ago, I went to the Hawaiian Club’s annual Luau and watched my peers showcase their amazing culture that is different from mine, but extremely beautiful. I joined my dorm’s interhall flag football team freshman fall and played flag football for the first time in my life! Your first two years are for exploring, and though the exploring doesn’t have to stop, the freedom you have is inexplicable. Just say “Yes!”


What I’m Looking Forward To:


Going Abroad

Next Spring, I will be spending my semester studying in Rome, Italy. I am extremely excited by this opportunity and cannot wait to continue my Notre Dame education in a completely different country. I have already started planning all of my trips both within Italy and across Europe, especially visiting my friends who are abroad in other countries! I’ve been taking Italian language classes for the past two semesters (Ciao!) and am anxious to immerse myself in Italian culture. I cannot wait for this transformative experience and figure out if All Roads Truly do Lead to Rome!


Academic Opportunities

As you advance in your Notre Dame academic career, you take more and more specific classes for your major. While I may not have loved Principles of Microeconomics my first semester at ND or Foundations of Coding last spring, I am glad I have some sort of knowledge on these subjects. However, I have enjoyed my upper level business classes much more such as Human Centered Design Entrepreneurship and Business, Climate, and Econ Ethics. These classes have been challenging in a different way, and are more specific to my major and what I want to do in the future. I cannot wait to get even more niche and specific in the classes I can take such as my plan to take Audit & Assurance Services next fall which is perfectly applicable to my internship in the Summer of 2025. Notre Dame is such an academically diverse school, and I’m looking forward to continuing to take advantage of these academic opportunities while I still have the chance.



I cannot believe I only have two football seasons left in the student section for Notre Dame football games. There’s something about getting up extremely early on a Saturday morning to get ready with all of your friends, dress in your best ND gear, and spend the whole day participating in festivities to cheer on the Irish. Nothing compares to the feeling of listening to the woman sing “Here Come The Irish… of Notre Dame” and seeing the football players run through the tunnel. We are one team, we are the Fighting Irish. I want time to slow down, I want to spend the rest of my life in that student section. But I can’t, and I think it’d be weird to see a 50 year old Ellie in the student section, so I guess I’ll settle for the two seasons I have left and make the most of them.


Overall, it is just crazy to me that I am halfway through my college career. I feel like somehow I was a first year student just yesterday, but have also been a Notre Dame student for five years. College is a weird kind of time warp, but writing this blog has just reminded me that I need to live every moment to the fullest.