Almost exactly four years ago, on March 19th, 2019, my family and I crowded around the desktop computer. I had just driven home early from my after school orchestra rehearsal so I could be with my parents and brother when I would click the link that could potentially change my life forever. I was wearing the green, slightly small Notre Dame sweatshirt that my great aunt had given me a few years prior when I had visited her and my great uncle on campus, while my family was equally decked out in their accumulated Notre Dame apparel.
Once the clock struck 6:42pm, I shushed my surrounding family and refreshed my browser one last time. An update had arrived in my application portal. With shaking hands, I opened up my application decision. The moment that I saw the beautiful golden dome appear on my screen, I broke down into a fit of tears and screams (along with the rest of my family). I was hugged first by my mother, and then by my brother and my father, and the feelings of shock, excitement, joy, relief, and gratitude all overtook me. I was so grateful to be surrounded by my family that had supported me and loved me through my entire life, and to be able to celebrate this momentous occasion with the people that helped me get to that point.
Even almost four years later, above all, I can recall the overwhelming sense of gratitude that I felt upon being accepted to Notre Dame (and it probably helps that my mother loves to replay the video that I took of my decision reaction on a frequent basis). I am still forever grateful that I was granted the opportunity to forge my own path at a university that would challenge me to be the best version of myself.
For those that opened their screens to find the glimmering golden dome tonight, welcome home. In this momentous occasion, you may not remember exactly what you were wearing or what exactly you were doing. You will, however, remember the emotions that you are feeling and the ones that you celebrate with. We are so excited to welcome you to this incredible Notre Dame community.