I am probably not the first to say it to you, and I will not be the last. But I have to say it, "Welcome Home."
This is a huge accomplishment!
The college application process gets more rigorous every year, and you were accepted to one of the most prestigious universities in the country. First, I want you to stop, take a deep breath, and take a moment to pat yourself on the back. YOU accomplished this, all of the hard work that YOU put in brought you to this point. You are a worthy member of the Fighting Irish now!
The University of Notre Dame can be a home for every student on campus, but that home does not look the same for everyone. There is no single Notre Dame experience. While we all are a family, we are all unique. This is your home for at least the next four years, and you deserve to be comfortable. Find people who share your interests, whether it be where you are from, your favorite color, or literally anything else.
The entire college thing is really scary. For most of you, this will be the first time you are living away from home. You will be separated from your family and friends, but fret not. It is all a part of growing up, and there is no better place to do that than the University of Notre Dame! Here, there is a huge population of upperclassmen, faculty, and staff who want to see you succeed, and who are more than happy to help.
I cannot lie to you, it is not always going to be sunshine and rainbows. There may be some late nights, failed tests, and spilled coffee, but that is also a part of growing up. You will be handling some of these obstacles without your parents, but there are always other students going through the same thing, and they will be living in your dorm, in your classes, and in your clubs. Here at Notre Dame, we struggle together, but we also thrive together.
There may be a time when you get homesick, but remember there is an abundance of people ready to help. Whether you need to clear your head at the Grotto, or scream with 30 other people in front of the library, there is something for everyone. If you are having a hard time finding someone to talk to, whether it be a professional at the UCC, your rector, or your roommate, this is a place for you to learn and live. And we all want you to be happy here.
You have so much to be excited about! From meeting your roommate, going to football games, making new friends, or playing frisbee on South Quad, there is so much this campus has to offer beyond the classroom. While you should be getting excited about college, try to enjoy the moment you are in right now because the only way is forward.
I want to leave you with one final, "congratulations"! We are all so proud of you and cannot wait to meet you.