If you have ever done any research on how housing at Notre Dame works, you’ll find that we do things a little differently here. Rather than having Greek life, we have dorm life. Our 32 single-sex dorms house residents ranging from freshman to seniors and have community bonds that would rival any sorority or fraternity.
With hall governments, charity signature events, dances, merch, interhall athletics, and more (all of which is completely up to you on how you want to get involved), you’ll find that most Domers will cite their dorms as their favorite part of their Notre Dame experience. I myself am a proud resident of Johnson Family Hall and could not be more in love with the Valkyries that I get to share my home under the dome with. However, this was not always the case.
I started my time at Notre Dame in the fall of 2020 which, as I believe you all remember, was in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. 2020 was also the first year Johnson was open as a dorm. As you might imagine, building a dorm community in a time in which we were supposed to limit community spread was nearly impossible. While our hall staff and residents tried to make the most of the situation, I found myself struggling with feeling at home at Johnson. What made it harder was watching so many of my friends from other dorms fall in love with where they lived. By the end of my freshman year, I was ready to transfer into a new dorm community. Thankfully, I decided not to do this and give Johnson another chance.
Now living in Johnson for the third year in a row and serving as the Vice President of our hall community, I could not be happier to have been placed in Johnson. I attend almost every event that Johnson hosts and have continued to meet so many incredible people that I never would have had the chance to meet had it not been for Johnson.
Being randomly assigned into a dorm community is challenging, especially when you have such high expectations for how things will go. It is especially hard when you are struggling to feel at home all while watching your friends thrive. If this is you at any point, take the risk and give your dorm another shot. Like me, you’ll find that the people who are in your dorm are there because they love their dorm and want to make all feel welcome. Despite my initial struggles, I have found my best friends, all because I decided to stay.