Class Year: 2026
Hometown: Dublin, Ohio
Watching the Snow Fall from the Hayes-Healy Skywalk
Over Thanksgiving break, I read a novel, Anxious People by Fredrik Backman, that almost perfectly summed up the philosophies I have been attempting to verbalize this semester. In Moreau and in my God and the Good Life class, I have been challenged to reflect on my view of life. What do I want? What am I looking for? What do I think it means to live a good life? It has been a lot harder than I expected.
I have isolated some of my beliefs. I believe that failure is not the end. I believe that humans are called to serve each other. I believe that we all can make a difference in the world. But there were moments where that did not feel like enough. In the face of philosophers like Socrates and Aristotle, my simple belief that the purpose of life is to help others did not seem complicated or impressive enough. After reading Anxious People, however, I realized that my philosophies do not have to be grandiose to be true and meaningful. Backman gets that, in the end, we are all idiots who want to love and be loved, and that, while we might not be able to save everyone, we do need to save the ones we can. It is as simple as that.
Readings and discussions in Moreau have complemented this realization. My belief that failure is not the end has strengthened and expanded to a realization that the thing about failure not being the end is that, for it to really not be the end, there needs to be a second chance. There has to be an opportunity for redemption. We can sometimes find those second chances ourselves, but part of loving others means giving them second chances. It means seeing that shared humanity in them and saying, “Hey, I get it. You messed up, but we all do. It’s going to be okay.” Just as we are loved and forgiven in spite of our failures and imperfections, we need to love and forgive. At Notre Dame, as silly as it sounds, I succeed and fail in community. Our parents are no longer as easily accessible, so, when we need a shoulder to cry on, my friends and I turn to each other. It is through love and service that we work together to make sure that no failure is the end.
While my previous beliefs have been solidified this semester, a new one has emerged. I firmly believe that, while life might be sad and hard and so, so confusing, it is beautiful. It is beautiful that someone on the third floor of Jordan plays a concerto on the piano when I walk into my chem lecture on Fridays. It is beautiful that there is an ivy-covered courtyard in the middle of Hayes-Healy and a glass-enclosed walkway above it that is the best place to watch snow fall at night. In Anxious People, it is beautiful that, despite the imperfections and miscommunications, people keep trying and loving. So yes, life is hard. Yes, life sucks sometimes, but those moments of beauty make it worthwhile, and those moments of beauty need to be shared. I cannot wait for the next snow, so I can drag my friends to Hayes-Healy’s walkway and watch the flurries fall.
I am writing my own story with my own cast of characters, but I hope it has a similar ending to Fredrik Backman’s. I hope to apply what I have learned about failure and love, so that my failures and my friends’ failures can lead to something beautiful. I hope to continue to see the beauty in life in things both broken and intact. Most importantly, I hope to serve everyone that I can by giving second chances, supporting my friends and family, and sharing the beauty that makes life so wonderful.