Chizoma - Duru





Caution: Area Under Construction

Starting this new journey under the dome, what did I expect? Well, I expected to waltz into a new environment and fit in seamlessly with the culture. I anticipated having best friends by at least the first month and possessing the ability to juggle the pressures of university life as well as the characters I always watched on television shows. It was a great surprise when I found out that the movies about college students “living their best lives” weren’t as rosy, off-screen. 

I was here, constantly finding it taxing to break the ice past conversations of “What’s your name, where are you from, what’s your major”. I struggled to find a safe space with people that I could run to when times were tough. I pondered about the possibility of always being alone here, eventually drifting from my friends back home because of different realities, and having no one but my thoughts to keep me company. I was in a constant battle with myself, my differences, and anything else I could blame for my difficult adjustment. I soon realized that I needed to take a step back from the noise, and take in the beauty that Notre Dame had to offer.

Due to the numerous sources we engaged within our Moreau classes, from “Encountering Brokenness” to “Advice from a Lonely College student”, I was able to come to terms with the fact that a sense of home is not discovered in a month, a day or an hour. Home is built. The most conscious decision I made was to be patient with myself. I started going to more events, participating in extra-curriculars, and as organically as possible I began to build. I started to gain rhythm in a routine with work, a social life, as well as clubs and societies. I started constructing a home.
Additionally, these modules helped me realize that in my Notre Dame story, I needed to be no one, but myself. They aided in my navigation towards a positive way to lead my life as a black Nigerian woman in a predominantly white institution. They reminded me that I was different, and that wasn’t a bad thing. They taught me to be unapologetic about the beautiful things such as my accent, my culture, my nationality and so on, which made me unique. Instead of feeling insecure about the way I spoke, the experiences I was used to, and my perspectives on issues, I brought them to the table to contribute to the myriad of diverse perspectives that make Notre Dame, Notre Dame. I engaged in multicultural activities where people could discover the world through my eyes, and I could learn more through theirs. 
My life now? Well, I would describe it as a work in progress. I continue to build, grow and thrive. With me, as my own main character, I continue to gather the bricks, cement, and everything needed to construct a beautiful home, under the dome.