Gino - Santini





Bartlett, IL

Growing for Others at Notre Dame

Unlike many of my peers, I was not particularly excited about my start to college.  Although proud, appreciative, and certain that Notre Dame would be the place where I would feel at home, I struggled with anxiety and a sense of homelessness in the weeks leading up to my arrival on campus.  I feared that I would not build relationships like I had at home. I feared I would not find a field of study leading to a career that would excite me. I feared that I would be unsuccessful as a college student. These irrational thoughts stuck in my head even as I arrived for Welcome Weekend. Of course, the coordinated events helped raise my excitement and feel a strong sense of love and community, but my prior thoughts of anxiety stayed in the back of my mind forcing a lack of willingness to be vulnerable. Thinking back on this mental state it is enlightening to see how far I've grown as a friend, a student, and as a child of God. Over the course of the semester, the previous thoughts have still arisen in situations of stress; however,  my adaptiveness and willingness to learn in and out of the classroom have allowed me to better discover my passions, reaffirm and contemplate my core values, and push myself to take large leaps of faith. 

The greatest cause of my anxiety prior to and at the start of college was a lack of understanding of career paths that align with my passions. I have goals to innovate the world around me by helping others in a profound way. It’s hard for me to pinpoint a career field that I want to enter and I get a rush of anxiety regarding the matter each and every time somebody asks me, and in college, this is quite often. Early in the semester, I began attending events at Notre Dame’s IDEA Center. I had never before felt such a strong feeling of excitement as I did when I began to learn from people who were able to transform the lives of themselves and others in such a significant way.  This is what helped me form the core belief that I can help the growth of others through my own growth. Father Basil Moreau made it clear that it is our duty as members of the Notre Dame community to “contribute to preparing the world for better times than our own.”  I have learned that in order to truly fulfill my passion, and live a life that is righteous in the eyes of God, I must take every day to help improve or progress the lives of others. By living for others and creating a tangible force of change in this world I will be able to eliminate irrational thoughts of anxiety and homelessness, just as I was able to do in my first semester at Notre Dame.