Grace - Leeson





Corpus Christi, TX

Enlightenment and Adventure

I believe that you are born with a family, but a family can also be created. Although I have only been at Notre Dame for a semester, I have never been a part of such a unique community – one full of kindheartedness and devotion. Familial relationships cannot be established without failures or bonded through successes. The people I have met have enhanced my worldview and taught me to celebrate one another while being a pillar of support.

Before deciding on a college, I had always heard Notre Dame students’ answer to the question “What’s the best thing about Notre Dame?” be “the people” without hesitation. I had always thought that was a cliche answer that didn’t have a genuine meaning. However, within the first couple of weeks, I realized the truth in this statement. My birthday was early on in the school year and I was not very excited about it – it was the first big event away from my family and I felt I didn’t have enough close friends to celebrate it with. However, to my surprise, some of my friends I had recently met decorated my door and organized a beautiful surprise dinner for me. One of my friends even texted my mom to find out my favorite dessert, just to bring some sense of home to my birthday. Sitting on my dorm’s patio, with all the treats and food they got, made me realize just how special the people are at Notre Dame. Everyone is rooted in love and generosity, searching for ways to better people's lives, like minimizing loneliness, through everyday actions. 

Additionally, throughout the semester I learned that it is okay to fail and to offer support to those who are struggling. After not doing as well as I wanted on my first couple of calculus tests, I was overwhelmed with feelings of imposter syndrome. It was exactly what I was intimidated about when I was making my college decision – that I would not be good enough compared to others at Notre Dame. I soon realized I was not alone as almost everyone I have talked to has related to these new and uncomfortable feelings of unworthiness since they have gotten to school. Perfection is simply unrealistic. As I mentioned my worries to one of my friends she said, “Let’s take a step back and look at where we are. You have to give yourself credit for how you got here.” These words of support stuck with me and motivated me. We all relate to the sacrifices made leading up to this moment. The journey throughout college will be one that is worthwhile and unforgettable due to the abundance of support and love.

Throughout my first semester, I have learned so many lessons through the people I have met. The struggles and successes everyone faces connect with the idea discussed in my Moreau class that “the good, the bad, the ugly, all of that — it has made them this beautiful, dynamic, interesting person that they are today. And that that person is worth celebrating and honoring.” In the future, I will continue to learn from my peers to live out the Notre Dame mission of being a force for good and putting my love into action.