Iris - Choi





South Korea

The Start of a Marathon

Encountering discomfort 

Having moved from one continent to another, I thought the pool of people and personalities that I had interacted with in my seventeen years of life was fairly large. However, unlike my prediction, the people I met at Notre Dame turned out to exceed that pool I had known significantly; in fact, they overflowed it. My roommate who wears a hot pink suit from top to bottom gave me the impression of a real life Elle Woods from legally blond minus the blond hair. My other friend who plays the bagpipes and has the most insane experiences including when he had to kill a mink to survive on a deserted island was the definition of culture shock. However, after I got to know each person on a more personal level, I realized they all hold passion and potential to make an impact on the world. Each person I have met expanded my perspective and I’ve come to “cherish each relationship for its uniqueness, for the different perspectives and ideas it brought into my life” (“Advice from a Formerly Lonely College Student” by Emery Bergmann - Moreau FYE Week Nine).

Encountering failure

I’ve also encountered a lot of failure during my time here at Notre Dame. However, I was reminded that this is my first time at college and wondered “Where did the belief come from that we can never make mistakes?” (“Why Letting Go of Expectations is a Freeing Habit” by Julia Hogan-Werner - Moreau FYE Week Nine). This thought gave me courage and reminded me that it’s normal to make mistakes our first time, so it’s okay to stumble as long as we get up and keep going. I realized that what I should be afraid of is not falling down, but stopping.  

The challenges that have confronted me at Notre Dame have led me to become the better version of myself, while strengthening my belief in the power of dreams and imagination. While I’m still learning what works for me and what does not, I have a much better sense of it than before. For the first time, I’m on my own, yet for the first time, everything will be my own and my life will be my own and I have chosen to cherish it. Surrounded by so many people that are different from me, I got to know more about myself. I found that my tendency to care too much makes me vulnerable but that it is also one of my greatest strengths. I see that I embody, or should I say try to embody, my mother’s healthy, neat habits, my sister’s drive and confidence, and my father’s positivity, fearlessness, and creative thinking. I see how I am a product of the integration of the people that I’ve loved and grown up with during my life. I’m still searching for myself and navigating my dreams, but I can’t think of a better place that I could be doing it in.