Joseph - Tunney





Saginaw, Michigan

To Know, Love, and Follow

Notre Dame has afforded me so many blessings. I have met so many people with entirely different experiences, upbringings, and beliefs than mine. In addition, Notre Dame has prompted me to take a hard look inward on my root beliefs that make up the core of who I am. This has allowed me to grow in knowledge, faith, and love during my first semester. I hope to continue this growth through sharing formative experiences with friends and classmates. 

The Congregation of the Holy Cross’s founder, Blessed Basil Moreau, called education “a work of the Resurrection,” in that we go through hardship in study and our duties in order to emerge as more knowledgeable, loving, and empathetic people. At Notre Dame, my education is most certainly a work of the Resurrection. My classes are challenging, and the questions they raise go past the surface and challenge you to your core beliefs. One of the first questions you answer in Foundations of Theology is the question of “What does it mean to be human?”

These beliefs are also frequently challenged outside of the classroom. Growing up, I went to a small Catholic school to which I credit my foundation in faith and education. However, I did not have many opportunities to engage with many people who were different from me. When I showed up to classes on the first day, I was in shock of how people came to Notre Dame from all over the world. I realized that Notre Dame was going to allow me to grow in ways I hadn’t envisioned. This has helped to introduce and define a new root belief in my life, that we all have much more in common compared to what separates us. This belief helps illuminate my interactions with everyone during a key transitional period in my life. These interactions have given me the knowledge that I can get along with anyone.

During my time at Notre Dame, I’ve had times where I feel inadequate or alone. Paradoxically, in those moments I realize that we all need others to help us. For me, just talking with someone I trust often makes me feel a lot better. I also have begun to take time out of each day for prayer. This has been a centering experience for my day and has allowed me to build deeper relationships with God and others. Whether it is prayerful reading, participating in the Mass, or silent reflection, prayer allows me to take a step back from the frantic pace of college life and appreciate where I am. It strengthens my faith, which I strive to let illuminate all of my decisions.  At Notre Dame I want to continue to develop as a student, deepen my relationships with others through enriching conversation and to know, love, and follow God through my faith. Notre Dame has transformed me personally, spiritually and academically.