What Notre Dame helps teach us is the incredible strength of community and family. Although I come from a close-knit family, I've never experienced anything quite like the family that exists at ND. My life will be forever changed because as I define myself as a Domer, I will always share a bond with this University and with the tens of thousands of alumni around the world. Though I've always been an ND fan, it was not until I became a student that I began to recognize anything ND related. Now, whenever I am away from campus/South Bend and see someone wearing Fighting Irish gear, I feel a sense of pride in knowing that I attend this amazing university.
As the song goes, "Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone," I believe my appreciation for Notre Dame grows when I leave campus. Getting "out of the bubble" helps you understand just how special of a place Notre Dame truly is. It struck me while I was walking around Midway Airport on my way home for Thanksgiving. The community, the Catholic character, the academics and the athletics that we might take for granted hit you much deeper when you realize that this incredible combination of qualities just might not exist anywhere else in the world.
Above all the rankings, accolades and prestige, what truly makes Notre Dame a special place are the people. The rectors, professors, classmates, and roommates help foster the tremendous sense of community that exists at Notre Dame. There is no doubt in my mind that dozens of other colleges and universities can provide many of the same academic challenges and resources that ND students are blessed with. But perhaps what they cannot provide is this sense of community that exists at ND. From dorm masses to section dinners to interhall athletics, the ND family is what I love most about attending this small, private, Catholic university in Northern Indiana.
Baseball Hall of Famer and New York Yankees legend Joe DiMaggio once said, "I'd like to thank the good Lord for making me a Yankee." I am a Red Sox fan through and through, but on this Thanksgiving weekend I'd like to steal one from DiMaggio and I'd like to thank the good Lord for making me a Domer.