Friday, July 10, 2015

To the bells of Notre Dame

Today we were scheduled for a tour of Notre Dame. I woke up early and then soon we all headed out to the Greyhound station. We had a little breakfast and then we boarded the bus to South Bend, Indiana.

The bus ride felt super long but thankfully the time passed quickly. I finally came to understand the "middle of nowhere" phrase, since, as we entered into Indiana, there were literally almost no houses and the ones that were there were really spread out. There was vegetation all around and I was a little concerned for a while since I didn't see anyone around.

The shiny golden dome.
Soon the bus arrived at the stop and we all boarded a taxi towards Notre Dame University. Arriving at the Notre Dame campus I was completely dazzled by the golden dome. Fun fact that I learned today is that the golden dome does have actually gold on it and that  the university changes the gold on the dome after some time and they actually sometimes line the diplomas with that old gold. The one thing I immediately noted about the campus was the huge Catholic influence. I already knew Notre Dame wasn't a Catholic university but I was expecting to see such a big influence. I would be lying if I didn't see that I felt a bit out of place seeing that I am not Catholic.

It's just so pretty and the butterflies look adorable.
Before the tour we had a presentation by Shannon Kelly, an alum. The presentation started out with a video giving a glimpse into the experiences of students in the university. Then Kelly talked a bit about the campus itself. I learned that the university has no sororities but instead all the dorms have their own colors and mascots. The dorms aren't coed instead there are 14 women dormitories and 15 men dormitories. I can definitely sense a nice and close dorm experience since for as long as you live on campus you live in the same form. I was surprised to know that all the dorms have a chapel and a rector or rectoress, who actually live in the dorm.

We learned about the different schools the university had to offer and it seemed like there was a healthy variety. For the admission process Notre Dame looks at your transcript taking in account all your specific school district. They have an acception rate of about 20 percent.

The football stadium.
The reflecting pool reflecting the beautiful mural.
Touchdown Jesus
Soon the tour guides came in and introduced themselves then we were all split up. Our tour guide was Dan, a current student. Sports in general, specifically american football seems to have a huge impact on campus. There is a large pride in the football team. We were told that on game day about 100,000 people show up but unfortunately only about 80,000 can fit in the famous Notre Dame stadium, which we didn't get to see. Also on game day people go all out and the school spirit is high. Apparently post-game celebrations include rolling around the fountain and the reflecting pool in front of touch down Jesus (which is the informal name of a mural).

The beautiful campus.
While taking the tour I got to appreciate all the beautiful scenery. The campus is gorgeous and pedestrian friendly. Most of the buildings had a gothic structure. I noticed that most of the buildings had some kind of religious statues on them and the catholic present was strong on campus. Catholicism is the dominant religion on campus and there are over 149 masses every day. We were also informed that masses aren't mandatory and there is definitely representation of various other religions.

Overall the tour was pretty great. I can definitely appreciate Notre Dame, I mean it's one of the top universities. I can also appreciate that even with being a religious school they are big on research.  But I feel like I might not be able to enjoy the full amazing Notre Dame since much of the community and campus is built around Catholicism. Another interesting thing I learned that Notre Dame University does not have the same pronunciation as the Notre Dame in the movie the hunchback of Notre Dame.

After the tour we got to eat on campus. The university generously gave us half off to get into the cafeteria. The cafeteria was really nice and spacious. The food was very diverse and was buffet style. 

After enjoying the awesome food we took a taxi and headed out to grab the greyhound bus back to Chicago. Finally we reached the hotel and since it is our last day at the hotel I am just going to kick back and relax.


  1. We knew that not all of your cohort was Catholic or even religious but we also knew that at the very least you had your own religion that was definitely not Catholic. Still, we chose to send you all to Notre Dame partly to see what you could bring back to your schools and community to tell them about a school like Notre Dame.

  2. Aisha - loved reading your blog. Your narrative voice is really starting to develop. Great photos.