Freshman Reflections About Coming to NDA

Reid Milton, Riley Onell, Madison Vincent

In the following reflections, three NDA freshmen show their apprehension, anticipation, and delight at being here.  The first is from Reid Milton, the second from Riley Onell and the third from Maddie Vincent.  The reflections come from an English class prompt about pre-conceived notions or expectations.

When I first decided I wanted to go to Notre Dame, I knew very little about it.  I came from a public school and only two other kids came to Notre Dame with me.  What I heard about Notre Dame from the biased public view is that there is a lot of drugs and all the kids are rich and ignorant.  From the sports side I was told we recruit kids from out of the state and sometimes even from different countries, all on scholarships, of course.  I was even told that if your GPA is below a 2.5 you would get recommended to transfer to another school.  In total, I really didn’t know what to expect from Notre Dame and didn’t know what it would expect from me.  

Now that my freshman year is almost over, I look back at what I used to think and laugh at myself.  The kids here are nice and even the mighty seniors are willing to help out the freshmen if needed.  As for the whole rich idea, you cannot tell the difference because of the uniforms.  They are definitely a pain to have, but after awhile you do not even notice them and they become a routine thing.  From the sports side of things I found it is illegal to give high school scholarships to middle-schoolers and that 90% of the kids are from right here in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  The other 10% are mostly foreign exchange student,s and some haven’t even heard of our American sports.  I did find out the hard way how hard and unforgiving the Notre Dame grading scale is, but, like the uniforms, you get used to it.  The 2.5 GPA thing is a hoax because if that were true I would know a lot of kids looking for a new school to transfer to.  Overall, I really did not know much about Notre Dame except about what other people had told me.  My preconceived notion was that Notre Dame made it a hard place to be a regular high school student.  Now that I have been here for a full year I realize it is a nice place to be.

                                                                                                                                      —Reid Milton

The moving truck rolled away with the thick black smoke following the truck. I took one last walk around my house in Toronto, Ontario, thinking about all of the memories I had made there. “This is really happening,” I thought to myself. I heard my mom call my name telling me it was time to go, and I ran out to the car. Our whole family was excited about the move to Green Bay except for me. I had lots of questions about it:  Do they even have hockey there? Are the kids going to be nice there? Doesn’t everyone just live on farms there? As we drove out of Toronto the buildings got smaller, and it seemed as if the grass was growing around us. In my mind I thought moving to Green Bay was going to be one of the worst things to ever happen to me, but it was quite the opposite. When we arrived to Green Bay, we were staying in a small temporary house because we were building one across town. I was worried about going to school after summer because it was a Catholic school, and I was not Catholic. I thought the kids would judge me because I wasn’t Catholic. What I found was very different. The kids at Notre Dame were very nice and honestly didn’t really care about your religion. I made lots of friends within the first couple of days, and everyone made it super easy to transition.

Another thing I was worried about was the hockey. Coming from Canada where hockey was everything, and the only thing people cared about, I wondered if the hockey would be good in Green Bay. I found that the school that I chose took hockey very seriously and was a very good team. The guys on the team were all very nice, and easy to talk to. One of the really cool things about it too was playing in front of the big crowds. Nothing beat playing on a Friday night with 2,000 people in the rink.

Overall I have found that Green Bay is very different than Toronto but in a good way. I live closer to my friends here and see them every day in school. I love my hockey team and enjoy playing with them. I think moving to Green Bay has made me a better, more experienced person. Now I am open to trying new things and facing new challenges. The move taught me to not judge something before you actually experience it, and I can’t wait to spend the next few years of my life here.                                                                                                                                                                                                          —Riley Onell

I thought high school was going to be what everyone tells you – hell. You expect it to be terrible, with the horror stories that they tell on what happens to them, and all the things that chase you around. You get pulled into these plausible situations that get you thinking, what is going to happen to me? Is that going to be me? They tell these stories to make you think of all the awful things that can come to you and how awful high school can really be. You enter into a big place with all these people you don’t know and you worry that you’re never going to make any friends. You think of all the situations that could possibly happen, get shoved in a locker, and forget your locker combination, and fall in the halls. As it turns out  – you always expect the worse. I thought about all the terrible that could possibly happen to me, and that made me think long and hard about how cautious I need to be. Just because I know myself very well, I would be that person, the one who always makes dumb mistakes and is embarrassing herself – the one who is known as “that freshman.” As the first couple of weeks came to an end and a few months had passed, I realized that I had really doubted the whole idea of high school. Sure, the classes are challenging and it’s difficult to put yourself out there, but as soon as you get the hang of it you think about how wrong everyone was, and how I was wrong for doubting myself and believing them. The new experiences have been challenging and fun. I have made a variety of new friends who have the same interests as me. You don’t have to believe everything you’re told because it’s not always true, and you can’t doubt yourself because you are the one who gets to make it as good as you want it to be. People aren’t always right about what they think. It is different for all people. High school does have its difficulties, but so far as a freshman, I have really liked all the experiences that I’ve been given.

                                                                                                                     –Madison Vincent