I only see my friends at weddings and other young alumni struggles


Elle Metz

Young Alumni Programs Manager

My friends, Nathan and Elizabeth, got married this weekend. He is a Notre Dame young alum, and she is a St. Mary’s grad. They wed in her hometown of Houston, TX, and as you can imagine, there were numerous ND people in attendance. It was beautiful. The wedding served as a reunion for my friend group. We loved it, but it was bittersweet. One friend called the weekend “a tease.” It was a wonderful reminder of the amazing friendships we forge at Notre Dame, but it was not nearly enough. It wasn’t our life at Notre Dame, seeing each other every single day, and anything short of that could not be satisfactory. Life changes though, and we were just thankful we were able to witness the intense love and happiness of our newlywed friends. It was a blessing to share in their day. We got to talking about how it felt like a moment ago that we were graduating.

Each one of us has struggles that we are dealing with – romantic relationships, job complaints, living situations. Being with my closest friends again, the people that know me best, I was struck by how easy it is to lose yourself when your loved ones are not there to give you perspective. For four years, these people were my supporters and soul mates – they regulated me, they reminded me who I was and nudged me in the right direction when I got off track. When you take that away, it’s very easy to get lost. And each of us are a little bit. We’re still transitioning and trying to figure out how to navigate. It isn’t that we don’t love our lives. It’s just that things are still so new. The real world and all that. We’re all trying to figure it out on our own, and it would be so much easier to do it together. Maybe that is just part of growing up though. Maybe you have to learn to remind yourself who you are rather than have other people do it for you.

Ok I’m getting deep here, and I promise I had a point when I first started this post. I wanted to focus on a particular young alum struggle that I’ve heard a lot about in recent weeks: creating the faith life that you want. It is a struggle. We are blessed at Notre Dame to have so many resources available to us – chapels in every dorm, the ability to attend mass in our PJs with our best friends, campus ministry, the CSC, etc. When we leave ND, it is difficult to recreate that. Check out what ND Masters of Divinity student Katie Quinlivan ’14 has to say about the process here. If you’re looking for some more guidance, particularly for our female young alumni, check out Emily Thompson ’12‘s faith blog. She and her sister, Caroline Thompson ’14, honestly tackle everyday faith issues here.

All in all, we young alums (and all alums) are lucky to have the Notre Dame Family to rely on. No matter what struggle you may face, your Notre Dame Family members are there to help you through it. Even if you only see them at weddings these days.

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