SP Intg 5: Prompt 1
One of my biggest fears about coming to Notre Dame was being radically different. I was concerned that I would be the only Indian in the room. I was almost certain that I would be the only Hindu in the room. I wasn’t sure how being surrounded by Catholics would affect my faith, but I decided that I would be fine as long as I worked to maintain my connection to my religion. I wasn’t sure how I would do this, but we decided to approach it by bringing items of religious importance to me.
So far, I believe we were right. I haven’t had any trouble maintaining my religion. Instead, I feel as though being surrounded people from different religions has helped me grow my connection to Hinduism. This can be attributed to a variety of factors. Many of my peers have been surrounded by other Catholics for most of their lives and have never met a Hindu before. Many of them have been curious about my religion and have asked about Hinduism. They have asked me questions that I have never considered before, and have prompted me to do further readings in one of Hinduism’s key texts, the Bhagvad Gita. Through these questions, I have gained a deeper understanding of my own religion.
My peers’ own strong connection to Catholicism has also prompted me to develop my connection to Hinduism. When many of my friends go to mass on Sunday, I stayed in my room and worked on my homework. I lived in an area without a place of worship for Hindus, so I never consistently went to pray outside of my home, and I felt out of place when my dorm was empty because of mass. Because of this, I began to take advantage of that time to read my Bhagvad Gita. The strong connection to Catholicism of Notre Dame students helped grow my knowledge of Hinduism indirectly.
I also took part in some of the prayer that my Catholic peers participated in, especially at the Grotto. I wasn’t sure if I should have done this when I came to Notre Dame, but I was surprised by my parents when we came for orientation. They both attended Catholic high schools and learned Catholic prayers, and they both lit candles at the Grotto. I don’t think it meant that they disavowed their belief in Hinduism – instead, I believe that they thought it was a place of spiritual significance. They found it comforting as I left home, and I look to it for comfort when I struggle as well even though I am a Hindu.
My experiences with Spirituality connect to the pillars of Mind and Zeal. I looked for new methods to grow my connection to Hinduism while being surrounded by members of another religion, and it took time and contemplation to find good methods to accomplish this. But I was never discouraged. I looked up to the strong belief my peers had in Catholicism and used it as motivation to grow my connection to Hinduism. I am certain that this will continue during my time at Notre Dame, and I hope I can further define my own spiritual identity while I am here.
The cover of the version of the Bhagavad Gita that I read
SP Intg 5: Prompt 2
My Math class takes up most of my free time. I spend a significant portion of my time outside of class working on the homework assignments. They can take me upwards of 8 hours, depending on the subjects we’re discussing in class. I can’t rush them, either, or my proofs won’t be good enough to submit. This, combined with my other classes, makes it difficult to find time to socialize outside of the time I specifically set aside to Skype and play games with my friends from high school. I try to go out with friends from classes, but I still don’t feel like I’m doing enough.
I’m not sure how to approach my dilemma without abandoning my other hobbies, so I’m looking at the problem from a different viewpoint I know that making friends and maintaining those friendships is heavily emphasized in a healthy lifestyle, but I feel okay even though I am not doing that. I have the support of my friends from back home, who help me through all of my troubles here even though they’re a little less than two thousand miles away. I also have good friends in my dorm, Keenan, that don’t seem to mind my hobbies and are willing to hang out with me when I do have time. While some may describe my lifestyle as unhealthy, I believe that my social life is perfectly fine. After all, I am content with it, and that’s all that matters.