FA Cap 3: Prompt 1
A few months ago, I felt as though if my time at Notre Dame was completely monotonous. I was stuck in a cycle of class, eat, homework, sleep. My life was dull, but I wasn’t too sure as to why I felt that way at the time. I went to a variety of campus events when they were offered, exercised regularly, and I was doing well in my classes. I had no reason to feel upset or bored, but I couldn’t help feeling this way. The only thing I was lacking in my schedule was time for video games, my favorite pastime when I was home.
I decided to toss aside this hobby because of the intensity of my classes; I felt as though I did not have time to play games due to the time my homework required. As a result, I cut myself off from games entirely. I replaced this hobby by forcing myself to participate in more social activities that I would usually try to avoid – events like parties and game watches. I attempted to do this for more than a month, but I still felt bored and uncomfortable – I realized that these social events weren’t for me.
It was around this time that I received an invitation to participate in the Minecraft Challenege by Arnel Bulaoro, director of Notre Dame’s Office of Multicultural Student Programs and Services. Arnel asked for three students from the Building Bridges Program to participate, and I was incredibly excited for the opportunity. I never thought that I would be able to play video games in college with an actual purpose. I managed to secure myself a spot, and I downloaded the game for the first time in over 4 years. I had no idea what I was doing, but I was excited to play.
The tournament consisted of building a structure based on the specifications of a group of judges (the children of professors at Notre Dame). They would watch us build the requested building and then decide on the winner based on the quality of the creation and the extent to which it fit the requirements. I was incredibly excited after reading through Arnel’s memo about it before the actual event – even more so than the child judges that were attending. My excitement reached a zenith when the structure that we were required to build was revealed – a Haunted House, fitting of October and Halloween.
The competition was incredibly fun. We were given thirty minutes to complete the task and we were interviewed by the host during the duration of the competition. The judges also voiced their opinions on our progress so far, giving the whole event a lighthearted feel. I even had a friend of mine attend and support me (although he probably just came for the free pizza). By the end of the event, I had won. I was incredibly excited, even more so than the children. At that moment, I felt like I was back home playing games for fun with my friends again. I felt at home with Notre Dame, and I’ll treasure the Minecraft Challenge forever because of that.
After the tournament, I decided to allot myself time to play video games with friends from home. Doing so reminds me of a pastime that was truly integral to my childhood, and helped me develop my own definition of mindfulness and contentedness that differs from the suggestions given in the course content but fits my needs. I plan on continuing to do so, even if others might consider it as antisocial. I have also found that my experiences with the Minecraft Challenge helped me find my sense of place and revitalize my sense of motivation, allowing me to connect this experience with the values of Zeal and Family.
Here's the poster for the event:
FA Cap 3: Prompt 2
When I was admitted to Notre Dame, a few of my friends and teachers made jokes and remarks referencing the racially homogenous nature of the campus and how I would differ from the average greatly because of my background and skin. I realized this, and I didn’t mind; I thought the jokes were funny and made more jokes at my own expense. I believed that the school was not as homogenous as most people know it as; after all, the statistics show that not all of the campus was white, and I was used to being the only Indian in my surroundings.
My attitude immediately changed after I came onto campus. I assumed the jokes were just that – jokes, but I was shocked by how many Caucasians I was surrounded by. While there were other minorities around me that I occasionally saw, I truly thought that I was one of a handful of Indian undergraduates on a campus of over 8000. I felt alienated and out of place because of this, but I began to realize that this factor did not affect me as much as I thought it did. Instead, I grew to appreciate my racial, religious, and socioeconomic uniqueness as I began to speak to my peers.
I found that while I could easily be considered as an addition to the campus’s “diversity” because of my race, Hindu religion, and low-income background, but I began to find that my peers were my own version of diversity. Many of them were wealthy, conservative, and Catholic, and I had never met people from these backgrounds. Because of this, I found discussions with them particularly interesting because I had never heard opinions like theirs before. This fact helped me rationalize and accept my place at Notre Dame, even if I didn’t look like everyone else.
The realization of my place through introspection helped me find the value of the five pillars, especially the pillar of Family. Even though I may differ from those around me considerably, I still feel that I have a place at Notre Dame. I find that the viewpoints of individuals from backgrounds that I have no experience with interesting and eye-opening, and I am elated when my peers share the same enthusiasm when asking about my background. I do not look like everyone else; I do not practice Catholicism; I am not as wealthy as some; but I am happy and have found my place at the University of Notre Dame.
FA Cap 3: Prompt 3
I don’t like chemistry. I didn’t like it in High School, and I definitely don’t like it in college. The general lack of certainty with the subject puts me off of it. I prefer the definite nature of mathematics and logical reasoning. In math, things must be right or wrong (except for paradoxes, but those are another beast). While I realize that it is often difficult for many things in life to fit this model, many of my other subjects, especially other sciences like Physics, have definite answers and definitions.
I keep telling myself that I despise chemistry, and I don’t dedicate much time to the subject as a result. I believe that this is the reason for my relatively poor performance in the class. I currently have As in all of my classes except for chemistry, and the situation isn’t getting better. I seem to be doing worse on each test even though I feel confident before taking the tests. However, one factor stays constant throughout my chemistry tests: my attitude. I constantly keep telling myself that I hate chemistry and that I will never have to do chemistry ever again. I believe that this is my issue: my attitude.
I still believe that I have a chance for an A in the course, especially if the curve is in my favor. To do so, I plan on focusing on more than just my studying for Chemistry. I plan on developing a more positive attitude for the course as well. Whenever I am in class or doing homework for it, I will tell myself that I am not wasting my time and that it is a step in my pursuit for my true passion. I will look for the interesting aspects of Chemistry and attempt to develop an interest for the subject through this method.
The difficulties I face with Chemistry are bound to come up again as I progress through my university requirements. They relate to the pillar of Mind because of my lack of interest in chemistry, my realization of it, and the steps I plan on taking to develop an interest for the subject I hope my efforts to develop motivation for myself in subjects that I have no interest in will help me further develop this pillar and ensure my future success in my courses.