Students at the University of Notre Dame are passionate! Their passion gives direction and definition to campus academic, community, and spiritual life. Recognizing that you have already provided us with a list of your extracurricular activities, please briefly describe your greatest passion and tell us how it defines and directs you.
I stood on my tiptoes, clapping furiously, my mouth open in a joyous scream. The White Sox, my favorite baseball team, had won a critical game while I was in the audience. As the furor of victorious shouts died down, I noticed my friends’ faces; like mine, they were filled with glee. “How lucky I am,” I thought, “to be at this winning game with my best friends!” Almost without thinking, I murmured, “Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it,” a line from James Lowell’s poem, “And what is so rare as a day in June?” Lowell’s words described my mood perfectly, even better than I could have done. This scholar-poet of the nineteenth century felt exactly about a day in June as I did about a Sox game. That’s what I’ve always loved about literature: realizing that other men and women, living in radically different times and circumstances than my own, have felt as I do. I was six years old when I slowly plowed through my first “real” book, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods. I read about Laura’s games and fights with her sister, her chores, and her occasional confusion with the world of adults. I saw myself in Laura, who lived more than a century ago. I fell in love with books then and there, and my passion has never cooled. Whether I’m reading historical nonfiction or romance novels set in fantasy worlds, I find characters, situations, and simply quotes which I can never forget. My love for all things literary has even spilled over onto literature’s poor step-children, grammar and spelling: my friends ask me to proof-read their essays and laughingly call me a “walking dictionary”. I can never contain my excitement when I visit a library or bookstore. I saunter slowly through the aisles, reverently running my hand along the rows of books until a title catches my eye. Then, I pounce. I’ll sit down in the middle of the aisle, oblivious to the stares of passersby, and begin reading. If the book speaks to my heart, I inevitably bring it home. Why am I so passionate about literature? It is simply because I am passionate about other people. Literature allows me to feel emotions I have yet to experience, to connect with men and women from all times and places. My interest in others guides my life in countless ways, whether I’m working as a camp counselor or costumed museum tour guide, or just enthusiastically befriending strangers I meet along the way. It guides me to apply to the University of Notre Dame, where passionate thinkers like myself, who care deeply about the world around them, belong.