My Passion for Literature

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.

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