Student Statements

The following statements are excerpts from first-year students' Moreau Capstone Integration - a reflection upon their first year experience at Notre Dame and pursuit of a life well-lived. 

"I am endlessly grateful for my first year and all the lessons it has taught me. I have grown greatly, made mistakes, had great triumphs, and experienced great disappointments. The best part is, it's all a part of the bigger plan. The great catastrophe called life is the biggest blessing I have ever received. I have been able to decipher what really matters to me, and values that will stay in my personal mission statement forever, the most important being empathy, love, importance of growth, collaboration, and service." - Madeline Jepko, Class of 2025


"We are meant to be active participants in our lives, not spectators on the sidelines. At one point in Moreau, when encouraged to reflect on ourselves, I remarked that a trait I wished to embody was the ability to rise to the occasion in the face of pressure. If I were able to do that in every situation, I think I could be proud of that at the very least. Whether we come to shape national policy, save someone's life, or just recognize the beauty of the world God has created, we must gather the courage to face the discomfort and struggle that comes with truly living." - Emma Mangino, Class of 2025


“I am here at Notre Dame to be my best self. It took a while to know the idea of my best self and then even longer to map out areas on how and why I am doing it. I want to make a difference and change not only in my own life but in others around me. Coming to Notre Dame as a midyear, I was overwhelmed by how many people seemed to have it all figured out, and that scared me. Now, a semester later I realize why, it is because we all have this dedication to bettering ourselves and one another.” Jake Boltmann, Class of 2025


"I have recently encountered many new experiences that have changed and shaped the way that I view the world. Throughout my first year of studies, I have learned to equate success with something much less tangible than grades or class rank. I now label success in academics as pushing myself to do my best work, exploring things that I am passionate about, and learning from the failures that I encounter. I have also found that feeling successful does not always come from an academic standpoint. Creating deep, meaningful connections with those around me, as well as allowing others to help expand my understanding of the world, have been integral to my success at Notre Dame." - Catherine Wolf, Class of 2025


“I’m most proud of my ability to let go and to embrace something new. There is something safe and secure about holding on to old definitions and ideas about how I can successfully become the person I want to be. In the midst of clinging to this familiarity, I realized I was holding on to something that was hurting me and preventing me from moving forward. It was difficult, but learning to let go allowed me to realize the temporary nature of my beliefs and my understanding of the world around me. It is meant to change and develop; it is a sign of developing into the best version of myself.” Trinity Cha, Class of 2024


"My biggest takeaway from this semester has been that relationships with others are the most important aspect of life because we are all interconnected. This life, therefore, is a difficult but beautiful journey together. I want to make my life others-centered, because bonding with others will in turn bring about my own joy and fulfillment, and the only way I will truly be able to grow into the empathetic person I desire to be is by making a conscious effort to build these connections in all aspects of my life." Elizabeth Orozco, Class of 2024


“It is going to be a long process to become who I want to be, but nonetheless I truly think that one day I will get there. Without many of the lessons I have learned in Moreau this year, and especially this semester, I would not be able to make the statement above as confidently as I did. In the end, my journey to become charitable, passionate, and patient will stem from my love of others and God, and I am extremely thankful for the Moreau First Year Experience class, those that have helped me to become who I am today, and those that will help me along the way to become who I want to be.” Addison Azar, Class of 2024


“By concluding the year in a period of useful introspection, I have a lot of confidence and excitement in my coming years at Notre Dame. I want to use the rest of my time here to become the person I want to be, a person that embodies hope, support, and justice, by reflecting, handling stress, and growing my faith. I want to be comfortable in being uncomfortable and pushing my boundaries. As Fr. Jim King offers in Holy Cross and Christian Education, “the contemplation of new ideas and needs beyond our comfort zones requires a sacrificial willingness to put at risk everything we think we already know.” Amber Jun, Class of 2024


"Life doesn’t always go as planned. This cliché is a cliché for a reason. Growth comes from change. The haze is still there. What I have realized is that the haze is not going anywhere. I don’t have life figured out. I am not supposed to. I am supposed to grow in the unknown, change, and adapt. The periphery will become clear when it is time to… I have been thankful for my time in this semester's Moreau class. As we say in class, we have created a comfortable atmosphere where we can show our true selves." Olivia Harle, Class of 2024