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. 

"This year I was forced to re-evaluate my values, my passions, and my aspirations in life, but standing on the other side I look back with nothing but gratitude for the experiences and people that incited those re-evaluations. I am leaving South Bend with a new major, new friends, a new understanding of responding to suffering, an expectation of uncertainty, and most importantly a sense of peace and acceptance grounded in the fact that I also have a clearer idea of who I am. Although it is not in the ways that I would have expected eight months ago, I am leaving victorious." - Emi Kartsonas, Class of 2026


"This course has given me the opportunity to define my beliefs and create a framework for how I want to approach the rest of my time at Notre Dame. Time allocation is one of the biggest opportunities and challenges at this university. Grounding these allocation decisions on a strong foundation of well-thought-out values will allow me to make the most of my time here and grow as much as I can. I am so grateful for this semester and how it has helped shape my personal mission statement." - Mary Jordan, Class of 2026


"Throughout my time in Moreau this semester I have had the time, space, and prompts to allow me to reflect on my life before, during, and after college. Although I may not have initially felt too eager to dive into the course syllabus on the first day, I now understand and appreciate the Moreau curriculum and goal. I would assume that almost every first-year, regardless of school or location, experiences some degree of uncomfortability during their first-year at university. Other colleges may offer advisories or introductory courses, but I do not believe many others have requirements similar to Moreau at Notre Dame. The Moreau course is named after Father Basil Moreau, the founder of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, which is suitable since it is a course that references Catholic teachings and encourages a meditative state often experienced through engagement with religion. However, there is so much to the course. Over this semester we spoke about identities, discernment, vulnerability, and accompaniment. Through sharing our experiences and values, we were able to form a tight bond within our small group, many of these relationships extending beyond our weekly meetings." - Chaney Fix, Class of 2026


"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


“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


“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


"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