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2019 Notre Dame Alumni: Ask Me Anything

GoIrish2019GoIrish2019 7 replies1 threads New Member
Hi all, I graduated in 2019 so if anyone has any questions please ask. I'm feeling rather nostalgic for ND so I would be happy to share my experience.

I've been working for almost a year now since graduation, so although my experience in student life is now a year out-of-date, if wanted I can provide some insight into the job placement process as a senior and some immediate career outcomes I have observed. (Observation #1: the term 'ND network' means so much more to me as a new grad than it ever did as a student!)

For the record, I studied engineering, although I have friends who studied in business, science, and arts & letters. As such, I feel fairly comfortable describing the trajectories and career discernment processes available through and after undergrad. I do not have any experience with the school of Architecture.

I lived on-campus for three years and off-campus for one. This was common in my time; I make no predictions for how this culture will change, but both experiences were valuable. I cherish my dorm experience, though your mileage may vary.

Each social and academic ND experience is unique. I have no issues saying that some paths and experiences offered by ND are more valuable than at peer institutions - and vice versa. My sibling has the fortune of attending an Ivy League school and their experience has been eye-opening for me, especially compared to ND.

I can answer financial questions if you want, but each situation is unique and I can offer no better insight than what is already available online.
edited April 18
16 replies
Post edited by CCadmin_Sorin on
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Replies to: 2019 Notre Dame Alumni: Ask Me Anything

  • 4Family44Family4 32 replies12 threads Junior Member
    @GoIrish2019 Thanks! I am a ND accepted student (Mendoza) and I have questions for you:
    You mentioned "My sibling has the fortune of attending an Ivy League school and their experience has been eye-opening for me, especially compared to ND." I'm curious about what differences you noticed between the Ivy and ND.

    Also, how does a student get on-campus employment? Is it recommended that freshman do not have a job (since college is a new experience)? If freshman have on-campus employment, about how many hours a week are manageable with academic workload.
    Thanks again.
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  • GoIrish2019GoIrish2019 7 replies1 threads New Member
    edited April 15
    @4Family4 Good questions.

    My gut feel is that the Ivy seems to be more culturally bookish - academics is the overall focus. Not to say that ND is less academic - in fact, I'd say that the quality of instruction is equal across institutions. However, in an academic sense, ND is primarily an undergraduate institution striving to grow its research ability. The Ivy has a mature research and graduate culture.

    For a business student, I'd wager that some of the academics matters less than the 'brand' of the school, the level of access available into the business world, and your extracurricular engagement. ND has some unique opportunities for undergrads in business, but I would highly recommend comparing some of the unique classes offered at the schools. Anecdotally, my friend was able to take a class to help manage ND's endowment. College of Science, College of Engineering, and Arts & Letters have their own unique differences.

    Where ND really shines is in the student experience. I felt that ND sincerely prioritized its role in the shaping and formation of young adults inside and outside the classroom. I did not observe the Ivy having the same level of involvement. The dorm system is unique at ND, which plays a role, but I felt that ND fostered a sense of thoughtfulness and responsibility in its students about their place in the world and their contributions to society. Perhaps that is due to the university's identity as a Catholic educational institution.

    ND also fosters strong bonds between students, even across undergraduate colleges. My dorm felt like a family and community. For my sibling, there was much less of that structure at their Ivy. I also think that in comparison to the Ivies, or even public school, ND does a good job at limiting the social exclusivity you might find with greek life or class stratification.

    On-campus employment is available in a variety of forms. I believe that work-study students have programs in place to guarantee work. Otherwise, there are jobs in the dining halls, in RecSports, in the student union, etc, that are simple enough to apply to. Work in research and tutoring is available, but the pay and hours might be less than the other jobs.

    I personally could not have handled a job my freshman year, precisely because college was a new experience. It's also hard for me to give a fixed number of manageable work hours because workloads vary among colleges. But each student is different. Should it be financially feasible, my advice would be to hold off on working on-campus right away. You will know if you can handle it fairly quickly.

    edited April 15
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  • 4Family44Family4 32 replies12 threads Junior Member
    @GoIrish2019 Thank you!!!
    Another question :-) For the school break in October, do most students leave campus? Is staying on campus an option? Is a dining hall open during the school breaks?
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  • MagnetronMagnetron 2664 replies5 threads Senior Member
    I hope you don't mind me dropping in to your discussion, but thought I might add some clarity here, then a question. My youngest is a junior at ND and his two older siblings went to state college. All 3 were work study.

    It was not bad finding an on-campus job at ND and the work has been good. It was near impossible at the state school where many kids need to work. My D was Honors College so she got priority, and she still only got work study jr and sr years.

    S started as a pot washer his freshman year but some of the older guys in the dorm got him hooked up with campus security a few weeks in. Last year and this year he has a software helper job in the library. This is one of the real advantages to a well-funded university.

    S is also Mendoza. Could you elaborate on how your Mendoza friends found jobs last year? Fall career fair? Alumni connections? Very few will have internships this summer to help with hiring prospects next year.
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  • GoIrish2019GoIrish2019 7 replies1 threads New Member
    @4Family4 most students did leave during Fall Break, but staying on campus is definitely an option. Campus dining remains open, albeit at reduced operations. I stayed on campus one year to focus on some schoolwork and it was peaceful. The dorms generally set up fall break events for those who stay. One popular fall break activity is volunteering in the Appalachia program - I wish I had done that once.

    @Magnetron definitely all of the above - the job search for my friends and I involved taking advantage of every opportunity and seeing what stuck. Definitely leverage whatever opportunities come through the ND career center. If a company was represented at the fall career fair, or the winter fair, or even if they had a separate on-campus recruiting event, it was worth it to go for a bit, sell yourself, and give them your resume. One of my Mendoza friends ultimately followed an alumni mentor's recommendation of a different firm, but still landed several interviews through the career fair. I'm afraid I can't offer much more than the standard approach - senior fall was an exercise in networking, but again, having the career center really helped us avoid cold-applying to positions online. This summer internship situation is definitely tough though, and I'm not sure how companies will react come fall.
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  • ldnelson02ldnelson02 1 replies1 threads New Member
    @GoIrish2019 Thank you! I was wondering what the social/nightlife scene is like at ND? I have done some research and have found mixed reviews. Do students go out and have fun on the weekends or are many too focused on their studies to do this? Thank you for your help.
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  • GoIrish2019GoIrish2019 7 replies1 threads New Member
    edited April 16
    @ldnelson02 The legal drinking age in Indiana is 21, as it is in the rest of the United States. However, underage students across the country will find ways to procure alcohol and host parties - ND is no exception.

    DM me if you want more information, but I'll try to speak candidly. Do students have fun on the weekends? Yes, within reason. I found that ND students are mostly responsible. They're happy to do the social thing for a bit, on their own terms, and spend the rest of the week focused on studying and extracurriculars. Football Saturdays are their own events.

    South Bend is a small midwestern city and not an urban metropolis. ND is not a massive state school that supports a college bar district. There are a few popular destinations for upperclassmen, and that's the extent of it. The pervasive underclassman culture, for those that do partake, is to generally stay behind closed doors with their friends in their dorms. Sometimes there are dorm parties that occur, and these are mildly supervised by the senior RA's. Parietals helps to shut things down and get the dorms back in order. Some underclassmen will eventually find their way off-campus, due to connections to older students.

    Here's the deal - for most students, this culture is enough. Maybe more than enough. Most arrive on campus with very little experience with alcohol and partying, though there is a fair bit of blustering early on. The quiet reality is that for many, it's their first experience with partying. Some will go overboard, and some will go underboard. People don't get pressured into things they don't want to do, and many friend groups happily avoid the scene altogether. Most bond with their friends as they navigate through it all. Underclassmen come to terms with the limitations and revel in the experience. Upperclassmen eventually grow out of the dorm parties and socialize off-campus at bars and apartments.
    edited April 16
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  • GoIrish2019GoIrish2019 7 replies1 threads New Member
    @CCadmin_Sorin not a big deal as no one was replying, but why did this get moved? It seems fitting for the ND page?
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  • CCadmin_SorinCCadmin_Sorin 2727 replies290 threads Community Manager
    @GoIrish2019, we have a dedicated forum for Student AMAs so I moved your thread here but also left a redirect on the Notre Dame forum so people can also see it and access it from there.
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  • 4Family44Family4 32 replies12 threads Junior Member
    @GoIrish2019 Have you heard any rumors about campus opening up again or going online for Fall 2020?
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  • GoIrish2019GoIrish2019 7 replies1 threads New Member
    @4Family4 I have not, I would assume that accepted and current students would be among the first to know. I haven't heard anything in the alumni networks or through my old department's social channels either. Sorry about that.
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  • 4Family44Family4 32 replies12 threads Junior Member
    @GoIrish2019 Sorry for all the questions, but here's another: What do most students do between freshman and sophomore year? Are internships or study abroad opportunities available during that summer (or is this not until after sophomore year)? Or do most go back home to start or continue jobs, such as life-guarding, retail, restaurant waitperson?
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  • GoIrish2019GoIrish2019 7 replies1 threads New Member
    edited April 23
    @4Family4 No worries, ask away. In my experience, the majority of students went home after their freshman year, and since they went home, they applied to a few new opportunities near home but most likely worked their standard job. A lot of formal internships look for people with sophomore-level experience or more. There are definitely outliers, due to people's skills and connections before college (after all, opportunities are vastly different depending on where you're from), but this wasn't a major setback for those that didn't. Overall, it seemed common for people to stick to jobs in their hometown.

    Anecdotally, I worked my high school job while also picking up what was essentially a factory/warehouse position at a local company (one that aligned with some of my engineering interests at the time). It wasn't a formal internship but it was a valuable experience anyways.

    There are summer study abroad sessions available - my friend did one after our freshman year. They're definitely somewhat costly, but one advantage is that you get some courses out of the way so that you can take a lighter or more flexible schedule during a full-time semester.

    There's a lot of pressure after freshman year to kick-start your career, but it's also one of the last summers in which you can get away with not doing career-building things. It's a good time to reflect on your academic and career interests before committing more to a path sophomore year.
    edited April 23
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  • xqk5jsxqk5js 26 replies0 threads Junior Member
    From what I have heard, Notre Dame seems to place an extra level of emphasis on public service. Is this a component that should be reflected in my application essays?
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  • GoIrish2019GoIrish2019 7 replies1 threads New Member
    @xqk5js I don't have any unique insight into the admissions process, and it's been almost five and a half years since I myself applied to ND. My really rough advice - if public service is a part of your identity, then definitely tie it into your essays; if it's something you do the bare minimum in, then maybe find other ways to connect your identity to ND's service mission? Good luck.
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  • usma87usma87 448 replies3 threads Member
    @4Family4 - information on next year is still illusive. My DS is now a rising junior. He just got an email today that they will be scheduling move out appointments for a three week window starting May 22nd. In my mind, that's a step in the right direction. I am hoping the ND info webcast scheduled for tomorrow will shed some light on plans for the Fall or at least when they hope to announce something definitive.
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