Am I doomed?

<p>Hi Ya'll
I was just accepted to Notre Dame law school for Fall '12. I am really nervous, because it is the best school I was accepted to, but I don't know if I am the right fit for the campus. I grew up in a Catholic family, but I was a black sheep. I did my undergrad at Berkeley, majored in rhetoric, consider myself very liberal, agnostic, feminist, queer rights advocate, etc. While I am accepting of all beliefs systems (as long as they allow me to make my own choices) am I going to like going to a conservative, Catholic university??</p>

<p>You'll be too busy studying to worry about it.</p>

<p>Sincere congrats on your great achievement.</p>

<p>I wouldn't call nd conservative. While catholic its what u make out of it. A little conservative-ism coming from Berkeley would be very good though. So would it's catholic influence. But congrats!</p>

<p>I think for grad school you should go to the best place you get into -- one that will have the biggest positive impact on your chosen career.</p>

<p>In the past, the Law School was more conservative than undergrad at ND. While you could probably say that about most law schools around the country, ND undergrad is certainly far more conservative than most schools.</p>

<p>The important thing about Notre Dame is not to get hung up on labels. Despite where it may fall on the conservative/liberal spectrum, the students, faculty and school are extremely open minded. My friend's son found out that was not the case at Univ. of Penn. law school where he was openly ridiculed for expressing a conservative thought several years ago. I can't imagine anything of this sort happening 30 years ago at Notre Dame Law School when I was there, no matter what the speaker's expression was.</p>

<p>My impression is that Notre Dame is one of the few schools where freedom of expression is not limited to strictly the liberal viewpoint these days.</p>

<p>Numbers guy is right on. Don't go to any school that would restrict your freedom of expression. This is not an issue at ND. ND would be a terrific experience coming from Berkeley and west coast liberalism.</p>

<p>The faculty at the law school has a higher percentage of Catholics than the rest of the university. If you're coming from Berkeley, Notre Dame may be your first experience with relatively large numbers of committed Catholics (both faculty and your fellow students) in an academic setting. How well you will fit in will probably depend on your attitude -- if you come in expecting to convince others to agree with your social/political/religious views, you will probably be disappointed. Will it bother you to have crucifixes in every room, and a chapel with daily Mass in the building? Will you expect the university to have an officially-recognized gay students' group (it does not), a nondiscrimination clause that includes sexual orientation (ditto), or a health insurance policy that covers contraception (doesn't now and unlikely to comply with mandate in future)? Notre Dame is serious about its Catholic identity, and so long as you can accept that fact, you should be fine.</p>

<p>What everyone has said seems to be pretty accurate in my experience (though I went to undergrad at ND and am not as familiar with the law school, which I have heard is more conservative). But to add to what has been said, although there will be far more conservatives than you are used to, that does not mean you will be the only liberal on campus. While there is no officially recognized gay student activism group, there is an unofficial one. The administration tends to be fairly conservative, but the students (at least the undergrads) are probably closer to a 50-50 split with some skewing to one side or the other for particular issues based on Catholic teachings. Coming to ND from Berkeley may be a bit of a culture shock, but I believe your opinions will be respected and you will be able to find a group of like-minded peers if that is what you're looking for.</p>

<p>Congrats on your acceptance!</p>

<p>Great comments on this subject. While there may be more Catholic faculty in the Law School, the percentage of Catholic law students is probably only about 50% vs. approx. 85% for undergrad. As a Methodist, I never felt out of place once at ND, nor has my son, a current undergrad. Notre Dame is a place of spirituality, which takes on many forms and means many things to different people. Once again, no matter what your beliefs are, as long as they are expressed in a civilized manner, you will be free to express them on the Notre Dame campus without scorn or ridicule.</p>

<p>I was pretty crazy liberal (and definitely NOT Catholic) when I was a student at Notre Dame, and it never caused any real problems. There are plenty of left-of-center students on campus, and while the university itself is certainly more conservative than a typical school (especially when it comes to anything involving sex, like birth control or abortion), it wasn't overwhelming.</p>

<p>I was stridently pro-choice while I was a student, and while many didn't agree with me, few ever really shunned me for it.</p>