Little Secrets
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2010-07-06 15:14:16 (UTC)

Experience of Notre Dame Vision

A few weeks ago I was given the wonderful experience to
go to Notre Dame to become closer to God. When I arrived, I
was able to stay in a dorm with a person that I knew
nothing about. When I heard that I wasn't going to know the
girl that I was going to be living with..I was a little
weary. I wanted the sense of security by staying with
someone that I knew. I'm very shy, and I'm not the type of
person to be perfectly okay with staying with someone I
know nothing about.
We were also assigned small groups when we checked into
Notre Dame. Small Group is a group of people that you will
be holding discussions with about the lessons that you are
learning that day in Vision. My small group consisted of
some of the best people that I will ever meet in my life.
People came from all over the country that were in my small
group. There was our mentor of faith (also known as a
counselor in other summer camps) Nora. She was a current
student at Notre Dame who was majoring in English. There
was Katie from Illinois, Tomas from Indiana, Rachel from
Wisconsin, Isaac from Ohio, Jake from Kentucky, Nathalie
from Texas, and Yessenia from Colorado. Early in the week,
we weren't really interested in anyone within the group. We
would talk to each other and be friendly, but we never
would really hang out with each other outside of our
discussions. Small group held the people who were supposed
to be your family for the week. You were supposed to be
able to walk up to them and talk to them about anything and
everything. Sadly, my small group wasn't like that. You
would look around you, and everyone was talking and
laughing with the people in their group, but we would sit
there and not say anything. I knew it was going to be a
long week if this kind of attitude would stay within our
It is said that a tragedy would bring people together. It
took a tragedy to convert the people in my small group from
friends to family. On Thursday night, there was a Scavenger
Hunt on the campus for the Vision students. We would run
across campus using a list of hints to find out different
answers about Notre Dame. I started off strong under the
hot Indiana sun. I kicked off my flip flops and sprinted
from landmark to landmark until beads of sweat were falling
from my forehead. As time passed, I grew tired and weak. My
legs weren't as strong as they were when I first started.
My lungs grew heavy in my chest, making it hard to breathe.
All of my friends were running ahead of me, and I fell back
because I was too drained to go any faster than a walking
pace. Slowly, my walk became a limp. I remember my friend
Katie, who was running ahead of us, turn around and
yell "Come on you girls can do it!" referring to my friend
Rachel and I who were bringing up the rear of the group.

"Do you have the energy to run?" asked Rachel.

"No,...I can't move" I said breathlessly.

Just ahead of me, I see the one person that I was hoping
on seeing. A guy that I met the day before, Connor.
The day before the scavenger hunt, there was a tornado
watch in the Notre Dame area. I was crammed in a hallway
with a group of people that I didn't know. The only two
people I knew were the people from my school, my best
friend Amanda and another friend named Maura. Because of
the humidity within the hallway because of all the sweat
and body heat, I had an asthma attack. I was taken up to my
dorm to get my inhaler and water bottle, then brought back
down to sit with the people in the hallway again. Amanda
was scared for me. She knew that I had a severe case of
asthma, and when I had an attack I was never able to
control it. Amanda and Maura were concerned about my
health, but they weren't the only ones.
To lighten the spirits, I turned on my Ipod and started
playing music to the loudest volume it could go. I turned
to Maura when Glee's Don't Stop Believin' came on. Maura
screamed and started talking about our performance to that
song the past Spring in our school's spring concert for
Chorus. I started singing my solo in the song and she sang
the part that she had. Everyone was amazed at both of us,
but one person was just interested in my singing alone.
Connor told me I had a beautiful voice once I was done
singing. I was shocked. A person that I didn't know told me
that my voice was beautiful. Because of his compliment, my
confidence is now stronger in my gift that God gave me,
which is my talent in music.
Thursday afternoon before the Scavenger Hunt, I sat with
Connor the whole day during our discussions and Sermons in
Debartolo Hall. We would talk about music and sports, and
laugh at the jokes that our counselor of Vision, Lennie,
was telling us. When I would look at him, he would smile
making me smile back. He was so close to me emotionally. I
had a crush on Connor, and I think he felt the same way.
While I was at my weakest at the Scavenger Hunt, the only
person that I wanted was Connor. While Rachel and I were
making our way toward our group, they picked up the pace
and started bolting towards the last landmark. I was
drained. The pain in my legs and in my chest was too much
to handle. I wanted to sit down on the sidewalk and just
Just as I was at my weakest, I picked up my head and saw
Connor standing with his group looking at the clues. It
seemed as though he knew I was looking at him because he
looked away from the paper and looked at me with a warm,
gentle, excited smile. He knew something was wrong though.
Connor looked at me with worry and I hated it. I didn't
want him to see me the way I was. I straighted myself up
and I started sprinting towards him, but making it seem
like I was running for my group. Once I grew closer in
space to Connor, I slowed down so he could see how hard I
was working.
He seemed so happy to see me when I passed him. He was as
happy to see me as I was to see him. Once I passed him, I
started sprinting as hard and as fast as I could to my
group. I noticed that when I was halfway there, Rachel was
a few steps behind me, trying her hardest to keep up. I
stopped running and while I was waiting for her, I lost all
control of my body and nearly collapsed to the floor. The
world went white around me, and my legs weren't strong
enough to hold my body.
Because of the heat and the exhaustion of my body, my
asthma began to tear my lungs to shreds. My breathing
quickened and my body felt like I was just hit by a PAT
bus. I picked up my head once again, and I saw the rest of
my group running full speed ahead towards me.
All I remember hearing from the moment they came to get
me was when Isaac said, "we're going to fireman carry her".
I felt my group pull me off of my feet and hold me in their
arms across the campus grass. They laid me down on the
stone wall at the finish line. People huddled around me,
hoping that I'm okay, praying different prayers, holding my
hands, wiping the sweat off of my head. My group never
leaved my side. Slowly, different groups came to the finish
line all hoping that they were the winners. I don't
remember anyone that I knew coming up to me checking to see
if I was okay. I turned my head, and standing with his
group, I see Connor looking at me from across sidewalk. I
forced a smile onto my face, and he tried to smile back,
but his smile showed that he was too nervous to act as if
everything was okay. Everything was too much for me to
handle, so I started crying. My group tried their hardest
to keep me calm, but I only wanted Connor. He was the only
person that brought a smile to my face.
Time passed, and it was time for the Prayer Service by
the grotto. All the Vision students left, except for my
group. My group stayed with me until I thought I was ready
to leave. I stood up and tried making my way toward the
grotto. When I took a few steps, i collapsed onto the hard
ground. I laid there, weak and in pain, and feeling
lifeless. Jake and Katie ran and got me gatorade, while
Tomas and Nathalie went to the grotto to tell someone where
we were. Rachel stood by my side with Nora. Isaac stood
over me, looking sorry for me.

"What do you need to do Karina? Are you okay? Are you in a
good enough condition to go to the grotto?" asked Nora.

"Yeah, I want to go to the grotto. I feel fine. I just want
to go there."

Rachel and Nora picked me up off the ground and flung my
arms over their shoulders for me to be sturdy. Isaac walked
in front of me, and carried me over a pile of rocks that I
couldn't walk across.
Once we got to the grotto, I sat on the bench and started
praying. I wasn't praying to thank God that I survived one
of the worst asthma attack that I've had, but I prayed to
thank Him for giving me the strength and the people around
me to make it through it.
My faith in God grew stronger that night. I have never
been so blessed to have the people that I have in my life.
Til this day, God is my savior and Connor is still the one
person that makes me happy (: