My Notre Dame University Dream

By Wayne Hafner

The Law of Transmutation states that everything, every object, every circumstance, etc., is constantly developing into form or dissipating out of form. Stated more simply, everything is either coming into physical form or going out of it. (Leslie Householder)
An example of this in our world is the water cycle.

However, it also pertains to thought: thoughts that we give our time, energy, and emotion to are thoughts that will become physically manifest in our lives. Thoughts that we discard cease to develop and disappear.

When I was 12 years old I discovered my true love. While flipping through the television channels one Saturday morning, I found the television program Notre Dame football highlights. Back then college football was only on television once a week, except for holidays. One football game per week, but Notre Dame had its own program on Sunday. After a couple of weeks, I was hooked. Notre Dame was MY team. The year was 1973. Bear in mind that this was a time when there was no internet, no cable television, and television stations stopped broadcasting around 2AM. The only information I could obtain about my team came from news broadcasts, newspapers, and sport magazines.

Soon I realized that not only was Notre Dame a powerful football team, it was also a fine university. I was only 12 and had not thought much beyond high school, but the wheels were now set in motion. The dream was real. The goal was set. This young boy from a small Missouri town was going to go to Notre Dame. I did not know how, but I was. I now had a mission.

My Freshman year in high school our English class assignment was to interview a fellow student and give an oral report on what we learned about them. When the student who interviewed me reported that I wanted to go to Notre Dame the entire class erupted in laughter. I was stunned. How could they doubt me like that? My emotions were high, but my dream still lived on. “I will show them I thought.”

At the end of my freshman year I was ranked 16th in my class. I did not even know that class rank existed. My thoughts: If I was 16th in my class and I admittedly have not given full effort, what would happen if I did? The dream of Notre Dame was still there, but my actions were not moving toward my dream fast enough. I needed to step up my game.

Sophomore year I made a concerted effort. I began taking the most difficult courses available because I figured that was the fastest way to improve class rank. Sleep seemed less important than grades. At our school, B’s in level 3 classes earned more grade points than A’s in level 2 classes. So I began taking the most difficult classes I could. I even began taking college credit courses that were offered. I had enough hours to qualify as a second semester college freshman at the end of high school. My class rank shot up and I was now in the top 10. By close of senior year I was 2nd.

The dream of Notre Dame continued. As the end of high school approached, I applied to several schools, but Notre Dame was my only real desire. Acceptance letters came in the mail from all schools except one, the only one that mattered.

I could not visualize myself on any other campus.

Disappointed, I enrolled in the local Junior College with the hopes of ultimately transferring.

First semester in Junior College resulted in mostly A’s and one B. Another application to Notre Dame and another rejection.

Second semester at Junior college more A’s. Still dreaming of Notre Dame. One more Semester to go before I would have to make a decision. I began sending out applications again. Among the schools I applied to were Notre Dame, of course, and Washington University of St. Louis (regarded as the Harvard of the Midwest). This time my emotions were even stronger because I know this would be my final application. I wrote an impressive (I thought) essay, temporarily discarding my shyness and detailing exactly what type of student was needed at Notre Dame and why I was that type of student.

I envisioned myself walking the campus beneath the Golden Dome and around the lakes. I saw the beautiful library with the mosaic of Jesus Christ as the central teacher. That was my University. I knew it. I had always known it. Now I waited for the words……welcome to Notre Dame. And the words did come.

I received a letter dated December 2, 1980. “Dear Lyle, We are please to inform you that you have been accepted for admission with advanced standing to the College of Business Administration to the College of Business Administration as a first semester junior for the spring semester of 1981.”
Tears of joy flooded my eyes. An overwhelming sense of relief engulfed my body.

Attending Notre Dame was my dream. The moment I started visualizing myself on campus at age 12, the dream was moving towards me and my goal was coming into existence. My path was a little longer than anticipated, but because I never discarded my dream and continued to move forward until it became mine. My dream became my reality. It was always coming to me because I believed it with all my heart.


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Wayne Hafner
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