Domer Diaries

My Domer Diary: Ophelia Camiña

Paying it Forward


Editor's Note: Domer Diaries is a storytelling series from the Notre Dame Alumni Association where members of the Notre Dame family share their story in their own words. This week's Domer Diaries features Ophelia Camiña '82 J.D., a longtime organizer, mentor, and advocate for inclusiveness in the legal field. The first in her family to attend law school, she credits her scholarship and the mentorship of her professors at Notre Dame.

Name:  Ophelia Camiña

Class Year(s):  1982

Residence Hall:  Fischer

Majors and Minor:  Law

Local Notre Dame club or affinity groups:  Dallas, Hispanic alumni

What advice would you give current Notre Dame students?  

It’s been 40 years since I graduated and in that time, I have used the tools that Notre Dame gave me to build a successful career and raise a family that I adore. Looking back on my life and career, here is my advice to the current Notre Dame students:  

  1. It’s all about relationships. Look around you. The people sitting next to you in class will someday be business leaders, doctors, lawyers, judges and politicians. Nurture these relationships because these are the people who will support you, advise you and promote you in life — just as you will do so for them.   


  1. Don’t let others define you. You decide what you want from life. Find a career that you can be passionate about. Remember that success and self-worth are not defined by class rank or GPA. What will define you is your dedication to working hard, your openness to new ideas, and your resiliency in the face of adversity.


  1. Take (professional) risks. Nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take risks. People are often afraid to take risks because they fear failure. But the thing is, failure is inevitable. We are all going to fail at something, so accept it. Importantly, understand that the problem is not failure, but not learning from that failure. 


  1. Aspire to make a difference. The world needs a lot of help and we each have a moral and civic responsibility to get out there and create positive change. Notre Dame has given you the training to succeed, so give it your all and don’t hold back. Strive to continually challenge yourself and others. Dream big. Think outside the box. And above all, don’t forget to pay forward all the riches and rewards that you have been given.