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Yeah, college!

Emily Howald | Monday, October 20, 2003

After spending far too much time with a certain group of people, the phrase, “Yeah, college” has evolved and become a significant part of my vocabulary. At first it was just something that was said in jest, but it has become the symbol of some of the craziness that is allowed and expected to be made during these four, or in some people’s cases, seven, years of sweet, sweet independence.

The Webster’s Dictionary defines college as an “organized body of persons with shared functions and privileges.” The question, then, is what those shared functions and privileges are. Logic would tell us that it is supposed to indicate the benefits that accompany attending such a prestigious university, especially in our case. However, the other side of my brain recognizes benefits, albeit in small doses, that come between 9 p.m. on Thursday night until about 6 a.m. on Sunday morning.

Junior Mike Panzica said, “College is drinking beer in your boxers in the street at 6 a.m. before football games like Pat Gallagher. It is striving everyday to be on the same level of beastliness as Tom Degnan.” That is interesting, but more important, on point.

Tom Degnan, in response, said, “College is.”

I look at my brother and his friends who graduated here three years ago and know they would give anything to be back in our shoes. I don’t really realize how lucky we are until I see how desperately they want to be here. You can see it when they return, aged and tired from the business world, trying to duplicate college. They’re hangovers are worse, but there desire to relive college is probably stronger than ever.

Although our perspectives are different at Notre Dame, that is no excuse to act less college. We may replace frat parties and protests with parietals and prayer, but that does not mean that we cannot have any less of a college experience. If anything, we should realize that we have it all here. A combination of brains, brawn and beer.

I feel that I should be putting an asterisk next to College when talking about Notre Dame, because the experience here is truly unparalleled. We might not ever make it into the “Best Party School” category and that is fine. In fact, I don’t think Notre Dame should be limited to such a category or designation. That is, until they come out with “Best Overall College.”

So please, try not to lose perspective. If your faith is depleting or you’ve whiffed at having fun, look, as I do, to this excellent piece of advice. Think of it as the voice of reason, the voice of college.

I’ve learned one thing and that’s to quit worrying about stupid things. You have four years to be irresponsible here. Relax; work is for people with jobs. You’ll never remember class time but you’ll remember the time you wasted hanging out with your friends. So stay out late. Go out on a Tuesday night with your friends when you have a paper due on Wednesday. Spend money you don’t have. Drink until sunrise. The work never ends but college does.

Yeah, college. I read you.

Emily Howald just had her 21st birthday yesterday, so you will most likely not be seeing her on campus today. Take it easy on her, for we are assuming that she has been enjoying college a little too much. E-mail her at ehowald@nd.edu.