Matt Lozar | Saturday, August 21, 2004
This weekend you and the rest of the smartest class ever at Notre Dame – at least until the class of 2009 arrives – leave a world of comfort you’ve known for 18 years. Waiting with open arms is a new home inside the proverbial bubble where you’ll spend the next four years. And that’s the problem – four years.It seems like an eternity as you serenade dorms, meet people who only want to know your name, hometown and dorm and play games that seem like you’re back in summer camp.It seems like a welcome change after those crowded high school highways, filling out a myriad of scholarship and college applications and praying one of those envelopes in the mail is thick and not thin.It seems like a world of freedom with no parental supervision, the availability of “libations” for 21-year olds and a speedy Internet connection that allows you to procrastinate by amassing a massive mp3 collection, playing addicting mindless games and endlessly checking your buddies’ away messages. But one day you’ll wake up a senior like me and realize those four precious years are down to a lonely one. That might look like a big jump – and you probably think I’m crazy for mentioning graduation before you’ve taken a class here – but it happens faster than freshman engineers can switch to the business school (as I can attest).Okay, it might not happen that quickly. A lot goes on during those three years. There is experiencing that first football season, attending your first SYR (where finding a date is more about Screwing Your Roommate) and braving the first round of lake-effect snow. You fear telling your parents about changing your major (don’t worry Mom and Dad, more than half of us change it at least once), whine about parietals and can’t stand your roommate. You complain about the lack of gender relations and realize there isn’t a whole lot to do in South Bend – on or off campus.As all that and countless other things transpire, and you get trapped in a fast-paced, jam-packed daily routine, something horrible happens. You forget what Notre Dame’s all about. At the conclusion of not only a weekend, but also a summer where everyone is giving a piece of advice to make college those so-called “best four years of your life,” here’s mine – take a step back every once in awhile. Take in the moment and appreciate what’s happening.Whether it’s being thrown into the air by your friends for push-ups at football games, staying up until 4 a.m. for no apparent reason or making a fool of yourself at Bookstore Basketball, the world’s largest outdoor 5-on-5 tournament. Whether it’s singing in a choir, going to Mass at the Basilica or doing some sort of service.Whether it’s cheering your friend at Bengal Bouts (a student boxing tournament that raises money for the Bangladesh missions), playing an interhall sport or starting the weekend on Thursday night.Whether it’s reflecting at the Grotto, jogging around the lakes or walking up God Quad as the sun shines down on the Dome and goose bumps line your arms. Always remember – this is a special place. Just don’t start realizing that before it’s too late.You’ll miss out on something you can never have back.