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Pleased to meet you

Jeannine Privat | Friday, January 21, 2005

I expected college senioritis to closely resemble high school senioritis. But lately I have noticed that while basically similar – both are characterized by a lack of energy for going to class, a want to go out and party all the time, and a desire to just finish – major differences exist that I had not expected coming into my senior year.

I had imagined that my four years at college would be similar to my four years of high school. Freshman year everyone is new, a little anxious, not sure what to expect. But by senior year, everything is just groovy.

Senior year – by far my best year of high school (partially because the legal age to enter Louisiana bars is a mere 18 years). My senior year, everyone was friends with everyone – social barriers practically melted away. It did not matter anymore what group one had belonged to previously, everyone became pretty much just part of one big group. Everyone was pretty relaxed.

This is what I had expected of Notre Dame. But I failed to calculate into my formula one vital factor. No one is interested in meeting anyone new by senior year. I expected senior year to be a blur of hanging out with friends, going out to the bars, meeting people, a general atmosphere of fun. And for the most part, it has been – except for the meeting people part.

Being at home made me realize the completely different social atmosphere I exist in at Notre Dame. Walking into a bar at home, I will run into at least one person I know who will be more than happy to talk to me, no matter how long it has been since we last talked. They will immediately introduce me to the people they came with, and I will become part of that group for the time being. But at Notre Dame, I see people that I once knew, people from freshman or sophomore year, people who I had class with or did a project with, and we pretend we do not know each other. Casual acquaintances seem almost non-existent. It is so unlike being in southern Louisiana, where the most casual of acquaintances gives you a big hug upon greeting and enthusiastically asks, “How are you? How is everything?” Here, there are people you know and people you don’t know.

If you are with a friend introductions will take place, but there is little chance of you ever talking to that person again in the absence of the friend who introduced you. Introductions are a casual courtesy but completely insincere. Though very polite, people who you are introduced to are rarely ever truly friendly. This is because people are so comfortable in their social groups that they have no desire to branch out and meet new people by senior year. People are tired of meeting new people, and are completely satisfied with knowing only the people in their own social groups.

I generally like meeting new people -or I used to at least, before I got here, where people are nice but not friendly. And with only a few months til graduation, I have articulated yet another reason why I cannot wait to leave the shadow of the Golden Dome, a dome that looks friendly and warm, but in reality is nice and cool to the touch.