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Beyond Frosh-O

Observer Viewpoint | Thursday, August 25, 2005

Freshmen, with your weekend of initiation into Notre Dame life in the past, it is now time to Dis-O both mind and body (illusionary dichotomy? I don’t know, ask your Philosophy 101 professor). I understand the strategy and purpose behind Frosh-O, and it’s all well and good to try and make freshmen comfortable by helping them meet new people on campus. But, freshmen, take this advice for what it’s worth: do not let Frosh-O limit the potential of your life at Notre Dame. Let’s outline the hazardous limits of Frosh-O.

1. The dorm shirts. Dorm pride has its place, but the dorm should not structure the entirety of your life here. The vast majority of students at Notre Dame are friends with very few members of their own sex who do not live in their dorm. This trend takes root during Frosh-O when the dorm upperclassmen instill an extreme dorm loyalty. The extremity of this trend is encapsulated in the T-shirts that members of the same dorm must wear for the entire weekend as a marker of their new identity. Think about this, and you’ll realize that it’s a bit ridiculous.

2. Social gatherings. Maybe you did not catch it during the weekend because you were just so pumped to see so many members of the opposite sex, but, yes, it’s true, the social gatherings were exclusively coordinated between men’s and women’s dorms. Of course this falls in line with the dorm pride/rivalry concept so prevalent on campus, but it possesses such a downside. I mean, it sounds crazy, maybe, but dudes from one dorm may enjoy the company of dudes from another dorm. Oh, yeah, and guess why they set you up with opposite-sex dorms? So that you (insert “guy”) can get digits and start off your time at Notre Dame right by viewing the opposite sex (insert “women”) as physical objects. Duh.

3. Conversation starters. What’s your major? What is your quest? What is your favorite color? Seriously, though, I know you have to start somewhere, but half of you will probably get weeded out of freshmen chemistry, curse the banality of the method of instruction and learning in the science department, open your minds and become Classics majors. OK, that would happen in a perfect world. But, honestly, don’t ask the friends you make this year what their majors are until sophomore year at the earliest. The major is nothing on which to base a relationship. One more thing. If ever faced with the choice of reading your General Chemistry textbook or Dostoevsky, for the love of God show Dostoevsky some respect.

4. Drinking alcohol. OK, I’m finally going to touch upon the big ‘un. Your RA’s are too brainwashed by now after their week of pre-Frosh-O training to tell you what’s truly up. And the Frosh-O staff was probably on weekend lockdown at the behest of their rectors to not talk about the drinking that goes on under the Dome. But just so you know, if the dorms get a little too tight or a little too sweaty there’s an inviting, well-fabled, well-stocked little place called Turtle Creek across the road from the soccer stadium. There’s a nice little road that runs past the tennis courts that happens to not be paved with gold but should be. So mosey on over. I’ll be there waiting to greet you.

Thomas Witherspoonsenioroff-campusAugust 24