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Students reflect on first day back on campus

Kaitlynn Riely | Wednesday, August 27, 2008

For some, it’s nerve-wrecking. For others, it’s a walk in the park. For all undergraduate students at Notre Dame, Tuesday was the first day of classes.

Every year, students return from a summer of doing nothing – or a summer of doing everything – and re-enter the classrooms of O’Shaughnessy and DeBartolo, Fitzpatrick and Flanner.

On a day in South Bend with a high of 80 degrees and a low of 58, Notre Dame students walked down the quads, most with backpacks, and some in specially-chosen First Day of School outfits, like sophomore Amanda Bremer.

Bremer, wearing a white polo, white tank top and a blue and white striped skirt, laid out her outfit Monday night.

“I wanted to go to the Opening Mass, so I wanted to dress up a bit,” she said. But Bremer, who lives in McGlinn, had an 11 a.m. class at Flanner Hall, across the campus from her dorm, so she wore casual flip flops with her outfit.

Ronny Kunst, a freshman, said he did not experience any first-day-of-school-at-Notre-Dame jitters.

“I was not really nervous so much as sad that summer is officially over,” he said. Kunst began his Notre Dame career with three classes, including a “pretty rough” 9:30 a.m. political science seminar.

But even with a full schedule, Kunst was able to take a break to get pot stickers and sloppy joes at South Dining Hall for lunch.

“It was fantastic,” he said. “Always is.”

Freshman Yulie Lee said she was excited but also nervous Monday night, and couldn’t get to bed until around 2 a.m. Lee attended physical education orientation and a University seminar Tuesday, but her biggest challenge might come later this week, when Lee participates in the mandatory swim test.

“I can’t even float,” Lee said. “So I’ll just go and I’ll try.”

First year law student Brett Bean was walking across South Quad Tuesday afternoon after his second day of classes; he began school on Monday. Bean said his professors are “awesome,” and that law school – so far – hasn’t been as hard as he imagined it would be.

“It was supposed to be like storming the beaches of Normandy,” Bean said, “but it was all right.”

Bean, who was an undergraduate at Boston College, said he loves being at Notre Dame. As for first day of school jitters, he said he had a little anxiety.

“But it wasn’t like I was vomiting in the bathroom before class,” he said.

Sophomore Edward Larkin’s first class was later in the day, so after a summer of relaxing, he was able sleep in one more day. The “shock” of the school year beginning will come when he has to be up for his 9:35 a.m. Wednesday class, he said.

Lawrence Cunningham, the Rev. John A. O’Brien professor of Theology, was leaving campus Tuesday afternoon after teaching his first class of the year, a two and a half hour doctoral seminar. Cunningham, who has been at Notre Dame for 20 of his 35 years of teaching, said he is always eager for school to start again.

“Once the students are back, it’s like an adrenaline rush,” he said.

Junior Marvin Langston was rushing Tuesday, as he hurried down South Quad in the direction of the Joyce Center for the Opening Mass. Langston, a member of the Glee Club, had a relatively easy first day of school, since he had just one class. But with four classes, Langston has a packed Wednesday.

Freshman Erin Vogel finished her first day at Notre Dame confident that she will be able to take on her four years at Notre Dame.

“I think it’s going to be a lot different from high school, but I expected that,” she said. “I’m just excited for the school year to get underway.”