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When worlds collide

Jason Coleman | Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In my four days back at Notre Dame, I have witnessed this incredible natural phenomenon occurring all over town. I’ve seen it in the houses south of campus, at the Backer, and the apartments on the East side. It’s been more stunning than the Perseid meteor shower. It can only truly be described as worlds colliding.

Worlds colliding. Epic. It is a senior class 2000 kids strong, discovering a thousand new connections between all of their friends. It is discovering how small Notre Dame really becomes each progressive year you stay here.

What do I mean by worlds? I am talking about the friends that you make out of necessity your freshman year: the roommates, the kids next door, Frosh-O staff. Another world is your dorm friends, the kids you get close to through freshman year as you navigate all the dorm parties and try and find out where the swim house actually is. Then it becomes the kids from your major: the ones you have every single class with for about four semesters before you actually start talking and hanging out. After that it is the kids with whom you studied abroad in London, Rome, Uganda, Chile and Toledo. Finally, it’s your neighbors off campus. These kids you come to know through complete chance, the only real connection being that the apartment manager threw you next to each other.

So you have all of these worlds, all of these groups of friends. Some of them overlap a bit, others not at all. And then, boom. You head to a party with some of your dorm friends. It is being hosted by a kid you worked with at the dining hall, but you heard about it from one of your good travel buddies from London last semester. After you get there, a dozen kids walk in who you didn’t even know knew the host, but actually turn out to be really good friends with the next door neighbor whom the host just met. It becomes incredibly complex, but equally exciting.

This whole endeavor, keeping up with all the connections underlying all of these social events, is intense, but also brings out some nostalgia for the last couple of years. Being forced to think back about why you know someone, and where you met, helps to recall all sorts of memories from your college experience and think about all the things that have led you into senior year. For us seniors, it’s good to think back, and keep on forging great relationships.

As for sophomores, juniors and, especially freshmen out there, I have to say only this: Don’t limit yourself to any one group at Notre Dame. For freshmen, this means coming to know all of the kids in your dorm, and making good friends. The dorm system works out for a reason: It provides a great slice of the Notre Dame experience that is accessible from day one. However, take this slice, and keep finding more. Find a job and get to know your coworkers. You may never get to know them well, but its great to work on finding new connections and friendly faces on campus. Join a club and get to meet other interesting people from other corners of campus.

For sophomores: Study abroad if you can, it’s a great way to make friends that you will get to know really well. Be sure to get out and know the kids in your major classes. They can share the pain of looking for internships and jobs and at the very least give you someone with whom to commiserate.

As for the juniors: It is still not too late. Get off campus and get some new neighbors. Meet people that live in your building or on your block. It is amazing how fast you can become friends with someone just because they live next door.

As long as you keep on moving out, meeting new people and sharing new experiences, Notre Dame will just keep on getting smaller and cozier.

And as for us seniors, let’s get out and enjoy all the friendships we’ve worked at for the last three years. I’ll see you all Thursday at Feve.

Jason Coleman is a senior

accounting major at Notre Dame. He can be contacted at coleman.70@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not

necessarily those of The Observer.