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Looking ahead to next year

Andy Ziccarelli | Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Today is the last day of class and, for most people, it is time to get sentimental about the past year. We’ve already had columns by the senior writers reminiscing about the last four years and what they are going to miss about Notre Dame. Well, fortunately for me, I’m only a junior, so I have one more year to spend in college. Rather than getting all teary-eyed by recounting my favorite memories of this year, I am going to be more uplifting. Instead, I am going to talk about everything that I can’t wait for next year.

More than anything, I am excited to get all of my friends back. All Domers have experienced (or will experience) the exodus of students to study abroad programs junior year. I realize that studying abroad is an unbelievable experience, and in many ways I am jealous of those who did live abroad for a semester. But, selfishly, it is tough to lose people that you have lived with and grown close to over the first few semesters of college. I’m ready for the day when the entire Class of 2011 is back on campus, and everyone that I want to see is just a phone call or short bike ride away.

I am excited to live on campus next year (believe it or not). Not many college students live in the same building all four years, but then again, most colleges do not foster the sense of community within the dorms like Notre Dame does. Living on campus is convenient because of how close it is to class, how connected to campus life you are and the fact that you don’t have to cook for yourself. I wasn’t ready to be out on my own, away from the daily buzz of campus, and now I can live that experience for one final year. Along those lines, I am excited to be an RA in my dorm and to be someone that freshmen and underclassmen can turn to. It wasn’t long ago that I was the nervous, homesick freshman living with 300 other guys that I had never met before, and I can still remember how intimidating it was. I’m looking forward to doing anything I can to help make the best possible Notre Dame experience.

While I am still going to be on campus, I am also excited for my friends who have decided to move off campus into various apartments and houses around South Bend. I realize that it is going to take more of an effort on my part to see them, but I also believe that it is going to be an awesome experience for all of them. They are all going to have a great time being independent and, in a sense, I am jealous of that freedom.

Despite the past few years, I am still unbelievably excited for next football season. There is just a different atmosphere around campus during the season. Obviously, I am excited to see what Coach Kelly can do with the team, and I’m hopeful that, at the very least, I can see a winning regular season in one out of my four years at Notre Dame (I still can’t believe that I just typed that). With that, I am excited for my last year of weekly tailgating. I don’t think that needs much of an explanation.

I am excited to go through the Bengal Bouts season and tournament one final time. Ironically, “excited” isn’t exactly the word that I use to describe how I feel at about 4 p.m. every day right before I trudge through the snow to go to practice. However, looking back, the Bouts have been an amazing experience, and one that I could only have had at Notre Dame. Where else can an average guy like me sign up and participate in a legitimate, full-contact amateur boxing tournament? I have been blessed with the opportunity to learn the sport of boxing, and it has forever shaped my time at Notre Dame.

What I have realized, though, is that I am just excited to be in college for one more year and am ready for everything that comes with it. It doesn’t have to be a football Saturday, or a dorm formal, or anything special at all. I get one more year of staying up too late, putting off homework and feeling the buzz of students walking to and from class on an average school day, and I can’t wait for it to come.

I am excited about potentially writing a column again next year, too. This column has put me in contact with some amazing people and it has been a great experience for me. I want to thank everyone that took the time to read my work and for the feedback that everyone gave. Hopefully, I made people think about things a little more, or at least made lunch in the dining hall on Wednesdays a little more interesting. But for right now, I am excited that summer is here, because I am just about out of things to write about.


Andy Ziccarelli is a junior majoring in civil engineering. He can be reached at aziccare@nd.edu.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not
necessarily those of The Observer.