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Seniors reflect on their four years under the Dome

Sara Felsenstein | Friday, May 14, 2010

Four years ago, the Class of 2010 arrived on Notre Dame’s campus, ready to make new friends and start a new life beneath the shadow of the Golden Dome.

Now, as Commencement approaches, seniors say they are ready to move on but will miss the community they have found here on campus.

“My favorite part of Notre Dame is the people I’ve met here,” said Jenny Heil, a senior from Pasquerilla West Hall. “I’ve made phenomenal friends, and I’ll miss them all. I’ve gotten the chance to meet all kinds of people, and I’ll miss those faces you pass every day as well.”

Pasquerilla West senior Lauren Demeter also said she will miss the community she has found at Notre Dame.

“I don’t think the Golden Dome epitomizes Notre Dame. I think the group of people does,” she said.

Senior Scott Andrews, a resident assistant (RA) in Siegfried Hall, said his senior experience was unique because of his ability to help build dorm community as an RA.

“Being an RA was awesome because my last everything was my freshmen’s first everything,” Andrews said. “I got to be a senior but also relive everything that was exciting freshman year.”

Andrews said dorm life is one of the things he’ll remember most about Notre Dame.

“Siegfried is only a cinderblock building, but it’s home. I never thought I’d become attached to one place so much,” he said.  

Although students had mixed feelings about the end results of many football games, they said the sense of spirit Notre Dame students share is exceptional, and cannot be found at other schools.

“My favorite football memory over the last four years was at the UCLA game in 2006. I’ll always remember that touchdown pass to Jeff Samardzija with seconds left in the game,” said Kevin Hurley, a senior from Dillon Hall. “I’ll definitely come back for games in the future. I plan on going to four games next year — two at Notre Dame and two in New York.”

Andrews said Notre Dame football contributes to the overall college experience.

“We have that class unity and camaraderie,” he said. “My single favorite football memory was the Michigan State away game either my sophomore or junior year. We won, and there was a roar [of cheering] you could hear all the way across campus. Now I could understand that for a home game, but for an away game that’s really something special.” 

Breen Phillips senior Nicole Overton said she will miss spending time studying what she loves and meeting others interested in the same subject.

“I’m an anthropology major and I just love it,” Overton said. “Professor McKenna’s Intro to Anthropology Class really got me interested. In Human Osteology, I got to work with actual human bones. I love coming back and telling my friends about what I did in class.”

Most students said they will not be sad to leave behind the gray South Bend sky, whipping wind across South Quad and endless months of snow and cold.

Andrew Baroody, a senior in Siegfried Hall, said what he won’t miss about Notre Dame is “the weather.”

He will, however, miss being so close to everything all at once — food, friends and entertainment. With friends next door and LaFortune Student Center a short walk away, Baroody said he thinks a Notre Dame student truly has everything he or she needs.

At Notre Dame, dorm life plays a central role in a student’s social experience. But some seniors said they have made some of their deepest friendships through activities outside of the dorm.

Demeter said she enjoyed trying out all kinds of clubs and organizations during her four years, and she said she did not dedicate all of her time to one particular extracurricular.

“There wasn’t one thing that I was involved in specifically,” she said. “That’s pretty typical of a Notre Dame student.”

But Pasquerilla West senior Katie Matic said she devoted at least 20 hours a week to Mock Trial.

“The best memory was our 12-hour bus ride to Memphis for Nationals this year,” Matic said. “Just all the laughing and fooling around. I’ll always remember that.”

Leaving college, Matic said she knows she will also be leaving a tight-knit community that runs on its own schedule, a schedule she has gotten used to over the years.

“It’s awesome living with your friends in college and enjoying the experiences that happen late at night, like going to get ravioli from the Huddle at two in the morning.” she said. “I’ll miss that.”

Seniors said they agree that while they will miss friends, the Notre Dame campus and power-walks to DeBartolo Hall, they are ready to move on to the next phase in their lives.

“I’ll miss Notre Dame a lot, but I’m going to law school next year, ” Matic said. “I’m ready for the next step.”