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Now & Then: Move-In

Marissa Frobes | Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Getting settled at Notre Dame in the fall is quite a process, as many students with half of their lives still piled in the dorm hallway can attest to. Though time and technology have helped work out some of the kinks of move-in and registration, there is nothing more glamorous about moving into a dorm today than there was in the 1960s and the 1970s.

Modernity has provided us with one start-of-school advantage, though. Who hasn’t vocalized a complaint about DART-ing (class registration for all you freshmen)? Whether the class is full, the computer froze or the counselor isn’t returning your phone calls, there always seems to be some glitch during registration.

Before the world was graced with this somewhat frustrating technological ability, students registered when they arrived at school in the fall with paper and pencil. Imagine 6,000 young men crowded into the Navy Drill Hall trying to sort out their semester.

I’d rather pull my hair out while DART-ing in seclusion in my dorm room. And if I were a freshman, there would be nothing more terrifying than loitering with the entire student body for hours on end with barely any direction. Points for technology.

 

We still haven’t figured out the physical strain of move-in, though. For freshmen, dorms have passed along the duty to volunteers on their Frosh-O staff. As a member of Walsh Hall’s committee a year ago, I can state with confidence that carrying a 60-pound item thrown at me out of a car up to the fourth floor in sweltering heat did not feel so modern, despite the fact that it was a mini-fridge tossed at me out of a black Escalade.

And Freshman Orientation activities were always awkward. No one seems to have a solution to that problem, or it’s become such an uncomfortable tradition that it is now a rite of passage for Notre Dame freshmen. In the early days of Notre Dame, the Blue Circle Honor Society of upperclassmen orchestrated the welcome, which included a “Frosh Mixer” and a “Pottawatomie Park Picnic.”

The yearbook of 1960 highlights one especially suave Frosh-O game of old: an orange was to be passed between students without the use of their hands. Notre Dame boys played with Saint Mary’s girls. It was arguably a tad more promiscuous of an activity than allowed during Frosh-O today, but definitely just as painful.

Even though these aspects of the fall at Notre Dame don’t sound so appealing, they make Notre Dame unique and contribute to the school’s tradition. Everyone admits (whether they’re proud of it or not) that some of their favorite memories are from DomerFest, and we all look forward to getting situated in our dorms in August. It’s nice to see some things stay the same.

 

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

Contact Marissa Frobes at mfrobes@nd.edu