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Leaving the familiar to brave the unknown

Blair Chemidlin | Friday, May 20, 2011

In a few short weeks, I will be trading God Quad for Times Square, the Golden Dome for the Empire State Building. A cubicle in the 48-floor Condé Nast building will replace my desk at The Observer in the basement of South Dining Hall.

This year, my friends and I live within walking distance of each other. Next year, we will each be far flung, from New York and Boston and Chicago, to Atlanta, Dallas, even the Cayman Islands.

In short: I’m scared. I know it’s natural to be, not only because I will be leaving my comfortable, predictable life, but because for the first time in my life I don’t really know what comes next.

While all these changes are intimidating, I also know that, deep down, I am ready to embrace the unexpected and the unknown.

My time at Notre Dame has prepared me well for the new reality of the working world and I know the relationships I’ve made here will survive the challenge of distance. Next year, I will miss the freedom of a student’s life — the long pauses in a loose college schedule, the afternoon naps and of course Thursday nights at Feve.

I will miss the exquisite and comforting sight of Notre Dame’s leafy quads. On the other hand, I look forward to new freedoms and new views.

I hope to take all that I’ve learned here, from professors, from friends, from classmates, and use it all. As we graduate and go out into the world, let’s strive to do well, but also to do good. As Notre Dame graduates we carry a responsibility to help others less fortunate.

Let’s work hard, but let’s also remember we only have one life. Let’s laugh — at ourselves, especially, and with each other, but never at someone else’s expense. Let’s remember to be kind to all we meet because it’s impossible to know everyone’s hardships. Let’s make new friends, but let’s also stay in touch.

I would like to use this remaining space to thank the people who have always helped me get from one day to the next.

I thank my family: my dad, who is a constant source of inspiration for me, my mom, who has more love in her heart than she knows what to do with, and my brothers Conor, Grant and Reid, who taught me how to be tough and keep up with the boys.

Amy, Eliza, Sofia, Cassie, Jordan, Kaitlyn and Grace: you have become my sisters. I cannot wait to visit each of you next year, no matter the airfare!

To my boyfriend, Billy: thank you for helping make my senior year the very best. I love you.

And, finally, to my friends at The Observer: while my first visit to Disneyland during our Thanksgiving trip did have its perks (single riders jump the line!) I had so much more fun when you all joined me the next day. It takes a close-knit group of editors to carry on fake Editorial Board meetings weeks after our terms have ended.

To my professors: thank you for opening my mind in all sorts of ways and equipping me not only with facts and information but with something far greater — true knowledge.

To all of my family, friends, classmates and Notre Dame faculty and staff, thank you. Together, you have made the past four years of my life amazing and each moment unforgettable. I am forever indebted.

Blair Chemidlin is graduating with a degree in English and Sociology. After graduation, she will be working at Brides Magazine in New York City. She will be spending many long hours on buses, commuting from her home in New Jersey. Blair could have written a book about her time at Notre Dame and why she is so grateful to everyone in her life, but thankfully, managed to create a SparkNotes version for The Observer. She can be reached at bchemidl@nd.edu

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