The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Dance parties and other tips

Adriana Pratt | Saturday, August 20, 2011

When my sister headed off to college a year after I did, I wasn’t sure what to give her, but I knew that as a rising sophomore I had an infinite amount of wisdom to share.

The things I learned that freshman year, like how to stay up past 2 a.m., what part of the library all the cute boys study in — news flash, cute boys don’t study — and how to adequately decorate a hallway for Christmas basically made me the Albert Einstein of college and life knowledge (not).

In reality, by that point in life, my sister was tired of hearing me preach so I turned to people she actually liked — my friends — and asked them to offer some advice for her freshman year.

The things they recommended, like having regular dance parties with your roommates to both bond and de-stress, putting away your cell phones at parties to avoid regrettable text messages and reading any and everything you come across because there’s so much out there to learn, were all valuable gems.

Other things, like inappropriate party jokes that were guaranteed to offend someone, were entertaining, but not quite as helpful.

Some also offered college advice staples, like go into freshman year with an open mind and find your niche.

Get involved and take some risks bigger than putting off your homework until Sunday night.

Don’t be scared to talk to professors (I still am) and don’t worry about having a perfect GPA (I don’t). All these were valuable and really should be considered.

A lot is going to be thrown at you this weekend, this year and really the rest of your time here.

The great thing (and overwhelming thing) about college is that there are so many people here with so much knowledge about things you’ve never even heard of, that you’ll never run out of people to ask for advice.

At the same time, it’s hard not to wonder if you’ll ever be as smart or as successful as them. Good news — you made it to Notre Dame, so you’re already well on your way.

As the weather gets colder and pangs of homesickness settle in, know that there are people here who will love and welcome you wholeheartedly into what we call the warm Notre Dame family.

Even though we’ve been told over and over again how much smarter your class is than ours, I promise we’ll try not to resent you. In fact, we might just even invite you over for a dance party to warm up your spirits.

Notre Dame is a special place, but you don’t need me to tell you that. As I get closer and closer to stepping out into the real world, my heart aches more and more to stay beneath the Golden Dome. You really won’t find people like the ones you meet this weekend and this year anywhere else, trust me.

I have to be honest. It took me a while to appreciate everything Notre Dame is. I came here with a skeptical eye, and not just because both my parents are Purdue fans.

It was hard to believe that one school could have the academics, athletics, faith, tradition and quality of people this place promised. Everywhere I looked, I peeked behind the scenes to find the person who would jump out and yell, “Gotcha!” It all seemed too good to be true, but it wasn’t.

It might take a few days, weeks, months or no time at all for you to fall in love with this school.

Work at whatever pace is right for you. As they say in “Field of Dreams,” “If you build it, they will come.”

If you open your mind and heart to what Notre Dame has to offer, I guarantee the immense love and satisfaction the students have for this school and each other will come and warm you, even when there are piles of snow outside … in October.

Adriana Pratt is a senior studying political science and journalism. She has safeguarded her future by befriending a lot of pre-med students who have promised her a couch when she can’t find employment. Adriana can be reached at apratt@nd.edu

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