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The view from halfway

Conor Kelly | Thursday, April 12, 2012

Don’t look now, but the year is almost over.

One month separates us from the freedom, sunshine and boredom of summer. I am not sure where the year went, but we are entering into the last quarter of the semester, or eighth of the year, at least according to the highly scientific approach of dividing the school year up into the periods between breaks. As we begin the last sliver of the year, a segment that passes faster than good weather in South Bend, I have come to the startling realization that, for all intents and purposes, I am halfway done with my time at Notre Dame. Class, weekend, class, weekend, class, weekend, finals, out of here.

While current juniors and seniors might smirk and say that it is both way too soon and way too indulgent of me to think about my dwindling days on Our Lady’s campus, the sudden shift over the hump that is the end of sophomore year is somewhat unsettling. I think of it as a metaphorical continental divide, where one stops looking back to the past and reverses the flow towards the future.

I remember taking stock at the end of the first semester four months ago and being somewhat comforted by the fact that I had five semesters remaining in college. Three-eighths is not so intimidating of a fraction. Now, all of a sudden, the denominator of that fraction has changed to a two for the first time, and the thought is sobering. If there were a giant line that demarcated the two halves of one’s time in college, I feel that my classmates and I are in the process of storming across it.

Last month, most of us engaged in the annual ordeal of room picks, the majority of us for the second time and, for many of us, the last. In just a couple of weeks, we will choose classes for the fifth time. For those of us studying abroad, this means that we will register for classes only two more times at Notre Dame, most likely for senior year. Things get real quickly.

On the topic of study abroad, perhaps there is nothing else that makes your time feel more fleeting than the prospect of spending a semester somewhere else. I find myself talking to friends going abroad in the fall (I am going in the spring) and realizing that after this month, many of us will not see each other until senior year.

Senior year. It is a scary thought.

Luckily, however, there still is plenty of time left. I have still never climbed Stepan, won an interhall championship, even considered attempting the Hesburgh Challenge, or done many of the other things that must grace a Notre Dame student’s bucket list. Three semesters is more than enough time to do all that, if I move fast.

Up until this point, I’ve still thought of myself as somewhat of a newcomer to Notre Dame, still learning the ropes in some places. The thought that I will soon be older (and hopefully wiser) than the average student here has me wondering if it isn’t time to start being more responsible, stop going to bed so late, maybe grab more vegetables at the dining hall. You know, more like an adult.

Nah, there’s still plenty of time.

Contact Conor Kelly at ckelly17@nd.edu

The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.