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Syllabus week shenanigans

Matthew Miklavic | Thursday, August 29, 2013

Syllabus week. Few phrases can inspire such great joy among college students and such envy among all others. We have no work and great weather, though apparently, I missed the sundress memo. Suddenly surrounded by thousands of their closest friends, students quickly rejoice while entering into a ceasefire agreement with their professors to postpone working until next week. Armed with nothing but their names, hometowns and a fun fact, they’ve made it through their first classes. As we reach the conclusion of syllabus week – and the beginning of an equally cherished weekend – let us remember what we’ve already done.
Students have come from every corner and continent to grace the dorms of Notre Dame, the streets of South Bend and the docket at St. Joseph County Circuit Court. Coming by car, train, plane and the always memorable Coach USA bus, thousands have congregated for yet another year like no other. It wasn’t easy. We’ve persevered the pain of simultaneously losing both ResLife and our starting quarterback. We endured Sharknado and Anthony Weiner. Within seconds of a Game Seven, I had to watch the Boston Bruins make Dayne Crist look clutch. So yes, that could have gone better. But summer has past and Notre Dame is once again present.
Living among us are more than 2,000 wide-eyed freshmen. They’ve survived the trip here, made it through Frosh-O and undoubtedly thrived at Domerfest. They waved goodbye to their weeping (or high-fiving) parents, but not before receiving last minute advice like “Don’t forget to study,” “Have some fun” and “I’m too young to be a grandparent.” They made some friends. They wandered around campus until they found the building they were looking for. They attended their first class while others boldly skipped theirs.
They were made members of their respective dorms through a myriad of sacred traditions. They suffered through their first Dillon Pep Rally. They even know where things are in the rearranged North Dining Hall, which is far more than I can say. On the eve of the first home game, they can proudly proclaim themselves students of Notre Dame – even if they don’t pass the swim test. And they are not alone.
They’re joined by seniors ready for one last year under the dome. Having glimpsed this past summer what the real world has in store for them, they’re prepared to make the most of the time they have left and maybe beg for a fifth year.
They’re joined by juniors preparing for the constant stream of 21st birthdays. Even as they ready themselves for MCAT insanity, internship anxiety and awkward Skype chats as they scatter the globe to study abroad, they’re ready to take the bars by storm and to no longer fear Excise police lurking at every corner.
Finally, they’re joined by sophomores. No longer saddled by the 8:30 class their freshman advisors signed them up for, they’re eager to be back. They return to campus with wildly optimistic expectations for the football season, absent the USF and Tulsa-instilled cynicism of the older classes.
So welcome back, everyone. Hydrate away whatever evil Thursday night tossed your way and get ready for an opening weekend of football, celebration and shenanigans. In a world that will quickly be consumed by papers, tests and projects, don’t forget to stop and enjoy your time here. You’re going to have fun. You’re going to succeed. You’re probably going to trip up at some point, be it in a class or with a tray full of food in the dining hall. If I’m any sort of benchmark, you’ll do both. Get up, take a bow and smile. No matter how you slice it, you’re in for a pretty awesome year.