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A room of possibilities

| Monday, September 1, 2014

I get weirdly excited for Activities Night. I don’t know if it’s all the talented and dedicated people offering their passions to the University or the abundance of free candy and t-shirts, but there’s nothing quite like it.

There’s no doubt it’s an overwhelming experience, too. The fluorescent lights high in the rafters of the Joyce Center and the sea of people weaving through much-too-small rows of tables can be disorienting. Maybe that’s what makes us believe we have the time to sign up for and actually participate in ten different clubs.

I find it funny that all of the clubs I signed up for at Activities Nights past are now emailing me on their listserv seeking volunteers to work their table tonight. I guess you can call it the circle of overly-ambitious, poorly-managed-time life. But that’s also the beauty of Activities Night. Tonight, you don’t have a million different commitments, just a room full of possibilities.

Activities Night is the freshmen’s first foray into truly everything Notre Dame has to offer. For upperclassmen, it marks the beginning of a new year and an opportunity to re-commit to old interests, and the even more precious chance to chart a new course.

As a junior, it appears as if my days of wandering the rows at Activities Night are over. I have moved behind the table and now represent the clubs I am a part of (I’ll be working the Observer’s table, so you should all stop by and sign up to write news). I chose to heavily invest myself in one particular activity rather than mirror my high school self and join everything I could think of, but that’s just how I decided to live my college life.

I wish I had the time to be an active member of Quiz Bowl or volunteer for a campaign with College Democrats, but I don’t. That’s fine, I made that choice a while ago. I still like being on the listserv to see all the incredible things these clubs are doing.

Ultimately, whether you sign up for 12 clubs or none, Activities Night is still one of the rarest moments of the year. For a few hours, you get to decide what is going to matter to you this year (or at least, what you hope you have time for this year). Inevitably, life gets in the way and good intentions fall by the wayside. Check your email inbox, though. Those good intentions are still there, and they’re inviting you back to Activities Night.

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

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About Jack Rooney

Jack is a 2016 graduate of Notre Dame, and The Observer's former managing editor. He is currently spending a year living and working for the University in Ireland, and writing columns to keep him busy. For more random thoughts and plenty of news links, follow Jack on Twitter @RooneyReports.

Contact Jack