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Observer Editorial: Try something new

| Friday, September 29, 2017

“So what do you want to do?”

After a day or even week of tests, homework and other responsibilities, such a question is perhaps a common one amongst various friend groups at Notre Dame. And the answer typically comes from the same list of each group’s routine activities. Accustomed to those routines, we can easily forget about or even fail to notice the many opportunities Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s offer to branch out. We delete the Week@ND emails, we ignore our friend’s Facebook invitations to campus events and we barely glance at the posters lining the walls of our dorms and classroom buildings.

Once graduation imminently rolls around, however, this wealth of unique opportunities will quickly vanish. So this Editorial Board wants to take a week to encourage everyone to try new things while there’s still time — think about attending a movie screening, cheering for a new Irish or Belles team or testing out a new restaurant.

In-depth lectures from prominent guest speakers and experts happen in the classrooms we frequent every day. After graduation, it will be much more difficult to listen to the former president of Germany, a renowned dark matter physicist, a former Secretary of State or a Pulitzer-prize winning author offer insight about their areas of expertise.

Consistent with the University’s mission, learning does not have to end with our classes. Ever wish you could take an extra English course but don’t have the time? Go to one of the many readings in the Hammes Bookstore. Wish you knew more about biological sciences but are studying political science? Go to lectures sponsored by the many science departments on our campuses. Want valuable business insight but not a Mendoza student? Go to any one of the Boardroom Insights lectures hosted each month by the College.

After graduation, we’ll have to pay a lot of money to see the latest and greatest movies in theaters. But on campus, we have access to films we can’t yet queue up on Netflix. The DeBartolo Performing Arts Center often shows classics such as “The Mighty Ducks” and “Hocus Pocus.” Every week, the Student Union Board (SUB) screens a movie you wish you saw in theaters but never got around to watching — often times before it’s even available on DVD.

These movies aren’t the only form of art available to us on campus. Just next door to DeBartolo Hall, you can check out the Snite Museum — one of the top university museums in the country, which houses a remarkable art collection just minutes away from your room.

Other walkable venues include the homes of several successful athletic teams at this University, many of which get overshadowed by the spectacle of Saturday’s football games. The men’s and women’s soccer teams are currently ranked No. 7 and No. 22 in the country, respectively, and volleyball has defeated its share of top-25 foes in Purcell Pavilion this season as well. As we move into the winter season, don’t take for granted the opportunity to see two of the nation’s best women’s and men’s basketball teams play on campus. Even more, the hockey team was just ranked No. 8 in a preseason poll, and the fencing team stands as the reigning national champions. Beyond the boundaries of Notre Dame, it simply won’t be free to watch future professional athletes or recent Olympians compete live.

And if none of this entices you, there are dozens of ways you can support your friends and fellow students on campus. Go to a Humor Artists or Student Standups show — if they end up on Saturday Night Live, you’ll be able to say you saw them for free.

Go to the play or musical your friend is involved with, whether it is the Student Players, the Not-So-Royal Shakespeare Company or PEMCo — the quality of the performance is far beyond what is expected of a college production. Go to AcoustiCafe or a show featuring one of the a capella groups on campus, and listen to what you’ll be streaming on Spotify in a few years. Our peers are putting themselves out there, and we have the pleasure of witnessing their success almost every day.

Beyond the actual borders of campus, South Bend is quickly growing into a thriving community. If the new dining hall changes have been bothering you, check out any of the many off-campus restaurants — the Purple Porch Co-Op, India Garden, Chicory Cafe and The General are a few of our favorites. If you’re looking for more than just food, O’Rourkes, Taphouse on the Edge, Danny Boy and South Bend Brew Werks all offer trivia nights along with amazing eats.

It’s unlikely that you’ll spend more than four or five years at this University or College, so while you’re here, take advantage of every opportunity in front of you. In 30 years, when we’re looking back on our college experiences, we could very well forget about that one night we studied or went to a bar — but we’ll certainly remember that time we took advantage of a new opportunity Notre Dame or Saint Mary’s provided us with.

So this week, don’t delete the Week@ND email. Respond with a “going” to the random event your friend invited you to. Learn more about the topics you’re interested in, go to that movie you’ve been meaning to see and try eating somewhere that isn’t the dining halls or LaFun. Engage with the community.

Answer the question “So what do you want to do?” with something new.

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