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Never forget

Andrew Soukup | Friday, May 14, 2004

So the bubble pops this weekend.We officially become alumni in two days when we receive a college degree to hang on an office wall somewhere and a crooked hat to wear back to a tailgate sometime. That’s when we’re supposed to disappear into the real world, carrying the weight of a Notre Dame degree and a promise to make the world a better place. We take what we learned in college and go wherever our minds or our wallets call us to go as already-hazy memories of college slowly fade away.You’ll pardon me if I’m not ready to forget yet.I don’t want to forget that first football game when I ran straight from the Stadium to Stonehenge or that morning when a snowstorm made Notre Dame white-out its final exam schedule. I hope, 50 years from now, I’ll still remember what it felt like to watch 12 women’s basketball players see 5,000 of their classmates singing the fight song at Main Circle at 3 a.m. I want to keep picturing the sea of humanity that packed South Quad on September 11. I want to still wear my T-shirt that says “By George, It’s O’Leary.” I want to believe that Hesburgh really gave Saint Tyrone God’s direct phone number two years ago – but then I’d also have to believe that the coach lost it during the Return to Mediocrity.Don’t make me forget what an SYR was like (even though I might have already). Or the sweet feeling of a ‘Backer Long Island sliding down my throat while somebody else’s slides onto my shoes. And what I wouldn’t give for one more round of $3 nectar-filled pitchers at Corby’s and the satisfaction of seeing that ping-pong ball fall into the last red Solo cup.I want to remember what the sun looks like when it bounces off the Dome. I want to remember how a bench in Notre Dame Stadium and a pew in the Basilica both evoked spiritual feelings. I want to remember the canvas that is a fall at Notre Dame and the tranquility that is midnight at the Grotto. I want to remember celebrating St. Paddy’s with the Fighting Irish, watching a freshly-poured Guinness settle at Legends, blowing too many Flex Points on a strawberry smoothie at Reckers and making a late-night quarter dog run to the Huddle. I’m too afraid that I’ll spend my life worrying about getting that perfect job so I can get that perfect salary to complement my perfect lifestyle that I’ll miss everything else. That’s why buying books from the bookstore always took a backseat to playing Bookstore Basketball and why I never hesitated to stand up Plato in favor of a night with the guys. In the quest for that storybook future we’re supposed to reach outside the bubble, how many missed the picture-perfect present?If the rest of my life is anything like my four years at Notre Dame, I won’t have to spend it searching for the perfect way to heaven. The way is heaven.