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One more picture

Harkins, Mike | Friday, May 13, 2005

When I received my acceptance letter four and a half years ago, the same picture kept running through my head – graduation day, standing by the steps of the Dome, feeling lucky to be holding my Notre Dame diploma, showing it off to everyone in my family.

So you would think, with graduation just days away, that picture would once again be replaying in my mind.

Although I do have all kinds of images running through my head, they’re not images of the graduation that is soon to come, but of the countless memories I’ve made since I took my first step upon this campus as an official Notre Dame student.

My freshman year included so many memorable moments. Everyone can picture that great moment from Frosh-O week. The time when you serenaded another dorm with some ridiculous song or dance routine – for me it was singing “I’m a Little Teapot” followed by “Baby Got Back.” Or when you first met that guy or girl that is now your best friend. Or maybe the first time you got completely obliterated with the people you now call your brothers.

The one freshman year moment that stands out for me is the week after Frosh-O week. My RA and the guys from my section took me to a nice birthday dinner at South Dining Hall, only on top of the strawberry cheesecake for dessert, they decided to pick me up and carry me over to do a yo-cream stand. I swear I threw down yo-cream for about 30 seconds, and probably picked up all of my Freshman 15 in the process.

Then there was the party near the end of my junior year at a friend’s house. With several “root beer floats” in my system and a huge cups victory over the cocky defending champs under my belt, a couple of my friends decided I had reached the point where I was having too much fun and gave me a ride back to my dorm.

Apparently they underestimated my resilience – because five minutes later I somehow dragged my inebriated self into a cab riding back to the house (after first stumbling into my friend’s room, who was in the middle of RA shadowing, and entertaining him with what might be the worst Dance Dance Revolution routine ever). Casually strolling back into the party, I tapped my friend on the shoulder and she gave me the craziest look in return. The performance was one I will never forget.

One moment that sticks out from this year is when I cut my leg badly during a soccer game at Rolf’s. The cut was so deep that I had to first get an NDSP escort to Health Services, and then another one over to St. Joe’s Hospital. After two hours of sitting in the waiting room alone and then eventually getting stitched up, I left the checkout desk ready to call a cab, only to run into Father Doyle, my rector in Dillon. His response, in his thick Virginian accent, was simply “I’m here to pick ya up.” Right then, it really hit me just how unique this place really is.

At Commencement, the picture that I had in my head four years ago will finally become a reality, only that picture will be a little bit different from four years ago.

I didn’t fully realize then that I would have so much more family, the Notre Dame family, standing with me as well.

Mike Harkins is a graduating with a degree in management information systems and is the former Graphics Editor of The Observer. He would like to thank everyone that helped him along the way – friends, family and especially his parents. In June, after cheering the Pistons to another title, he will begin working for Epic Systems in Madison, Wisconsin.

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