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College: a box of…

Peter Ninneman | Friday, September 16, 2005

Brace yourself for another freshman writing about his first few weeks of college. Don’t worry – I promise it won’t be boring. I’ll admit it’s a bizarre column. However, you may find it uplifting.

Back in the 70s, when my dad roamed this great campus of ours, there existed a few twisted individuals.

You see, these two guys really didn’t like a kid down the hall from them.

To imagine the amount of animosity that must have existed between these people would be like sympathizing with Jesus’ pain on the cross – it’s impossible.

Christmas break rolls around, and what do these chaps send their enemy on the day Jesus was born? A nicely wrapped shoebox full of their excrement, that’s what.

Now, you’re probably asking yourself why I bring up this box of fecal matter. It’s really quite simple. It provides a meaningful metaphor for the college experience.

Picture this: You and your Notre Dame family – which as a freshman I can only assume exists – are all gathered around the gold-covered Christmas tree that is our school’s most recognizable building.

Around this giant tree are innumerable gifts: football games, friends, parties, dorm masses, pep rallies, the Grotto, gigantic squirrels and the sun reflecting off the Golden Dome. The list could really go on and on, but I’ll spare you.

So here we are, all happy little children beaming with joy as we unwrap our gifts. Meanwhile, one gift is looming in the background. Picture storm clouds billowing above it.

As the weeks progress, that one package starts to get smellier and smellier. Have you guessed what this magnificent gift is?

It takes the form of tests, papers, quizzes, assignments, projects, lectures, late night cramming, reading assignments, presentations, deadlines and study groups.

And boy does it smell rank.

Now, this is going to sound like a really cheesy silver lining approach to life, but that’s only because it is. I assert, classmates, that the package full of human waste is definitely wrapped in some darn shiny wrapping paper.

A little hard work never killed anyone, and we will be soaring out of this school full speed in our respective directions in no time, even if it doesn’t seem like it now.

So that’s college then, a great celebration with some unwelcome gifts. If you want, you can substitute the box of dung with, say, a paperweight.

In my estimation, this is a testament to the college student’s spirit. As much fun as we have, we also shoulder a great amount of pressure and anxiety. Assignments pile up. Deadlines close in on us. Computers crash. But we know tomorrow’s a new day.

Oh yeah, and our football team is good this year.