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Having it all

Maureen Reynolds | Friday, May 19, 2006

I’ve been told Kenny Chesney said it best: “For a while, we had it all. We never dreamed it wouldn’t last.”

But let’s be honest. We knew one day, sooner rather than later, it would be over. Why did I spend most of my Wednesday nights at Rum Runners this year when I knew I had a 9:30 class the next morning? Why did my friends and I tolerate the absurd (a whole dollar!) increase in cover at the Backer? Because we knew the day would arrive when we wouldn’t be students anymore, when this place would belong less to us than to those who will follow.

I remember how annoyed I was my first few football Saturdays when campus would be invaded by alums trying to relive their college days. Game days were always fun, of course, but those alums still thought they owned the place. What nerve! They had their turn, I thought, and now it was ours.

The passing years made me more sympathetic, and now I have to be one of those alums. I guess I always knew it was going to happen. Let’s face it – we’ve seen this weekend coming since Frosh-O.

While we’re at it, let’s admit something else: we knew what we had. Every time I walked across South Quad on that perfect fall day, every time I looked up at the Dome at night, every time I sat up with my friends until way too late, I knew how lucky I really was to be a Notre Dame student.

Of course I had those moments when I took this place for granted; five finals in four days doesn’t exactly engender nostalgia. Neither does trudging to class in winds strong enough to knock you to the ground. But for the most part, I tried to remember that never again would I live 50 feet from my best friends in a place that can even look beautiful in the worst weather.

If not for Notre Dame, I wouldn’t have met my amazing friends. These are the girls who chalked encouraging messages onto the sidewalk in front of my dorm and DeBartolo so I would see them on my way to take the LSAT, the ones who can make a trip to the dining hall an adventure, who can make me laugh when all I want to do is give up and who were never too far when I needed anything at all. They do all this and more because they know I would do the same for them in a second.

If not for Notre Dame, I would not have grown nearly as much in faith and confidence. It was my many trips to the Grotto that made me realize prayer actually works. And the dual nature of this University as a place of higher education and as a center of faith encourages extensive soul searching, which allowed me to fully comprehend my abilities and envision my dreams for the future.

For this and so much more, I am deeply thankful.

This is why Notre Dame students are different. We know exactly how fortunate we are to be a part of this family. We know how much Notre Dame has given us and how much we have given each other. And we know that it really doesn’t end here.

“For a while, we had it all.” It’s true.

But it will last forever because we will always be a part of this legendary Notre Dame family, and we will never forget the bonds we forged or how this place and the friends we met made us better people. We are the lucky ones because we can continue the relationships we have begun and the lessons we have learned. We get the Notre Dame memories and the new, exciting adventures upon which we’re all about to embark.

We still have it all, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Maureen Reynolds is graduating with a degree in accountancy and political science, and she will spend the next three years at the Loyola University of Chicago School of Law. She also swears writing this column was more difficult than any college final she had. She has many people to thank for all their love and support, most importantly her parents and siblings, without whom moving back to Chicago would not be nearly as exciting. A special thanks, of course, goes to her 4B and PW friends who made senior year (and all the rest) unforgettable. Additional thanks goes to Meg, because that was their deal, but if she could mention all of you by name, she would. A final thank you goes to her friends at The Observer, because without the people, the work would not have been fulfilling, and without this paper, her college experience would have been completely different.