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A lot to be thankful for

John Whitty | Thursday, October 18, 2007

It’s midterms week and I am holed up in the library. It’s so late the janitor has begun to sweep the floor in circles around me. As I look at the gleaming floors and start to appreciate the job this man is doing, thoughts of gratitude invade my mind; as well they should, because this student has a lot to be thankful for.

An odd thank you to the football team: For their first victory of the season over UCLA. Although I was miserable over the 0-5 start, no one could pay me to give up the experience of rushing out of my dorm, along with what seemed like the rest of campus, to the inevitable gathering at Stonehenge. I didn’t care that we were going berserk over a single win that was long past due, or that Jimmy Clausen didn’t actually throw a touchdown. No one could have dampened the feeling that night. Forget freshman or transfer orientation icebreakers, if you didn’t feel a sense of community after that night, you have a screw loose.

A special shout-out and thank you to my friends from Cavanaugh and Welsh Family who, just a month after meeting them, surprised me on my birthday with my favorite present: A cookie cake. Without people like this, Notre Dame wouldn’t be the tight-knit community that we all rely on in times of need and celebrate with in times of triumph. For these friendships, I am grateful, as well as the fact that my birthday candles didn’t set off the Cavanaugh fire alarm.

Thank you to everyone’s favorite president emeritus, Father Hesburgh, for responding to my email, meeting with me, and telling me the most helpful thing I can say or think is, “Come Holy Spirit.” I can only hope in my years at Notre Dame and beyond that the Spirit works through me half as much as it does through him, and that I leave a footprint a fraction the size of his.

Last, though they are not physically at Notre Dame with me, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank my parents for everything from day one. It occurs to me that upon finding I was accepted here as a transfer student, I never actually asked if I could attend school here; I knew they were excited for me, but I just assumed it would all work out and fortunately it has beyond my greatest expectations. For this, I can only thank them for caring enough about my dreams to be in a position to finance, provide, and support a Notre Dame education.

One final thought as we head into a weekend, that some may think, will be another letdown on the gridiron: Have you ever noticed that as the sky gets ominously dark and more threatening by the minute, the Golden Dome shines brighter? As long as Our Lady is on the Dome, there will always be hope. Go Irish, beat Trojans.