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Play like a champion today

Katie Kohler | Friday, August 22, 2008

Four years ago this week, it was raining. I was moving onto the third floor into one of Saint Mary’s smallest quads with limited elevator access and basement entry. Did I mention it was raining? If all this wasn’t a sign that I made the wrong college decision, I didn’t know what was. I was sad to be leaving the life I knew (in Philadelphia) and uprooting to Indiana, as I’m sure many of you were (or still are).

Fast forward four years. I am sad again. But sad for another reason. Sad to be beginning my last year at Saint Mary’s. Sad to be doing everything for the last time. To go to my last football game of the season. To celebrate my birthday at school for the last time (which is August 26, if you were wondering). To go to my last pep rally; my last Pigtostal; my last undergraduate classes; my last Observer meeting. It truly is the beginning of the end and while many other seniors out there aren’t quite ready to admit their nostalgia, I know you feel my pain.

For this very reason, my friends and I have made a commitment to ourselves and others, and while it is not very original, it speaks the truth: Play like a champion today. Your days in college are numbered, unfortunately, so make it count. Don’t wait until you’re a senior to realize this. Take advantage of all the opportunities here so college really is the best four years of your life. I know it’s been mine.

Notre Dame, Ind., is a special place. Sports and nationally-ranking academics aside, Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s are unique because of the students they draw. The proverb goes: “A man is judged by the company he keeps” and for any graduate from either school, the saying is all the more poignant. The ND/SMC network reaches from coast to coast and if you haven’t already experienced this for yourself, take my word for it. There is a family. There is a connection. There is a shared sense of pride. And the company you keeps here will strengthen this bond.

For all you freshmen, you have four years to nurture this relationship. You have four years to define yourself. And there is no better place to do it than here. Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students are driven, passionate, intelligent and, I like to think, a lot of fun.

Take advantage of the symbiotic relationship between our two schools. Join a club at the other school. Register for an elective across the street. Broaden your horizons. My college experience has been so enhanced by taking advantage of these opportunities. I never thought I’d be the Assistant Managing Editor of The Observer four years ago, but here I am. I hope you have similar experiences your senior year and can look back on your accomplishments with pride.

Sitting here writing my farewell column makes me realize that the reason it’s so hard to picture myself leaving is because I still picture myself arriving. Four years is too fast to sit back and just go through the motions. You have such a unique opportunity here and even though you might not be on the football team, your dorm president, or in the band, there is something here for you that will make you happy. You just have to find it. Good luck.

Katie Kohler is a senior political science major at Saint Mary’s. Realizing that this is indeed her last year of college makes her yearn for all the things college, manifesting itself in EZ-Mac and Papa John’s binges as well as recreational activities such as Guitar Hero and riding a bike. Besides her superior dancing skills, Dave Matthews impressions, color coordinated spandex and numerous nicknames she has gained over the years, she wants to be remembered by her peers for her love of the song “Sandstorm” by Darude and her sequin-studded wardrobe. Contact her at [email protected]

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