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See you later’

Michael Bryan | Friday, May 14, 2010

It’s still surreal to me that this weekend I’ll graduate from Notre Dame.
Even applying as a senior in high school, I never knew if coming here would actually happen. I didn’t know if my grades were good enough, if my family would be able to pay the way-too-much tuition or if I could move 600 miles away from Atlanta where I hardly knew anyone.
Four years later it’s still hard to believe sometimes. There’s days I still walk around campus and just try and take everything in, and those days have become more common this year and especially in the last few weeks.
Before I came here everyone told me Notre Dame was a special place. They talked about the campus, professors, football games, the Grotto and Touchdown Jesus.
But it’s not really those things that make this week bittersweet, and the big stuff isn’t what I’ll miss. I’ll miss a lot of the little dumb things, like throwing the football around the quad before dinner and playing Mario Party on Saturday afternoons. I’ll miss going to Burger King some 30 times this year and only ever getting things off the dollar menu (and after 2 a.m.).
I’ll miss Christmas parties and playing (and mostly losing) club sports games.
I’ll miss going to Outback for birthdays, one on one games of beer pong, Flashforward and having seen every Scrubs episode at least four times. I’ll miss getting up at 10 a.m. to tailgate, going to Finnies and “Ridin Solo” and “Rocket Man”.
Even thinking about my time abroad, I enjoyed hanging out with everyone in my tiny room before going out and getting fish and chips at the harbor for lunch, just as much as the skydiving and crazy nights in Singapore.
The thing in common with all these little things I’ll miss is the people, and that’s what makes this place what it is. Notre Dame is about them, not the classes, the football team, the Dome and definitely not South Bend.
That’s why I don’t really want to walk across the stage and graduate — Notre Dame has become my second home and my friends my second family. But it’s our time now, and thankfully the best parts of college will still be a huge part of my life — they’ll just be spread all over the country.
So thank you to all of you for being part of the best four years of my life, especially the six-man, McGlinn girls, Freo kids and upstairs neighbors.
In the movie “John Q,” Denzel Washington’s character says goodbye to his son after dropping him off at school, and the kid says, “No goodbye, you know I don’t like goodbyes. See you later.”
I agree.
So until next time, see you guys later.

Michael Bryan is graduating with a degree in marketing and is joining the ACE program teaching math at St. Joan of Arc in New Orleans.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.