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Bursting the Bubble

Kevin Kimberly | Monday, August 30, 2010

At the start of every academic year, I, an upperclassman, pick up the first copy of The Observer that always reminds me of how much better the incoming class is than my class was — better ACT/SAT scores, better GPAs, more athletes, more involvement in this and that, etc. And as I peruse this issue to see just how it is one could top the greatness that is the Class of 2011, I hope that with the higher level of ‘intelligence’ coming in, the same freshman mistakes will not be made. But alas, I write to you today to inform you of the things that unite all incoming Notre Dame classes, regardless of scores on a test.

The following list consists of things that plague our very campus, arguably more so than the several Viewpoint wars that will ensue about whether Notre Dame is Catholic enough or not. Admittedly so, I did commit one or two of these actions, but I was never lucky enough to hear it from an older and wiser Domer that these things were just not cool. Freshmen, I would like to provide that service to you today; upperclassmen, here’s to a blast from the past.

Lanyard Wearing: You had to have seen this one coming. Wearing your lanyard, complete with key and ID, around your neck is the biggest fashion faux pas on this campus (alongside wearing North Face jackets and Ugg boots in my opinion). Frankly, it just looks dumb, and it makes me feel like I am at summer camp or traveling abroad. There are plenty of great places for these two very important things — in your bag/purse, in a wallet, hanging from a pocket — but around your neck is not one of them.

Map Walking: Walking around campus with a full blown map hinders your ability to not run into others walking around you. It also makes you look like a lost puppy, which in this case is not a good thing. Take this coming from someone who still managed to get lost on campus at random times during spring semester of his freshman year, figure out your path beforehand and/or ask for directions. It makes everything smoother.

Dining Hall Disruption: If there is one of these suggestions that you read carefully, let it be this one. The dining hall is a wondrous place, but that does not mean you should walk around as if there is no tomorrow casually chatting with friends while long lines of people wait for you to finish. This is something you will find juniors and seniors still have a problem accomplishing.

Football Game Chop: Though the first football game has not occurred, I am certain that after every first down, the freshman and sophomore areas of the student section will proceed to do the Florida State Chop. Newsflash, this is Notre Dame. The ‘Stop the Chop’ campaign has been an ongoing effort for several years to crush this at all Notre Dame football games; be part of the freshman class that does not embarrass themselves doing this.

Talking About High School: I am sure some of you are nodding your head after reading this one, now having gone through Frosh-O. You now know how aggravating it is for that one kid to continually brag about what he or she got on the ACT/SAT or how much of a god he or she was in high school. Newsflash number two: No one cares nor does it really matter in this context anymore. Everyone got into the same school as you did, and you will waste opportunities to make new friends at this school if you constantly converse about those things.

Early Dating: It always boggles my mind to see two freshmen dating within the first couple weeks. You do not even know that person, minus where they are from, what their major is, and what dorm they live in! In fact, the funniest parts of these situations are when the ‘never saw it coming’ breakup happens. Dating someone in college can be great when you actually know the person you are dating.

Despite my inability to welcome you properly with open arms and loving words, as our student and administrative leaders did, I am actually very glad you are here. Each of you will add something to this campus in a unique way. My copycat advice to you is to get involved and stay involved. Really, the truth is many seniors are quite jealous of the fact that you are just beginning college; four years goes by in the blink of an eye. Make the most of every moment. Also, be sure to make fun of and laugh at yourself from time to time; there will be many moments when this is appropriate (see above for examples).

Kevin Kimberly is a senior. He can be reached at [email protected]

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