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The ultimate thing to remember

Laura Myers | Saturday, August 21, 2010

I got into my car a few weeks ago, sunglasses in hand on a beautiful California morning. That day’s commute was about 30 miles — to the beach. But as I shifted into drive, my only thought was how great it would be if I were instead beginning the 2,200-mile journey back to Notre Dame.
Welcome to a new kind of mindset, where nothing beats the end of summer.
You’re probably used to certain rituals before the first day of school. You buy the right supplies, make sure your uniform still fits, attend a few bonfires. Then you head to homeroom math and try to remember all those equations you’d learned the year before.
This year, it’s best you forget.
Maybe not the math, but everything else.
Forget Rudy, the stories your parents or siblings have told you and anything else you may have heard. From DomerFest to finals week and beyond, Notre Dame is a collective experience — you’ll learn that next Saturday — but it is also profoundly individual. Your journey here will not be like anything you’ve seen or heard. Sure, you will forge well-worn paths in your many trips to the Grotto, DeBartolo and the Backer. But there’s a part of those events that are yours, and just yours.
Forget what you’ve done in the past. Again, not the math. Trust me. But forget your ACT score and your high school GPA. Forget your favorite classes, and how special you may have been in the twelfth grade. You can’t get by with only a name, a smile or the ability to guess correctly on standardized tests.
Forget your prejudices. The Notre Dame campus still has a long way to go on the diversity front, but it does have students of all backgrounds, whose ideas and beliefs may be very different from yours. Maybe you’ve never encountered or considered what some people have to say, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen. More importantly, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think. Not just about what you’ve been told in the past, but about the reasoning behind an issue. This is a challenging place; be ready for it.
Of course, there are some things you should always remember.
The first is a bike lock.
Mine broke once, in my sophomore year. I left my bike outside regardless; and the next morning it was gone. I was already behind on homework and didn’t have the time to go running around campus in my pajamas. But I did anyway. About half an hour into my ultimately fruitless search, I had to stop for a passing tour group in front of the statue of Fr. Sorin on God Quad. The group was a bunch of children on a field trip; I glared at them, annoyed that I couldn’t continue.
The last two boys in the group were straggling a bit, and as I moved to go around them, one had a question.
“You go to Notre Dame?” he asked.
“That is so cool.”
After that I turned around and walked back to Cavanaugh, the search abandoned. That, right there, was the ultimate thing to remember. Even when you’re stressed out studying, don’t achieve a goal or have to endure negative-degree weather. Even when summer ends and you have to pack up all of your stuff and leave home for a year of hard work.
You go to Notre Dame. That is so cool.

For reasons she still can’t articulate, Laura Myers is an economics major. She just realized she wrote a column about Notre Dame without
explicitly mentioning football or Catholicism, the two most important things on campus (order depends on who you ask). She can be contacted at [email protected], but only if you need a fourth for a game of euchre.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.