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Affirm it, visualize it, believe it

Dan Jacobs | Friday, May 20, 2011

It’s 1:30 a.m. in the wee-hours of Friday morning, the last day of my last finals week, and I’m settling in for, yes, my last all-nighter.

On the signature “LaFun Run” return trip to Riley Hall from picking up my last late night Venti half-sweetened iced coffee from Starbucks, I had a realization that I haven’t experienced in recent memory, a realization which, perhaps I simply hadn’t had the time to slow down to feel, understand or really reflect upon.

The realization, that despite all my friends being out at Fever, Finnigan’s/Finnies/Finny’s, Oyster Bar or another questionable local establishment, despite a week packed full of exams and anticipation for the future and despite the impending 10 a.m. deadline for my last undergraduate Industrial Design presentation looming ever closer, I was, well, content.

I might not know what my next step in life is, or what that uncertainty means for the next week, month, year or decade, but somehow, that’s OK.

I liked to pretend Notre Dame is a different place for me. That growing up here in South Bend as a townie, being immersed in the Notre Dame culture since birth (including blue and gold colored braces) makes Our Lady’s University mean so much more to me than everyone else here.

However, the recent news that my family would be leaving Notre Dame alongside me was a somewhat sobering moment. That my relationship to Notre Dame before these four years didn’t make me any different than anyone else here.

I had assumed, somewhat naively, that leaving Notre Dame wouldn’t really be leaving, that I would always be back, that home would always be the same golden place it always had been. But now, suddenly, it had seemed, my only connection was the blue-stoned, gold finished monogram Notre Dame on my right ring finger.

On my computer monitor at home, I have a fortune cookie paper taped to it that reads, “Affirm it, visualize it, believe it and it will actualize itself.”

Maybe this spoke to me originally as a design major in the most literal sense. But many late nights later, I see it more deeply. Your experience here is very much what you make of it. My dorm. My friends. The Observer.

Everything you do here builds your relationship with this place further, which is why working through tonight is OK.

When else will I get to cram into a computer lab with 20 comrades, each with the common desire to impress none other than Kenneth Cole, or maybe more importantly just the desire to graduate with something to show for it? Late nights at The Observer, partying with friends, football tailgates — the list goes on.

Each and every moment here has made this place what it is to me today. And no matter where I am, where my family is, where my friends are, that will never change.

So now, instead of saying goodbye, I say thank you.

Thank you to my friends, new and old, who have always stayed by my side. Thank you to my family for putting up with me and my quirks for 22 years. Thank you to everyone at The Observer, for the times, both good and fantastic.

To my second families and second homes at O’Neill and Riley Hall. To my professors, my co-workers, my girlfriend. To everyone who has helped to support me, mold me and make me who I am today, for this I will forever be grateful.

In watching friends go through the best of times and the worst of times, I’ve seen firsthand what Notre Dame is really all about.

Notre Dame will forever be my home, and that home is more than just a place, it is each and every person who shares a love for what this University is and the people it stands for.

For those of you lucky enough to have one, two or even three more years here: Love this place, and it will love you; get out there, and don’t waste a minute of your four years here, they’ll be some of your best.

Good luck, Class of 2011 and Love thee Notre Dame.

Dan Jacobs is graduating with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Industrial Design and plans to pursue a career in design in the Chicago area. Dan wants to thank his friends and family for making this the best four years of his life and looks forward to crashing on many, many couches in the years to come. Dan can be reached at [email protected]

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