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15 things not to miss your freshman year

Maija Gustin and Mary Claire O'Donnell | Friday, August 19, 2011

1. Drummers’ Circle —Every Friday before a home football game, the drumline performs a set of both popular songs and Notre Dame cheers in front of the Dome. The festivities start at midnight, but get there early to find a good spot.


2. SYR — Each dorm on campus holds at least one of these dances (which stands for Set Up Your Roommate) every year. They range from themed events like the Howard Hoedown to fancy outings like the Dome Dance, held in the Main Building and awarded to the previous year’s Hall of the Year. Set up your roommate with a blind (or not so blind) date and see if sparks fly.


3. Bookstore Basketball —The world’s largest five-on-five basketball tournament is held every year at Notre Dame’s basketball courts behind the bookstore. Every skill level is welcome — so grab your friends, put together a team and come up with the most outrageous outfit and team name you can think of.


4. Snowball Fight — At midnight after the first major snowfall of every winter, Notre Dame students storm the campus for a North Quad vs. South Quad showdown. Friendships are lost, alliances are made and snow is thrown. Whatever you do, don’t get caught in the crossfire walking home from a late night of studying.


5. Blue-Gold Game — A game the Fighting Irish are guaranteed to win! Watch the football team scrimmage against itself and then enjoy the weekend festivities, including the revealing of next year’s The Shirt and Pigtostal, a yearly outdoor party.


6. The Observer — Notre Dame’s foremost student-run publication, The Observer is the best place to turn for your daily dose of Domer dish. From campus news and sports to pop culture and student opinions, The Observer covers all aspects of daily life at Notre Dame. Be sure to pick up your copy every morning.


7. Students-Only Pep Rally — For one pep rally every year, the doors are closed to the public and only students are allowed in. A relatively new Notre Dame tradition, this pep rally gives the students a unique chance to connect with their team.


8. Post-Parietals Pizza — At 2 a.m. when parietals put an end to your party, South Quad-ers head to Reckers and North Quad-ers head to Sbarro for a pizza fix. With all the gathering students, the lively atmosphere is a guaranteed perfect way to cap off your night.


9. Running through Stonehenge — After each Irish win, students flock to Stonehenge on North Quad to take a celebratory dash through the fountain. Even when it’s cold out, students brave the frostbite to celebrate a victory.


10. Muddy Sunday — Keenan Hall hosts this annual mud volleyball tournament each spring during the last week of class. No skills are required and it’s a great way to de-stress before finals.


11. Mozzarella Sticks in the dining hall — Be on the lookout for this Notre Dame dining hall delicacy. Once in a blue moon, the chefs at North and South will whip out breaded cheese sticks for dinner. Beware, though — on those days, the lines snake through the dining hall stations.


12. Evolution and Society (formerly Ecology and Evolution) — This class, which fulfills a topical science University Requirement, is a popular course for freshmen. Even for those who find science boring, Prof. Filchak teaches an engaging course that has students spitting out factoids months after the semester ends.


13. Interhall Sports — Each dorm sponsors teams in a variety of sports, from football to bowling. Joining these teams is a great way to make friends within and outside your dorm. If you help take your football team (tackle for boys and flag for girls) to the final, you’ll get to play in Notre Dame stadium.


14. Legends Trivia — Put your hours of studying to the test every Thursday night at Legends. Trivia starts at 9 p.m., but get there early if you want a spot at a table — they fill up fast.


15. New Experiences — Freshman year is a time for meeting new people, trying new things and having fun. Don’t be afraid to talk to the person sitting next to you in class or to go to dinner with someone you just met. Put yourself out there and don’t be afraid to try something new or do something unfamiliar. College only lasts four years, but the memories will stay with you for the rest of your life.