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Clichés we love

Maija Gustin | Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Going into college four years ago, people tried to prepare me with a series of clichés. “These will be the best four years of life. The people you meet will change your life. Football Saturday is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. You will remember that late-night walk you took with your best friend more than that test you didn’t study for enough. You will grow up and find yourself. These four years will fly by.”
As it turns out, most of these clichés are correct. And while we never want our life to be a cliché, college might just be meant to be that way. Clichés are based on a frequency of expression, after all.
Like that last one – these four years will fly by. Notre Dame has only been four out of 22 years of my life. But I feel like I’ve been here forever.
Frosh-O seems a lifetime ago, but I still reminisce with my Dome Dance date about walking to the JACC together. And I will always remember meeting my best friends at the Keenan freshman dance.
My time at Notre Dame has been a blur, but I feel like I’ve never known anything else. I struggled to master the words to every football cheer and now I can do them in my sleep – and have, I’m sure.
These four years under the Dome will amount to only a small percentage of my life, but Notre Dame will always be my home. I will remember the challenges and the triumphs, football wins and football losses, mozzarella sticks in the dining hall and steak sandwiches at Pole 13, late nights studying in the library and late nights working away at The Observer, finding a whole new world as a freshman on campus and finding a whole new world studying abroad in London, Muddy Sunday, first Feve, never winning at trivia, Thursday Jersday and Kamen 11.
And it’s all been because of you, Notre Dame. Thank you to my friends who’ve made even a night at Sbarro fun, to my classmates and professors who have given me the best education in the world, to my Observer family and my London family, to tailgate friends, Finny’s friends, football friends, Pangborn friends, Cavanaugh friends, DPAC friends, library friends and to every friend who has made these four years so great. To my family.
This weekend really is that time of lasts we’ve been fearing, but as I look towards it, I am just as excited as I am sad. I may be blubbering like a small child come graduation Sunday, but I feel ready for the next step in life, and that is the greatest gift Notre Dame could have ever given me.
Life may never feel this safe and, well, not easy, but simple and easy to navigate again. But these four years, inside and outside the classroom, have been the best preparation in the world.
I graduate Sunday with my peers, who I know will change the world in profound ways, because they are a miraculous group of people. We may always wish we could relive our college years, but we are all ready for even more. To you, the class of 2012. It’s been real. And hey, after graduation, why don’t you call me maybe.

Maija Gustin is graduating with a degree in English and Film, Television and Theatre. She would like to thank her family for love, support and at least attempting to understand her crazy career choices. She dedicates her degree to the memory of Rebecca Ruehrdanz-Gustin, whose spirit has led her in her every success and which she will always carry with her. Maija can be reached at [email protected]
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.