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It’s about the people

Andrew Owens | Friday, August 17, 2012

Welcome home, Class of 2016.
Enjoy every minute of Frosh-O, because the three days will be over before you know it. Heck, your first three years will be over before you know it. You’re going to hear the words, “Enjoy every moment,” quite a bit, but it’s truly better advice than any dean can give you.
Academics and football may have attracted you to Notre Dame, but it’s the people that will make you want to stay forever. You could have gone to other top-notch schools, but this University offers so much more than its academics and a football program that hasn’t been anything to write home about since before many of you were born.
It’s about the people. Take every opportunity to embrace the new relationships. There’s a good chance you’ll encounter people this weekend who will one day be in your wedding. Your time on this campus only lasts four years, but it’s the friendships that last a lifetime.
One of the best aspects of Notre Dame is its national reach. Your freshman roommates probably hail from other regions of the country than you. During the past three years, I’ve roomed with six different people from four different states, all different than my own. It’s a great way to learn about parts of the country of which you may be otherwise unfamiliar.
Those who have visited campus even 100 times before stepping on campus as a Domer can’t fully grasp the experience, until now. Your college career will provide opportunities you never could have imagined. My Notre Dame experience is different from my brother’s, whose is different than my sister’s, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Like Lou Holtz once remarked about Notre Dame: “If you’ve been there, no explanation is necessary. If you haven’t, none is adequate.”
Toss aside your preconceived perceptions of the dorm you now call home that wasn’t necessarily your top choice. Carroll Hall was at the bottom of my list a little over three years ago, but being placed there was the best thing that’s happened to me at Notre Dame. As I’ve learned, it’s not about the distance or the 106-year-old building that lacks air conditioning.
It’s about the people.
My last piece of advice is to remember your entire class begins on equal footing. Your high school accomplishments are irrelevant now, though don’t forget about those who helped you get to this point. With a blank slate, now is the time to pursue the opportunities you’ve always dreamt of and to become the person you want to be the rest of your life. Before you know it, you’ll be reading about the class of 2019 and how it managed to average a 37 on the ACT, even though it only goes up to 36.
And you’ll be wondering where the time went while you were enjoying every moment and cultivating lifelong friendships.
Contact Andrew Owens at
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The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.