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Enjoy the ride

Maria Fernandez | Tuesday, September 11, 2012

“Don’t miss out on anything; you are only in college once.”
As we drove from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport to South Bend three weeks ago, my dad repeated this phrase over and over again to remind me to take advantage of all of the opportunities and experiences I would have here at Notre Dame during my senior year.

I planned to take his advice seriously. I would participate and engage in all of my courses, attend every single football game and enjoy lots of nights out with my friends and classmates.
The first two weeks of school were great. I was following my dad’s advice pretty well.

However, when I sprained my ankle last Sunday morning, I saw my whole “don’t miss out on senior year” motto sadly and slowly disappear.

I was not able to do much last week. In the morning I struggled walking with crutches around campus – I stopped to take a break every three steps – and at night the Health Center recommended I follow RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation).

I had never had an injury like this before. I am not athletic at all, and I’m a bit of a hypochondriac, so imagine my frustration. I just wanted to be able to walk again and attend the Fighting Irish’s first home football game against Purdue.

Just when my mood and spirits were hitting rock bottom late Thursday night, I called my dad and vented. I told him I would have to miss out on some school activities during these first few weeks of my senior year until my ankle was completely healed and that I was not happy about it.

After a few minutes of conversation my dad was able to quickly ground my exaggerated and theatrical self with some simple but inspirational words.

“Enjoy the ride,” he said before hanging up, and I immediately understood what he meant by this other phrase.

I had made up my mind I had a greater, more serious, more debiliating injury than what I really had, and even stopped doing things I could actually do with a sprained ankle – and maybe just a little creativity.

So from that moment on, with or without crutches, swollen foot or not, I am determined to be positive and enjoy every minute of my senior year.

Watch out Michigan! I will be back in the stands cheering on the Fighting Irish next week, hopefully aircast-less.

Contact Maria Fernandez at [email protected]

The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.