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Snapshots of my college experience

Chris Allen | Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The assignment to write a senior retrospective column made me realize a shortcoming in myself. I can’t provide any sort of bigger context for the four years the Class of 2013 has spent at Notre Dame. I can’t possibly neatly sum up the 1,367 days between Aug. 21, 2009, when we rolled into campus from every corner of the country and the world, and May 19, 2013, when we will depart with diplomas in hand.
That sort of big-picture nostalgia is not for me.
And it’s probably better that way, as words couldn’t do that time justice. Instead, I like to think about snapshots in time. These four years are made up of thousands upon thousands of snapshots in time. These indelible moments are what will stick with us in vivid memory no matter where we go after May 19. We will remember whom we were with. What we did. What we saw. What we achieved. How we felt.
In the hopes that you too will pore over old memories and reminisce with friends this weekend, and in the future about the snapshots in time that made life at Notre Dame so incredible, I present the snapshots that made my undergraduate career memorable.
Less than a month into my freshman year, I made the trek from Alumni Hall to Riehle Fields behind Stepan Center on my first assignment as a sports writer at The Observer. I covered a women’s interhall football game between Badin and Walsh in a driving rainstorm with a pen and a spiral notebook. The ink bled on the page, but it felt like progress toward something bigger. That night marked the beginning of a journey that would lead me to the editorship of The Observer’s sports department and the press box of college football’s biggest game. Along the way, I met and worked with some of the best people I have had the pleasure to know.
In Sept. 2011, I was already well into my semester of study in London, England. After an arduous 10-hour overnight bus ride across the English Channel, through France and into Belgium, I arrived in Bruges. With my fellow Alumni Dawgs Dan Morris and Carlos Herrera, I hiked 45 minutes to my hostel around this medieval city at 6 a.m. with little to no sleep and nothing on my agenda but discovery. That day, and really that whole semester, I learned the lesson we are often reluctant to learn here – that there is a world beyond the boundaries of our campus ready to teach us and enrich us. It was a pleasure to explore that world with other Notre Dame students for four months.
Finally, on Nov. 17, 2012, I went to my last football game as a student in Notre Dame Stadium. As a sports-crazed student and later as a football beat writer, my life as an undergraduate student was always somewhat linked with the football team. So on this day, as a 10-0 Irish team readied to take on Wake Forest, I did something a little different. As soon as the stadium opened, I went in. I remember not who was with me, but who wasn’t with me, because I sat alone and let the sights and sounds that exemplify our University soak in. I sat and reflected on the remarkable opportunity that these years have been. To have studied and lived with the Class of 2013. To have cheered on the most storied football program in America. To have been a student at the University of Notre Dame.
Here’s to the snapshots in time.
Chris Allen will graduate with a degree in accountancy and head to work in June for Johnson & Johnson. He wants to thank his family for letting him be one of the few in the family to not go to Rutgers. He can be reached at
[email protected], but only for a few more weeks. After that, maybe send him a Snapchat.
    The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.