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Savor the spontaneity

Nicole Michels | Wednesday, August 28, 2013

In the past month, I have helped a close friend with medical school application essays, listened to others vent about studying for the GRE and the LSAT and decided that I am interested in attending law school. I have congratulated friends who received full-time employment offers after successful summer internships, listened to stories about summers spent around the globe and consoled friends looking for new direction after frustrating summer employment.

Though the seniors might be, by some numeric standards, the “dumbest” class (here’s looking at you, amazing test takers in the Class of 2017), we all made it to Notre Dame because we work hard. We are ambitious, driven and more than willing to do the necessary work to achieve our goals.

We didn’t let up when we got to Notre Dame. Most of my friends have accrued numerous leadership positions, membership in various clubs and positions on hall staffs, sports teams or volunteer organizations.

Seniors, let’s take a collective breath. Yes, we need to do everything we can to succeed in the tough job market. Yes, being involved is fun, and, yes, this work will facilitate both personal and professional development. But if we book our days so full that all we are doing is surviving from day to day, if we’re rushing toward some undefined post-graduate destination, are we really spending our last year at Notre Dame as we should be?

If I’ve learned anything during my time here, it is that you look back on your achievements with pride but treasure the spontaneous memories you make much more.

That late night Huddle run, post-parietals Taco Hut run or post-Feve Vesuvios stop. That movie night, poker tournament, volleyball game at Stepan. The trip to the Grotto, Easter Vigil mass, the spontaneous retreat sign-up. Tailgating, volunteering, cheering, running, hoping, praying.

So many of the best things we do, we do together. We need to study hard in our classes and work hard in our jobs and activities because that’s why we pursued higher education after we finished high school.

But that’s not the only important thing; we are more than the sum of our accomplishments. We are also the friendships we build, the connections we maintain, the selves we let out when we’re busy not making plans and just living for a change.

That’s my goal for senior year; that’s how I want to spend my last year officially “home under the Dome.”

Though we’re all busy, hopefully we can refuse to let our commitments pull us in so many directions that there’s no ‘us’ left. Let’s take time for ourselves and for each other this year, so in May we can look back on more than a collection of achievements, so that we will remember a rich tapestry of life as seniors at the University of Notre Dame.  

Good luck this year seniors, and Go Irish!


Contact Nicole Michels at      
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The views expressed in this Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.