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The almost real world

Joseph Monardo | Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I’m living real life. No more St. Michael’s laundry service, no more cleaning staff, no more candy bowls in the hallway, much fewer dining hall meals and flex points. I’m out of the dorm and on my own.

Well, almost.

After three fantastic years in Knott Hall (aka Knott “Men’s Hall of the Year” Hall), I decided to move off-campus with three friends. As a journalist, I guess I am compelled to be precise here: I moved off campus after not getting a spot as R.A.

Although I obviously wanted to serve as an R.A., and I realize it would have been a great experience, the three weeks in my new house thus far have been pretty satisfying. Of course I miss the convenience of on-campus housing and the camaraderie of the dorm. I miss North Dining Hall – especially breakfast burritos – and Cafe De Grasta, although I still make occasional visits. I miss walking around the beautiful campus, and now that I have less than a year left to do so, it would have been nice to enjoy more time on the quads, beneath the trees and among the historic buildings and statues.

But still, living off campus has exposed me to many new experiences. My roommates and I have more space and more freedom, but also more responsibility. We’ve struggled with figuring out the trash days (our recycling got picked up for the first time in four weeks yesterday), battled flies, run out of nutritional food, left the house keys in the front door overnight and have not yet figured out how to divvy up the cleaning duties.

But we’ve also enjoyed our back porch, grilled out in the backyard, spent time together in the living room, taken our shot at interior decorating, hosted friends, welcomed family and worked, ate, played and slept in spaces we can truly call our own.

Beneath all the petty inconveniences and obvious benefits lies a deeper reality though: This is the first step of the rest of my life. I will probably never live in a dorm again. From now on I will spend time in apartments and houses that offer me similar benefits and require the same responsibilities as those I experience now. This is real life, and while it’s a great feeling, it’s also a little jarring.

I didn’t intend this column to be a reflection on my time at Notre Dame or a senior’s lamentation, but somehow I got here. I intended it to be about the glories of living off campus. And while it is glorious, it is also a sign of an ending that is rapidly approaching. I really am thrilled to be sharing a home with three of my best friends – especially when they clean up after themselves. I am happy with the way I am spending my final year at Notre Dame, I’m just sad it won’t last longer.


Contact Joseph at [email protected]

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