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It’s about the people

| Sunday, April 27, 2014

Let’s talk about dating.

Now that I have your attention, let’s talk about something I might know about.

Of course, the problem here is that I don’t know a whole lot. In the three years I’ve spent so far at Notre Dame, I’ve learned about hegemonies, bond pricing and Aristotle. I even remember a little Chinese from freshman year. I’ve learned a thing or two about hip-hop night, rules, and breaking them. But if I had to sum up the most important thing Notre Dame or any college gives us, it’s not facts, lessons or analyses. It’s not methods or models. It’s people.

It’s the people you fail with, try again with, and succeed with. It’s the people you meet via friends, collisions in DeBartolo, a trip to LaFortune in just your boxers or a freshman theology class. It’s the people you meet at dorm mass, the dining hall, studying abroad or even Domerfest. It’s the people you meet at the swim test — at least until Main Building cancels it.

It’s the people in the dorm and section you get randomly assigned to who become your family. It’s the people you occupy the library until 5 a.m. with, road trip with or who randomly appear to crash on your couch. When my time here eventually comes to an end, it won’t be the things I did or studied or ended up on a Saturday night at that I will most remember or cherish. It will be the people.

Life here is great because of football, Stepan and of course, South Bend. But more than anything else, it’s the people with whom we get to experience it all. To that end, I owe so much to so many. But as the calendar ticks away, I know I owe a particularly big thank you to the guys from my section graduating this year. They welcomed us and those after us to Notre Dame, their rooms and their house. I may still not know much, but I know what they’ve taught me and those around me.

They taught us how not to punch a window and that a party can start at a moment’s notice. They taught us Steak ’n Shake makes all nights better, pants should always be optional, and class should not get in the way of our education. They taught us neither the time, the day, nor a supposedly mandatory meeting should get in the way of having a good time.

They taught us a white t-shirt and a friendly smile are all you need, though a guitar never hurt. They taught us hard work pays off in the end, but to remember to have fun along the way. They taught us Tostitos bags explode when punted.

They taught us many a thing about Rhesus monkeys and our anthropological roots. They taught us ridiculousness is to be embraced rather than evaded. They taught us the incredibleness that is NFL RedZone and the vaunted octobox. They taught us a little 9 a.m. DMX on a Sunday never hurt anyone.

They taught us the best dancing happens on a couch. We learned there are apparently multiple pronunciations of “pool”. They taught us penguin stuffed animals were a thing. I guess we’re rolling with it.

Betta, Cody, Connors, Deuce, Eddie, Harby, Jack, Johnny, Oz, Scooter, Tom, Zeese: you taught us to enjoy all of our, uh, “phenomenal” decisions and the next morning’s shame. You taught us to rally to do it all over. Circling back, you even tried to teach us about dating. Clearly, I forgot to take notes.

You showed us extremism is no vice when it’s for one another. You gave us an idea of how to best live our lives, even while letting us find some things out ourselves. You gave us guys to look up to and people we wanted to be. Ultimately, you taught us what it means to be a human being, friend and brother.

We come here for school, but we get much, much more. We get people who are brilliant, sure, but more importantly, people who care. We get people who show us so many ways to better ourselves. And as time moves on, summer arrives, and some must leave, we remember those people for all they have given us. So thank you, all of you, for what you’ve given us while you’re here. Thanks for the memories, the times we will have, the advice, the fights, the nights and the friendship. Get back here soon.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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