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Be open to experience

| Wednesday, September 3, 2014

When the time comes to go to school in the fall, it seems everyone has a piece of advice, some wisdom to impart about how to make my time in college the best it can be.

They say, “do everything you possibly can,” but also, “make sure you get enough sleep!”

After a while, I always end up just smiling and shrugging it off, while trying to pretend that their singular piece of generic advice will be what forever alters my college experience.

However, there is one tidbit that I have found extremely important in my short time here on campus. I think it was my dad who told me this. At the time, it sounded just like the rest of the voices, but it has come to be a very important part of my experience in our wonderful dorms here at Notre Dame.

He simply told me: open your door.

Although it may seem trivial, this one habit will influence your entire dorm experience for the better.

Keeping your door open does the same for all the chances that the spontaneity of hall life brings you. Joining the guys walking by to go play pickup basketball, visit the Grotto, the dining halls and events around campus or just hang out and talk for a bit are seemingly random occurrences that will define your college experience more than the specific classes you take.

Maybe even get a little speaker or two and play music when you are in your room. Make your room as inviting an atmosphere as possible. Not only will this signal to everyone else that they are free to come in and chat, it will greatly help you see your room as some place to be desired, especially when you come to realize you voluntarily decided to live through a South Bend winter. Having an inviting room will also help reduce your stress levels as the year gets into full swing.

Now, I am not saying this should be a 24/7 policy. This is college after all — there are going to be days where you are so jammed with work you might barely be able to get to sleep before 2 a.m. You are going to have an extremely important paper to write or exam to study for. Go ahead and shut your door for those moments when you really need to focus, but if you are working on some homework that is not due in the next 15 minutes, why not open your door? Saying “hi” to the people who walk by, taking a few minutes to chat with a new friend or getting to know someone a little better is not going to kill you or send your grades down the drain. There are so many incredible people here at Notre Dame, and it would be a shame to miss out on an opportunity to meet any of them.

Everyone here claims that their residence hall is the best dorm on campus and, honestly, they are all correct (Unless we include Knott, of course. Then they are all the second-best dorms on campus). The community found in the residence halls here is hard to find anywhere else, so take advantage of it.

Open your door, and open yourself to the experiences that are what college is all about.

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

About Zach Klonsinski

A History graduate, Zach spent all four of his years on campus as a resident of Knott Hall. Hailing from Belgrade, Montana, he covered a wide variety of sports in his time at Notre Dame, including Football, Hockey, Men's Basketball, Men's Soccer, Women's Tennis, Fencing, Rowing, Women's Lacrosse and other events around campus. You can contact him in his post-graduation travels and job search at [email protected]

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