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Counting down

| Thursday, January 15, 2015

If I’ve learned anything two days into the second semester of my senior year, it’s that life is now defined by a series of countdowns.

There are the fun countdowns, the countdowns to the weekend or to spring break.

There are the anxiety-inducing countdowns, the countdowns to the day you hear back regarding a job (in my case) or to the day when you start working and enter the “real world” (the case for many of my fellow seniors).

And of course, there is the greatest countdown of all, that of the time remaining until graduation.

These countdowns do a great job of inciting panic, especially for those unsure of what life will bring after May 17. But in the same twisted way that an illness or loss causes one to focus on the value of living every day to the fullest, they really do force one to examine his or her time here at Notre Dame.

In most cases, this is manifest through the person trying to check items off his or her Notre Dame “bucket list.” And while you might not use that specific name because it invokes memories of a morbid movie featuring two dying men, you definitely have one. You probably even created it before stepping onto campus for the first time as a student.

And if you’re anything like me, you probably have a lot of uncrossed items still on the list.

That’s not to suggest that your time on campus has been wasteful or not worthwhile. No, it’s just that in the midst of the myriads of classes, meetings and activities that comprise a typical student’s schedule, you lost sight of some of the things that make this school so unique. And now the time is running out for you to cram these things into your schedule.

As mentioned above, I’m a prime example of someone who hasn’t accomplished all that I set out to do just a few years ago. I still have to explore much of what South Bend has to offer, play Bookstore Basketball (if any team is looking for a slightly uncoordinated 6-foot-3 forward, I’m on the market), attend hundreds of events and activities and try to meet so many of the interesting people who make attending this University so great.

As you can probably deduce, unless I get a Time-Turner, I won’t be able to cross off all of these things.

This brings me to my main point, which is largely directed at underclassmen, though I guess ambitious seniors (an oxymoron at this point?) can do it too … don’t be afraid to take time out of your day to check things off your bucket list, or whatever you call it.

Perhaps I understate the importance of academics, but I see no issue with deserting homework for an hour or two to go do something you’ve wanted to do for a while. Similarly, ditch the Netflix for a weekend — it will still be there later — and go do something worthwhile, whether it is exploring, meeting others or even just having an unforgettable night with your friends.

If you make these efforts, then you’ll be able to see senior-year countdowns as what they are — just simple listings of times — instead of frightening rushes to get everything done.

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

About Brian Hartnett

Brian Hartnett is a senior marketing major and journalism, ethics and democracy minor. The Carroll Hall resident hails from Clark, New Jersey and covers Notre Dame football, as well as other University topics.

Contact Brian