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Dorm dynamics

| Friday, November 11, 2016

When I go home on a break, I’ll meet up with family, friends and old teachers and field the same types of questions. They’ll ask about how I’m doing, how my studies are going, what I’ll be doing after I graduate in May. You know, the easy ones that you have a canned, quick, easy response to.

I also often get questions about where I’m living — if I’m in an apartment or a house. My answer, of course, is neither.

The fact that I, a senior, still live on campus is emblematic of one of the key things that makes Notre Dame unique: dorm life. Sure, I could live somewhere with a little more freedom, with a little more comfort this year, but I chose not to.

When I try to explain this phenomenon to people unfamiliar with how Notre Dame works, it isn’t always the easiest of tasks. The simple, canned response is that O’Neill Hall is a couple-minute walk away from the basement of South Dining Hall (SDH) — or, alternately, The Observer’s office. And while there is a simple truth embedded within that — when I get out of our office at 3 or 4 a.m. after a long night of stitching together the next day’s edition, I really don’t want to have to get in my car and drive to my off-campus residence — it misses a lot of the reasons I never seriously considered moving off campus.

On those late nights, or early mornings as they often are, I’m always struck by how great it is that I come back to the dorm to find a couple friends around, still hanging out in our section lounge or in the hallway. When we get together and make the trek to South Dining Hall for section dinner, daily at 5:30 p.m., I sit there and marvel at how our humble section often fills two whole SDH tables — no small feat when everyone has their own busy schedules.

But above all else, I wanted to stay on campus to not just preserve the tight bonds I’d formed in three years, but to form new ones with our section’s latest class of freshmen. I went to a small private high school, and partially as a result, some of my best friends were a couple years older than I was. And when I got to Notre Dame, I found much of the same dynamic — that many of my closest, tightest friends graduated at the end of my freshman year.

So, no, I don’t live in a nice comfortable apartment or a messy party house. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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

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About Alex Carson

Alex Carson graduated from Notre Dame in 2017 after majoring in Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics and living in O’Neill Hall. Hailing from the Indianapolis area, but born in Youngstown, Ohio, Carson is a Cleveland sports fan convinced that he’s already lived the “best day of his life.” At The Observer, Carson was first a Sports Writer, then served as an Associate Sports Editor (2015/16) and an Assistant Managing Editor (2016/17), before finishing his tenure as a Senior Sports Writer. A man of strong convictions, he ardently believes that Carly Rae Jepsen's 2015 release E•MO•TION is the greatest album of his generation, and wakes up early on Saturday mornings to listen, or occasionally watch, his favorite least-favorite sports team, Aston Villa. When he isn’t writing, Carson spends his time counting down the days to the next running of the Indianapolis 500 and reminding people that the Victory March starts with the lyric, “Rally sons of Notre Dame,” not “Cheer, cheer for Old Notre Dame.”

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