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A special thanks to O’Neill 3A

| Friday, May 19, 2017

I like to think of life as a simulation.

No, not like The Matrix. I actually think the world is real and, well, not some simulated reality.

Rather in the way that reality differs based on decisions, ones that are either within or outside of our control. One thing happens and you live in one world. Another minor thing changes, and maybe your life is completely different.

Nearly all of us at Notre Dame have been through something entirely outside of our control, a true simulation that means so much. Almost four years ago, I put my faith in a computer. In fact, we all did. This was one of Notre Dame’s hallmarks, the pseudorandom simulation that would determine our new addresses, new roommates and, if we were lucky enough, new friends.

I could’ve ended up in any of 15 dorms (sorry for your lack of existence in 2013, Dunne), and within those dorms, in several different locales — first floor, 4B section, etc. Yet that simulation placed me in the third-floor, A-side “annex” of O’Neill Hall. One of the best things that ever happened to me was something entirely outside of my control.

I’ve only truly left O’Neill’s 3A to go home on seasonal breaks, the summer one the worst of all. Three months away from your closest friends, from the often-grimy showers that likely litter most men’s residence halls on campus, from the cinderblock-wall dorm rooms that start to feel more like home than the place in the Indianapolis suburbs my family moved to in 1997, and my dad still lives in today.

Over the years, I’ve gotten to know seven classes of 3A men, each of whom carries their own, unique nickname. There were Beanstalk, Stache, Euchie and Magic, a quartet of guys who helped me transition to this whole college thing immensely. They graduated in 2014. For four years, I’ve known guys like Beaker, Moonstar, Sugar Daddy and Wonder Bread, guys who’ve tolerated my 3 a.m. rants about the American educational system and have been my closest friends over this whole experience. And this year, I’ve known guys like Shardonnay and Threeonardo DiKaprio, who piled on top of me when Rajai Davis tied Game 7 of the World Series, others like Frudy Punch or Ulysses Egg. Plant. They’ll all graduate in 2020, when I hopefully have something that resembles a firm grasp on how the real world works and am surrounded by a group of colleagues that probably call me “Alex,” not “Sly Cooper.”

A perk of staying a midwesterner is that I’ll be close to campus after graduation. I’ve already promised I’ll be back “a bunch” during football season, and I’m sure I’ll make my way here in the spring semester for a couple key basketball games. I’ll visit my friends who’ll be working in Chicago, just a short drive from my Indianapolis base. But it won’t be the same. I think we all recognize it.

But I won’t dwell on it. Instead, I’m going to embrace randomness. After all, it gave me the best group of friends I could’ve ever asked for.


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.”

Contact Alex