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The people, not the place

| Friday, May 18, 2018

So often end-of-the-year columns talk about what a special place Notre Dame is.

But it’s not.

It’s a beautiful place for sure, but there are lots of beautiful campuses in the country.

As an institution Notre Dame isn’t special either. It’s great academically and I will be extremely proud to receive my degree, but there are lots of other schools as good or better.

The administration has often made decisions I oppose strongly and hasn’t done much in my four years here to help the marginalized (low-income students and the LGBTQ community, for example) like its Catholic mission statement claims.

Heck, the football team isn’t even that special, as I found out covering the 4-8 season my junior year.

But despite all that, my four years here have been nothing short of amazing. Not because of the Dome or the football games, but because of the people.

As I look back on my four years here, it was the people, not the aura of Notre Dame, that got me through the late nights and the rough times.

I didn’t find my peace of mind at the Grotto, I found it talking to my classmates who became friends and my friends who became like family.

While I had great times at football games, it wasn’t because of the (often disappointing) team or the amazingly comfortable wooden bleachers. Games were another opportunity to make memories with your friends.

The vast majority of my classes were extremely rich and meaningful, not because of the magical aura of Notre Dame, but because each individual professor cared about us inside and outside of the classroom.

And though my niche at Notre Dame was undoubtedly the basement of South Dining Hall, it wasn’t the windowless office itself, but the amazing people at The Observer that made late nights and the stress not only bearable, but unforgettable.

This weekend, feel free to go to the Grotto and take pictures by the Dome. But make sure to spend time with the people who truly made Notre Dame unique. Hang out with the friends you may not see for a year or more because they’re going overseas or across the country. In just a week, you’ll be surprised how much you’ll miss them. Be nice to your parents and let them know you appreciate the sacrifices they made and the support they’ve given.

I’ve tried to do that this past week, but there just isn’t enough time. But I know that when I look back on my college years, it won’t be the football stadium or the library that I picture.

It’ll be the people — the friends and family I made along the way.


Marek is graduating with a degree in history and minors in journalism and medieval studies. Marek will be in Boston this summer writing for the Boston Globe and after that, it’s anybody’s guess. He would like to thank everyone who has read his work in The Observer for the past four years.

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

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About Marek Mazurek

Marek is a senior history major and is a former resident of Carroll Hall. He has lived in Mishawaka or South Bend for all 21 years of his life and covers Notre Dame football and men's basketball. He has loads of hand-eye coordination but lacks the height to be any good. Marek is also a proud esports supporter.

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