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Keeping an ear out

| Tuesday, January 22, 2019

I saw a tweet the other day from actor Kumail Nanjiani that really struck me. It read:

“Shower thought: It’s not the songs I loved that really pull me back to a specific place in my life; it’s the songs I liked.”

In my final semester here at Notre Dame, like many other seniors, I have been trying especially hard to be reflective of my college experience. For me, that means taking the time to really appreciate my favorite spots on campus — going to the Main Building to review my college application to Notre Dame and honoring the traditions I’ve made with friends over the past four years.

When I read this tweet from Nanjiani, I realized I wanted to make note of all the songs and sounds that are tied to my memories from Notre Dame, too. His sentiment of “the songs I liked” really hit me— it’s those flash-in-the-pan sounds and melodies that truly take us back to a more specific and poignant place.

“Shipping Up to Boston,” for example. That’s a song that will never be as good without “Here Come the Irish” preceding it. When I think about this song, I’m not thinking about being at a Notre Dame football game, that’s too general. What I hear is the sound of thousands of students’ feet clamoring on a wooden and later, metal bench. I hear the sound of a wooden bench snapping because of the stomping and the sound of someone saying to me, “I’m so glad they’re going to put the old benches in Duncan Student Center.”

“Roses” by the Chainsmokers. Objectively, this song and most stuff by this “band” is total garbage but it brings me back to important memories of freshman year: meeting my friends and screaming our lungs out to this song. And of course, the failed proposed concert by the group as presented by Tilt. The concert never happened and the class of 2019 took to the social media app “Yik Yak” — rest in peace — to voice their opinions on the matter.

“Hall of Fame” by The Script and “Life is a Highway” by the Rascal Flatts. This is a pretty ‘me’ specific one. When my friends and I decided not to study abroad junior year, we vowed to do a “Midwest abroad” and explore the great sites in our area. This included a visit to the RV Motor Home Hall of Fame in Elkhart one Saturday morning. We loved seeing all the historic RVs and we played these two tunes on the ride back, laughing the whole way home.

There are so many other songs and specific sounds that remind me of my experience at Notre Dame. It has become somewhat of a cliche to say “the people make the place.” While I think that cliche is true, I challenge students to spend the next four months keeping an ear out for the songs and sounds that many would consider an insignificant memory — it might be the Notre Dame moment you love the most.

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

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