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viewpoint

A note to the seniors

| Thursday, February 7, 2019

Seniors,

As we begin our final semester, the unsettling realization of our proximity to graduation has certainly hit us all. Many of us feel the impending May date with dread, possibly even entertaining the notion of failing a few classes in order to remain another year on campus. Yet, after fantasizing about this tempting ploy and settling back into the reality of the real adult life that awaits us all next year, we all must take the time to reflect on how much we have to celebrate.

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.

We’ve won 36 football games, stormed the court after ND beat North Carolina during our freshman year and witnessed our women’s basketball team become national champions. We’ve put on countless productions in DPAC, laughed at the wit of the Humor Artists and Improv crews on Thursday nights and listened to our fellow students perform at Acousticafe. We have researched and assisted professors, and conducted studies in the fields we pursue. We’ve both won and lost RecSports championships with friends. Throughout the past four years, we have studied, played, performed, researched, danced, sung and wrote together.

Yes, we have received an education. That education, however, spans far beyond the classroom. Individually, we’ve discovered more about ourselves, dabbling in curiosities and deepening our passions and interests. All 2,197 of us entered Notre Dame as confident and intelligent individuals, anxious about the unknowns of college and what was to come. Each of us has changed since that time three and a half years ago. Now, in our last semester together, we have transformed from individuals into a collective family. Our family shares countless interests, each member distinct and unique in their studies and hobbies.

We’re competitive, yes. And yes, we often compete with one another. But at Notre Dame, we compete for one another first and foremost. We hold each other up, we carry one another and we have learned to work for the betterment of others. We praise intellect, drive and dedication. We encourage discernment, self-growth and the development of values. We question, scrutinize and criticize what many consider truth or law. We develop our individual passions, creating a depth and breadth of knowledge on campus, and understand that this knowledge must be utilized to better the community outside of Notre Dame.

Notre Dame has given us the opportunity to learn, it has given us a family, it has nurtured important discussion. And it has done all of this so that we may benefit the world beyond the golden dome. We’ve found our places here on this campus, whether it was in our dorm, on a stage, in the classroom or in all three. As we start to look forward to what the future beyond ND holds for us, we cannot help but to acknowledge the gift of education and opportunity for growth that we have received here.

And now, as we prepare to leave the place we consider home, we all hold the privilege to leave a lasting legacy to benefit future students.

We are Emily and Tim, and as co-chairs of the Notre Dame Senior Legacy committee, we’d like to ask you to become a part of this legacy. This year, our class’s committee has chosen to give back to the students of Notre Dame by supporting the Office of Student Enrichment’s Fighting Irish Initiative. The Fighting Irish Initiative provides students with the funds necessary to take part in the full Notre Dame experience.

Supported students — often the first in their family to attend college — are provided laptops for classes, coats for South Bend winters, football tickets to enjoy games alongside fellow classmates and many other needs not covered by financial aid, but still valuable experiences every Notre Dame student should receive.

If every member of our class gave just $10, we could supply over 90 football ticket packets for students next year. That’s two Thursday pitchers sacrificed at Brothers. Each of our small yet impactful donations gives students the joy of watching another (hopefully) undefeated season, the supplies they need to stay warm in South Bend, and any other items necessary to the Notre Dame experience that we have all loved.

You’ll hear from us throughout the semester with more information about how you can get involved and give back to become a part of our class’s legacy, AND to receive the perks of giving back. These benefits include a party on the field and free pint glasses as our way of thanking you for being a part of our class’s legacy with us. Notre Dame has given four years that we wouldn’t trade for anything. Our mission is to ensure that every student who walks on this campus benefits from all of the University’s joys as well.

Thank you all and Go Irish!

Emily Patton and Tim O’Connell

seniors

Feb. 3

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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