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The hidden gems of Notre Dame

| Friday, March 1, 2019

To those searching for gems,

I strongly suggest opening your eyes to the places around Notre Dame. It has come to my attention after friendly conversations that many students here at Notre Dame overlook valuable areas to learn, relax and socialize. There appears to be a distinct schedule that most students follow, and it mostly takes place in their dorm room, dining hall or classrooms with little deviation from these locations. Since enrolling into Notre Dame this January, I have made certain stops a part of my routine that have tremendously allowed me to grow in several categories of my life. By being the new kid on the block, my fresh eyes may wander to places that the seasoned Notre Dame student simply looks right past. To keep it short and sweet, try stopping by Hesburgh Library, the Grotto and your dorm section lounge.

The library — a place where nerds congregate, right?  Incorrect. The library is a place full of knowledge and people willing to help. It is important to establish a routine at the library. A couple hours a week spent studying at the library could help avoid the mass cramming everyone does before exams. With Notre Dame being at the forefront of midterms, there’s no better time to take advantage of the library. To make your experience better at the library, find a spot that becomes your nook. For me, the 10th floor corner window looking out onto the Dome in Hesburgh is my go-to study spot. Being able to look up at the Dome whenever I need a break reminds me of how special it is to be a student here at Notre Dame. Settle into your nook and dig into your studies.

The Grotto — where purely religious people go. While this is true, the Grotto is also a place on campus that welcomes people from all walks of life, religious or not. The Grotto offers students a place to step away from the stress of classes or the drama of an uncooperative roommate. The Grotto provides students a place to clear their heads and come to peace with whatever is happening in their lives. It is not disrespectful to go to the Grotto and not pray. However, the Grotto is a magical place to grow spiritually. So find a time to swing by the Grotto, day or night. I personally prefer the Grotto around midnight, when the lively campus is asleep and the candles are shining bright.

The dorm section lounge — the place where only one or two peculiar students spend their time. After my first couple weeks here at Notre Dame, I have become very appreciative for the dorm community. Already, I have developed relationships with seniors, juniors and, of course, other freshmen. I currently belong to Keough Hall section 1A and there is never a time when our lounge is quiet or without conversation. The section meets every Sunday night to go over various things, and by attending these gatherings, I have learned about and socialized with more students than I would have ever thought. The idea of establishing these relationships, at least for me, is to develop a network that will help you succeed in the future. From what I have heard from members of other sections of different dorms, these meetings are not common. So my advice to you is to venture out from your dorm room and spend some time in your lounge. Meet new people and use the lounge for what it is meant for — socializing!

Get away from the normal dorm room, class and dining hall routine and find the gems that make Notre Dame so unique. With the daunting mountain of midterms still to come, it is important to prepare yourself.  Aspire to grow academically, spiritually and socially. Do yourself a favor and explore the places that every other student overlooks. You never know, you might just come upon a hidden gem.

Best of searching,

Jack Kiser


Feb. 27

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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