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Groundhog Day

| Friday, March 27, 2020

Probably like many others forced to stay in their homes due to the coronavirus outbreak, my family has watched tons of new movies over the past two weeks. I prefer to be amused and entertained when I watch a movie, so I’ve insisted on films like “Knives Out,” “Jerry Maguire” and “The Princess Bride.” But the one movie that I truly connected with was “Groundhog Day,” which got me thinking about some of the silver linings of being away from campus until next August.

For those who have never seen the movie, lead actor Bill Murray becomes trapped in a cycle where the events of Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Penn. repeat day after day. Murray gets to the point where he’s lived the same day so many times that he knows exactly when a particular event is going to occur. The movie displays the unmistakable truth about the monotony of adult life, and I couldn’t help but compare Murray’s predicament to life at Notre Dame.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but a typical weekday for a student at Notre Dame probably goes something like this: You wake up, go to class, eat lunch, do your homework, go to some activity for an organization you’re involved with, eat dinner, do more homework, go to sleep. Rinse and repeat until Friday.

Let’s be honest. With the pace that life as a college student can sometimes move at, the easiest thing for us to do is to go through the motions. I am not saying routine is a bad thing, but I have discovered over the past two weeks that there are benefits when the blistering pace of life that creates this routine suddenly comes to a screeching halt.

While the coronavirus has abruptly torn us away from our lives on campus, it has at least given me the opportunity to stop and really think about my time as a college student. With this extra time to examine my last two years at Notre Dame, I have been able to think about the two big questions that float around in every college student’s mind: Who am I, and where am I going?

While at school, it’s difficult to identify what we want to be like as a person. And I am not just talking about what we choose to study or the things we choose to get involved with. College is a time for people to figure out how they relate to others in the world and what they want to represent at the conclusion of their four years. When we are forced to revert back to what we are comfortable with, it’s easy to let life make these decisions for us rather than making them ourselves. Removing ourselves from the chaos of life for a little while can allow us to figure out what we need to do to be who we want to be.

As for my second big question, I think that this time off is an opportunity to reflect on our goals for the future. If we are going to fall into the same routine day after day, we need to make sure that the place we are headed is where we want to be. Taking the time to look at the big picture will once again allow us to identify what we need to do to get exactly where we want to be.

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

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