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I cannot wait to walk to class

| Friday, April 24, 2020

When I arrived at Notre Dame as a freshman, I thought walking around campus to class was so fun. It was on these walks from the random science building to O’Shag to DeBart where I nurtured friendships from Welcome Weekend, my dorm and anywhere else I seemed to meet people.

The game of “Do they remember meeting me last week? Should I say hi first?” Or the “Oh gosh, that’s my friend’s cousin’s friend’s boyfriend’s older sister (sorry that probably went too far) who I met at a tailgate five months ago… should I say hi?” wore off as the months went on. Fall brought football and some new friends, and winter beckoned more time spent inside and hurried walks to and from class. When the newness of sophomore year wore off faster than freshman year, I lost my eagerness to say hello to friends and look at the beauty of campus around me. I stopped savoring each walk to class and only thinking about how I needed to finish the last five pages of the reading before class. How lame is that!

I didn’t really realize this until a couple of weeks ago on a quarantine-break between classes. I was talking to a friend on the phone while we walked in our respective neighborhoods actually just 15 miles from each other in the same city — as we both strove to imitate our walks to class at school. As we talked about what we were trying to replicate by walking around the block, I thought about all the things we can’t replicate by walking around the block, and even just about all the little things I miss about school that I really cannot replicate with my phone or my computer or even my imagination. 

After this virtual walk with my friend, I realized that by the time sophomore spring arrived, the excitement of freshman year was almost fully worn off for me, and the sophomore slump had taken hold of my heart. Well, I want it back! Sophomore slump begone! I will now always strive to be grateful for the small occurrences throughout my days at school. So here are a few things I am thinking about, missing, have more gratitude for and can’t wait to experience again when we get back to campus:

  1. Walking to my classes and seeing those people who it’d be just slightly weird to text and ask how they’re doing right now. These people may not be my best friends who I’m texting with every day in quarantine, but they help make my Notre Dame experience. They are my walk-to-class friends — the ones I notice when I don’t pass them between O’Shag and Geddes on Tuesday or Thursday afternoon. 
  2. Watching people greet each other and say goodbye — what is more heartwarming than seeing people linger in dorm stairwells before parietals?
  3. Receiving those spontaneous texts to go get snacks from LaFun, a social swipe at NDH for ice cream, read someone’s essay and go to the Grotto. “When?” “Uh, right now!” “Okay!”
  4. All those emails asking me to take a survey for someone’s “super-important” project that will only take 30 seconds but actually takes five minutes. Yeah, I actually miss those. 
  5. Deciding where to sit in my one class where people don’t actually sit in the same seat every class. Also, sitting down in a warm seat and wondering who sat there before me…
  6. Being in the classroom. So much of learning comes from being in the presence of our peers and professors. I can’t wait to listen ear-to-ear, not computer-speaker-to-computer-speaker, again. 

Well, I think I will stop myself there. I am grateful for all of those daily small moments, and I am eager to approach them as a junior with the mindset of a freshman. ND, I miss you, and I am grateful for you!

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

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