Deck the halls
Adriana Perez | Friday, May 13, 2022
“Soon they’ll have the nerve to deck the halls / that we once walked through.”
With graduation on the horizon, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this line in Taylor Swift’s “champagne problems.” I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the impermanence, the evanescence of our stay here on campus.
I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the passage of time, evidenced only by chips on the walls in dorm rooms, by the addition of post-its and newspaper copies to The Observer’s office walls, by eerily quiet hallways during Senior Week that scream of uncertainty and the future.
Ever since I stepped foot on campus in 2018, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about how this place has seen so many people come and go. And every time I think about it, it’s like someone is squeezing my heart dry. It’s the feeling that something so mine is slipping through my fingers all the time (like the ABBA song).
But it’s part of the whole college thing, I guess.
How painfully bittersweet it is to have found something so wonderful that makes saying goodbye so hard. But I’m going to try. This is my goodbye column, after all. And I do have some wishes for the people coming here after I graduate — the ones who will deck the halls I once walked through.
To the future residents of 303 Farley Hall: I hope you find your own Abby and Isabel to hold you during your darkest times and to share your most unreserved laughs with. To the next people to have a Chipotle picnic on Irish Green: I hope you find your own Dane to crack open Mexican Coca-Colas and endless inside jokes with.
To the next people to share a pew at Milkshake Mass: I hope you find your own Sarah and Theresa to see flourish as they take on the world. To the next person doing the noon to 2 p.m. Irish Gardens shift on Wednesdays: I hope you find your own jovial Marty and your own little family in the basement of LaFun.
To the next people to frantically sign up for classes at 7:30 a.m. (because you will always get that registration time, for some reason): I hope you find your own Professors Jones, St. Martin, Cajka, Cortez, Kelly, Reifenberg, O’Malley and Temple and their kindness, wisdom and boundless passion for teaching.
Of course, The Observer herself has borne witness to countless generations of tri-campus students coming and going. She has seen scores of talented student journalists learn and grow and leave on to bigger things. She has forged friendships, unbreakable bonds of trust and love that are so hard to explain to others.
On a corner of the bulletin board next to the Observer Editor-in-Chief’s office, a yellow tack holds a white sheet of paper. A cursory glance over the wall may miss the nugget of hard-won wisdom the piece of paper offers.
“You stay up until three or four or five in the morning until everything gets done, and that was a really important training ground for me, to be wholly responsible for something every day and seeing it through to the end and having people in the newsroom be your best friends and totally trusting them — and that’s what we had to do.”
This is working at The Observer, in the words of former Editor-in-Chief Michelle Krupa. And, honestly, I couldn’t put it better myself, even if I tried.
To the next generations of Observer staff that get to stay up until ungodly hours in the surely haunted basement of South Dining Hall: I hope you find in this endeavor that you are part of something greater than yourself. I hope you find your own Alysa, Aidan, Manni, Gen, Allison, Abby, Maggie, Siobhan, Claire and Veronica to lead you gracefully and with love.
To the next generations of Observer editors that get to take mid-shift naps on the old, old couch in the Editor-in-Chief’s office: I hope you get fortunate enough to meet your best friends in this perfect little corner of campus, like I did. (Also, don’t lift the cushions. Believe me, you don’t want to see what’s there).
I hope you find your own Evan, Colin, Issy and Nelisha to continually raise the bar for dedicated, fair and quality journalism at The Observer. To lead by your side and in your absence, to report alongside you, to have a way-too-personal “question of the day” ready before every Editorial Board meeting. To never fail to offer you thoughtful advice, a warm hug, a reprieve from a long night of editing. To trust wholeheartedly with difficult tasks that you don’t even trust yourself with.
I hope you find your own Evan, Colin, Issy and Nelisha to be unhealthily codependent with. To drop first and last names with at the local Salsa’s. To make you cackle with glee at their quips and jokes (I don’t normally do belly laughs, but they sure can get one out of me). To love you unconditionally, even when you’re too mean or too annoying or you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. To never judge you for your faults but show you, kindly and gently, that these are lovable too.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would find any of this. But I did. And I hope you find it, too.
Adriana Perez, Adri to her friends, is graduating from Notre Dame with a degree in political science and a minor in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. She’ll be in Chicago over the next six months working as a reporting intern at the Chicago Tribune. Please send pizza recommendations, your favorite John Mulaney quote or your thoughts on the most recent Taylor Swift re-recordings to [email protected] or @adrianamperezr on Twitter.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.