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Stop and smell the flowers

| Tuesday, April 18, 2023

The dozens of puddles I had to acrobatically dodge to reach my perch on the tenth floor of the library soak into my shoes and infiltrate the one tiny hole in the fabric. From my primo window spot overlooking campus, I can see the wave of green that has overtaken the land.

Spring is in full swing at the University of Notre Dame and the early entrance of my favorite season has brought some unexpected days of bliss. With the unseasonably warm weather and the hopeful ending of the Notre Dame permacloud, this beginning of spring has reminded me to appreciate my surroundings.  

Personally, spring at Notre Dame has always been reminiscent of walking around a park from some long-forgotten childhood dream. I feel like a proud mom whenever I stop to take pictures of the flowers in bloom.   

The monuments and buildings that we all know like the back of our hands are accented by the most colorful flowers and blooms one could imagine. The pathway to the Grotto is lined with tulips on the edge of blooming and the Main Building is flanked by flowers that mirror the same golden hue as the dome. However, this beauty does not always last as the pink-leaved Jane Magnolia trees which cling to Lafun’s brick walls only hold their flowers for a few days.  

It always amazes me how the seasons seem to perfectly match my mood and the events of my life. As the animals awaken and leave from their winter nests of hibernation and the flowers are reborn, I feel as if my life is waking up again and beginning to start a new chapter.

Recently on campus, the summer-like weather has brought people outdoors and on the quad, relaxing and unwinding in the South Bend sunshine. There is nothing more reassuring than to be reminded of the way that campus comes alive when it is this beautiful out. Especially with the nights being so warm, it extends any plans until long after the sun goes down.  

I will say, there is no feeling worse than the walk of shame to the library with a backpack full of unfinished work when all you are passing in transit is people out frolicking on the quads. This is the situation I have found myself in frequently as of late and I have felt like I was back in elementary school, stuck inside for recess because I did not do my homework.  

My time to play in the sun came this weekend when the Fisher Regatta came crashing onto the shores of St. Mary’s Lake. My fair complexion necessitated sunscreen on a day that started with a rainy outlook. However, as the clouds parted and the delightfully exciting smell of Coppertone filled my room, I knew the day would be spent working out in the sunshine.

The men of Fisher Hall (myself included) spent the beautiful day working in what has often been cited as the greatest event on campus. As I sold merchandise and watched the hordes of onlookers enjoy the spectacle of the boats (none of them seaworthy) puttering across the lake, I felt that I was in the center of the action.  

I was lucky to celebrate the Regatta on such a beautiful day and raise funds for St. Adalbert Catholic School. Yet, as I dragged my speaker back to my room, I was disappointed the fun was over. It felt like I had waited so long to have fun in the nice weather, only for the time I had to fly by. 

That was until a friend of mine gave me a call and asked if I wanted to join a last-minute trip to the beach. At first, I was confused as to what beach she was referring to and then I realized that she was talking about the Indiana Dunes, which was almost an hour away. 

Needless to say, I soon found myself with my head out the window of my friend’s Toyota Corolla with the windows down and radio up like a teenage coming-of-age movie. My skin was still sticky with the latent smell of sunscreen from earlier in the day when I released the seat belt as we arrived at our destination.

As we finished lugging our gear to the determined beach campout spot, the sun was starting to hang low in the sky. Dropping down my bag and towel, I quickly shed my shirt and sprinted into the icy waters of Lake Michigan.  

Through all this excitement and scurrying around campus to what sometimes feels like a rat race of busy work meetings, I often forget what is truly important. Nearing the halfway mark of my college career here at Notre Dame (that is scary to put into writing), the time has flown by and what remains feels like sand slipping out of an hourglass. Feeling this, I feel the pressure to make as many memories here while I still can. I long for those long lazy days spent out on the quad in a picture-perfect way that would be fit for an admissions brochure.  What good would my college experience be without the spontaneous road trips and late-night Five-Guys feasts in formal attire?  

As spring will come and go, I write with a reminder. Just as the flower petals of the Jane Magnolia trees by Lafun only last a few days, so too is our time at Notre Dame fleeting. I urge you to take those adventures and step into two lakes on the same day.  The time spent exhausted from staying up too late after doing something unexpected pales in comparison to the memories that will last a lifetime. This spring, before the flower petals fall and the leaves mark the coming summer, please stop and smell the flowers and live your life at Notre Dame.

Jack Sirianni is a sophomore studying political science, journalism and public policy.  He is a proud Michigander who appreciates jamming to Pete Seeger, scouring eBay for vintage Notre Dame paraphernalia and collecting stickers from everywhere he goes.  On campus, Jack can often be seen by the Founder’s Monument or in the line for Southwest Salad.  For your favorite tidbits of knowledge or any other musings, his inbox is always open at [email protected].

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

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About Jack Sirianni

Jack Sirianni is a member of the Class of 2025 pursuing a major in Political Science with minors in Journalism and Public Policy. He is a proud resident of Fisher Hall and as a Michigan native, he can often be found enjoying the South Bend wilderness. Jack has also written for every Observer department on topics ranging from social justice to campus signage.

Contact Jack