Put a ring on it
Moira Quinn | Friday, September 15, 2023
I love jewelry. From the moment I got my ears pierced at the ripe age of 7, jewelry has played an integral part in shaping the way I look and feel. Whenever an outfit seems incomplete, adding my favorite pair of hoop earrings or sliding on a stack of bracelets as a final touch usually fixes the problem. These dainty collectibles have the unique ability to elevate my style and mood on days I need it most. When it became clear that Saint Mary’s would be the place I call home, one tradition caught my attention immediately. It wasn’t the significance of The Avenue or the perks of living across the street from Notre Dame, but rather the renowned class ring.
Once a Belle enters her junior year, she is officially given the go-ahead to purchase a class ring. We have to make the difficult choice of going for either silver or gold, a debate that I will happily go on a tangent about some other time. It is decorated with multiple features that are unique to the college — one being the French cross — and is overall so much more than an expensive piece of jewelry. Our rings symbolize the sisterhood that is Saint Mary’s and the time we spend creating memories and friendships that will take us through the rest of our lives.
It is because of such reasons that I am so excited to get a class ring of my own sometime this school year. Jealousy isn’t the right word to describe my feelings toward those who already have one of their own, but let’s just say I am starting to get impatient. With the understanding that my pockets will hurt, my ring will without a doubt be worth every single penny. It is something I intend on holding onto and wearing confidently for the rest of my life, as it tells others something very important about myself.
Just like a good percentage of the tri-campus community, I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. From my experience, if you are Notre Dame-affiliated, you are looked up to by your hometown to some degree. Whether your older sibling committed to going in the fall, or your grandparents met here, having insider information on what it is like to be a student living in South Bend is considered a superpower. This place is, in some ways, the closest thing to heaven on Earth for Irish-Catholics.
Now that I attend Saint Mary’s, I get to say that I am also privileged enough to be living right down the street from the one and only University of Notre Dame. Many women of varying graduation years gave me advice on life as a Smick prior to move-in day two years ago, and it is because of their great persuading skills and me trusting them so easily that I am currently sitting in the library, writing this for you to read with tentative plans to take a leisurely walk with my roommates to the Grotto in an hour.
While I understand that the concept of a class ring is nothing new, I don’t think I have ever been more excited about purchasing something. Being a Belle is something that I am proud of and genuinely enjoy talking to others about. It is hard to wrap my head around the fact that I have only been in college for two years but have never felt more a part of anything else. The culture here is unlike any other I have experienced thus far, and I am grateful to be here.
I find it strange and funny that ever since deciding to spend my college years at an all-girls school, countless generations of Belles have been airdropping themselves into my daily life. The moment I step out of the house wearing something Saint Mary’s-related, women come out of the woodworks and soon enough, we end up in a lengthy conversation. The mall, my yoga studio and even my dog’s veterinarian office are constantly swarming with women wearing their class rings, asking me questions and making comments like “Which hall are you living in?” and “My daughter and her Smicks just had a reunion over the summer.” For such a small college, I have been surprised by the amount of encounters I’ve had in a non-school setting, the ring being a reminder that we all support one another and are united through a meaningful shared experience.
So until the day comes when I get to join the thousands of Smicks who wear their ring everyday, I guess I will have to scour through my jewelry collection for some hoop earrings.
Which reminds me, I have enough room in this column to quickly vent about the debate that begs the question “Are you a silver girl or gold girl?” For the record, I am a gold girl through and through but will not throw shade to all you silver lovers out there.
Moira Quinn is a junior at Saint Mary’s College studying communication. When she isn’t writing for The Observer, she can be found with friends, watching a good romantic comedy or missing her basset hound.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.