Posthumous musings on Lyons 124
Marissa Panethiere | Monday, November 13, 2023
The historical marvel which is Lyons Hall does not, unfortunately, possess the honor of being a recently renovated dormitory. Former residents often mosey their way back under the arch and note the fact nothing has really changed inside. Considering this beautiful building of shoebox rooms and severely limited ADA accessibility was completed in 1927, what keeps residents around is the community.
Last year I got the unique privilege of living in “one” room which was actually two shoeboxes, connected by a door that did not close. The separation was more of a mindset, suggesting the character of a two-room double. I shared this space with my roommate and best friend Christina and, somehow, our friendship made it past the asbestos-lined tiles and potentially hazardous radiator which we could not turn off. Directly across from the main door used by Lyons residents for entry and exit, there sat the Lyons 124 (pronounced “one-two-four,” do not get it twisted). With a constantly open door and two procrastinators as its inhabitants, no one was safe from our musings — and attendance at our nightly debriefs and “Love Island” reruns was mandatory.
Living with a roommate in such a small space taught me a lot about myself and, looking back fondly at that year of pure bliss (disregarding the fact I took Orgo 2 last fall), there are countless lessons this space taught me. While not all of you will share the distinct privilege of living in the Lyons 124, these observations of dorm life might still ring true.
1. The recorder is a very easy instrument to learn. In a moment of pure impulse, Christina and I traversed the well-known wasteland which is Amazon.com and purchased two plastic recorders. We soon found ourselves trampling over its minuscule learning curve and now we can perform recorder renditions of “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” by Céline Dion or “Super Freaky Girl” by Nicki Minaj with ease. This skill has proven to be a priceless asset in my time as a Notre Dame student.
2. Everyone loves karaoke. Weekly karaoke in the 124 would draw in the masses (two friends and our cardboard cutout of Pitbull). The second of many impulse purchases was a $12 Bluetooth microphone which had an absurd amount of echo. Loading up Sing King’s Youtube karaoke videos onto our TV, homework would be procrastinated, the disco ball would be turned on and we would absolutely lock in. With a quick message to the GroupMe, we’d have a gaggle of guests making their way over to each perform their own personal party pieces. There’s something so healing about singing along to 2000s dad rock instead of writing an essay due in an hour.
3. Everyone loves to color. On the back wall of the Lyons 124 hung a 3×6-foot coloring sheet for all guests to partake in. Provided with buckets of markers, crayons and colored pencils — of course — every new visitor into our humble abode would make their literal mark on our space. Slowly filling up over the semester via Lyons residents or the occasional cross-campus invite, these embellishments furnished our space with a vibrance that no poster on Redbubble could have replicated. Take the time to color: it’s a concrete way to procrastinate in pure tranquility.
4. Lean into your individuality. My first semester of college was spent desperately trying to find where I fit in. After a rough go at trying to change my self-identity, my authentic self led the way for me to have the most fun of my entire life. At my big age of 21, I still do the strange, childish and borderline unhinged activities I enjoyed when I was a kid and Lyons 124 might as well have been a toy box for me and my friends to explore. If you are or were anything like me in my first months at Notre Dame, take my advice: do what you love. Good things happen when you’re happy.
I could drone on and on about a year in the life of a Lyons resident, but it all boils down to the beauty of community. College life is the time when you get to explore who you are. Take the time to play your favorite songs on a bizarre plastic instrument, sing at the top of your lungs to “Turn My Swag On” and color a huge cartoon rendering of New York City. You have the rest of your life to live in a bigger bedroom with air conditioning and hopefully at least one functional overhead light. Let life be ridiculous right now, you’ll remember it better that way.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.