Are you thinking about college? Are there hundreds of persuasive collegiate E-mails crowding your inbox incessantly? Well, stress no more. The perfect college is here, and it’s the University of Notre Dame. Don’t believe me? Read on.
1. You’ll never get bored walking to class.
The Notre Dame campus is stunning. Whether you’re speed walking to a chem lecture or just taking a stroll, there’s always a view. It’s a common occurrence to see students taking photos around campus to send home to their family, or visitors wandering around in awe. Let’s not forget the Grotto, an intimate, candlelit area overlooking Saint Mary’s lake that encourages prayer or reflection.
2. There are countless places to study and drink excessive amounts of coffee!
Finding a good study spot at college is like finding 100 bucks on the ground. Especially because someone usually tries to take it. However, even if some vagabond takes your sacred space, there are plenty of options that are open for exploration. The Hesburgh Library is a 14-story behemoth that towers over campus. If that’s completely full finals week there are numerous library branches and coffee shops scattered around campus to discover.
3. The people are too good to be true.
A common stereotype of high performance schools is that there is a competitive atmosphere like no other. Kids are there to be the best they can be. Woe is you if you happen to be in their way. Yet, there’s nothing that the people at Notre Dame love more than lending a helping hand. The professors will gladly talk to and help the students outside of class. If you’re ever struggling with a tough assignment, the students around you are the best resource. The community is like no other, which makes sense, given that the school motto is “Vita, dulcedo, spes.” In other words, “our Life, our Sweetness, and our Hope.”
4. The food is actually quite good. Beware the freshman fifteen.
The dining halls at Notre Dame seem to be under the impression that the students meal plan is not part of their housing. This means that the food could be terrible and they would still be forced to eat it. Thankfully that’s not the case! Burgers, pasta, stir fry, tacos, fresh fruit; you name it, the dining hall prepares it. They even have a different special dinner every day. For example, tortellini tomato soup, fennel crusted pork loin, Swedish meatballs, and whipped potatoes. If you’re still terrified of dining halls, there are tons of restaurants scattered on and around campus to suit any craving you might have.
5. The school spirit is legitimately overwhelming.
As every loyal Notre Dame student knows, fall semester is completely devoted to the art of tailgating and memorizing every student cheer for the football games. Freshmen have been lost after the season ends, unsure of what to do with the sudden abundance of free time. Never fear! Not only are there free student tickets to multiple other sporting events (men’s hockey is currently ranked #1), but the campus offers many more opportunities for a fun and busy weekend. Stop by and see a movie at DePac, or go skating at the ice rink with friends! You’ll barely have time to study. Just kidding, definitely study.
6. Notre Dame students also study!
Shocking, I know. How could these fun loving kids possibly take any time from their fantastic social lives and hit the books?! It’s true, the students at Notre Dame know how to get their work done. This could mean isolating themselves on the 12th floor of Hesburgh or brewing three cups of coffee just so they can finish that final chemistry problem. The students at Notre Dame don’t mess around when it comes to school. Messing around is only acceptable Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. The other nights are for school. Don’t question it.
7. Parties to the left, parties to the right. Parties all night.
It’s true, Notre Dame is a catholic school. It’s true that we love and respect the people around us and our bodies. However, there are some occasions when you have to sacrifice yourself for the common good. Also referred to as parties. Whether it’s heading out to a dorm rager, or calling a friendly Uber to go off campus, there’s always someplace to go and make excellent decisions. With 30 dorms, and countless off campus locations like the Lax Houses, someone is guaranteed to be hosting whenever it’s party time.
8. Men? In my good catholic dorm?
Yes, the Notre Dame dorms are single sex. While for some that might be a turn off, it’s actually an amazing experience. Seeing as there is no greek life at Notre Dame, the guys or girls in your dorm will quickly become your best friends and constant companions. During Welcome Weekend, all the dorms run around campus chanting and waving flags aggressively at one another, just to make sure that no one forgets that there’s school spirit. Personally, I take great comfort in knowing that if I ever want to take a late night shower, I won’t run into a strange man while I’m wandering the halls cloaked in only a towel. Have you ever had to walk past someone while at your most vulnerable? It’s not fun. Yay college.
9. Oh the weather outside is frightful, but looking at it from inside is so delightful!
South Bend, Indiana isn’t the most scintillating location in the world. Yes, there’s schools with palm trees and exotic vacation spots, but let’s not forget that South Bend has a semi-thriving downtown life and really great foliage! Besides that, Notre Dame in the winter is straight out of a painting. When the campus is completely white and silent, and the snow is falling in thick, gentle snowflakes, there is truly no better place to be. It’s student tradition to have a midnight snowball fight after the first snowfall of the year, which is an experience that simply can’t be had elsewhere. People get really into it. I’m still partially scarred, but in a good way.
10. Actual school is a great thing.
There are several colleges at Notre Dame, all of which offer amazing programs and incredible experiences. Whether you’re feeling engineering or english, there’s a department and a support system for you. Also, the sheer variety of classes ensures that you’re going to meet some of the best people of your life, who also happen to love the same subjects that you do. Did I hear someone say study group? Oh wait, that was me.
11. You get to be whoever you are, no matter the belief.
A lot of people like to think Notre Dame aggressively turns every single student into a Catholic zealot. This is fake news. While the dorms do hold mass regularly, there is no pressure to attend. There’s also no pressure to convert, or to believe in God, or to do anything remotely religious if that’s not your cup of tea. All that Notre Dame wants is to reflect the Catholic virtues like respect, love, and kindness in every student, as well as encourage a broadening of the mind. Once you’re here, you’re family. And family takes care of each other, regardless of what you believe in. Having those morals behind you and supporting you through your college journey truly makes it all the more meaningful.
12. Inspiring traditions.
Please don’t step on God Quad. Legend has it that any freshman who lays a toe on the grass in front of the Dome will either fail a theology class or simply not graduate. It’s fine, but it’s not fine. Also, if you want to marry someone, kiss underneath the Lyons arch. then walk around the lakes holding hands. If you’re a senior, there’s gonna be the pressure of ring by spring. Let’s not forget the recent trend of jumping into the lakes when it’s your birthday. That isn’t required, please stay safe, the lakes get quite cold in the winter. If you don’t meet your first boyfriend or girlfriend at the Welcome Weekend Lollapalooza lookalike that is Domerfest, do you even go here? The traditions must be learned. Never forget.
13. Yeah, my great-great-great-great grandpa went here. It’s no big deal.
While there are plenty of kids that are just now experiencing Notre Dame, you will also inevitably encounter “The Legacy.” Respect them, for they most likely have heard great things about Notre Dame ever since they were old enough to be brought to a football game. If they don’t have a baby picture in a cheer leading outfit or an ND onesie, then they aren’t really a true fan. Notre Dame runs in families. While you may make fun of the “crazy ND mom or dad”, just know that someday, that could very well be you.
14. The alumni are more helpful than an average career counselor.
You want an instant career network? Go to Notre Dame. Few other schools have the type of alumni network that resides here because few other schools have so many people that recognize the quality of Notre Dame students. Need an internship? Sign up for Compass, the university’s offered program to get in touch with alumni. Looking for advice? E-mail an alumni who’s in the same field that you’re studying. Wherever you want to go, there’s a talented Notre Dame student who’s been there before. Trust them. They are wise beyond their years.
15. Spike Ball.
It’s almost exactly what it sounds like. If you wander out on a lovely day in the fall or spring, you’ll most likely pass intense games of Spike Ball occurring on the quads. What is it? Spiking a small ball onto a small net and hoping the other team doesn’t get it. How much fun is it? Let’s put it this way, I have never been able to successfully catch the attention of anyone who is focused on Spike Ball. It’s an obsession, a way of life, and a nice, cardio focused workout! So handy.
16. Intramurals and club sports in general cause we can’t all be D1 athletes.
You may have been the star of your school. You may have even been undefeated in your respective sport one season. Unless you’re an extremely talented man or woman with the muscle structure of a young god, you aren’t going to be a D1 athlete at Notre Dame. They’re at another level. However, there’s a place for still valid athletes! The intramurals offer a wide selection of sports that will bring you right back to your high school peak. Cheering fans, dorm-on-dorm competition, and nice uniforms that are reasonably priced all contribute to this fantastic way to stay in shape in college. They also help to form bonds with the other kids in your dorm. If intramurals don’t keep you occupied, there are also club sports. These are for the kids that could’ve played in college if they went somewhere else. The clubs are scary good, so definitely be ready to compete.
17. Becoming super famous by association.
Ever see a great game on TV and think, “Wow, those athletes are so cool. I wish I could hang out with them.” Well, now you can! The athletes at Notre Dame are incredibly busy with balancing life, schoolwork and sports. Then, when you see them in class they’re friendly and approachable. Need a study buddy, oh talented athlete? I AM HERE. Then, once they get famous and play in the bigger leagues, you can confidently turn to those around you and say, “I studied with that kid. We are basically best friends. Now I’m an athlete by association.” Works every time!
18. Singing the alma mater.
They project the lyrics so don’t worry, you’ll know what to say. After every football game, win or lose, the alma mater fills the stadium. As the deep tones echo all around, the crowd comes together to sing one of the greatest odes to a university ever written. Tears are not an uncommon occurrence, because the amount of school pride is just spilling over in the moment. It’s impossible to truly describe the feeling, so I guess you should just come to Notre Dame and find out yourself.
19. Did I mention the pushups? It’s truly living on the edge.
Google Notre Dame student pushups. You won’t regret it. I did 49 once. Thrilling.
20. Absolutely everything!
Truly, Notre Dame is a place unlike any other. The community, academics, and overall tradition make it a fulfilling and enriching college experience that changes lives and hearts. Once you’re on campus, you’re family. You’ll probably become a crazy Notre Dame parent, too.