Memories and lessons from Notre Dame

10 Reasons to Love Notre Dame

Because the Grotto will be here for you anytime you need it, just exactly the same as it’s always been.

Saint Mary’s and Saint Joseph’s lakes provide a peaceful escape on the edge of a busy campus. Somehow they are the perfect circumference for a quick afternoon jog or walk to clear your head. For early risers, there’s a heck of a sunrise to see most days.

Junior Parents Weekend. Ah, JPW. Because what is more fun than watching your dad lose at beer pong and your mom thanking everyone for being your friend?

The Irish know how to tailgate. Football Saturdays offer some of the most memorable times at Notre Dame. There’s nothing quite like everyone coming together outside of the stadium to get hyped before a game. The resulting rush of fan excitement carries through the entire season.

There’s a reason “Go abroad!” is the most prevailing piece of advice heard by an undergraduate. College is the only time in our lives when gallivanting around Europe with your closest friends for a few months is possible. Notre Dame gives every student the opportunity to have an unforgettable experience in countries ranging from Ireland to China to Australia to Chile.

Because when you’re walking down the street in a new city or unfamiliar place and you see someone sporting a Fighting Irish hat, you instantly feel comforted.

Even complete strangers wave hello to each other when passing on campus. That never gets old for me.

Because it pushed you to complete the most challenging tests, writing assignments and projects of your life, and forced you to demonstrate your abilities again and again. But you came out a stronger person and probably achieved something you didn’t even know you were smart enough to do.

Friends share meals together. This is such a special part of Notre Dame. Every night, students meet their friends at the dining hall and take time to share a meal and hear about each other’s day. At other universities, students eat in cafes, restaurants or even their dorm rooms. But the Notre Dame family is built over stir-fry and chicken poppers in South Dining Hall.

Because Notre Dame loves you back. No matter how awful of a person you become during finals week, there will be friends with caring hearts and understanding professors who will root for you till the very end.

Meg Handelman ’15 was this magazine’s summer 2014 intern.

Eight Things A Thomist Thinks Every Notre Dame Undergraduate Should Know Upon Leaving Notre Dame

You can’t get decent cheddar cheese outside of Wisconsin, cheddar cheese that is so pungent to the taste it attacks the nasal cavity like great blue cheese only after you’ve begun to swallow it. Taste matters.

The Green Bay Packers, thanks to Knute Rockne and his running back Curly Lambeau, are the progeny of the Fighting Irish and thus by birthright owed allegiance by all true Fighting Irish fans. History matters.

The motto of the University is not God, Country, Notre Dame. It is Vita, Dulcedo, Spes. Clarity matters.

By heart and with understanding, Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem, “God’s Grandeur.” Literature matters.

Knowledge of the world advances our understanding of what God has revealed. Science and philosophy matter.

What God has revealed fulfills and transforms everything we know about the world, surpassing understanding. Theology matters.

What God has revealed is the face of Misericordia, the suffering one feels upon the apprehension of another’s suffering that causes one to act to alleviate suffering. As in the hymn — Salve Regina, Mater Misericordiae, Vita, Dulcedo, et Spes Nostra — from which we get the motto of the University. The Incarnation matters.

We have here no lasting home. What you love matters.

John O’Callaghan is an associate professor of philosophy at Notre Dame.

12 Memorable Notre Dame Feelings

Meeting your roommate: I remember her walking into our room, our oddly similar families watching our first embrace, and the beginning of a rapid-fire conversation that has never ended and had made her like a sister to me.

First class: As I found my seat in Introduction to Psychology, I looked for a familiar face, whipped out my phone and typed a Facebook status: “First day of classes! Let’s hope I don’t die.”

First football game: We got there way too early, made up dances in the stands and counted down the minutes until we could watch our first game in the student section.

First failure: Walking into that final exam I felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders — not just from stress but from the mono I was fighting. I blundered through my last Intro to Philosophy exam and left the class in a slump, knowing I had bombed it. The class was a near failure, but I knew how to pick myself back up after that.

Singing the alma mater for the first time on campus: Whether you’re at the school year’s opening Mass, a dorm Mass or first football game, singing “Notre Dame, Our Mother” is a tangible representation of family through good and bad. I can’t think of one time I’ve ever sung this song and not gotten goose bumps.

Your first unsettling interaction with a campus squirrel: Long story short, a squirrel followed me back from the Main Circle to my dorm one day, so close I thought it was going to slip inside. Since that traumatic encounter, I have kept my distance from furry friends.

First crush: I’ve been both lucky and unlucky in love during my time here, and each person — including the first — has shaped me and taught me more about myself than anything else could have.

Watching Rudy: Home was too far to travel for the short Thanksgiving break, so instead I watched Rudy for the first time in my roommate’s basement. It was a piece of Notre Dame history taking me in.

First SYR: It was awkward at the time, but that dance forged some of the strongest friendships I’ve found here. I set up all of my friends from a section of boys in the dorm next door, and it’s been wonderful to see how far those relationships have come. These boys are an irreplaceable part of my college experience, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

First Summer Service Learning Program trip: What I got out of it was a lot of tears, 15 extra pounds, a new best friend for life and a ton of memories exploring Southern California, alone for the first time.

Coming back to campus after studying abroad: Returning from a semester in Athens, Greece, seeing once more the shining Dome and treading the same footpaths gave me both an unusual sense of nostalgia and unfamiliarity.

Meeting someone (teacher, counselor, mentor, staff) who truly believes in you: My pre-college summer seminar director, LeShane Saddler ’94, apparently saw that I could bring something special to the world and has made me believe I am capable of anything. There is no greater feeling than developing a relationship with someone who truly thinks you make the place better.

—_Lucy Negash ’15 was the magazine’s intern fall semester 2014._

Greatest Notre Dame Football Player Names

Knute Rockne, Class of 1914 — The coaching legend wouldn’t be the same if his mother had named him Ronald.

Red Salmon, Class of 1905 — Hall of Famer and first great running back at Notre Dame. Changed last name from Meat to Salmon during Lent 1903.

Hiawatha Francisco ’87 — The best first name in Notre Dame history. Much better than Sam.

Rocky Bleier ’68 — The perfect name for the perfect American underdog story.

Michael Stonebreaker ’90 — Linebacker and actual character on The Flintstones.

Bill Shakespeare ’36 — A poor player who struts and frets his hour upon the field and then is heard no more.

Joe Theismann ’71 — Only ND football player whose name rhymed with the award (other than Stan Liceman, who never shared his helmet).

Art Best ’74 — The Picasso of names. Can’t beat it.

Joey Goodspeed ’00 — Changed the pronunciation to “Godspeed.” Went from three-star recruit to five-star.

Chuck Male ’80 — The manly kicker. Turned down an Old Spice endorsement deal.

Ted Mandell ’86 is an associate professional specialist in the ND Department of Film, Television and Theatre, the author of Heart Stoppers and Hail Marys, and the editor or producer of several videos, including Inside the Legends and Okuyamba.