Under Pressure: A Notre Dame Wednesday

Author: Bridget Galassini '16

Fourth in a series of student-written pieces that accompany the article “What’s Best for Them,” by Kerry Temple ’74, published in the autumn 2016 issue.

6:03 a.m. — Wake to the truck outside your window, loading the recycling and garbage dumpsters at Irish Flats apartment complex. (It is not quiet.) Feel so happy that you have another couple hours of sleep. Commence sleep.

8:27 a.m.Beep beep beep. Wake up. Grab phone. Turn alarm off. Check for notifications that came in the night:

  • Gmail: Professor D wants you to re-run the regression for your economics senior research project, using different variables.
  • iMessage: Mother wants you to make a dinner reservation for the night of graduation. Ask her how many people she has coming. Text dad to ask how many people he has coming. Put the reservation on the to-do list.
  • Facebook Message: Meghan says she can meet you today at 3 p.m. to talk about being an atheist at Notre Dame for your journalism project. Respond “Perf! See you in the lib then!”
  • Snapchat: People were at O’Rourkes yesterday. That looks fun. Tom snapped you “Where are you????” Snap him back, “I was in the lib,” with a frowny face.
  • Instagram: Your bestie Victor tagged you and two other besties in a funny video about an avocado. Laugh.
  • Weather: 49 degrees now but it’s going to be 65. Rain, but not until the afternoon. Think about what sweatshirt you are going to throw on ahead of time so as to stay in bed a little longer.

8:40 a.m. — Be awake enough now to get out of bed.

8:42 a.m. — Grab clothes off the floor, put them on, brush teeth, put in contacts.

8:50 a.m. — Make a piece of cream cheese toast with one egg on top. Eat it while hot water is boiling for your caffeinated black tea, without which you cannot get through your classes. Put your tea and lunch of snacks — yogurt, banana, KIND bar and cheese stick — on the counter.

9:00 a.m. — Pack up backpack. Bring the orange folder for the senior research project, the green folder and notebook for Spanish class, the yellow folder and notebook for journalism, grab lunch and tea, and head out. Pick up Lauren from the building across the Flats parking lot.

9:12 a.m. — Arrive in the stadium parking lot.

9:26 a.m. — Sit down in Spanish class.

9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. — In the “Captives, Traitors, and Renegades” course, talk of the theories of philosophers Nietzsche and Deleuze and apply them to Jorge Luis Borges’ story “El Informe de Brodie.” Do this all in Spanish. Try to think in Spanish, too. Leave class again deep in thought, this time realizing that we are all living in a world of “coming to be and passing away.” We apply nouns and adjectives to the world to try to fix it, to make it “fijo.” But, they are of no use. Our entire beings are dictated by verbs and actions and are ever-changing. I’m not Bridget, I’m Bridget-ing. This isn’t South Bend, it’s South Bend-ing.

10:47 a.m. to 11:40 a.m. — Find your spot in the Debart computer lab. Redo the economics regression in Stata. Find different numbers. But . . . these new numbers still show that an increase in temperature actually helps agriculture’s share of gross domestic product for your dataset of 31 countries. This doesn’t fit with the rest of your paper and your own feelings — that global warming is harming our Earth.

11:41 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. — Eat banana and yogurt and text Matt, your long-distance boyfriend. Chat for 10 minutes about your days. He’s getting Potbelly for lunch; be jealous.

11:51 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. — Research more on agriculture. Find that increased CO2, the cause of global warming, is good for plant growth. And find that warmer temperatures have lengthened certain growing seasons and added farmland to some areas. But, with more warming, the effects could start being negative. Maybe that explains it. Edit the results section. Email back Professor D with these findings.

1:16 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. — Talk to your bestie Lauren about all the requirements needed in order to get your Spanish visa for the Fulbright next year. You need a doctor’s note about contagious diseases, passport pictures, all of the identifications, police background checks. Feel stressed thinking about all of it. Calm down by looking up Airbnb apartments in Madrid. Get excited. Bring yourself back down to now, where you have things to do and people to see.

1:31 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. — Walk to the Career Center in Flanner. Have your hour-long appointment with Consuela. This is the second of three meetings, and she has been helping you with career discernment. It surprises you to learn that art or creativity is a very important value that showed up on your values test. Think about what this means.

2:46 p.m. to 2:59 p.m. — Walk to the library while going over the questions you are going to ask Meg about atheism at Notre Dame. Make sure that you are hitting all the important questions. You want to find whether there is open, secular dialogue on campus and to learn of her specific examples that she has lived here, because you want these examples to “show” and not “tell” the reader what atheism is like at Notre Dame.

3:00 p.m. to 3:25 p.m. — Interview Meg about atheism. Really enjoy the conversation. Let your curiosity overcome you. Accidentally run over time and make her a little late for her class.

3:32 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. — Sit down in journalism class in Debart. Eat the KIND bar and cheese stick. Discuss two other classmates’ stories for critique today. Talk about the lede, the sections, the effects of the story. Notice the parts that you really like, and make mental notes to do that in your own writing. Search for the line between being super mean while critiquing and providing somewhat constructive criticism.

4:46 p.m. to 5:07 p.m. — Head home. On the drive, listen to the country stations or start nodding along to a Jesus song without realizing it is a Jesus song. Really miss the B96 and KissFM stations from home near Chicago.

5:07 p.m. to 5:17 p.m. — See that the garbage is still full in your apartment. Wonder if you should text roomie saying, “Hey. Think it’s your turn for garbage,” or just avoid the tension. You bring the bags down to the dumpster and avoid the tension.

5:18 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. — Clean dishes that have been piling up on your busy Monday and Tuesday, that were filled with practicing for your Peace Studies presentation with your partner and doing your international macroeconomics take-home exam with your classmates for several hours in the library.

5:31 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. — Think about dinner and if you should go to the grocery store. Do you want to save money, save time, be healthy or eat yummy food? That is always the question. You could go pick up Chipotle to have yummy food and save time. You could just eat more carrots and peanut butter and be healthy like you have been all day, but that’s not yummy. You could make a toasted PB&J because they taste good and peanut butter is supposed to be a “good fat” and jelly must have some fruit in it, right? And wheat bread isn’t horrible. Okay, you make a PB&J.

5:46 p.m. to 7:25 p.m. — Eat PB&J while watching House Hunters and Chopped, switching back and forth at commercials. Go on your laptop and finally catch up on the news. Read The Skimm in your email. Flip to CNN every once in a while. Facebook message Matt while he’s walking home from work, earlier than usual. Grab another cheese stick and make another cup of tea, and drive to Debart for work — mentoring student athletes.

7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. — This session, like every Monday and Wednesday session, is one-on-one. Sometimes you’re able to do your own homework, because your mentee has papers to write or other independent work. Tonight is not one of those nights. Your mentee has a microeconomics exam tomorrow, and since you’re an international economics major, you can help. You do problems on the board with consumer and producer surplus graphs, with equations for marginal cost. You explain and talk through concepts like oligopoly, monopoly and perfect competition. Wish him luck on his exam and head home.

9:32 p.m. to 9:50 p.m. — Talk to Matt while heading home. Talk about how you love tutoring, how you love explaining things. Tell him that makes you excited for teaching English in Spain. Remember that this is a somewhat hard topic because you two will be away from each other for another 15 months because you chose to do the Fulbright instead of starting your consulting job in D.C., where he lives. Hang up because it’s his early bedtime because he is an old adult.

10 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. — Go to Lauren’s apartment with Maddie and Victor, the four people who were tagged in the avocado post this morning, and have your own form of “onces.” You four were all in Chile together, and you know that “onces” means “palta” or avocado dip with some salt and olive oil, toasted bread, cheese, and combining all of those in different forms while chatting about senior week and graduation.

11:46 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. — Shower.

12:01 a.m. to 12:45 a.m. — Check your apps again — Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, Snapchat stories. Read some articles on Twitter that you had bookmarked during the day. Turn off the light. Go to bed. Get ready to be a student again tomorrow.

Bridget Galassini is now on a Fulbright and teaching school in Spain.