Thursday, July 30, 2009

#41: Majoring in Political Science Just Because

If there is one major at Notre Dame whose students have a complete lack of focus and direction in this world, it is PLS; but if there is a similar but more popular major, it is Political Science. While PreMed students are preparing for Medical school, business students are preparing to work in the financial industry be unemployed, engineering students are praying that the auto industry doesn’t completely collapse (uh oh), and architecture students are painting things; most Arts and Letters students are preparing for Law School, Grad School, or to do service work. Many Political Science Students, however, don’t necessarily want to do any of these things.

Notre Dame Students love to major in Political Science because they have no better ideas of what they should be majoring in. They take one class with the likes of Christina Wolbrecht or Kier Lieber and figure out that they can easily make it through the major without doing anything that resembles real work; so they sign up.

Many students even pick up Political Science as a second major just because. They might be majoring in Accounting, Spanish, PreMed, or Peace Studies, and realize that they need a second major to satisfy their soul (and to justify their high tuition payments). These students will always name Political Science as their second major because it sounds less rigorous. By referring to Political Science as their second major, these students bring legitimacy and respect to their studies despite the feeling deep down in their hearts that Political Science is more enjoyable.

Conversely, Political Science majors need to pick up second majors to justify these high tuition payments. Oftentimes their parents realize that the major is a joke, or they realize that their job prospects with only Political Science as a major are slim. Such secondary majors include Economics, History, American Studies, and Peace Studies. These majors will help the confused political science major get a job such as a high school teacher . . . or maybe even a Notre Dame Blogger.

Regardless, Political Science majors will never regret their choice of a major because it will allow them plenty of time for things such as drinking . . . and drinking. They might think they learned something about politics, but they will have to get really lucky to become a successful politician like Mark Sanford or John Edwards.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

#40: Traditions

Tradition is one of the most important parts of the Notre Dame experience. Not necessarily because it never graduates or because it was the featured saying on the 2006 version of THE SHIRT (see #2) but mainly because tradition connects Notre Dame Students to a storied past and gives them a bridge to an even more glorious future.

The most obvious place that tradition can be witnessed at Notre Dame is at football games. Despite the fact that the output on the field in recent years has not been worthy of the storied tradition, the gridiron remains as the epicenter of Notre Dame Traditions. Notre Dame Football has seen decades of championship success that Notre Dame Students continue to be proud of. With four legendary coaches, seven Heisman trophy winners, and one of best statistical histories in college football; Notre Dame Football has a history that is truly something to promote hubris.

Furthermore, many other traditions have remained in and around the stadium during football games. Notre Dame Students continue to do the same arm motions during cheers, they continue to do push-up type body surfing after touchdowns, they continue to cheer for Officer Tim McCarthy, and they continue to tailgate heavily before the games. On the field, the band continues to play the same songs, the Irish Guard continues to perform the same motions, and NBC continues to take overly long TV timeouts. Despite wins and losses, the game day experience is deeply rooted in tradition, and one that students love.

Notre Dame Students also have a variety of other traditions that they continue. Aside from refusing to walk up the steps of the main building until graduation and rubbing Rockne’s nose before playing pick-up basketball games, Notre Dame Students are incredibly loyal to their dorm life and everything that surrounds it. Notre Dame Students see the dorm life as one of the most unique aspects of their tradition and seek to continue everything that surrounds it. Students have pride in their dorm, they wear apparel from their dorm, their closest friends are from their dorm, and they continue to sponsor events and parties that are rooted in dorm tradition.

However, many people in the Notre Dame administration have been working to stifle the furthering of critical Notre Dame Traditions. While events such as the Dillon Pep Rally, Alumni Wake Week, Zahm Bun Run, Fisher Zoo*, Keenan Revue, and PigTostal have been a crucial part of the storied past of Notre Dame, administrators such as Fr. Jenkins and resident asshole Bill Kirk have been doing everything in their power to end traditions that they deem are incompatible with the Catholic Identity and family experience of Notre Dame. However, with any luck, the students will force these traditions into enduring not only because they are a link to the past, but also because they are incredibly fun things that Notre Dame Students Like.

*Thanks to the poster that caught my original spelling error. That's the great thing about blogs, you can always go back and rectify these things.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

#39: Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You

Christmas is a magical time of year at Notre Dame. In the period between Thanksgiving and the end of finals, Notre Dame Students have many Christmas dances and parties that they attend (see #25). At each of these events they will play countless holiday themed classics ranging from Bing Crosby to Britney Spears, and they will undoubtedly turn to All I Want for Christmas is You many, many times throughout the season.

Each time they play this song, Notre Dame Students will be sure to pull a Sam from Love, Actually (see a number to be written later) and point towards one of their peers during the chorus. During this section, Notre Dame Students will use extreme caution to make sure that things do not become awkward with the person they point towards.

If they have already achieved the victory of a long term relationship then this issue is a moot point, but if not then problems arise. Most females overcome this problem by pointing at one of their girls, while most males overcome the issue by pointing out into thin air. However, sometimes Notre Dame Men try to use this as an opportunity to make the first move towards what could result in a long term relationship. Typically, this ends in failure (or possibly a dance floor makeout).

Notre Dame Students love this song so much, that they play it year-round. Would any Notre Dame Student be surprised if the song was played at Finnegan’s in September? No; in fact this is expected. Likewise, no student would hesitate to put the song on at a party in April. Notre Dame Students love this song, and it has become an essential part of the Notre Dame Playlist.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

#38.5: Things Saint Mary’s Students Like

1) Calling themselves “Smick Chicks”

2) The Avenue

3) Taking pictures on the “Sluttle

4) Having Mothers who went to SMC and Fathers who went to Notre Dame

5) Taylor Swift

6) Working in Hospitals or Schools instead of taking classes

7) The Dance Marathon

8) Buying Food at the Cyber Café

9) Paying Their Student Government a Salary

10) Going out on weeknights

11) Oddly Shaped Dining Hall Trays

12) Notre Dame Athletes

13) Obnoxiously big dorm hallways

14) The Keenan Revue (ironically)

15) Getting Hooded

16) Jamaica Shaika

17) Being on Committees

18) Club Fever

19) Complaining about Traffic

20) Most (if not all) of the Things Notre Dame Students Like

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

#38: Making Fun of Saint Mary’s Girls (and then dating them)

Notre Dame Students, both male and female, have an incredibly complex relationship with the students of the school across the street: Saint Mary’s College. This relationship can be marked by a wide range of emotions including jealousy, hate, sarcasm, friendship, and love. In other words; it is akin to a typical marriage.

Notre Dame Students love to make fun of Saint Mary’s girls. While this might happen infrequently in person, Notre Dame Students will constantly make jokes about their sister school when there are no Belles around. They will write letters to The Observer declaring the school’s inferiority and its student’s unintelligence. They will perform skits in the Keenan Revue about Saint Mary’s Girls being sluts. Notre Dame Men will make fun of individuals behind their backs, and Notre Dame Women might even make fun of groups to their faces.

The fact of the matter is that it is relatively easy to make fun of Saint Mary’s Students as the school is essentially one group of 1600 Marys, Katies, and Megans that all major in Nursing or Elementary Education*. While the olden days might have required Saint Mary’s to counter the All-Male ND, the modern Co-Ed Notre Dame has no use for Saint Mary’s College.

Or so a Notre Dame Woman would want you to think.

Notre Dame Women are most to blame for the complex relationship with Saint Mary’s Students because they publicly and privately have the most nasty things to say about them. The women from both schools can’t possibly be friends with each other because of the irreconcilable differences caused by Notre Dame Women recklessly throwing around words like slut and stupid in reference to their sister school. These girls do this not because they believe these things, but because of childish jealousy.

Notre Dame Women are jealous of Saint Mary’s Students because the students at the all-girls school across the street are typically more awesome than their counterparts at Notre Dame**. Saint Mary’s Students are more fun than Notre Dame girls. They go out to more bars and parties. They don’t spend most of their hours in the library (does Saint Mary’s even have a library?). They won’t tell you when they have an Organic Chemistry test (see #29), and they bizarrely care more about Notre Dame Football than Notre Dame girls.

Because of this, as much as they like to make fun of Saint Mary’s girls, Notre Dame guys also like to date them, and they date them quite frequently.

*I probably just lost 5 friends right there.

** I know I just lost 7 friends and 1 sister on that one.

Full Disclosure: I currently have 1 SMC drinking mug, 1 SMC pennant, 1 deck of SMC playing cards, and 1 SMC T-Shirt that I wear frequently. So yes, I unapologetically love Saint Mary’s.

Friday, July 17, 2009

#37: Class Rings

One of the tell tale signs of a Notre Dame Student is an obnoxiously large class ring. Many students purchase these rings during their junior year in order to let the world know that they are will be graduates of the University of Notre Dame. These rings are typically gold with a blue gem in the center, and have lots of things inscribed on them.

While some students wear these rings to class on a daily basis, others only take them out for special occasions such as weddings, job interviews, or their actual graduation. These students will even go so far as to tell the students without class rings that they need to get one so that people they interview with know they are Notre Dame Graduates (because clearly it does not say that on a resume).

Class rings are another item that divides the Notre Dame population. While many students have them, there are also a lot of students who refuse to get them. The students that don’t wear class rings can’t understand why so many students get them, while the students who do have rings fail to understand those that refuse to purchase them. Regardless, class rings are a phenomenon that is unique to only a few universities in the nation, and Notre Dame is one of these select few.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

#36: Saying that SDH Inspired the Harry Potter Movies

With today’s premiere of Harry Potter and the something or other, it is not only necessary but pertinent to discuss the love that Notre Dame Students have for all things Harry Potter. It’s not surprising that Notre Dame Students love a children’s book such as Harry Potter. While some students have organized Harry Potter activities, one Notre Dame Student apparently made lots of cash by developing a Harry Potter themed website*.

Notre Dame Students love Harry Potter so much that they incessantly claim that South Dining Hall inspired the Great Hall of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter film series. While this claim does have some valid points (such as both dining halls containing high ceilings, long tables, and chairs), Notre Dame Students repeat it far too much for their own good.

These students will tell anybody who will listen that their dining hall inspired Hogwarts. They tell their parents, they tell prospective students, and they tell anybody willing to go on a tour of campus that SDH inspired Hogwarts. However, this legend is completely false as it is well documented that Christ Church College at Oxford served as inspiration for the sets of Harry Potter.

Regardless, many Notre Dame Students will continue to believe that South Dining Hall inspired the Harry Potter series. These same students will continue to play mock games of Quidditch and they will continue to love this series of books and films.

*Apparently there is more money in a Harry Potter website than in a Notre Dame a website, but who’s complaining.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

#35: Making T-Shirts

Notre Dame Students love T-shirts. They love T-Shirts of all shapes and sizes and they wear them at every opportunity they have. To class, to the gym, to parties, to football games, and to bed; Notre Dame Students will wear T-shirts as often as possible. Because they like T-Shirts so much they will also make T-Shirts at every possible opportunity they have.

Students will design T-Shirts for every possible organization that they are a part of, and then sell them to members of that organization. There are T-Shirts sold by class councils and majors that are rarely purchased, while T-Shirts that are sold by clubs become hot commodities. Many students can be seen wearing T-Shirts sold by the Future Investment Bankers Club or the Future Republicans Club even if these students are not really active participants in these clubs.

The campus organizations that will make and sell the most T-Shirts are the residence halls. Dorms will sell T-Shirts for every event imaginable. SYRs, Pep Rallys, Frosh-O, Signature Events, and Hall of the Year awards are all events that demand dorms to produce T-Shirts. While these T-Shirts are rarely funny, intimidating, or fashionable, they can be widely seen around campus.

However, while most University and High School students make T-Shirts for the clubs and teams that they are a part of, Notre Dame Students also love to make shirts for reasons that are not as obvious. Because Notre Dame Students loathe to wear THE SHIRT (itself a shirt that is designed by Notre Dame Students, see #2) much of the student body makes their own shirts that are the same color as THE SHIRT. These T-Shirts can range from the simple and classy* to the lame** to the overly complicated***.

Many students take this a step further by making and selling shirts that simply mock opposing teams. While there is nothing intrinsically wrong with this, as these shirts are somewhat clever, they are senseless because they almost always utilize the colors of the opposing team so that when Notre Dame Students wear them to games they appear to be fans of the opponent from afar (as in on television).****

Notre Dame Students continue their T-Shirt making tendencies for things that have nothing to do with athletics or even sporting events when they make them for events such as parties (PigTostal, BabeTostal), friends running marathons, living in or near a given quad of O’Neill 4b, Bookstore Basketball, drinking 40s on Fridays, and even for believing that Professor McKenna is their homeboy (see #15).

Whatever the reason, group, or event, Notre Dame Students love to make T-Shirts, and they love to wear them even more.

*Classy T-Shirts: Charlie’s Army, Charlie’s Angels, Brady Quinn for Heisman

**Lame T-Shirts: Golden is Thy Tate, New Coach, New Pope, New Era, anything about Ronald Talley

***Overly Complicated T-Shirt: I live in Keenan which must mean that I know James Aldridge which henceforth vis a vis means that he is the best running back on our team and I will yell for him no matter who is in the game or what is happening, even if we are on defense [note, this might not be an actual T-Shirt].

****Senseless T-Shirts: Backup College (in Boston College’s maroon and yellow), Trojans Break (in USC’s maroon and yellow), Sparty Sucks (in Michigan State’s white and green), Muck Fichigan (in Michigan’s yellow and blue, because maize and yellow are the same thing).

Thursday, July 9, 2009

#34: Windsor, Canada

Going on trips is an essential part of the Notre Dame experience.  Road trips to away football games at beautiful locations such as Ann Arbor, East Lansing, and West Lafayette happen most every September.  Spring and fall breaks also see many students travel to various places across the country and around the world.  However, no location is as widely visited (and as unanimously loved) by Notre Dame Students than Windsor, Canada.

For those unfamiliar with this Midwestern mecca, Windsor is the Las Vegas Atlantic City of the Midwest.  Also described as the seedy underbelly of the Detroit Metro Area*, Windsor is a city that is loved by Notre Dame Students for its lengthy bar district, its unnecessarily extravagant casino, and its infamous strip clubs.  At only three hours from campus, most students will make several excursions to the city over the course of their four years.

These students will make a variety of excuses to go to the city:  “it’s on the way to the Michigan State Game”**. . . “It’s JPW, nobody will be on campus” . . . “It’s Friday Night”.  While all of these are completely valid reasons, the primary reason that Notre Dame Students go to Windsor is because of the 19 year drinking and gambling age (and getting lap dances with Monopoly Money).

While these students will go on to spend countless hours at The Backer, Finny’s, and Fever during their Junior and Senior years; their first drinks at a bar will likely come during their Sophomore year at Peppers or the Boom Boom Room buying Molson and Labatt Blue with two dollar coins while the televisions play highlights of Hockey on TSN.  Because of this, a trip to Winsor is a seminal moment in the lives of many Notre Dame Students.  

These students will be enthralled by Ouellette Avenue Bar district that has several solid blocks of bars with the occasional late night eatery intermixed.  Some will try their hands at the blackjack tables of Casino Windsor late at night while others will entertain themselves with the strip clubs or even the “exotic massage parlors”.  Regardless, these Notre Dame Students will go out of their way to do things that they would never consider on campus, and they will probably repent for their sins upon return to America.

*Although, by now its strip clubs are most likely bringing in more revenue than General Motors and Chrysler combined.

**It’s Not

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

#33: Trivia

Notre Dame Students love matching wits with other Notre Dame students.  They start pointless debates in dorms, classrooms, bars, parties, and dining halls that include just about any topic.  Politics, sports, religion, movies, history, literature, music, and television can all provide ample topics for Notre Dame Students to discuss, and they can all provide ample questions for Notre Dame Students to answer.

Because of this, Notre Dame Students love trivia.  They love all kinds of trivia.  Trivia games they can play alone in their free time, such as watching Jeopardy on TV or playing (see #18) are useful tools to practice, but Notre Dame Students really love the competition.  Some will get this competition amongst their friends by playing trivia games at Buffalo Wild Wings or Trivial Pursuit on a slow night (or to pregame with MD 20/20 shots for each color pie). 

Random campus events that feature trivia will cause Notre Dame Students to come out in droves, and weekly events around campus and South Bend will encourage students to form teams that will battle to prove their wits.  Legend’s and Between the Buns are both popular locations for teams to compete that feature great team names such as Jesse and the Rippers or Drink Drank Drunk, and Notre Dame Students will do their best to win these events as often as possible.

The main reason that Notre Dame Students love trivia, however, is not just because they have an innate desire to compete, but because they want to prove that they are smarter than they next guy.  Through trivia outlets, students are able to prove who has more worthless knowledge in their mind, who reads the most random Wikipedia pages, who is the most in tune with popular culture, and who can form the brightest teams; all important aspects of smartness.  

Thursday, July 2, 2009

#32: Not Admitting Notre Dame Wasn’t Their First College Choice

When seniors in high school apply to colleges, many have already determined which school is their first choice.  This is the school that they will absolutely attend if they are accepted, regardless of what other schools accept them.  For thousands of high school seniors [and Boston College Students] Notre Dame is the dream school that is far and away their first college choice, but for reasons unknown to this writer, this does not hold true for all high school seniors. 

Some high school seniors have Notre Dame as their second choice.  For whatever reason, these students prefer schools such as Duke, Stanford, Northwestern, and the Ivies.  These students long to attend secular schools in actual cities or moderate climates with less prominent football teams; they long for higher US News and World Report Rankings. 

Shockingly, some of these troubled youths actually become Notre Dame Students when their first choice schools reject their applications.  However, once they enroll at Notre Dame they will do anything they can to prevent their peers from discovering that Notre Dame was not their first college choice.  They will research historical football results, watch Rudy (see #30) over and over, memorize Heisman Trophy winners, purchase previous years versions of THE SHIRT (see #2), and begin going to mass regularly (see #4) to make it seem like they had visions of leprechauns dancing in their heads all throughout their youth.   

However, cracks in their disguise will eventually begin to show.  They might accidently wear apparel from another university, become overly enthusiastic while watching another schools sporting event, or even relate stories about how awesome something at another campus is (i.e. Tenting at Duke, the Michigan-OSU game, the Stanford Marching Band). 

Despite the inevitable cracks, these students will insist that Notre Dame was their first college choice just so they can more easily fit in with all their hard core legacy and overly Catholic friends.  Before long they will come to understand how wrong they were about their first college choice, and realize how fortuitous it was that they were denied admission.