Thursday, November 18, 2010

#100: Notre Dame

Notre Dame Students like a lot of things.  They like things that are related to their religion and how they are always using Catholicism to guide their actions (even if just for the sake of appearing to be more Catholic than they really are).  They like things that pertain to their academic plight and how they firmly believe that Notre Dame is one of the most prestigious schools in the world (and how each of them is personally the smartest and most clever person one could ever meet).  They like things that have to do with their dorms and the crazy things that happen when a random collection of individuals is brought together to create a long-lasting community.  Notre Dame Students like things that are related to drinking and how, no matter how hard they work, they still know how to party hard.  And they like football.  Notre Dame Students like their football and the tradition-filled Saturdays that made the school what it is today.  Most of all, and this might seem a bit obvious, but they like what happens when all of these things come together: they like Notre Dame.

Notre Dame Students like the feeling they get when they walk to class across South Quad on a sunny day, when the shining Golden Dome catches their eye.  They like the feeling they get when they’re driving back to campus after a break and see that billboard for The Bookstore on I-80 coming from Chicago, and know they are almost there.  They like the feeling they get when they’re recognized as a Notre Dame Student because they’re wearing a monogrammed hat in a bar far from campus.  They love how it feels when they’re standing in a crowd of their peers, trying to enter the Notre Dame Stadium before kickoff and yelling at the top of their lungs:

Goooooooooooo IRISH, Beeeeeeeeeeeat TROJANS!!
Goooooooooooo IRISH, Beeeeeeeeeeeat TROJANS!!

Notre Dame Students like all of these things and more, but most of all they like knowing that of all the colleges they could have chosen at which to spend their four years, they came to a place with a tradition of excellence where the past meets the present, and the future isn’t too far behind.  They love the fact that they wound up at a place that truly is unique, where every day presents an opportunity for them to be a part of something special, and they love the fact that of all the students that still dream of going there, they were chosen by the University to make Notre Dame their home.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

#99: Long-term relationships

The problem of gender relations at Notre Dame is one of the biggest complaints people have about student life at the school.  Students complain that the combination of single-sex dorms and parietals is a system of the past that discourages friendship between the sexes (see #63).  The continuance of dorm parties being informally restricted to men’s halls (see #98) even further separates the genders on a day-to-day basis and leads to awkwardness at all turns. 

The result of these things is that men and women at Notre Dame do not often foster actual friendships with each other or even really go on informal dates with one another.  Instead, men and women at Notre Dame consistently find their sole interaction in long-term relationships.

Notre Dame does not have a significant dating culture.  One day, Notre Dame Students are hooking up together, and the next day sees them turning around Claddagh rings (see #6) and changing Facebook statuses to show and tell the world that they have entered into a relationship.  The lack of dating at Notre Dame stems not only from the complete lack of avenues to develop rich friendships between the sexes, but it also is caused by the lack of nearby dating options.  Although this could be changing with the recently opened Eddy Street Commons, the fact that Notre Dame exists in its own little bubble, distinctly separated from the outside, leaves students with few places to go on dates beyond the dining halls.  While “dining hall dates” are certainly popular, their awkwardness is a further detractor from a dating culture in general.

However, the lack of a dating culture does not mean a lack of relationships.  Notre Dame Students love entering into long-term relationships primarily because they love the idea of marriage (see #91), but also because they love all of the things that go along with long-term relationships. 

Notre Dame men like long-term relationships because they sometimes grant them an opportunity to go beyond the Notre Dame Hook-Up and into a new territory of intimacy (see #21).  These men have a person to consistently break parietals with, and this gives them an opportunity to show their friends and hallmates how awesome they are (even if they are not awesome at all).

Notre Dame women like long-term relationships for reasons beyond the direction of their Claddagh rings.  For women, a long-term relationship gives them a strong group of friends to hang out with that they might not have if they only hang out with other girls.  It’s no secret that Notre Dame men form stronger groups and have a more intense level of brotherhood between them than Notre Dame women, and so they are happy to allow girls into their groups when their friends begin a relationship.  Because of this, many Notre Dame women end up being better friends with their boyfriends’ hallmates than they ever were with their own hallmates.  The relationship, therefore, allows a Notre Dame woman to become a part of all the things that make men’s halls great, like room pick drama (see #80), playing video games, and the weekly hugfest known as the Rite of Peace during Sunday night dorm Mass (see #10).

Once they come together in their long- term relationships, Notre Dame Couples like all of the things that make a relationship great.  They like spooning on couches where everybody can see them (see #27), wearing each others sweatpants (see #49), and playing footsy while “studying” together in LaFortune (see #68).  They like watching Love, Actually together and arguing about how justified Mark’s actions are (see #69).  They like walking around the lakes, actual dates at Papa Vino’s, and staying in on weekend nights because they no longer need to look for dance-floor makeouts at dorm parties and Finny’s. 

Overall, Notre Dame Students like long-term relationships because they like to love and be loved.  They like the consistency that comes with a relationship, and hate having to resort to the hook- up culture.  They like to think that the person they are dating is the one they will be with for the rest of their life, that they will get married to each other in the Basilica, watch their kids become Notre Dame Students in their own right, and that they will grow old together and live happily ever after.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

#98: Dorm parties

Without a Greek system at Notre Dame (see #79), students have to rely on different ways than the stereotypical frat party to have their fun.  With a relatively small number of students living off-campus, part of this desire for large raging parties is quenched by the occasional house party, and part of it is satisfied by the even rarer multi-house bonanza (like PigTostal or St. Patrick’s Day).  However, the most common form of partying (that is incredibly unique to Notre Dame) are the dorm parties that ring out across campus every Friday and Saturday night.

Dorm parties are made possible by the incredibly relaxed rules on drinking in many of the men’s residence halls.  While underage drinking is technically not allowed by the rules of ResLife and the Notre Dame Administration, many of the rectors and hall staffs usually turn a blind eye to the consumption of beer within the walls of their hall (but do not extend the same courtesy to hard alcohol).  These rectors believe that since the students are going to act like college students no matter what they do, it is best for them to make their “poor” decisions in a somewhat safe environment within the dorms.  Likewise, because rectresses are usually irrational and crazy (see #59), dorm parties are de facto restricted to men’s dorms.

Dorm parties are a unique type of party which involves a lot of planning and teamwork (see #25).  The first hurdle in planning a dorm party is getting the beer in the dorm.  While hall staff will turn a blind eye to an actual party, they will confiscate beer if they see it.  This means that students must get a 21-year-old to purchase the beer, and then meet him at a discreet location such as Main Circle where the students (almost always freshmen) pick up the beer in duffle bags and carry it back to the dorm.  If a student is caught by police during this process, things will probably end up poorly for him and “pourly” for the beer. 

Once students have obtained beer and secured it in their rooms, the next step in planning a party is to publicize it.  While usually achieved by creating incredibly clever themes (even though almost nobody dresses to the theme), Notre Dame dorm parties usually have a corresponding Facebook event so that their organizers can invite all of the girls they know (men are not invited to dorm parties in another dorm). 

On the day of the party, students clear out all of the small furniture from one or two rooms in their section and make sure that any bars in nearby rooms are well-stocked.  After emptying small furniture and valuables from the rooms, plastic is used to wrap any dressers, desks or beds that might be remaining to prevent them from getting spilled or vomited on.  Notre Dame Students then set up sound systems with the perfect Notre Dame Playlist for the occasion.  Finally, beer is put on ice in a plethora of trash cans in any party room so that it can be easily accessible and cold when people arrive.

Once the party begins, Notre Dame Students turn off the lights in the party rooms (aside from some accent lighting like Christmas lights, strobe lights, or blacklights) and watch as the room fills until it is overflowing with people.  Inside the party room, Notre Dame Students “dance” and “drink” in near- complete darkness while things get really hot and people sweat profusely.  Outside the party room, RAs and rectors monitor the halls, but turn a blind eye to the debauchery happening within the party room.  As long as the doors stay closed, people stay out of the hallway, and nobody is found vomiting in the bathroom, hall staffs in most of the men’s dorms don’t care about what is occurring..  Once the clock strikes 2 A.M., dorm parties are promptly brought to a close by parietals and students drunkenly spill out of the parties and into the friendly confines of Reckers or LaFortune (see #14).

Notre Dame Students like dorm parties because they are a uniquely weird and dorky way of drinking that can  be found only at a school like Notre Dame.  They also like dorm parties for other reasons.  The men who host dorm parties like them because they give girls a reason to come to their rooms, and these parties make it so that the men don’t even have to go outside into the harsh South Bend weather (see #43) for a fun and eventful night of drinking.  Students also love dorm parties because their dark and crowded nature leads to plenty of dance floor makeouts (sometimes even accidentally), which always lends itself to the possibility of a Notre Dame Hook-Up only a few doors down in the man’s bedroom (see #21).  Furthermore, Notre Dame Students love dorm parties because underclassmen can host them on their own, and can avoid having to go to house parties hosted by people they don’t even know.  

However, the biggest reason Notre Dame Students like dorm parties is that they give them an opportunity to drink without risking their stellar reputations with ridiculous arrests.  Since police and NDSP don’t normally come in the dorms, the only people that can get a dorm party patron in trouble are the hall staff, and even when hall staff intervene in out-of-control parties, they usually don’t do much more than send people stumbling off to Reckers.  Notre Dame Students like the safety from arrest that dorm parties provide, and this is the primary reason they have such an affinity for dorm parties.          

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

#97: Hating the other dining hall

When it comes to eating meals, Notre Dame Students like to do what is fastest and easiest.  Even though plenty of them have cars on campus, they rarely go to off-campus restaurants to eat, and even though there are two dining halls on campus, Notre Dame Students rarely switch between the two. 

Most students typically go to the dining hall that is closest to their dorm because it is most convenient.  They can walk there for lunch on their way to class, and they can get there quickly and without hassle for dinner.  In the winter, Notre Dame Students do this because they also like to walk through the snow from their dorms to the dining hall in athletic shorts, just to show how little the weather affects them (even though it does).

By only going to one dining hall, students grow accustomed to sitting in the same area and seeing the same people.  Students from West Quad and South Quad consistently go to South Dining Hall (referred to by saying “South” or “SDH”).  These students yell out either “right-right” or “right-left” to tell their friends where they will be sitting, and before long groups of friends know exactly what side of what aisle to look to and walk down in order to find their friends.  These groups will instinctively know second and third choice seating areas in case their chosen area is occupied or closed. 

Students from North Quad and Mod Quad consistently go to North Dining Hall (referred to by saying “North” or “NDH”).  These students will determine where to sit before they get their food, and will leave coats, flip up chairs, and place IDs on their chosen table in order to mark their territory.  While both halves of campus have their different customs in their chosen dining hall, the one thing all Notre Dame Students share is a hatred for the dining hall in which they do not regularly eat.

Students who regularly eat at South complain constantly about the “modernism” that exists at North.  They hate the fact that the dining hall has multiple levels almost as much as the televisions that exist inside it.  Furthermore, South regulars hate the fact that they can never find their friends when they eat at North.  Why, they wonder, would you waste time saving a seat with your ID, when long lines are forming in the food distribution areas?  South regulars spend inordinate amounts of time looking for their friends when they eat at North.

The biggest complaint that South regulars have about North, however, is the food distribution system.  Food stations at North are seemingly spread throughout the dining hall in a maze of doorways that is akin to a funhouse.  South patrons are used to the single room in their dining hall where they can quickly make a loop and see what the options are for dinner.  At North, most students know what they are going to get before they enter the building and make a beeline towards the room of their choice.  Because it is impossible for Southies to find food in North, they pretty much only go there when they are looking for two specific menu items unique to North: pasta stir fry and make-your-own-pizza.

North patrons have similar complaints about SDH.  They find it impossible to find their friends in the large crowded rooms of tables that all look the same (see #36), and since they aren’t regular Southies, they don’t have a proper system in place to find their friends.  Their biggest complaint, however, is the abomination that is the SDH food distribution system.  When Northies enter the center part of SDH (where the food is distributed), they see a crowded and congested mess of confusion.  There are people EVERYWHERE, with lines pushing into other lines, and people waiting in two lines at similar times.  If peppered flank steak is the meat entrée, the salad bars become engulfed in the line of steak-eaters.  If there is a particularly enticing pasta dish, there will be an impenetrable line preventing hungry eaters from getting to the pizza or waffle-making sections.  Making matters worse are the indecisive Southies who don’t intricately plan their meals ahead of time by checking the menu online.  They add to the congestion by wandering around the food area looking through all of the options before they make a choice.  If NDH is overly organized with rooms for different food, SDH is an underorganized mess of confusion that Northies will never be able to understand.

The ironic thing about dining hall loyalty at Notre Dame is that both dining halls generally serve the same food.  Sure there are some notable differences like make-your-own-pizza, but when push comes to shove, students can pretty much get the same food at either dining hall.  Because of this, while Notre Dame Students will always loathe eating in the dining hall they don’t frequent, eventually all Notre Dame Students will come to hate the repetition at BOTH dining halls, and will begin to have more trips off-campus to places like Rocco’s, Bruno’s, Chili’s, and even Red Lobster.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

#96: Getting indignant

Notre Dame Students spend a lot of time thinking about and discussing issues that impact their campus, country, and world.  In their thoughts and discussions about these issues, Notre Dame Students grow to care deeply about them (or, they at least pretend to care deeply about them).  Not only do they care about these issues, but Notre Dame Students formulate strong opinions about them and usually try to convince their fellow students to share their opinions.  Yet when something happens that goes against a student’s opinion on an issue, they will get indignant.

On campus, Notre Dame Students get indignant about a lot of issues ranging from the comical to the serious.  Many of these issues are based in Catholic social teaching and students' attempts to show they are more Catholic than other students (see #4).  Notre Dame Students get indignant about Barack Obama’s commencement speech and the issue of abortion (2009), they get indignant about the Gay Film Festival (2006-2007), they get indignant about Christopher Hitchins (2010), and they constantly get indignant about the University’s refusal to pay dining hall workers a living wage (1990-2050, and probably longer).

To deal with their indignation, Notre Dame Students do everything that they possibly can do while only minimizing their time investment in such efforts.  Students will write strongly worded Viewpoint letters (see #71) that attack the University or the offending party for doing something they deem to be incredibly offensive and insulting.  To protest, they will join Facebook groups that have no power or influence whatsoever.  If they want to show that they are strongly indignant about something, they might even organize protests or demand to meet with Fr. Jenkins (a demand that is rarely met).

Students also get indignant about campus issues that aren’t as serious as those based in Catholic social teaching, but are rather based in a student’s personal convictions about societal norms and what Notre Dame means to them.  Students get indignant about how The Shirt fits them (see #2), they get indignant about police using horses at tailgates, they get indignant about the lack of $5 footlongs at the campus Subway, and they get indignant about the musical stylings of Freekbass.  While none of these things have their genesis in religion or a moral system, they are still important sources of indignation for Notre Dame Students.

Beyond the Notre Dame Bubble, there are a lot of things that Notre Dame Students have an opportunity to get indignant about.  While many of these things are similar to the campus issues that cause indignation stemming from Catholic social teaching, Notre Dame Students get even more indignant about things that happen on a national or international scale.  By far, the area that creates the most indignation amongst Notre Dame Students is the continent of Africa (see #1).  Notre Dame Students get indignant about the problems in Darfur, they get indignant about the prevalence of AIDS across the continent, and they get indignant about the simple lack of development and infrastructure in various countries.  To soothe their indignation about these issues, Notre Dame Students travel to Africa and do research for their theses.

Overall, Notre Dame Students' indignation shows how much they care about important issues on campus and around the world (or, at the very least, how much they pretend to care about these issues).  These issues will change from year to year, and the students’ methods of response might change, but the indignation will always remain the same.  Even after graduation, Notre Dame Students will continue to get indignant, because the only people who get more indignant than Notre Dame Students are Notre Dame Alumni.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

#95: Running around the lakes (and other places)

Probably the most athletic students in the country (aside from the military academies), Notre Dame Students love to exercise.  While they certainly love playing basketball (see #76), football, and dodgeball, lifting weights in The Rock or Rolfs, and taking yoga classes, by far the most popular form of exercise for Notre Dame Students is running. 

Notre Dame Students are constantly running in different places across campus.  They run on treadmills in their dorms and at The Rock.  They run loops through the quads and fields around campus.  They run on elliptical machines in Rolfs while watching TV and reading People Magazine.  They run the roads to and through Saint Mary’s.  However, most often students run around the two lakes on campus.

Running around the lakes is the single most common form of exercise amongst Notre Dame Students.  They love to make the two-mile figure-eight around the lakes so that they can see all of the sites such as The Grotto (see #61), the reverse side of the Dome, and (of course) Carroll Hall.  Sometimes through treacherous patches of mud that destroy their pristinely clean running shoes, Notre Dame Students will run hundreds (and sometimes even thousands) of miles around these lakes over the course of their time at school; with the lakes always looking the same and the route never really becoming repetitive to Notre Dame Students.

While running is partially about exercise for Notre Dame Students, it also has other advantages.  Though Notre Dame Students like to be seen running so that they can show everybody how athletic they are, oftentimes their running is not very athletic.  If they are running inside, they will make sure to spend more time chatting with friends they meet than they do actually running. 

When they are running around the lakes, they will oftentimes make their running into a date and jog alongside their long-term relationship partner while neither really breaks a sweat (see #99).  Despite the fact that running has all of these great advantages for Notre Dame Students, they will still need to have a more concrete reason to justify all of their running and working out, and they find this purpose via charity runs. 

Charity runs like the Mara Fox Run, Finish on the 50, and the Holy Half Marathon give students the justification for working out while also making them feel better about themselves by raising money for charity (and they usually get t-shirts for running them, see #35).  These service-oriented students want to do good for the world, and these events give them a chance to put their running to a good use. 

Furthermore, in running these events, Notre Dame Students get even more excited about running and invariably start talking about how they are going to run a marathon.  Notre Dame Students love talking about running marathons because it shows their friends how much more running they are doing, and it also shows how dedicated they are to working out and raising money for charity (because Notre Dame Students prefer running marathons for charity).  However, in the end most Notre Dame Students will eschew running marathons for leisurely runs around the lakes.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Book Signings: THIS WEEKEND!!!

This weekend I'll be back on campus to watch the Irish take on our wannabe-rival Purdue, and while I'm home I'll be having a couple book signings at the Hammes Bookstore.  They are:

Friday, September 3rd: 1:00-3:00 PM
Saturday, September 4th: 11:30-1:30

You can join the Bookstore's Facebook event for them here:!/event.php?eid=146259492073975

I hope to see many of you there!!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

#94: Only riding with one cab driver

When Notre Dame Students leave the friendly confines of their campus for drinking purposes, the sensible choice that most make is to take a cab from campus or between off-campus locations.  Notre Dame Students take cabs to bars and house parties every weekend, and they have particular opinions about them.  While some younger students mainly just go to Main Circle and flag down any cab that comes their way, older students discover that they should have their own cab driver with whom they regularly ride.

Notre Dame Students like consistency and the comfort that comes with it.  They like knowing what is going to happen on any given night, and they like being able to dictate when and how things happen (see #25).  Because of this, Notre Dame Students love to have phone numbers for cab drivers in the area and they like to ride between bars and off-campus locations always with the same cab driver.

Students like their cab drivers because they get to know them.  They love the eccentricities that these cab drivers exhibit and the crazy stories that come with them.  They like listening to Christian rock in Jesus's cab, smoking (even though they don’t smoke) with Tony, hearing rumors about other cab drivers from DeeDee, and hearing ridiculous stories from Charlie Chin.  Notre Dame Students like their cab drivers because of the stories they tell and the experiences they can share.

Notre Dame Students also like cab drivers for any knowledge they can share on any given night.  Cab drivers always know where the parties are, and they always know which bars have the longest lines and which bars have been raided by the police.  Many cab drivers might even have some inside information about the football team to share (see #8).  Cab drivers hear things from all around town and they share them with the students who have become their friends.  

Ultimately, Notre Dame Students love their cab drivers because they are really the only locals with whom students have a chance to become friends.   Cab drivers tell their student friends about their lives during the brief trips around town, and students ultimately have a desire to continue riding with the same cab driver every night so that they can develop these relationships, as bizarre as they sometimes might be.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Not Just a Blog Any More. . .

Rarely do I like to write on this blog in the first person, but I’m writing today with great fear and a little bit of pride and excitement to announce that Things Notre Dame Students Like is now on sale as a book!!  From the great folks over at Corby Books, Things Notre Dame Students Like is available for purchase at the Hammes Bookstore on campus and you can order it online by clicking the link to the right (or you can click right here).

The book not only includes the entire list of Things up to and including the thrilling conclusion at #(you’ll have to buy the book to find out), but it also includes original never-before-seen material including:
  • New and original charts and graphs that depict behaviors only touched upon on the blog
  • New lists of Things other groups like including ND Professors and Coach Mike Brey
  • New chapters to replace old and out of date entries such as #19 (although I still love The O.C.)
Beyond this, each and every chapter has been rewritten and revised to the point where some are completely different and bring up new points and ideas that were left out on the blog.

I hope you all check it out, and most importantly I hope you all continue to enjoy the Things Notre Dame Students Like.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

#93: Not knowing what pot smells like

Notre Dame Students enjoy a rather privileged existence as undergraduates, and are able to fulfill many of the requisite conditions to living a life that is SO College (see #11) during their four years at Notre Dame.  In pursuit of this life, they happily undertake many activities of which ResLife, the heavy-handed disciplinary arm of the administration, would most certainly not approve.  Notre Dame Students break parietals regularly (although usually in pursuit of a future bride/groom instead of a casual hook- up), they build elaborate lofts in their dorms, and under these elaborate lofts they place elaborate bars filled with hard liquor that is certainly not permitted (see #92).

However, Notre Dame Students’ strident attempts at SO College debauchery does not extend (for the most part) to the use of recreational drugs.  Most students around the country smoke pot at least once during their college careers, and the drug is practically a legal commodity in California and other states.  At Notre Dame, however, this form of youthful experimentation is notably absent.  While at other schools smoking pot is widely accepted as part of the college experience, at Notre Dame the emphasis on dorm life and the sheltered upbringings of its students within the Notre Dame Bubble combine to create a stigma attached to the use of pot. 

First, Notre Dame Students are generally obedient and enjoy following rules and instructions.  While some of their state school counterparts might feel less nervous about having pot in their dorms than having alcohol, Notre Dame Students fully understand the administrative risks that would come from lighting up in their dorms.  Even when Notre Dame Students leave campus to party and live in off-campus residences, they generally continue to reject pot even though it is something many of them might reasonably consider using in other circumstances. 

While some may have smoked in high school, once at Notre Dame they become fearful of the Kyle McAlarney treatment and refuse to do it at all (except in some incredibly rare and highly sketchy situations).  These students know how important their education is, and they know how ruthless ResLife is, and instead opt for a safer and more conservative path to being SO College.

Because of this, a drug that is fairly easy to come by on college campuses around the country is nearly impossible to find at Notre Dame.  Furthermore, the vast majority of Notre Dame Students (who were too busy building their college applications in high school) make it through their entire college careers not really aware of how pot works or what the drug even smells like.  This leads to interesting conversations with people at non-Notre Dame parties that might include silly comments such as “I think someone let a skunk out in the other room,” and “How does that glass thing on the coffee table even work?”  The non-ND friends will laugh, admiring the adorable naïveté that also results in curious character features such as being confused about the definition of hooking up (see #21).

At any other university, the ignorance about such a widely-used drug would be rare, but at Notre Dame it is widespread.  Notre Dame Students are told from the outset that it is okay for them to drink, but it is not okay for them to use drugs.  Because Notre Dame Students almost always follow the instructions they are given from their elders and peers, they listen to these rules.  As a result, most Notre Dame graduates head off into the world unaware of the distinct smell of marijuana smoke.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

#92: Overly elaborate dorm room configurations

It’s already established that residence halls are an important part of life for Notre Dame Students.  At many colleges, dorms might be simply the place where students sleep at night and have a desk to occasionally work; but for Notre Dame Students, dorms actually become their home (and remain as a home for them even after they move out).  In an effort to make their rooms more homey, Notre Dame Students plan and construct the most elaborate dorm rooms possible.

To begin their room construction, Notre Dame Students start at the floor by purchasing wall-to-wall carpeting to cover the tile.  While throw rugs would certainly be the easiest option, Notre Dame Students know that cutting carpeting to perfectly fit their rooms not only looks great and feels comfortable, but requires the extra bit of effort that makes a perfect dorm room (despite the fact that it’s impossible to adequately clean vomit and beer spills out of carpeting).

After their floors are covered, Notre Dame Students will then look for the most efficient way to fit all of the essential beds, desks, wardrobes and dressers into their room.  Being efficient with this is not only important because it saves space for extraneous items later, but it also shows how clever Notre Dame Students can be with using limited resources and building things.  Most Notre Dame Students determine that the best way to go with these essential items is up, and they build elaborate lofts to make their rooms into multi-level enterprises with their beds (and sometimes even desks) high enough off the floor so that they can walk under them and plan a further living space. 

Once they have their essential furniture in place, and have made sure that they have enough room for the largest possible desk chair they can buy at Office Depot, Notre Dame Students shift their attention to the living spaces that are more important to them.  Many students will construct television stands that sometimes act as lofts themselves, oftentimes with room for two or more televisions, mini-fridges, video game systems, sound systems, and cable boxes. 

Notre Dame Students will want their rooms to fit multiple televisions so that they can watch several things at once (especially during football season), and entice as many people as possible to congregate in their room.  To successfully do this, Notre Dame Students will do their best to maximize seating by having multiple couches and chairs in their rooms.  Furthermore, they will maximize viewing opportunities from these couches by raising one or more on cinder blocks above others to create a stadium seating atmosphere that improves sightlines to televisions and shows how serious the residents are about watching sporting events.

As the icing on the cake, Notre Dame Students will construct elaborate bars in their rooms that they will use to host parties and pregames.  These bars will usually have at least one fridge behind them (and oftentimes a blender), as well as a stockpile of liquors, mixers, and a wide array of drinking glasses of all shapes and sizes.  After that, Notre Dame Students will clutter up the walls of their rooms with posters, pennants, flags (see #55), and bar neons in an inexplicable attempt to recreate the atmosphere of a TGI Friday's.

Once they are finished, Notre Dame Students will invite all of their friends over to see how awesome their room is.  They will show it off to people they don’t even know to make themselves feel good.  They will use their awesome room to throw parties and entice people to it, and they will end up losing money maintaining their stockpile of liquor behind the bar.  Ultimately, Notre Dame Students will love these rooms, because once they are complete; they will truly be home.

Monday, August 2, 2010

#91.5: Things Young Alumni Like

1) Sending Text Messages during football games
2) Victory Liquors
3) Lamenting the 2005 loss to USC
4) Thinking Coors Light is a shitty beer (see #28)
5) Younger friends and siblings still at ND
6) Ironically wearing monogram sweater-vests (see #85.5)
7) Being Roommates in Wrigleyville (see #47)
8) Continuing to tout inside information about the football team (see #8)
9) Telling people when they have a med school exam (see #29)
10) Teaching (even though they won’t make careers as teachers)
11) Sneaking into the student section during football games
12) Complaining about the Basilica wedding reservation system
13) Doing service work for a year or two because they were too preoccupied to apply for jobs
14) Matt Leinart’s NFL career
15) Donating money to Notre Dame (even if they don’t have an income)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

#91: The Idea of Marriage

Being the overly Catholic and family-oriented people that they are, Notre Dame Students all have a strong innate desire to quickly get married and have children.  Very few Notre Dame Students actively want to be single, and almost none aspire to be womanizing bachelors who have trophy girlfriends late in life (or the other way around).  

This obsession that Notre Dame Students have with the idea that they will get married soon after they graduate is embodied in the tradition of “ring by spring.”  Ostensibly the goal of every Notre Dame Student, “ring by spring” is the objective of Notre Dame women to get proposed to by the man of their dreams and of Notre Dame men to propose to the woman of their dreams by the time they graduate. 

In order to obtain or present a “ring by spring,” a person usually must have met their future husband or wife by the end of their freshman year, be dating this person by the end of their sophomore year, and regularly be breaking parietals together by the end of their junior year.  This well-worn path puts the Notre Dame couple right on course for spring engagement at the Grotto (see #61) during their senior year, and the ideal Basilica wedding the summer after that.

The problem with this tradition is that very few people actually participate in it any more.  While Notre Dame Students still love to talk about “ring by spring,” and they certainly talk at length about anybody they know that achieves the goal, most Notre Dame Students are in no position to actually participate in the tradition.  This is not only because many Notre Dame Students move on to grad school, med school, or law school after graduation, but also because the modern world sends graduates to all parts of the country in search of jobs and service opportunities.

Despite “ring by spring” being barely feasible for modern Notre Dame Students, these students continue to talk about it because they are obsessed with the idea of marriage.  They like to talk about the weddings of older siblings and of the potential of friends’ future weddings because the modern idea of weddings brings together religion and drinking in order to celebrate the final result of a long-term relationship (see #99).  So even if students aren’t getting married (or even engaged) very often as students any more, the idea of marriage is never far from the mind of a Notre Dame Student.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

#90: Looking down on locals

Notre Dame Students hail from all regions of the country, but most of them come from similar suburban areas.  When they first arrive at Notre Dame, students don’t really notice the major differences between their hometowns and South Bend because as freshmen they don’t have many reasons or avenues to stray too far outside the Notre Dame Bubble.  As they get older and bring cars to school, have more meals away from the dining halls (see #53), go to local bars, get jobs or volunteer positions, and move out of the dorms, Notre Dame Students spend a lot more of their time off-campus.  As a result, they also spend more time interacting with the local residents of South Bend, and usually formulate negative opinions of the residents they not so flatteringly refer to as “townies.”

The relationship between Notre Dame Students and local residents is a tense one that goes back a lifetime for the locals, and less than four years for the students.  Local residents often become upset with students for a variety of reasons usually related to collegiate debauchery.  Residents complain about loud noise at parties, they complain when students urinate on their property, and they complain that students take up too much space at their favorite bars like The View. 

However, the biggest complaint that locals have of students is the Notre Dame Students’ immense sense of self-importance.  Notre Dame Students take one look at the city of South Bend and immediately think they are better than everybody who lives there.  The students come from wealthier families, they wear nicer clothing (see #5), and they drive more expensive cars.  Students see the quality of their expensive education (see #3) and believe that they already have more success than the majority of South Bend residents will ever have.

These opinions of the students are somewhat justified.  South Bend is a dying rust-belt city that is rampant with crime and poverty.  Students rarely feel safe walking home at night from bars, and off-campus students become accustomed to hearing sirens in their neighborhood.  With the University and its football weekends serving as the singular force behind the local economy, Notre Dame Students believe they are more important than the typical South Bend resident and this gives them a sense of entitlement.

Because of this attitude, South Bend residents sometimes go out of their way to be hostile towards Notre Dame Students.  They report the loud parties that are simply collections of Notre Dame Students trying to be SO College (see #11), they strictly enforce drinking laws in the area, and a few residents even get dangerous and violent towards students.

For their part, the students do try to use the dire economic situation in South Bend as a way to quench their thirst for helping people and making themselves feel like better people.  Notre Dame Students take it upon themselves to seek out service opportunities throughout the city by volunteering to tutor and mentor local youth and constantly raising money for the Center for the Homeless (among other institutions).  While these certainly are noble causes, these volunteer opportunities simply do more to show at least some South Bend residents that Notre Dame Students are arrogant, and confirm Notre Dame Students’ beliefs that they are better than the townies of South Bend.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

#89: Dorm stereotypes

During the summer before students begin their freshmen year at Notre Dame, they are randomly assigned to a room in one of the 29 residence halls around campus by the Office of Residence Life and Housing (a.k.a. ResLife).  These hall and roommate assignments are based singularly on a person’s gender, and, unlike many schools, have nothing to do with the preferences of the individual students.  ResLife’s selection process doesn’t include surveys to match compatibility (something that some students might have to do on eHarmony if they fail to get a “Ring by Spring”) and it doesn’t allow the opportunity to room with high school friends or people that students previously met at ND summer programs.  At Notre Dame, freshmen year roommates are selected entirely at random.

These random collections of individuals are one of the main attributes that differentiate dorms from Greek systems at larger universities (see #79).  Not only are students not given a chance to choose the dorm in which they will live, but dorms are not given the opportunity to choose which incoming freshmen they want to live in their dorm.*  Whatever the computer assigns is what the students and halls are stuck with.  In fact, even the process to change dorms after a year is made to be overly difficult for students, meaning they rarely change dorms.

Despite the randomness associated with the system, and the somewhat diverse amount of personalities that exist within each dorm, many dorms have common stereotypes that are associated with them.  Alumni guys are arrogant, Sorin guys are pretentious, Howard girls are slutty.  According to Notre Dame Students, these collections of randomly-assigned individuals seemingly have a lot in common.

Regardless of whether or not these and other stereotypes are true, they spread by being consistently discussed across campus.  Roughly half of the Keenan Revue is dedicated to jokes about how BP girls are fat.  Comics in The Observer never fail to miss an opportunity about how nobody lives in Keough or how Carroll guys are weird.  Notre Dame Students love to group people together by dorm (see #16).

The most fascinating aspect of these ingrained subcultures manifests itself when members of a dorm embrace their particular stereotype to the point of creating a self-fulfilling, self-perpetuating “dormthink.”  This is most clearly demonstrated by the men of Zahm that seemingly take up the mantle of their fake-gayness as soon as they arrive on campus.  While individually these men might not act fake-gay at all, as a dorm they collectively perpetuate the stereotype and give the dorm a far different identity than other dorms.

Because of all this, Notre Dame Students love dorm stereotypes.  They love the idea that their halls have identities and traditions of their own (see #40), and they love being a part of these communities.  Even if individual members of halls don’t display the traits for which they are known, Notre Dame Students embrace the stereotypes to build and perpetuate the communities that they love.

*Generally this is true, but it should be noted that there is a double-secret process by which rectors can pull a handful of specific students (usually younger siblings) into their hall.  It is unclear how this process works and how often it is used.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

#88: NCAA Sanctions

Like all enjoyable games and sports, there are rules that must be followed in college football.  Off the field, there are restrictions on when coaches can recruit, there are limits to the number of scholarships a school can give out, and there are academic requirements that must be met by athletes in order to compete.  College athletes must (at least in theory) be student-athletes, and they ought to take these roles as seriously as they can.  When these rules are broken, schools and teams should ideally be punished by the NCAA with sanctions, and Notre Dame Students love when their rivals are sanctioned. 

Notre Dame Students love it when their rivals (such as USC and even Michigan) are “hit with” NCAA sanctions because it proves the long-running belief amongst Notre Dame Students that these teams are dirty, rotten, cheaters; and that they will do anything to win games.  NCAA sanctions help students to reconcile losing games to cheating teams, and they help students to justify poor outcomes on the field.  NCAA sanctions help to reaffirm the perpetual belief amongst Notre Dame Students that they are better than their opponents in ways that go beyond performance on the field.

NCAA sanctions help to demonstrate the moral superiority of Notre Dame Students and their University as a whole.  While it has been established that Notre Dame Students believe themselves to be more religious (see #4 and #21 among others), than their counterparts at other schools around the country, Notre Dame Students also believe that the honesty within their athletic department and administration shows that they are a part of an organization that is a greater beacon for what is good.*  Notre Dame Students want to think that they are better than everybody else, and sanctions prove it.

Notre Dame Students love it when their rivals are ousted as cheaters because it reinforces the notion that the athletes they cheer for on the field are held to higher standards.  Notre Dame Students want to believe that their football players are more dedicated to their studies and they want to believe that these players are not offered outside benefits to attend the school.  Notre Dame Students want to believe that their athletes are there because they love the school and because they have values that go beyond draft status and potential agents.

Most importantly, Notre Dame Students love sanctions because they strike at the heart of their rival’s teams without diminishing their strength of schedule (see #57).  Notre Dame Students take joy in the fact that a sanctioned USC victory will ultimately be meaningless, while a Notre Dame victory over a sanctioned USC will be joyful.  Because of these things, Notre Dame Students love it when sanctions are brought upon their rivals and they take joy in knowing that rivals will be taken down a couple levels and have to deal with the results of their nefarious ways.

*Ironically, Notre Dame Students conveniently forget the fact that their own football program was hit with sanctions in 1999 resulting from the final years of Lou Holtz (see #23).  It is unclear whether they forget this because of their love for the former coach or because they want to think their school is better than others.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

#87: Fist Pumps

There are many ways for people to show their excitement in times of happiness.  Some people laugh, some people cry, some people display crazily large smiles on their faces, and some people jump for joy.  For Notre Dame Students, however, happiness is oftentimes displayed at bars, sporting events, and dorm parties by the variety of fist pumping (both Mike Brey style and not) that they engage in.

At football games, Notre Dame Students engage in fist pumps almost as often as they complain about how their version of The Shirt is fitting (see #2) or tout the inside information that is almost certainly false (see #8).  Usually their directions for fist pumping are given by the marching band that has developed different types of fist pumps for different situations.  If something good could potentially happen on the field, and the team needs pumping up, the band cues the crowd to get really quiet and do an overly complicated fist pump routine that takes Notre Dame Students their entire freshmen year to actually comprehend.  Whether or not this helps the football team is unclear.

Likewise, Notre Dame Students augment and change their fist pumps for various other cheers and situations.  They make an initial of their coach’s name when the band plays the 1812 Overture.  They mock the FSU tomahawk chop when the band plays the Imperial March, and controversially say kill as if they really want somebody to be killed.  They even do a quick fist pump during the playing of the fight song.

Outside of football games, Notre Dame Students frequently engage in fist pumping to show their enthusiasm when different songs are played at bars and dorm parties.  While they are standing or even dancing in small circles (see #24) Notre Dame Students will begin to pump their fists based on musical cues that they hear throughout the night.  Songs that prompt this type of fist pumping include Livin’ on a Prayer (see #9), Rocky Top (despite the fact that it is essentially the fight song of another university), and pretty much any song that is played at the Finny’s and The Backer.  Notre Dame Students pump their fist in these situations not only because they are happy, but because they don’t really know an appropriate way to dance to these songs.

Despite the fact that they do it all the time, Notre Dame Students are pretty much oblivious to their rampant fist pumping.  Maybe it is because their fist pumping isn’t always the most useful or appropriate thing to be doing, or maybe because they secretly know that their fist pumping neither helps the football team nor makes them look cool at bars.  Regardless, Notre Dame Students pump their fists often because they really don’t know what else to do with their arms and hands.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

#86: Being Overly Proud of Their Original ID

When Notre Dame Students first arrive on campus at the beginning of Freshmen Orientation, their pictures are taken and quickly made into student ID cards that will be used throughout their time as students.  These IDs are used to enter dorms, scan for meals at the dining halls, get into football games and other events, identify themselves to overzealous NDSP officers, and purchase food with Flex Points and Domer Dollars.  IDs, therefore, are an incredibly important (yet underrated) part of student life.

While their look is fairly typical and unimpressive, the original incarnation of a student’s ID is one that most Notre Dame Students are incredibly proud.  Not only does a student’s original ID card retain their picture as they were at the beginning of their freshmen year: a time before they drank too much Keystone Light, were still intending to major in engineering, and had never considered travel to Africa (see #12, #70, and #1); but because the University feels the need to incessantly change the style of Student ID’s, their ID can also look like a relic of Notre Dame’s past.

Because of their importance in day-to-day life, Notre Dame Students always carry their ID with them; an act which allows many opportunities to lose or break them.  Student IDs are often lost by being drunkenly left at Reckers (see #14), stolen by muggers on the walk back to campus from Club 23, or simply lost in the disaster of a ridiculously messy dorm room.  Likewise, IDs can be broken out of commission when they are snapped in half by overly aggressive dining hall swipers or faded to the point of illegibility while going through the laundry.

With all of the hazards in the way of success, students that keep their original ID for all four years are immensely proud of their accomplishment.  Not only does it show how better they are than their peers when it comes to not losing or breaking things, but it also means that they have a tangible ID that might look significantly different in style and format than the IDs of the majority of the student body. 

Furthermore, if a student still has his or her ID when they graduate, they will make sure to use it for a variety of functions even though the reverse side clearly invalidates it on the day of their commencement.  Recent graduates will use their IDs to get into the student section at football games, basketball games, and pep rallies as they attempt to extend their years as students.  They will also continue to use their IDs as they visit places around the country and world to get discounted prices for commuter trains, movies, and museum exhibitions.

Overall, however, Notre Dame Students will be most proud of keeping their original ID for sentimental purposes.  They will remember it as the item that got them meals and access to their home during their four years; and they will look at the picture of their freshmen-selves and remember all of the great things they did in the four years since they were given their original ID.