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Thursday, June 20, 2024
The Observer

A wonderful start to the year

There were many things I was uncertain of when coming to Saint Mary’s. Would I actually make friends? Would I figure out how to do laundry? Would I remember to feed myself? But there was one thing I was certain about: I was going to have the time of my life at Notre Dame football games. My first experience as a student did not disappoint.

Thankfully, I did make friends, and our agenda for the weekend made it one of the best I have had.

Friday, we went to the pep rally. Admittedly, we showed up a little late, but we snuck into the back of the student section and had a great view of the backs of people’s heads. The crowd filled South Quad at Notre Dame, and we didn’t need the well-crafted hype video to get excited for what was to come the next day. My friends and I wandered the Notre Dame campus for hours after; our favorite thing to say was, “This doesn’t feel real.”

After a quick trip to Saint Mary’s, we went back to Notre Dame to experience the midnight drum circle. I always knew the marching band was fantastic, but being so close to the action and seeing that awesome cymbal twirl they do made everything that much better. We dashed back to our dorms and crashed with thoughts of crushing Temple’s hopes and dreams running through our minds.

Saturday came, and the excitement throughout campus was tangible. Parents appeared to meet their daughters, students migrated across the street and the band’s tunes carried through the air. My family came to experience some pregame festivities, which included the necessary stop at the Grotto and Hammes Bookstore. Before I knew it, it was time to say goodbye and take my place in the coveted student section.

Like the eager freshmen we are, my friends and I claimed our seats 80 minutes before kickoff. We sat a few rows behind the band, and as the sun beat down on our soon-to-be-sunburnt faces, we could only say was, once again, “This doesn’t feel real.”

Soon the game began. We started to pick up on the chants and choreography. Someone from the band threw up, and not even the pungent scent could damper our spirits. As someone who was one of the only people cheering in my high school’s student section, seeing an entire stadium of people as thrilled as I was then was so foreign and so exhilarating that all I could do was scream louder, dance poorly and wish that my friends from back home could see it with me.

The greatest thing from that game — besides winning and the great “owls are chickens” chant — was looking around at the pulsating sea of students seesawing up and down after every touchdown. Walking back to campus, I was certain about one thing: I had the time of my life at that Notre Dame football game.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.