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Thursday, June 20, 2024
The Observer

My semester of shame and embarrassment (in the spirit of Joe Brainard’s “I Remember”)

I remember almost missing my flight back to South Bend at the end of Winter Break. I was still in line for TSA 10 minutes before the plane took off, and by the grace of God, I made it (I really shouldn’t have made it). 

I remember that plane ride back to campus — I usually feel so cool traveling, but that day, I was just hungry and sad. So when we landed, I immediately booked it to the Chicago O’Hare Airport bathroom so I could power-cry for like 30 minutes. Then I wiped my tears, bought a sandwich from Hudson News and met Andrea at the Bus Shuttle Station. We giggled the whole way home. 

I remember that first night back when I got rejected from a much-coveted South Bend establishment, which was pretty embarrassing but also kind of needed. Because truly, I promise, I had more fun running around East Wayne Street with my friends blasting “December 1963 (Oh What a Night)” by Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons than I would’ve in that much-coveted South Bend establishment (or at least that’s what I tell myself). 

I remember some ex-Zahm boys teaching me silly dance moves in Gabe, EJ and Rick’s kitchen. 

I remember sitting in LaFun for hours, until 1:59 a.m., which is (allegedly) my cue to leave … If I had it my way, I would simply live there.

I remember crying in the snow for a while until my tears literally froze onto my eyelashes like icicles (which was, like, super poetic, but totally unnecessary for a Thursday night during sylly week).

I remember tons of Frank O’Hara poems and annotating them to oblivion. 

I remember drinking some really good tea in the Sorin AR’s room.

I remember seeing one of my friends for the first time since last spring and knowing things had changed and being sad about it.

I remember walking to Holy Cross in the middle of the night with Emily, then running five miles with Abby the next morning, then showering, then walking 6 miles with Aedan, then catching the sunset, then munching on peanut butter pretzels. I didn’t do any homework that day, and I don’t regret a thing.

I remember Glee house. I love Glee house.

I remember bumping into my ex-situationship and talking to him for five minutes at a formal, which was weird and awkward and I don’t want him back.

I remember throwing up. It was amazing.

I remember taking a bite out of a piece of bread at Natio’s and trying to convince my friends it looked like the state of Virginia. It did indeed look like the state of Virginia. 

I remember chubby squirrels and all my friends wanting to pet them.

I remember going to that estate sale in Elkhart and buying a framed picture of James Dean (I still wish I bought the matching James Dean purse, but it is what it is). 

I remember meeting Grace Clinton’s dogs.

I remember that particularly feral night in Breen-Phillips Hall when I bowed down to Helen in the hallway, while my Dr. Praeger’s Broccoli-cheddar animal bites were being microwaved. 

I remember sharing a vegetarian enchilada with Clare at Monts (and it slapped). Then I went back to Madeleine and Aoife’s room to watch Outer Banks season three (which totally didn’t slap, but we got some laughs out of it). 

I remember sprawling out on the quad last week when it was hot and sunny and now it’s, well, not.

I remember stealing a townie’s sunglasses last weekend. I removed them from his face and said “mine,” with a winning smile, which I’m pretty sure he found endearing because he didn’t try to get his sunglasses back.

I remember reading my poems at Domestock and feeling that I really truly belonged.

I remember the one lacrosse game I went to when it was super rainy and windy and cold, and we were playing UVA, and I really wanted us to win (we didn't win). 

I remember dining hall naan bread and lots of tahini hummus. 

I remember knocking on the door to Keenan for 15 minutes straight with Matthew because we just wanted to go to Za Land … that bad. 

I remember listening to nothing but “Chicago” by Sufjan Stevens for days on end. 

I remember the sunset outside of O’Shag on the last day of January when the snow was covering the ground, and the sky was so bright (so blue, so orange, so yellow). 

I remember dancing to “Squid Game & Do It To It” Zedd Edit after Easter mass with Katie because the Lord had risen, which also meant it was time to party (and by party, I mean dance to “Squid Game & Do it To It” 17 times in one day). 

I remember telling a boy who cut me in line that “cutting is a very unattractive quality.”

I remember Finn’s birthday cake. 

I remember the drive to Viz’s older sister’s wedding.

I remember running that 5k and then celebrating St. Paddy’s Day.

I remember the time I woke up at two in the afternoon and missed my favorite class. 

I remember going to Rohr’s and eating chocolate cake.

I remember my mom falling out of my lofted bed during mom’s weekend.

I remember being pissed when I saw the first Starship Robot on campus.

I remember mariachi bands performing in Duncan Student Center during Valentine’s week to serenade cute couples (which Notre Dame is absolutely positively crawling with, by the way).

I remember eating a fantastic Siggies dinner with my Holy Cross friends.

I remember pulling an all-nighter in the architecture building, even though I’m not an architecture major.

I remember seeing Daddy J in the flesh for the first time, while I was laying out on Katie’s pink-and-white striped towel.

I remember helping my favorite loose acquaintance from Morrissey Manor get a fishing line out of a tree (and ultimately being unsuccessful). 

I remember the tornado warning in Stepan Center and my friend telling me to stand next to him, so that if we die “they find our bodies next to each other.”

I remember crying over a boy and then going to the Grotto and the Grotto making it all better. 

I remember lighting candles for people I was mad at and for people I love and for future versions of myself like the version that’s going to finish this semester in two weeks, go home for the summer and then go to Rome and maybe not see a lot of people for over a year. That’s scary.

I remember never ever wanting to leave Notre Dame, Indiana, but knowing I’m going to have to at some point because I need to grow. 

I remember knowing in my soul that this wasn’t my semester of shame and embarrassment because really, truly, all my losses were secretly wins. Every failure, every rejection (from a much-coveted South Bend establishment or otherwise) was a blessing, I swear, and I’m so so glad you’re reading this right now. 

Kate Casper (aka, Casper, Underdog or Jasmine) is from Northern Virginia, currently residing in Breen-Phillips Hall. She strives to be the best waste of your time. You can contact her at kcasper@nd.edu.

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