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Thursday, May 23, 2024
The Observer

Construction criticism

As a lifelong Texas resident, I have seen more than my fair share of construction. Whether it’s another skyscraper in an attempt to turn Austin into the next high-rise city or some giant, ambitious overpass that the Texas government decided we simply must have, it is a rarity to return home without having to experience construction of some kind that makes me ask “is this really necessary?”

Over the last three years, I have noticed the same kind of construction pops up all over our campus. Whether it be the re-gilding of the Dome, the new dorms or whatever renovation caused the incessant beeping from the Rock that, for at least a couple of months, became my daily alarm clock at 7:00 in the morning, it seems like I can’t go anywhere on campus without witnessing some kind of new construction project. The more construction I see, the more this same question begins to creep back into my mind: “Is this really necessary?”

Some of it is. As a resident of Lyons Hall, I would agree that a lot of our older buildings could benefit from some heavy reconstruction (after all, we only just got new and functioning shower heads) and improvements when the dorm has some kind of foundational or fundamental problem. However, the majority of the construction that I have noticed seems to be additional or cosmetic, seeking to improve a campus that many already deem perfect.

The insatiable need to improve itself to the point of unachievable perfection is a sentiment that I have noticed is shared by both the University of Notre Dame and many of its students. I spend every minute of every single day surrounded by the most intelligent people that I have ever met in my life who feel as if they need to race to improve themselves in whatever way they can in order to further set themselves apart on their path to success.

The academically rigorous environment that we all coexist in here is both a blessing and a curse; we have the opportunity to be inspired by the people around us to achieve as highly as we possibly can while we are subconsciously and simultaneously forced to directly compare ourselves to them in the face of future career opportunities.

When this comparison happens, especially if it is an unfair one, we often harshly pick ourselves apart in an attempt to find some part or piece of ourselves that we can tear down and reconstruct in an attempt to make ourselves better. While some of these renovations are foundational, genuinely making us into better versions of ourselves, many of them are often frivolous and unnecessary, sometimes even ruining the parts of ourselves that make us individualistic and interesting.

So, tri-Campus, I implore you: the next time you find yourself trying to renovate some small part of you that you think needs to be fixed, I want you to try and look past all of your excuses and reasoning and consider if this fix is a necessary, foundational one or just another unnecessary, surface-level renovation.

In other words, ask yourself, “Is this really necessary?”

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