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Thursday, June 13, 2024
The Observer

Viewpoint


The Observer

Stuck in the past

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Reading the recent debates over women in the priesthood, one is disappointed to see how many at this University are simply stuck in the past. They seem boxed inside a narrow, ossified way of thinking that we had all hoped was about to give way to a fresh breath of reason and openness. They appeal to the ideals of a time they really don't know - a time they certainly were not around to see. From their nostalgic tone, one would think this one epoch of Church history had been the definitive instantiation of Catholicism, an epoch from which progress and advance were unnecessary, if not harmful. I'm speaking, of course, about the 1970s. An intolerance toward two millennia of teaching and tradition; a blind obedience paid to the tenets of the feminist movement; an almost servile drive to keep up with the rest of the world in its indiscriminate concept of "equality" … one would have hoped that we had left these behind along with mullets and bell bottoms. How is it that so many good-hearted young people have been sheltered within the teachings proceeding from that one decade? Just because those hundreds of other decades are different doesn't mean they're bad. Now of course, for some it isn't easy to let go of the past. But at the same time, this is an institution of research and learning, and at some point we need to make way for the future. I don't mean to rant. It's just disheartening to see well-intentioned colleagues shy away from the overwhelming justification of the male priesthood simply in order to follow the rigid banner of decades past. People. It's 2009. Will Erickson senior Morrissey Manor Sept. 28  


The Observer

Notre Dame off-campus crime

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With local crime on the rise in South Bend, I am surprised and concerned with the lack of University effort to protect their students, especially seniors, by making a more concerted effort to keep them on campus. The reason why upwards of 80 percent of the senior class want to move out of the dorms is no secret to anyone. Single-sex dorms and the parietal system are a part of the core mission of the University, which most students begrudge but accept. This does not change the fact that the majority of the student body feels they have outgrown the strict dorm rules by the time they are 21 and look forward to moving off campus. But must our safety be the price to pay to have our brothers spend the night on football weekends or a bottle of vodka legally in our possession? Saint Mary's College has fought this issue with their students by building Opus - a seniors only, fully furnished apartment building located right on campus. There are no RAs or rules enforced by the college, so it essentially has the perks of living off campus combined with the security of living on-campus. I encourage Notre Dame to follow suit. Notre Dame students do not move off campus to marvel at the beauty of the South Bend community, they do it because they feel entitled to live a more independent lifestyle without the University rules. There is currently no option for Notre Dame students who want to live this independent lifestyle to also live on campus. I do believe that Notre Dame strongly cares about the safety of their off-campus students and is very concerned about the rise in violence just a few blocks outside the gates. I only wish the University would take action and try to keep their seniors within the security of the Notre Dame campus. Instead of pursuing plans to build another new dorm, please consider the option of building a seniors-only residence like Saint Mary's. Emily Chappell senior off campus Oct. 1


The Observer

Prank away pessimism

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It's that time of year. The weather is dreary, and the football team is starting to underperform like a Charlie Weis team once again. Not to mention that South Dining Hall has decided not to restock fresh food until after Fall Break. To fight back against the disappointments of Mother Nature, the Fat Plague and corn-dog buffets, consider pulling these pranks to make the Golden Dome shine a little brighter. Wing-It Rudy: Sneak into the football team's procession to the Stadium by dressing up in a suit and tie, hiding just inside Fitzpatrick and blending in undetected as the group walks past. Aim for Sam Young's vicinity - he might just hold you all the way to the locker room. NBC Revenge: On a large poster board, paint an acronymic advertisement for NBC on one side. For example, a poster reading, "ND / Believes in / Community," accompanied by a headshot of Joel McHale might entice the network to give some extra time to its new show during a football game. Once the camera focuses on your ad, flip it over to reveal your true message. Something along the lines of "NBC / Beats / Children" would do. Second Coming: Gather a bunch of plastic crates like those used to ship Coca-Cola products, and place them in the bottom of the reflecting pool, forming a line from one side to the other. Dress up in a robe and sash on a home football Saturday and walk across the crates to render tourists speechless by creating the impression that you are walking on water. If nonbelievers doubt thy divinity, remind them of one of your other talents - drain the reflecting pool overnight and refill it with a couple hundred boxes of Franzia by the morning. Nut Block: Buy a stuffed squirrel from Ebay, and then freeze the squirrel in a block of ice. Under a snow drift, place the ice block of squirrel in a high traffic area like South Quad or the entrance to DeBartolo. For added effect, throw in some nuts and manipulate the stuffed squirrel into a pose to make it appear as if he was chasing, or perhaps juggling, the nuts when he met his fate. Seismic Stonehenge: Construct a paper mache replica of a slab of stone. Attach a fish line and place your creation on top of Stonehenge. Wait for tourists to approach and yank on the line, causing panic by triggering the deadly-looking stone slab to the ground. The Observer bears no responsibility for any unlawful or disgraceful actions inspired by this column.  


The Observer

Printed mysogyny

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Sometimes my world feels too comfortable, so I open the ol' Observer to find anger fuel. On September 30 I boiled a heckuva stew over the resultant bonfire, poetically speaking, with leftovers to last until graduation. Responding to the question of the day, "What could possibly be worse than this weather?" one male sophomore responds, "Being a woman." I intend provocation: would anyone get printed for such pithy insights as "being in a concentration camp" or "being black?" How about "having special needs?" These sentiments do not deserve publication because freedom of speech does not protect publicly heckling "F- you" at every second person who walks past. But Mr. Monolith did not mean to be taken so seriously! Relax. His statement is more akin to "Muck Fichigan" than Nazi treatises on purifying the race. Speaking of purity - a parallel Viewpoint column entitled "Trust the Church" by Dale Parker (Sept. 30) argued against the ordination of women based on a study showing that children of mass-attending fathers are 22 times more likely to become Mass-attending adults than children of Mass-attending mothers. The logic is simple. Clearly, who women are and what women do as women is of less consequence - whether laughably or pitiably - than the world of men. If a father affects his children, how much more might a liturgical father? And of course measurable results prove orthodox doctrinal formulation, if getting nailed on a cross is any indication, or the difficulty men especially seem to find in keeping their fingers out of little children's underwear. On the other hand, if the erudite Mr. Brooks Smith of Sept. 24 is any indication, female clergy may in fact simultaneously enlarge mass attendance and certain male bodily organs. Why not ordain women so that single dads will take their children to Church? This is absurd. I realize that it's simpler to think within a private box, to maintain comic privileges for misogyny, to confirm authority by infinitely contingent "results." Of course, this monologue comfort constitutes the ideological equivalent of masturbation; hooray. I'm glad The Observer has the space to catch and distribute the ejaculate. Peter Hochstedler senior off campus Oct. 1  

The Observer

Security on and off campus

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Last weekend, two Holy Cross students were kidnapped four blocks from campus. The University responded with its obligatory "Student safety is a top priority" statement but offered no plan of action. Last week's kidnapping was not the first assault on the student community. In three years, there have been three shootings and an equal number of kidnappings. Students are assaulted and mugged; off-campus homes are vandalized on a regular basis. South Bend police continually warn students they are a target anytime they set foot off campus. South Bend Police spokesman Capt. Phil Trent said off-campus crime toward students has remained steady in the past several years, but these crimes are still too prevalent. The University can't - and shouldn't - be responsible for policing the surrounding community. They have neither the resources nor the jurisdiction. But the dichotomy that exists between on and off campus needs to be addressed. Currently, the administration's only plan of action is to use the crime statistics as a means of discouraging students from moving off campus. Encouraging this separation from our surrounding environment only compounds the problem. Town-gown relations are already strained, and the University's hypocritical stance on community interactions isn't helping the problem. The administration encourages students to become more involved outside of the metaphorical Notre Dame bubble while simultaneously discouraging students from moving off campus. Most universities nationwide expect students to flee the dorms as soon as possible, with many providing university-owned housing and neighborhoods. Notre Dame, contrarily, focuses any off-campus expansion on preventing student housing developments and promoting faculty benefits. The University's Gentrification Project on Notre Dame Ave. provides housing for professors near campus, promoting a safe environment for their employees. But when it comes to extending the same courtesy to students, the administration and its $5 billion endowment fall short on funds. Many of the 1,500 students that chose to move off campus this year are forced to settle for cheap homes in shady neighborhoods. While on-campus student safety may be a priority for the administration, off-campus students do not receive the same consideration. Notre Dame has the ability to influence the surrounding community and establishing a secure student neighborhood would be the first step in combating the growing crimes against students. Students, too, must accept their role in off-campus safety. Acting drunk in public will not attract any positive attention. Common sense and precaution should be used at all times. South Bend isn't Mayfield and this isn't 1960. Know the dangers you face when you go out and plan accordingly. Until the University and local law enforcement work to reduce the student assaults, students are responsible for their own well-being.  


The Observer

To kneel or not to kneel

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Presiding at Notre Dame Masses around campus these days has become a study in group dynamics, and sometimes group gymnastics. I am referring to the differing approaches to kneeling, standing, bowing and other liturgical postures and gestures at Mass. My words here do not seek to contribute to the debate surrounding "Who's right and who's wrong?" but rather, in reflection of last Sunday's Gospel, to offer a word of caution to both "sides." (It is a bit painful to mention "sides" when talking about a group who is celebrating the Eucharist together.) In last Sunday's Gospel, Jesus' apostles come running to Jesus, distressed that they just witnessed someone driving out demons in Jesus' name, though this person was not "one of us" - i.e., part of their group of disciples. If Jesus ever had a moment when it would have been important for him to "control his message," it would surely have been now - at the very beginning of his ministry, as this nascent "Christian movement" was just beginning to take shape. Yet Jesus, not for the first time, exhibits a striking restraint from control here. The right word might be "liberality" in its technical sense but has become impossible to use in a politics-neutral discussion. However, perhaps it might be said that Jesus' "liberality" in this situation is used precisely to "conserve" a guideline about how his message and mission can spread most authentically. And what is that guideline? It is important to note that Jesus does not lapse into any kind of relativism on this, or any other, occasion. His message is clearly not, "Let him do whatever he wants to; as long as he's helping people, it really doesn't matter." Rather, he is quite explicit about what authorizes this renegade demon-driver: "Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me." Jesus displays his rather surprising comfort with the un-named exorcist precisely because he was casting out demons "in my name." A living, authentic relationship with the person of Jesus - and the authenticity of this person's faith seems to be confirmed by his power over evil - is the authorizing credential for discipleship. As a presider at Mass, the disparate postures of the congregation at various times in the liturgy are unavoidably noticeable. Arguments proliferate about the importance of the reverence of kneeling, the union of standing, how far one ought to bow before receiving the Eucharist, whether one should genuflect before receiving the Eucharist. The "General Instruction of the Roman Missile" (GIRM) has plenty to say here, from preferring postures that "contribute to making the entire celebration resplendent with beauty" to fostering practices that "serve the common spiritual good of the People of God, rather than private inclination or arbitrary choice." The GIRM includes rules about both the preferred postures at different parts of the Mass, including kneeling during the Communion Rite. However, it also leaves room for variation in certain situations, including, it would seem, appropriate postures for chapels without kneelers. So, as with the disciples in last Sunday's Gospel, we encounter an instance of some ambiguity. Still, the words of Christ in Sunday's Gospel and the teachings of the GIRM - Scripture and Tradition - converge quite conspicuously in guiding the attitude we are to extend to one another as we live out our Christian lives as authentically as we can, particularly at the Eucharist, which forms us as the People of God: "In the celebration of Mass the faithful form a holy people, a people whom God has made his own... They should endeavor to make this clear by their deep religious sense and their charity towards brothers and sisters who participate with them in the same celebration. Thus, they are to shun any appearance of individualism or division, keeping before their eyes that they have only one Father in heaven and accordingly are all brothers and sisters to each other." I must admit, the differing postures and gestures, as noticeably disparate as they sometimes are, are not what attune my attention the most when celebrating Mass. Rather, it is - sadly - the looks I often see - from one kneeling to one standing, or from one standing to one kneeling. At their most benign, they are looks of curiosity. More frequently, they are looks of confusion and sudden self-consciousness. On some occasions, they are looks of contempt and judgment. None of these seem particularly desirable during a time of worship, especially of communal worship, and especially at the Eucharist. Last Sunday's Gospel was not about postures we ought or ought not to assume at Mass. But the Gospel does seem to assert - rather provocatively - that an authentic relationship to Jesus Christ - an authenticity confirmed both by word and by the quality and power of a disciple's Christian witness ("one who performs a mighty deed in my name") - is the primary guiding principle of discipleship, not membership to a particular clique of disciples. While the Gospel doesn't solve our practical problem of what postures and gestures we should or should not perform, it does make very clear an admonition not to cast judgment on others who are living out an authentic Christian faith, and indeed, to enter into "Communion" with them. This week's Faith Point is written by Fr. Lou DelFra, CSC. Fr. Lou is the director of the Bible Studies and the ACE Chaplain. He can be reached at delfra.2@nd.edu. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.


The Observer

Losing sight of giving roots

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Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, spoke Sunday Sept. 27th in Prague to the faculties there about the proper use of academic freedom in the pursuit of truth. Many would consider this statement to be trivially true, and as such pay only trivial lip-service to it. But as Catholics and as Christians more generally, the truth is not merely a provisional point at which our intellectual affairs are aimed, some pragmatic goal, but it is transcendent and divine: Our Lord did tell us that He is "the way, the truth, and the life." And so, our work at the university, our pursuit of Truth, must be informed by a truly holistic and universal view, one in which moral and religious perspectives are not only relevant but essential to our enterprise. But often academic freedom is invoked not as a proper means to pursue truth, but in order to divorce the intellectual and the moral. In light of this, our Holy Father asks a serious of tough questions: "Is it not the case that frequently, across the globe, the exercise of reason and academic research are - subtly and not so subtly - constrained to bow to the pressures of ideological interest groups and the lure of short-term utilitarian or pragmatic goals? What will happen if our culture builds itself only on fashionable arguments, with little reference to a genuine historical intellectual tradition, or on the viewpoints that are most vociferously promoted and most heavily funded? What will happen if in its anxiety to preserve a radical secularism, it detaches itself from its life-giving roots?" And his sobering answer: "Our societies will not become more reasonable or tolerant or adaptable but rather more brittle and less inclusive, and they will increasingly struggle to recognize what is true, noble and good." Perhaps we would do well to ponder these words, and ask ourselves: has the pursuit of truth at Notre Dame and our university's proper autonomy been thwarted and subverted? In the work of the university, is more attention paid to what is fashionable, popular or well-funded? Has Notre Dame detached itself from its life-giving roots? And, perhaps most importantly, does Notre Dame struggle to recognize what is true, noble and good? Jonathan Buttaci alumnus Class of 2009 Sept. 28


The Observer

Real world rundown

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As far as season openers go, there's Major League Baseball's opening day, NFL's Kickoff Weekend, and the season premiere of the latest Real World/Road Rules Challenge. That's the pecking order. Now, you may have missed last night's debut of "The Ruins" on MTV. That's why I'm here. Here's a play-by-play recap of what went down. 10:00 p.m. - The episode kicks off with some dramatic shots of Thailand, as well as highlights from the upcoming season. Notable newcomers to this season are Chet and Sarah from Real World: Brooklyn, also known as the least interesting Real World season ever. 10:10 - If you picked 10 minutes for how long it took Tonya to get drunk and naked, congratulations, you win. 10:14 - One sentence from Kenny just contained three f-bombs and two "bro"s. And you wonder why I watch this show. 10:29 - Wes claims that he's going to "tackle his teammates" to throw challenges if his teammates don't agree with him. Dishonest play on The Challenge? Can we get a Congressional Committee on this? 10:46 - The first challenge involves climbing a rope over your teammates. I don't know. It didn't make a whole lot of sense. All I know is Wes tried to throw the challenge for his team but couldn't even do that right. Darrell says he wants to send Wes home so he doesn't continue to throw challenges. Good strategy, Darrell. 10:53 - We were so close to our first fight of the season, involving, you guessed it, Wes and Darrell. 10:56 - In the least surprising development of the season, Wes chooses to go into The Ruins against Chet, the skinny rookie Mormon guy. This has to be one of the biggest mismatches in Challenge history. 11:01 - It's so cute watching Chet try to be competitive and, well, manly. An actual quote: "I'm going to go in there and destroy Wes. From now on, I'm gonna be known as the bow-tie killa." 11:15 - Wes barely squeaks out the Ruins showdown over Chet, who kept it respectably close. It looked for a while like Chet might play the role of Appalachian State, but it wasn't to be, which is too bad, because every Challenge needs a skinny little Mormon. 11:25 - Another close Ruins for the women, with Tonya coming out on top. I'm glad Tonya will stay to provide her own style of drunken, naked debauchery. In all, it was definitely an intriguing first episode. Obviously the biggest subplot is Wes trying to submarine his own team. It'll definitely be interesting to see how that plays out over the rest of the season. I'd like to thank James, Colin and Casey for giving me someone else to watch this with and not feel like a complete loser. One of the scenes from next week shows Shauvon saying, "I think I popped my implant." This is going to be a good season.


The Observer

Fiction

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It's that time of year. The weather is dreary, and the football team is starting to underperform like a Charlie Weis team once again. Not to mention that South Dining Hall has decided not to restock fresh food until after Fall Break. To fight back against the disappointments of Mother Nature, the Fat Plague and corn-dog buffets, consider pulling these pranks to make the Golden Dome shine a little brighter. Wing-It Rudy: Sneak into the football team's procession to the Stadium by dressing up in a suit and tie, hiding just inside Fitzpatrick and blending in undetected as the group walks past. Aim for Sam Young's vicinity - he might just hold you all the way to the locker room. NBC Revenge: On a large poster board, paint an acronymic advertisement for NBC on one side. For example, a poster reading, "ND / Believes in / Community," accompanied by a headshot of Joel McHale might entice the network to give some extra time to its new show during a football game. Once the camera focuses on your ad, flip it over to reveal your true message. Something along the lines of "NBC / Beats / Children" would do. Second Coming: Gather a bunch of plastic crates like those used to ship Coca-Cola products, and place them in the bottom of the reflecting pool, forming a line from one side to the other. Dress up in a robe and sash on a home football Saturday and walk across the crates to render tourists speechless by creating the impression that you are walking on water. If nonbelievers doubt thy divinity, remind them of one of your other talents - drain the reflecting pool overnight and refill it with a couple hundred boxes of Franzia by the morning. Nut Block: Buy a stuffed squirrel from Ebay, and then freeze the squirrel in a block of ice. Under a snow drift, place the ice block of squirrel in a high traffic area like South Quad or the entrance to DeBartolo. For added effect, throw in some nuts and manipulate the stuffed squirrel into a pose to make it appear as if he was chasing, or perhaps juggling, the nuts when he met his fate. Seismic Stonehenge: Construct a paper mache replica of a slab of stone. Attach a fish line and place your creation on top of Stonehenge. Wait for tourists to approach and yank on the line, causing panic by triggering the deadly-looking stone slab to the ground. The Observer bears no responsibility for any unlawful or disgraceful actions inspired by this column.


The Observer

No band? I'm sorry

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In response to Jim Blase ("No band, no excuses", Sept. 28), I would like to ask, were you in band when you attended Notre Dame Law School? My guess is no. If you knew how the band worked, you would know that we are told what games we are playing at, and when. We, as band members, cannot just "volunteer" to attend a game that the whole band is not being sent to, it just does not work that way. If I were to walk into the Purdue stadium holding my clarinet saying, "I'm going to volunteer to play the Notre Dame school songs," they would look at me like I was crazy. I know the band appreciates people wanting us to be at games, but you have to know how the system works before you get upset about it. Purdue was my first game as a "normal" Notre Dame student, no uniform, no instrument, and I wouldn't trade it for a thing. Don't get me wrong, I love playing in the band at football games more than anything, but the opportunity to wear an Notre Dame jersey, beads, face paint, and other Notre Dame accessories is something I've been waiting for, so don't take that away from me because your voice wasn't loud enough to sing the Victory March and Alma Mater over the Purdue fans like mine and the rest of my band friends who attended the game. Thanks, and Go Irish, beat Huskies! Jessica Young Senior Lewis hall Sept. 29


The Observer

Hope in the city

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We've all got a lot to be hopeful about. A football team that's 3-1, hopefully about to jump into the rankings with another win. A fall that started late, hopefully meaning that winter will too. Mid-terms two weeks away, hopefully giving us enough time to study, or at least throw together last minute plans to hit Vegas for fall break. Hope gives us something to be excited about, something to look forward too. Hope also gives us something to work towards, a challenge to meet or goal to fulfill. Each year about 300 Notre Dame and Saint Mary's students choose to take personally hope's call to action. They take 48 hours out of their winter breaks to "plunge" into urban poverty and examine what hope looks like in over 35 cities across the country. They pair up with Alumni Clubs and charitable organizations to learn about problems of poverty, hunger, education, healthcare, inequality, unemployment, and homelessness through direct service. This immersion experience is the basis of a one-credit experiential learning course offered by the Center for Social Concerns. With people still reeling over the economic melt-down, the health-care crisis, and the intensification of our military situations abroad, some have found it hard to hope. It becomes even more important though, in times of turmoil, to embrace hope, as Pope Benedict XVI does in his recent encyclical Spe Salvi and as the Center for Social Concerns continues to do with its "Hope in Action" campaign. We must remember though that hope does necessitate action, and action in solidarity with the poor, who have been and will continue to bear the brunt of these crises. While we at Notre Dame are not immune to the effects of these hard times, we have an obligation to find hope in the world and act on it. It is my hope that you'll take some time this winter to go into the city not just to shop or catch a show, but to give witness to the other side of the city, the unrecognized poverty and the hidden hope that is found there. For more information on the Urban Plunge, visit socialconcerns.nd.edu. The application opens this week and the deadline to apply is October 30th. Kaitlin Sullivan Senior off-campus Sept. 29  


The Observer

What I really learned at Notre Dame

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Before I begin, I need to apologize to my parents. They invested all that time and energy on me and my education, and all they really needed to do was pay rent for me in the house I spent most of the last nine months living in. I learned more there anyways. The first thing I learned was the importance of cultural diversity. Diversity doesn't just mean basic differences between people that you hear about most of the time in cultural-based classes, such as racial or gender diversity. (Sure, I lived with a Filipino the last three years, but it would be wrong to pigeonhole everyone's differences into what they look like - especially at a place like Notre Dame.) As a group we embraced the subtle differences that exist among people from the South, engineering majors and even Zahmbies. Without these different cultures, I never would have listened to anywhere near as much Toby Keith, couldn't have built a structure to prop up a hose in Lake Geneva or … well I didn't learn that much from the Zahm guy. That diversity also helped us out this year because everyone had their own particular skill set that made everything easier. If we needed a fridge moved from just one person, we had a guy for that. If we needed to know who the Tsar of All the Russias was in 1815, we had a guy for that. If we needed someone to run 13 miles with you no problem, we had a guy for that, too. I also learned about how important it was to remember what really matters. Sure, when you first got a bad grade, you likely weren't very pleased about it. When I got a C- on a freshman philosophy test (damn you David Hume), I was very upset at the time, but I think I've just about moved on by now. But when you are with your friends and something great happens, it's something you will always look at and smile. Living together for a year, obviously we've been through a lot together. So that we would always have our memories from senior year, we decided to make a mnemonic device to help remember what happened. We took a break when we got nine pages in 15 minutes. But when you want to look back at your time in college, I would bet dollars to doughnuts that you are going to want to reminisce about things like porch sitting or the Kahuna and not worrying about that paper you didn't do so well on. The last important lesson I learned from 627 St. Peter St. was how much I needed to cherish my last year here at Notre Dame. There probably won't be another time in any of our lives when we can get away with the sort of things we did here. I really don't think the best way to prepare for a real job than staying up until about 4 a.m. to play Rock Band with friends, but it seemed like a great idea to prepare for class some days. There were so many things I did this year I couldn't have imagined doing coming in as a freshman, and just about all of them were great experiences at the time and will remain great memories for years to come. The old cliché about college is that these are the best four years of your life. That will most likely turn out not to be true for most of us, myself included. There are many great things to live in the future, and many more great experiences and memories to make. But when I look back at that list from this year, I know that this will definitely crack the top four. Jay Fitzpatrick was a double major in history and Arabic Studies who lived in Dillon Hall for three years and, obviously, off-campus senior year. He will be working for the federal government next year, although he isn't exactly sure what his job entails. At his time with The Observer he is most proud of the fact that he can now name the nicknames for all 120 Division IA football teams. He would like to thank his parents and his fiancée for all of their love and support during his time at Notre Dame. Without you three he couldn't have accomplished anywhere near the things that he has. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.


The Observer

Thank you, Mom

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Like millions of other sons across the country who are away from home, I called mom to wish her a happy Mother's Day on Sunday. Only mom couldn't talk for too long. We chatted for a minute, I told her I loved her, said "Happy Mother's Day," and we hung up. The following day, May 11, was her birthday. Once in a while our family gets a double whammy and her birthday and Mother's Day fall on the same day. This year, they came back-to-back. Again, I called her, but again she couldn't talk for too long, not because she didn't want to talk, but because both times I called her, she was working. On her birthday, she was working her regular Monday-Friday, full-time job. On Mother's Day, she was working at her part time job. There are some days when mom works 15-hour days. She works from 9-5, then has about an hour or so to get to her part-time job, where she works until about 11:30 p.m. Then she comes home around midnight and has to wake up in time to get to work at 9 a.m. again. Also, her weekends are rarely free. This weekend is one of the few where she doesn't have to work. She switched with someone and took that Mother's Day shift so she could come and see me graduate. She's been doing this now for about six years, all so our family can have a little extra money and I can go to Notre Dame. Mom, there's no way I can ever repay you for the many sacrifices you've made for me over the years, and I want you to know that no matter where I go over the next few years, I have you to thank for helping me get here. I know it's been hard, but without you, I wouldn't have been able to spend these last four wonderful years of my life at Notre Dame. It's all because of you and I want everyone who reads this to know that I have the best mother any son could ever ask for. I still remember the day I got the acceptance letter to Notre Dame. It was just after grandpa had died (my grandfather was a huge Notre Dame fan) and you and Jennifer went out to meet the mailman as he walked up the steps. You grabbed the envelope and came running inside. I ripped it open and I could barely read past "congratulations" before you mobbed me with a huge hug. No matter how long I live I'll take that moment with me. Mom, because of your selflessness and your kind heart, I'm graduating from the University of Notre Dame this weekend, the school I've dreamed of attending since watching the football games with grandpa all those years. And I'm graduating because you've been there with me everyday, mom, making sure I can accomplish that dream. Thank you. And I love you.


The Observer

Uncertain futures

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The last time I sat in the JACC for a graduation was four years ago. It was my sister's graduation and I truthfully couldn't tell you who gave the commencement speech - I do remember spotting Fr. Jenkins closing his eyes for a few minutes on stage, it was just that memorable. For myself and all of my classmates, that won't be an issue. The class of 2009 has gone through a lot since we first stepped foot on campus. We were here for Fr. Jenkins inauguration and got to see Tom Brokaw moderate a debate. And now as we leave we deal with another newly inaugurated president, granted it's the President of the United States. We've dealt with an airplane carrying a picture of a 10-week fetus flying around campus and past our apartment windows for the past few weeks. But I don't think I'm alone when I say that I'm pretty indifferent at this point. Yes I'm frustrated that graduation could potentially be a circus and that we might have to line up at 11 a.m. for security purposes. But the thing is, we're graduating at a unique time in history and while it might be frustrating and somewhat scary, I'm also excited. We get to listen to what President Obama has to say and while everyone may not agree with his beliefs, we are one of three schools in the country that will get to say the president was their commencement speaker. And while some of us will be headed into the corporate world or graduate school, not everyone knows where they will be a year from now. Yes I don't have a plan right ahead of me, but a lot of people don't, the chaos en masse is somewhat settling. While the current economy has made the job hunt harder than ever, there has been some blessing in it. I'm not willing to settle for something that I won't be excited to do, I know that I want to continue in my journalism career and find a job that I love going to every morning (or possibly every night). So while I'm stressed that my immediate future isn't planned, I know that my long term future will be something I'm happy with. I think my four years at Notre Dame have allowed me to settle into that mentality. I poured my heart and soul into the relationships I made here, and those people have allowed me be confident in who I am and where I'm going. My friends are what I'll miss most about the Golden Dome. That's why my uncertainty has become less and less frustrating as senior year progressed. I stopped worrying about what my first job would be out of college, after all most people hate their first job anyway, and I started focusing on enjoying what little time I had left. I remember my sister telling me that the years seem to get shorter and shorter as you get older - she could not have been more right. It seems like yesterday I was walking around Bond Quad trying not to cry as my family drove away. I'm almost positive there will be tears again this weekend. I'm ready to move on, I'm happy I won't have to sit in a classroom for potentially a very long time, but I'm not ready to walk away and start over again. I came to Notre Dame as the only person from my high school, and I walk away with the best friends I've ever had. I wouldn't trade my four years here for anything and I know that no matter what happens I will always look back and remember the laughs and the smiles, not the fights and the drama. I look forward to figuring out what path I'll follow, and I know that I'll always keep Notre Dame close to my heart, and my friends on speed dial. Deirdre Krasula will graduate with a degree in Finance and English. She doesn't have a job lined up yet, but is still in the interviewing process for any and all broadcast journalism jobs. She would like to thank all the Badin girls, Katie Rose, Katie, Becki, Hannah, Megan, VyVy and Jacquelin, for always being there no matter what. She would also like to thank her parents and her sister who have been her support system since day one and have always encouraged her to chase her dreams. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.