Home Under the Dome: Patrick Smart

Author: Patrick Smart


The University of Notre Dame is a special place for countless people on campus and around the world! Beyond the beautiful golden dome and other amazing sites around the campus, Notre Dame students find their place here in many ways. This series shares their stories and illustrates the many ways that people find their home under the dome! This week, admissions intern Patrick shares his two most meaningful places to visit on campus.

Home Under the Dome

Ndh Open 4

Notre Dame’s stunning campus continually ranks as one of the most beautiful campuses in the country. Surrounded by such beauty daily, there seems to be endless places for people to find their unique “home” under the Dome. For some, that place could be their dorm room or a unique chapel on campus. For others, it might be their favorite desk to work in at the library or a favorite table to grab lunch with friends in Duncan Student Center. I can confidently say that there are two places on campus that always make me feel the most comfortable and grounded. 

The first place on campus I consider a home under the dome is the booths in the back of North Dining Hall. North Dining is split into a couple of main parts. If you’re in the mood to see many of your friends or people from classes, you can sit at a table on the main floor. If you’re looking for a place to watch the action from a distance, there’s the upper floor, where you can get a mix of social interaction and private conversation. Nevertheless, when I want to have a deep conversation with a good friend or someone I’ve just met, the booths in the back of North Dining Hall provide the perfect atmosphere. Offset from the hustle and bustle of the main dining hall section, a booth provides you with a quiet and comfortable area to get to know another person free from distractions. During my freshman year, I liked to use these “booth dinners” to get to know people on campus more than just on a surface level. Booth dinners have helped form some of my strongest friendships on campus and have introduced me to some of the most exciting people I’ve ever met. 

Rudy Bench

The second place on campus I consider my personal “home under the dome” would be one of the benches across the lake. I like to call this bench the “Rudy bench” because it is where the character Rudy opens up his acceptance letter from Notre Dame in the film “Rudy.” Not only does this bench give you a fantastic view of the Library, Basilica, and Dome, in the movie, the bench scene is a moment of pure delight from Rudy. Opening his acceptance letter from Notre Dame was the capitulation of years of hard work and dedication in pursuing the Notre Dame degree. If I’m ever feeling overwhelmed or stressed with work, I like to come to the “Rudy bench” just to look across the lake at the architectural hallmarks of Notre Dame while I reflect on all I am grateful for while I am getting this degree.