Dear Notre Dame,
Sometime last year I was walking on campus and noticed that there was a zip-line that spanned the width of the South Quad. Another time I walked out of my dorm to go to the dining hall and noticed an inflatable bounce house just sitting on North Quad. The line was short, short enough for me to divert my path away from food (which never happens) to go bounce!
One of the things I love the most about Notre Dame is how spontaneously events or activities happen. These events range from free food provided by an extracurricular littered around campus to random bull-riding machines or face painting booths.
During the fall semester, you may be walking back from class on North Quad and notice a Taco or Chic-Fil-A food truck with a wonderful smell drifting towards you and a super friendly staff waiting to welcome you. You may be approaching DeBart and see tables lined up with free coffee, hot chocolate, tea or bagels - the perfect sight for an early morning class.
ND's dorm culture also helps to provide opportunities for spontaneous activities. Your fellow dorm brothers or sisters can send emails, via a dorm-wide listserv, inviting everyone to activities that clubs on campus are hosting or even extending personal invites to some of the fun things they plan on attending.
Over my years at ND, I remember frequently getting emails from fellow Keenan Knights that advertised pool and ping pong games, midnight grotto trips, free cake, and Super Smash Bro’s tournaments on the big screens in the basement to name a few.
Even if you’re not one to be diverted off your path, you can still plan to be spontaneous! Yes, you read that right.
TheWeek@ND newsletter is usually packed full of activities that are taking place all across campus each week. Two of my favorite memories at Notre Dame happened because I just decided to try something new after hearing about them in TheWeek@ND that very day.
The first was an impromptu laser tag match. After reading on a Saturday morning that it would be happening later that night in the Dahnke Ballroom of Duncan Student Center, I quickly sent invites to a few friends of mine to join. Sure enough, later that night, we were rolling around foam obstacles, crawling and shooting at targets on each other’s chests all while screaming gleefully like 12-year-olds. In the end, we had photo booth-style pictures taken of us posing in our gear, and I still have and cherish that today.
The second was more even more planned but still happened within three days of planning it. There was going to be a large event in which students would be walked through the process of painting the dome. I had never tried painting before, so my girlfriend and I decided right then to make it a date. When we arrived at the venue we ended up sitting on the same table as some friends of ours, who we knew separately. This event was able to bring us all together, and new friendships were created amidst the laughter (and panic) at some of our rookie mistakes, along with the girl at the table next to ours, who went rogue and decided to paint fish instead! It was a night I will never forget!
Both of these activities were reminders that despite busy and demanding academic schedules, Notre Dame still provides ample opportunity to take a deep breath, relax, and decide in a split second to do something you have never done before. We just need to take advantage of it.