The Ten Unspoken Rules of ND Student Life

Author: Ryan Coury

Here at the University of Notre Dame, we have a large enough campus where you meet new people every week, but a small enough one where everyone you meet is aware of the same inside information. While this article only begins to scratch the surface of the ND Insider information, here’s a snapshot of the unspoken truths that every ND student knows.

#10: Squirrels

Oh yeah, we’re starting strong. The oversized chipmunks themselves. I’ll be the first to admit it: I have 100% squatted talking to these little guys looking like an idiot more times than I’d like to accept. I’ve come with offerings - sticks, leaves, an occasional acorn - but still haven’t found the key to finding fuzzy friends willing to let me pet them. When it comes to squirrels on campus (which, might I note, now have warranted the creation of their own Instagram account), the bottom line is this: they are fearless. I can personally attest that I once was tailed by a squirrel from the eastern border of South Quad all the way to Dillon Hall. And I’m not talking a steady five foot follow, I mean to suggest that this roaming rodent was keeping pace inches from my heels. If you happen to be snacking on a God Quad bench… beware.

#9: Football Bleacher Etiquette

This one’s an easy lob: aside from halftime and pregame, there is NO excuse for sitting in the student section on a gameday. As a follow-up to that, the bleachers are meant for standing ON, not in front of. When the jig is playing, yes, you have to at least make an attempt at kicking your feet, even if that means you drag the people next to you down in doing so. Furthermore, touchdown push-ups are mandatory for sections 29-36, so just remember when you’re tired of extending your arms into your forty-second overhead press that once you’re out of the student section, the ushers keep sections 1-29 as strictly no-fly zones (literally).

#8: Sunday Night Laundry

There are two types of people in this world: the ones who do laundry on Sunday nights, and the ones who have some semblance of mental sanity. Sure, everyone wants clean clothes to start the week, but no shot I’m waging war to find an empty dryer in the rush for wash on a Notre Dame sabbath. So, unless you plan to wash lights, darks, sheets and towels in one load, I strongly suggest picking one of the other six days of the week. And when you do, don’t even THINK about leaving your clothes in the same machine for hours on end.

#7: Weekend Taco Bell

Once the clock strikes eight on the weekend, you have exactly 1 (one) option for food left on campus. Yes, of course you could venture to Eddy Street to find sustenance. But, let’s face the facts: you are way too lazy to actually make that trek. If that sounds like you, I sure hope you like Mexican.

#6: Backpack Reservations

Whether it's one of the highly-valued upper floor window seats in Hes or a center table in Duncan, if your backpack is there, the seat is yours. Have I left my possessions at some table across campus for hours on end? Yes. Will I do the same again in the future? Absolutely. Location is key, and your backpack is the way to unlock it.

#5: Dome Steps

The first question to ask here is, aside from dome dance and trumpets under the dome, what on earth brings you to the main building in the first place? Whatever it may be, while we students often toss around the phrase “home under the dome,” just know you are NOT welcome to step on the doormat. Go under, go around, but whatever you do, don’t even think about walking on the front staircase. Rumor has it, if you choose to disregard this warning, you may not have a chance to atone for your sins (at least not as a graduate, anyway).

#4: God Quad Grass

Looking for why all of the fall Theology I classes fill up so quickly? Look no further. As the old saying goes, “If you step on the grass, you’ll fail your first theology class.” I am halfway through my college career and I still hesitate to step on the grass that Mary overlooks.

#3: Debartolo Water

I get it, some mornings you wake up late and you’re in a rush. All I’m saying is I don’t care if it's 9:29 and you’re booking to make a 9:30 - if you’re somebody who hydrates > dydrate during class, you’re gonna want to bite the bullet and take 30 extra seconds to fill your bottle. Once you’re in Debart*, I can assure you you’ll taste no iron deficiency when it comes to refilling and refueling.

*While Debartolo’s unofficial “mineral” water is the most well known, after consulting with peers it was suggested I note Rockne Memorial and Haggar Hall water as honorable mentions.

#2: SDH Cups

Ever since South Dining Hall got rid of trays to carry your food, it has become a masterful art to balance two utensils, a plate, a cup, a backpack and your phone all while nodding two second salutations to every familiar face you pass on the way to that afternoon’s sticky wooden table. If you make it, “freeing” fails to fully describe the relief you might experience and, for just a second, you feel like you’re on the top of the world. However, for the poor souls that fail to successfully navigate their trek, all that they are greeted with is a thunderous, echoing applause. TLDR: take the extra trip, it’s worth it not to drop a cup.

#1: Bikes in Trees

Bike In Tree 2

There are three types of people on this campus. First, the students that NDPD loves: the hard lockers themselves. These are the students that you don’t mess with, I’m talking the Kryptonite Keeper U-Locks when it comes to keeping their wheels secured. The only thing harder to access than their bikes are their hearts. The second group seems to capture the majority of campus bike-riders in it, simply because four digits and a master lock does the trick for most of campus. These students are the ones that shove their coil locks into their backpack when they’re on the go, but don’t waste time (or 60% of their backpack space) on messing with stainless steel and half-broken key holes. And lastly, you have the freewheelers. Locks? Never heard of ‘em. I’m talking about a complete and total trust in humanity (and, more specifically, the Notre Dame student population). Yet somehow, this strategy of “no chains no gains” more often than not won’t lead to a stolen bike, but rather a light jaunt to the nearest tree. So, if you really want to embrace the Notre Dame student culture… the next time you see an unlocked bike, don’t steal it for yourself. Instead, just put it in a tree.