Monday, January 17, 2011

Bittersweet Last Round

After hitching a ride to campus with my old high school pal Claire, I jaunted over to the Hammes bookstore to pick up as many of my schoolbooks as I could before the store closed at the ungodly early hour of 5 pm. As I stood in front of the PLS shelf on the second floor, clutching my teetering stack of Dostoyevsky, Heidegger, Walker Percy and Flaubert, I almost began to tear up. Eight times in my life, I've made the now-familiar trip to the bookstore to stock my shelves with all the things I need for the next semester. Today was my last time doing it. After this semester, I most likely won't ever be in school again.

I can't remember a time before I was in school, but soon, I'll be cast entirely adrift from this world so familiar to me. I pondered all the implications of being a second-semester senior as I walked back to Badin. No more tests or homework or assigned reading. No more of the occasional boring professors or aimless discussions, true, but also no more of the riveting conversations and fascinating lectures that I've come to rely on for intellectual stimulation and fulfillment. Most especially, no more Notre Dame. In my head I was already saying, Goodbye, Rockne gym. I'll miss you, South Dining Hall. Sayonara, quad benches. Right now, my perspective of everything I see is tinged with the awareness that pretty soon, all of it will still be here but I won't.

I suspect that it's going to go on like this all semester. Being the drama queen that I am, I'll make a fuss over everything from "My Last First Day of School" (on Tuesday) to "My Last Edith Stein Project" (one of my favorite things at ND) to "My Last Time Passing Notes in Class." My life at school has a pattern of rituals and routines that I follow throughout the seasons. It's hard to know that the little traditions I've created, from Law School Mass to the March for Life bus trip, will soon be obliterated. As excited as I truly am for post-college life, I fear losing my established, familiar moorings to carve out habits around an entirely different place and lifestyle.

What I am most afraid of, though, is that I'll forget my way of life here and all the little details that color and shape it. Some day, I suppose, I'll forget that the bathroom stalls in Badin have orange walls and that in the dining hall, the water dispenser closest to the right-side door is always broken. I don't want to forget those little details. I want to keep this very happy, incredibly blessed part of my life present for me always. I don't want to leave Notre Dame. Of course I knew this was coming. From the day I first set foot on this campus, I knew graduation was only four years away. Be grateful for the time you have, I keep telling myself. But with the end in sight, that's harder to do then I thought.


  1. I love this post... so true and so sad!

  2. This reminds me of moms talking about not wanting their children to grow up too quickly but knowing that they are and just trying to enjoy every minute of it. At least you realize what a gift you have now and not after it's gone. You'll always know that you milked everything you could out of the experience and you'll have memories and friendships for the rest of your life.