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Two of my friends had been planning a surprise for the rest of my friend group for about a week. They told us to clear our schedule for Friday night, for the best birthday party. Oh, did I mention this birthday party is for a group chat? 

I was fortunate enough to meet seven amazing people last year during the first week of freshman year. We each bring something VERY different to the group, but I think that is why we work so well together. We know when it’s grind time and support each other in all of our academic endeavors, but we can also clown around and spend hours learning Tik Toks together. It seems like we have known each other for ages, but in reality, it has only been one year! Hence, the genius idea for a birthday celebration for our friend group. 


Friends Excited
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We weren’t told much about what this party would entail, especially during the time of COVID-19. My friends’ preparations included secret runs to Target, and unsolicited messages that made no sense. These only added to the confusion and anticipation, but before we knew it, Friday rolled around. 

We started the night by making the walk to Eddy Street to get Blaze Pizza *drool*. We sat outside and enjoyed the beginning of fall weather, but there was an elephant in the room … or I guess an elephant outside. WHEN AND WHAT IS THE BIRTHDAY PARTY? 

My two friends who organized the celebration said they needed even more preparation time before the exciting events could commence. So, we made our way back to the dorm to relax a bit, but this meant strict Netflix or Tik Tok time according to the party planners; NO homework allowed. After many scrolls through Instagram and an episode or two of “Shameless,” it was time. 

Each household was allowed to enter the room to see the surprise sitting on the futon … customized boxes of Cracklin’ Oat Bran cereal. I nearly shed a tear. I know you may be thinking “it’s cereal, what is so exciting about it?”. Well, let me take you back to a normal night at NDH last year. After almost every meal, we would snack on some Cracklin’ Oat and we soon claimed this cereal to be ours. The cereal reminds us of good times last year and the beginning of our extremely odd friendship. 

The wholesome surprises did not stop there. My two friends made a board game for our friend group (come on, that’s so cute). The birthday party was one I will never forget. DMs were sent, laughs turned into happy tears, boxes of Cracklin’ were opened, and one trip around the sun was completed. 


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This birthday party made me realize that we need to celebrate the seemingly ordinary things in life. Especially now. In the time of COVID-19, we find ourselves feeling hopeless amidst the uncertainty and anxiety that seem to find their way into our everyday routines. So, celebrate that box of cereal. Or, if cereal isn’t your jam, celebrate that great spike ball game on the quad, or getting ahead on homework, or the fact that the dining hall had your favorite meal the other day. Nothing against big milestones, but let’s give a little bit of love to the underdogs of every day. 

Here’s to celebrating the tiny wins in life.

Holly O'Brien

Notre Dame '23

Hi, I’m Holly! I am a Sophomore at the University of Notre Dame studying Science-Business, as well as Film, Television, and Theatre. Born and raised in South Jersey, I spend my summers down the shore and get to enjoy the close proximity to Philly year-round. I consider myself a movie fanatic, but also enjoy spending time with friends and family.
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