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The Irish Experience

There are certain phrases and activities I have only been so blessed to be exposed to at Notre Dame. It’s a little embarrassing attempting to explain the fact that parietals are a significant concern when you’re out with your hometown friends who attend state schools, or the intensity of your team allegiance to the Irish is completely justified because, let’s face it, we’re the best. Honestly there are certain things about Notre Dame to which I’ve had a difficult time adjusting. Single-sex dorms are still too weird for me. And the lack of In-n-Out in the Midwest is quite depressing. I’m not particularly sad that I’ve discovered my passion for running or the beauty of Pinterest among other things. But I notice there are distinct qualities that make being a Domer especially unique. Or maybe they’re just particularly preppy things I never experienced before leaving California and thus attribute to Notre Dame.

Here are a few terms and practices I’ve found to be uniquely Domer-ish. This list is in no way complete, but it’s a good start.


1.  Work Hard, Play Hard

In high school I worked hard and slept hard. I’m positive I’m not the only one. But college is kind of like the reward for all that sleeping and hard work. Domers have transferred all that working hard into an equal balance of both work and play. That’s why every week of super hard work is rewarded with a fabulous weekend of playing hard. We literally go hard or go home. (God, I’m so cliché.)

2.  Pregaming the pregame’s pregame

For some reason we’re obsessed with pregaming everything. Maybe it’s a concern that Zahm will only be supplying carbonated water at Zahm Zoo, or that the punch off campus might be spiked with some Everclear, but pregaming is something nearly everybody enjoys. I even have an entire pregame playlist to pump up. It’s golden. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

Sorry for the meme.

3.  “Rock Me Momma like a Wagon Wheel”

Okay, so it’s not exactly only a Notre Dame thing. But that song is basically like the closing ceremony song of essentially every party in existence. Once “Wagon Wheel” starts playing and people start dancing on tables and singing along, the party is just about over.


4.  Making fun of Zahmbies

I feel bad for Zahm boys. Every Zahm boy I have ever met has been super cool and friendly. Maybe they have to be to make up for their terrible reputation or something, Actually, I know the disdain for Zahm roots in some long tradition of the dorm being one of the outcast dorms in the past, but why do we have to be so mean to Zahm boys all the time? If anything I find that Zahmbies are many of my favorite men in terms of personality quality. You go, Zahm House.


5.  Country music

I just bought a pair of cowboy boots and I’m obsessed. Okay, I know that doesn’t really make me country, but I have discovered a new love for country music this year—and I don’t mean Taylor Swift. Last year I would have scoffed at the idea of listening to country, but I’m proud to admit that the stuff is really growing on me thanks to my country-cultured roommate.


6.  Dressing Preppy

I never knew there was anything besides Rainbows, shorts, and tank tops before I came to Notre Dame. Variations in weather and seasons have helped me realize that sometimes dressing preppy is a little fun. I’m a little wary of my obsession with my puffer vest and vineyard vines shirt. But discovering the utility of a baseball cap, leggings and some Sperry’s when I’m feeling a little lazy is so liberating. Please don’t roll your eyes at my naivety, this poor California girl has been sheltered for far too long.

7.  Morning after Pizza Hut regret

Enough said.


8.  “Y’all”

I think y’all is the only appropriate way to refer to any group of people. I would laugh at people for using that term before coming to Notre Dame, but with such a big population of Texans and Southerners in general, “y’all” has become an integral part of my vocabulary.


9.  God. County. Notre Dame.

Notre Dame is an amazing place full of amazing people. These three words sum up the essence of the Notre Dame experience. Though I don’t consider myself particularly religious, I think that this phrase really sums up what being Irish means and what it means to attend Notre Dame.

Photos 1, 2, 3

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Kat L

Notre Dame

Katrina Linden is an American Studies and Latino Studies Double Major. When she's not drinking coffee or sleeping, she's running HCND with her co-CC, assissting the director of Undergraduate Studies at the Institute for Latino Studies, or pretending to work at NDH. Message her at [email protected] if you're interested in writing for HCND.
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