Living in Catholic Disney Land

We’ve all had that moment. You’re walking to class bleary-eyed and confused. You blink up at the sun, struggling to see in the blinding light, and downing the very last drop of coffee from your travel mug like it's the last drop of water on Earth. As you focus on the simple task of putting one foot in front of the other, you suddenly become aware of your surroundings. You stop two centimeters short from running into a large family that has spread itself across the entire span of sidewalk. Armed with cameras, maps of campus and coolers, this family has become one more obstacle between you and class and the inevitable Friday afternoon nap. Notre Dame, the fantastic university that it is, has a national reputation and a campus that draws caravans of visitors and tourists to  our quads and dining halls every week. Affectionately referred to as Catholic DisneyLand, Notre Dame is more than just a place of learning and research; it’s a tourist destination. So what is it like to live and learn in a vacation location? You often feel like an animal in the zoo. I always laugh when I see families in the library wandering through the desks and checking out the scenery. In my head, a little nature documentary style narrative commences (obviously in a ridiculously British voice): 

And ‘ere you see a college student in her natural habitat. To an expert in this field, much can be understood about this particular species by her appearance. She obviously hasn’t slept in a while, possibly due to the stressors of examination. As you can see her defense mechanism includes wearing a hat to hide the defeat in her eyes from the other animals and is continually pumping coffee into her bloodstream. 

You get to give directions. Sometimes, “Where is the dome?” is the only question that day that you feel completely confident in your answer. We all need a little confidence boost every once in a while. 

You get very good at swerving slow walkers.Campus on game days is like a giant ant farm. There are so many people and so few of them actually have places to be. Whether you are running to class or just trying to get back to your bed so you can rally for the night, as a student, time is your most valuable resource. When people are casually walking around campus, taking in the views and the ENTIRE sidewalk, you get real good, real fast at avoiding obstacles and dodging crowds. 

You learn to appreciate all Notre Dame has to offer.Sometimes the stress of school here really brings you down. You're tired of exams, stressed about the future and worried about whether or not you have enough flex points for Smash Burger. Seeing all the tourists gaze in wonder at our beautiful university brings a new and refreshing perspective to beautiful fall days. Living in a tourist destination is just a constant reminder of how incredibly lucky we are to call the Dome our Home.Keep Smiling and Go Irish! XOXO HCND

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