Senior Wisdom: CJ Condon, '15

If you don't know him, you should meet him and if you do know him, you can't imagine life without CJ Condon. The senior from Louisville, Kentucky is everything right with Notre Dame - thoughtful, caring, dedicated to making the community a better place. A former resident of Knott Hall, CJ spent most of his undergraduate experience immersed in dorm life; he played intermural racquetball, sand volleyball, and broomball while also serving as a Hall Council commissioner. While Knott took up the majority of his time, CJ told me he wishes he would have gotten involved in more activities on campus, "I think [if had the time] I would have explored club life more. I was focused on the dorm and intermurals so I never got involved in clubs, I chose one path over the other." (I'm positive Knott appreciated the racquetball champion all the same!)

The SDH fanatic (some might say traitor) has nevertheless made the most of his time at Notre Dame, recently checking off the number one item of his ND bucket list - the Holy Half. Congratulations on finishing the race this weekend, CJ! His parents even came to cheer him on - mom at the finish line, dad throughout the course, as Mr. Condon accompanied CJ during the race.

Being a fourth generation Domer has certainly had an impact on CJ's life. When looking at colleges, the rule was that CJ had to apply to Notre Dame, but not necessarily attend. Describing what it means to be a Domer, CJ said, "I chose Notre Dame and have had an incredible experience. I think when I leave I will have learned the tools to not only be successful in my job but also to make a difference. I didn’t come here only to find an occupation, I came here to gain the tools to better myself." Further celebrating his ND Irish roots, CJ proudly wears his grandfather's class ring, a second generation and CJ's favorite Domer. 

Studying finance and economics, CJ has had the opportunity to meet a wide variety of students and experience life abroad in London. His favorite Notre Dame memory is #Italy2013, the fall break trip he took with his abroad friends last year. Despite speaking of the entire trip with stars in his eyes, CJ described one particular occurance with special reverance. "It became so surreal," explained Condon, "that I was backpacking through Italy with some of my best friends. We jumped into the Mediterranean Sea in the middle of a thunderstorm in this tiny town on the coast – we were so drenched, we just looked at each other and laughed. It is such a memorable part of my life." 

Clearly studying abroad was a formative experience for CJ, who expressed his favorite class during his time at Notre Dame as one he took while in London. The class - Playing Shakespeare - allowed CJ to work with a director at the Globe Theater. He was the only business student in the class, a rarity for any Mendoza major, and had the oportunity to walk on stage at the Globe and introduce the students' show to their classmates. 

Back in the Bend, this tour guide and TA has had plenty of wonderful ND memories as well. His favorite spot on campus is Lafun and his logic for this choice is pretty solid. "I moved off campus this year so I'm no longer connected to dorm life in the same way but I still want to come back and feel relevant and see people." Speaking as someone who has the same feelings on LaFun, it's always a joy to bump into CJ by Subway! Obviously a people-person, Condon thinks that the type of person Notre Dame attracts is the best part of the University. "We are all smart and can compete academically and physically so you would think that would be divisive, but it builds a sense of community based on people's strengths and [the fact that we] want to improve one another." 

However, according to CJ, this doesn't always remedy the fact that Notre Dame students tend to get "stuck in a routine"; "there are so many other opportunities that are worth reaching out for but we find our group and stick to it. I wish there was a more free flowing system of friendships." Personally, I don't think CJ has anything to worry about in the friendship department. I asked what legacy he hopes to leave behind and the sentimental senior couldn't help but gush about the friends he has made in his four years here. "No matter how many friends you make here, they become your college friends. But I want people to remember that I cared about them and that their friendship to me met the world. I made so many of my friends freshman year, but I've continued meeting new people and forming new friendships even this year. I hope that I have impacted their life as positively as they have impacted mine." 

Springboarding off of this thought, CJ stated if he had to tell his freshman year self one thing he knows now it would be to remember people's names. "Names are the gateway to friendship," according to CJ, "Remembering someone's name means you paid attention when you met them and valued the first interaction you had with them." Hearing this answer, CJ was right on the money when the three words he used to describe himself were loyal, attentive, and loud!

I value my job as an interviewer when I get people thinking about the big picture and what their journey at Notre Dame has been leading up to; CJ didn't need my proding to recognize what he will miss most about his time in college. "[I'm going to miss] the randomness of it all. Like when you go to Finni's on a Wednesday night and somehow still make it to your 9 am or when you stay up 'til 3 am talking to someone about your life and goals. And the freedom to do whatever you want - and not have to wory that little things might be the end of the world." These nights must also include the most played song on CJ's iPod right now, Blank Space.  

Looking toward the future, the almost alumnus will be working in Chicago next year at a bank. Maybe he'll even move into one of those suburbs with every other Notre Dame grad. It would definitely make it easier to come back for football games, something CJ said he could see himself doing in 25 years. "I imagine myself coming back to a football game with three kids decked out in ND jerseys, throwing a football on the quad before the game. Ideally, I have somehow managed to sneak my oldest kid into the student section and he or she comes out of the game and says, 'I want to go here.' That's my number one life goal." 

Well, Irish fans, take some advice from CJ - "Don’t take life too seriously – these four years fly by. Once you get out of the ND bubble, the ND degree will do wonders. Life goes on - you'll get a job, you're going to be okay, so don’t worry about it!"

Thanks for the interview and your friendship, CJ!

 

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Images courtesy of interviewee.