Freshman Year 1999–2001

This is sup­posed to be the tough­est year of col­lege, and in terms of intel­lec­tu­al growth that rings true. Although personal/social growth would also top this list if not for my Junior year. That comes lat­er how­ev­er.

I sup­pose I was a bit scared about going to col­lege and liv­ing in an 8′ x 14′ room with some­one I had nev­er met before and shar­ing anoth­er room with two oth­er peo­ple I had nev­er met before. Actu­al­ly, per­haps I was quite scared, or even ter­ri­fied. Need­less to say, my lifestyle was not suit­ed to that of my room­mates. I did not have a fake ID, nor did I drink. at all. I also liked my sleep, 8 hours if I could get it. My room­mate Mike Lane and my oth­er quad­mates John Antonuc­ci and Paul Buser were all busi­ness majors, whilst I was an Arts & Let­ters major. Busi­ness majors have it eas­i­est here at Notre Dame in regard to class dif­fi­cul­ty and course work (with the pos­si­ble excep­tion of the Soci­ol­o­gy Dept.) and they would often throw impromp­tu par­ties 2 or 3 times a week. On nights when they didn’t have par­ties they often went to the Boat Club and stum­bled back usu­al­ly at 5 in the morn­ing. This hap­pened pret­ty much the whole year.

On top of this, my room­mate, who drank at least 5 times a week, and skipped most of his class­es most of the time sleep­ing off the alco­hol man­aged to swing a 4.0 his first sem­ster, while I strug­gled with chem­istry and cal­cu­lus and got a 2.7.

As for the oth­er fresh­men in my sec­tion I was the only A&L major. 14 total fresh­men, 3 pre-med, 1 engi­neer­ing, 1 A&L, and 9 busi­ness majors. The upper­class­men con­sist­ed to a great major­i­ty of sopho­mores who were nice but had their own things to do, some juniors who I nev­er even talked to, and a group of seniors who I owe quite a bit to.

The foot­ball games took a bit of get­ting used to, but here I knew what to do, hid­ing in plain sight cov­ered in blue and gold body paint with a bright blue wig. The seats were in the cor­ner as is usu­al for fresh­men, but we were also the heart from whence all spir­it was pumped. Bob Davie was the unfor­tu­nate coach at this time. He sucks. The tail­gat­ing before the games was not great fun how­ev­er, drink­ing drink­ing drink­ing every­where. Was there noth­ing else to do at ND?

I strug­gled with this, even to the point of con­sid­er­ing a trans­fer to a state school where it was eas­i­er to get off cam­pus, where many off cam­pus places are geared toward the stu­dents and to where I wouldn’t feel as pres­sured to drink, and to where the gen­der rela­tions would be some­thing approach­ing nor­mal for col­lege stu­dents. Appar­ent­ly, that didn’t hap­pen — although per­haps it did in an alter­nate uni­verse.

The seniors Jes s Morales, Liam Thide­mann, and AJ Boyd, and my RA Joe Hyder had a great deal to do with pulling me out of my shell. There was this nasty con­coc­tion that the DH would serve about once every two weeks called Toad-In-The-Hole. I will not describe it suf­fice to say it was hor­ren­dous. Each time it was served I would smug­gle out one more than the last time and present them to my RA in cre­ative ways (ex: The Blair Toad Project). He had no idea who it was until some­one snitched. But it was all in good fun. The seniors who deshelled me to some extent did so when one day Jes s noticed that I had a Mag­ic deck. He also played. and from there it was down­hill.

We start­ed play­ing mag­ic, which led to Star­craft, which led to me allow­ing them to set me up for the Char­i­ot Race dance. Which led to me meet­ing Bri­an Johnsen. Which led me to meet­ing Bri­an Stone, who when I expressed an inter­est in learn­ing to fence agreed to teach me to do so, as he was the assis­tant coach of the fenc­ing team. So its a good thing I played Mag­ic or I would be a total­ly dif­fer­ent per­son today.

I also made a friend from out east named Abby. I met her through AIM and she came out to vis­it me on her spring break and I rec­i­p­ro­cat­ed once the school year end­ed. I last spoke with her dur­ing this last sum­mer but per­haps she still reads this.

Oth­er notable things that hap­pened my fresh­man year: I saw the Smash­ing Pump­kins for the first time at Pur­due Uni­ver­si­ty where I vis­it­ed my friends Bri­an Rose, David Led­man, and Bo Led­man and met his soon to be wife Ker­ri. I lost my vir­gin­i­ty. I learned what a glo­ri­ous thing Stolich­naya vod­ka can be. I made friends with Mea­gan Call. I down­loaded my first mp3 using Nap­ster. I decid­ed to be room­mates in a dou­ble (glo­ri­ous! more room!) with the lone engi­neer in the sec­tion, Mike Cas­tora­no. I suc­cess­ful­ly walked on to the Notre Dame Fenc­ing Team. I ate at both Bibler’s Pan­cake House and CJ’s Pub in the same day.