Freshman Year 1999 – 2001

Wednesday, 23 April 2003

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.