It's Not Really OverBY: Lizzie Helpling '14 DATE: July 01, 2014 CATEGORIES: Getting Involved/Getting Connected
It’s around this time in the year that I start thinking about what it means for something to be the “last.”
The last weekend in April at Notre Dame is AnTostal. For those of you out there who are unfamiliar with Irish culture, AnTostal is an Irish celebration of spring, and we here at Notre Dame celebrate it full blast. AnTostal is a full week of giveaways, exhibitions, speakers, concerts, games, and competitions. As Finals Week looms, AnTostal provides a welcome relief from the oncoming stress of essays, tests, and impending separation anxiety.
This year, AnTostal was particularly poignant for me as a senior. Everything has started to become the “last” of everything, and nowhere was this more evident than this particular week. I performed in my last comedy improvisation show at Legends, which was supposed to run from 11 p.m. until midnight, and ended up running until 1:30 in the morning, as the entire club collapsed into tears and started hugging and crying on stage. The audience joined in, and for about half an hour after the show, the entire club was just filled with nostalgia and bittersweet tears. I went to my last Fisher Regatta, and watched my friends bravely paddle in duct-taped boats across St. Mary’s Lake. I went to my last (and first) Student Union Board concert, and cheered and bounced and sang along to the Goo Goo Dolls, and may have cried a little bit when they sang the first lines of “Iris.” I played in my last Muddy Sunday game, tackling my friends in giant puddles of freezing cold mud, throwing more mud balls than volleyballs, and running back to campus to hose each other off.
Everything now seems to be the last. It’s the last Indian night in the dining hall, the last time trying in vain to weave my way around the giant crowd that moves out of DeBart at 12:15. It’s the last time I give a tour to a prospective student and her overeager parents; the last time I wake up at six to sneak in a workout before my first class; the last trip to the candy wall for some sour gummy worms. Everyone keeps coming back to that same theme: It’s almost over. And it is.
But part of me disagrees. It’s not really over. One of the strongest reasons why I chose to come to Notre Dame was because Notre Dame is not just a four-year experience. It is, instead, a lifetime membership to the greatest family in the world. Even as we clasp hands and wrap our arms around each other during the final Alma Mater of our undergraduate careers, it’s never really the “last.” We will be back for football games and reunions, for Skype dates and Facebook chats, for weddings and funerals, for get-togethers and trips down Memory Lane. After all, every time we join together in the Alma Mater we utter a solemn, sacred pledge: “And our hearts forever love thee Notre Dame.”