Design director Dagny Nagengast tells the truth about senior year and her life at Notre Dame the last four years.
If any of you follow me on Twitter (which I sincerely hope you don’t. I’m not nearly as funny as I think I am), you’ll notice that I’ve been obsessively using one particular hashtag lately. It, in very few words, describes my philosophy on our last year at Notre Dame: senior slide. Now, I’m not lazy. Well, I am, when I want to be, but I’ve never been the type of person to push off my work. I’m the type of person that will write out a To-Do list for the upcoming three weeks, just so I can start checking things off of it. Apparently not anymore. Cue Senior Year. As some can attest just by scrolling down my tweets, the slide finally got me this year. But let me justify it.
I blame my senior slide entirely on spending 3 years at Notre Dame. Don’t worry; I’m not bashing Our Lady. Instead, after 3 years, I’ve finally started to learn from her. Can I tell you how to solve for some bogus letter in an equation that my freshman calculus professor taught me? No. Can I analyze a Shakespearian poem and then write a 30-page thesis paper on it? Probably, but not by choice. Can I take apart my computer, put it back together again, and actually be able to use it the next day? My CAPP professors would be incredibly disappointed, but no. I’ve broken more computers than I’ve even attempted to fix. These skills aren’t exactly something I spent my freshman, sophomore, and junior years honing, and it turns out that’s just fine.
Instead of learning these things (which, now that I think about it, it would be really cool to be able to take apart my computer), I learned how to be. Notre Dame taught me to walk to class every morning and enjoy the warm weather, because I’m not going to get that for very long. She taught me to put off researching a paper to research what my goals in life are. I learned that, even though I had to wake up five minutes earlier than all of my other friends, a dorm room in Lewis meant that I woke up and saw the Dome every single morning. That’s a view no amount of money will ever be able to buy. But back to my slide.
Let’s not get crazy here and start assuming that I don’t go to class, write papers, and study for exams or whatnot. I do. My mother would drive 9 hours here and drag my butt home if I didn’t. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t do these things on my own schedule. Just because I have a paper due the next morning doesn’t mean I’m not going to sit on the sofa, watch a rom-com with my roommates, and eat a carton of ice cream. In 8 months, I’m going to have to do that with new people, and I’m not wasting this time now. In 8 months, I won’t be able to walk down the street onto the most beautiful college campus, or across it to a bar that holds 100 of my classmates. In 8 months I won’t be able to go to mass with my 10 closest friends, hug them, pray with them, and just be with them. That exam tomorrow will sort itself out. Off my back. I’m learning here.
My senior slide has nothing to do with the fact that I don’t care. I think, as I go through this University, I learn what to care about. Sure, there might be an Orgo exam this week. Go to the library. Study. But pull yourself away for half an hour to watch dumb Youtube videos with your best friend. Go grab coffee and talk about who you want to be in a few years. These will benefit you in the long run, these things you’ll remember. When you get to senior year, you’ll slide into the realization that exams, papers, and homework were only half the battle. The other half really taught us how to be an adult while staying a child with the people who make this place great. We’ve got 8 months left to ditch some of our responsibilities here in order to really learn from each other, let’s do it.
This is my first installment of Senior Slide. Don’t wait around for the next posts though. Who knows, I might get caught up trying to learn to bake an eggless cake so I don’t have to use an EpiPen on one of my best friends or be laying in my bed looking at pictures of how awkward The Shirt was our freshman year. C’est la vie. #SeniorSlide