A college with a curfew? That’s only the tip of the iceberg with Notre Dame. Although the school maintains a reputation as one of the most prominent colleges in the country with a well-rounded emphasis on academics, athletics and service, other schools exist with the same kind of prestige. So what exactly makes Notre Dame so special? A fair amount of quirks exist at Notre Dame; some good, some bad, some just plain odd. See for yourself
1. Dorm Life for Life
While most students can’t wait move off-campus, Notre Dame students live the dorm life as long as possible. Instead of leaving right after freshman year, most students stay in the dorm at least through junior year. “I’m friends with people in different grade levels and with different interests, and some of my friends at other schools don’t necessarily have that,” ND freshman Maggie Walters said. “I mean, the random room assignments worked out great for me, but I have heard some horror stories and met people who had to do mid-year switches. So I guess you win some you lose some with the way that works out.” Specific reputations, unique traditions and signature events characterize each of the 29 dorms on campus. Some of the most popular events include the Fisher Regatta, Carrol Christmas, Siegfried’s Day of Man and the always-popular Keenan Revue. The swankiness of dorms varies, but most people still get pretty attached to the dorms assigned by the “housing gods.”
Du Lac, essentially the law of the land for Notre Dame, includes too many strict rules, but parietals remains one of the most infamous at Notre Dame. WTH are those? To quote Du Lac: “Visiting hours for guests of the opposite sex are not to begin before 9 a.m. on any day and are not to extend beyond 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and midnight on Sunday through Thursday nights.” Not exactly the most reasonable expectation for college students, but ND shows no signs of changing this rule anytime soon.
3. Real Catholic
Many Catholic schools exist across the country, but Notre Dame seriously embraces its Catholic identity. From the Crucifix in every classroom to the chapel in every dorm, ND makes campus extremely conducive to practicing the Catholic faith. Priests teach classes and the curriculum requires two theology courses. Not to mention our library features a huge image of what students call “Touchdown Jesus,” which peaks over the stadium at football games. Only ND could actually make football religious.
4. Ain’t About That Greek Life
I don’t know how many times I get asked if I’m in a sorority. No. That’s not even an option at Notre Dame. Most people assume that every big-name school offers Greek Life, but not here. With charity events, formals and sometimes even hand signs, dorms bring you as close to srat life as you can get at ND. But who really needs frat formals when you have Steds Yacht Dance? “I like that Notre Dame doesn’t have sororities or frats,” ND freshman Jacqui Aguirre said. “With the dorms you still get the community feel of a sorority or a frat. I know that I can always go to anyone in my dorm if I need anything, whether it’s studying or a ride or just chatting.”
5. Notre Dating
To an outsider, the dating culture at Notre Dame seems interesting—definitely not normal. Some pretty normal relationships exist, but a lot of dating here seems awkward and confusing. Couples range from people simply hooking up to those looking for that “Ring before Spring” by senior year. Classic Notre Dating begins with dining hall dates and arbitrarily meeting up at parties and from there things either settle into a fling or a long term commitment. If you visit your significant other’s home town then you can most likely call them your BF or GF with confidence.
6. The Squirrel Obsession
The squirrels at this school fascinate students. First of all, they’re calm AF when you approach them; they’ll even let you feed them. Second, they look abnormally chubby for squirrels. Sophomore Erin Reilly said, “Honestly, the squirrels at home seem malnourished because the ones here are so big. One time we saw them eating our pancakes.” A lot of college campuses love their squirrels, but ND students truly feel passionate about them. The Program of Liberal Studies even used them for a campaign to promote the major. With 5000+ followers, @NDSquirrel’s Twitter following beats most students here.
Some of the largest rivalries on campus exist between the different quads: South Quad, North Quad, West Quad, Mod Quad, God Quad and let’s not forget Far Quad. The dorms on each quad share a special unity except for Far Quad, basically an off-campus quad that consists solely of Carrol Hall. Each quad features its own perks and pitfalls. Personally, I forget about half of the dorms on North and avoid trekking out to Mod Quad at all costs. God Quad’s prime location next to the Dome separates it from the rest, but the sounds of Basilica bells ringing hurt its curb appeal. South’s size and older architecture puts the others to shame, but the luxury of West Quad can’t be beat.
8. The North/South Debate
The Civil War ended over a century ago, but the North and South divide lives on at ND. Dorms and quads divide students, but dining hall preference truly splits campus in half. Students actively voice their opinion on which hall they prefer. South and West Quad residents get lost in the rooms of food in North, while North and Mod Quad’s anxiety levels spike with the crowds and lines at South. “Honestly, both have their perks. I like South for dinner and North for other meals. North has more of a calm, relaxed atmosphere and at South you’re surrounded by so many people, which is nice at dinnertime,” ND freshman Natalie Boyce said.
Frosh-O is now called “Welcome Weekend,” which sounds 100 times lamer, but whatever. The orientation for “first year students” (who we’re not supposed to call freshman) resembles a weird summer camp. You wear the same T-shirt for three days straight, serenade other dorms with renditions of popular songs and go to the infamous Domer Fest: an uncomfortable, sweaty dance considered a rite of passage for freshman.
10. The Golden Dome
Why is this a quirk? I honestly can’t think of a school with a more iconic building. You need to live under a rock to see the Golden Dome and not immediately associate it with Notre Dame. A lot of our sports teams’ helmets are gold, mimicking the Dome’s exterior. Even better than the pictures is seeing it in real life, in all its glory and shininess. “This is going to be super lame, by honestly sometimes the weather sucks, or your days sucks but then you look up at the dome, and it doesn’t suck quite as bad anymore.” ND sophomore Shannon Kronenberger said.