One of the more difficult adjustments can be to their academic life. “Now, that I’m used to it, it’s easier to sit down and get it [homework] done.” But she said after the first week of classes, she feels more prepared. Returning students may be adjusting to new professors, a more demanding course load or being back on campus, but the incoming first-year students are dealing with adjustments to college life in general — some of which are going much more smoothly than others. The all-women aspect of life at Saint Mary’s can be an adjustment for some, but for others it does not play a large role. Nanovic said she was surprised she was assigned homework on the first day of classes. “It is really intimidating when professors tell us that the semester isn’t going to be easy, it’s going to be really hard,” Nanovic said. “You have to study harder than you did in high school.” First-year Erin Nanovic, an intended business and political science major, describes her course load as one with the “hardest, most intense classes” she has ever taken, but feels more confident after the first week of classes. Spann, a first year from Los Angeles, was pleasantly surprised when she arrived on campus for the first time. It is the first time she had been in Indiana or to Saint Mary’s. The campus had a similar impact on other first years. “I’m not used to that,” Nanovic said. “In high school, we didn’t usually get homework for the entire first week.” “The campus is amazing,” Spann said. “It’s beautiful. It’s a good place to walk barefoot and everything’s clean.” Though they each have their own unique first impression of Saint Mary’s and are adjusting at different rates, the first years agreed on one thing: they are all excited for their first Notre Dame football game in the student section. “After I took the tour [as a prospective student], I was mad at myself for liking it so much,” Hillary Shesterkin said. “After coming here, I can’t wait to go home and tell everyone how much I love it here.” “I don’t think it’s a big issue,” said Roselyn Spann, an intended Biology major. “I don’t even notice it.”
Keybank’s Key4Women Forum, a seminar designed to educate and empower businesswomen, will be held today at Saint Mary’s College. Cindy Solomon, a nationally renowned speaker and the president of Solomon and Associates, will deliver the keynote address. Solomon has consulted organizations including Google, Cisco and the Ritz Carlton. “It really is a great seminar,” said Martha Smith, project director of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI) at Saint Mary’s. WEI partnered with Keybank to bring the seminar to campus. Smith said the program shares a lot of the same goals and values as WEI, and the partnership “seemed like a natural fit.” Key4Women, founded in 2005, lends money to qualified women entrepreneurs so they can start and maintain successful businesses. It also strives to offer advice to help businesswomen set their companies apart from the crowd. This particular forum will travel across the nation and stop in 15 different cities. Solomon’s talk, “The Customer of the Future: The Art of Creating True Customer and Employee Loyalty,” will give women suggestions on how to conduct their businesses, based on her own success as an entrepreneur. She will particularly emphasize the importance of establishing long-term relationships with both employees and customers. The event will also give local business owners a chance to meet and network with other business owners in the area. The forum costs $10 and will benefit the Kelly Cares Foundation, an organization established by Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly and his wife, Paqui, that supports several organizations, but promotes breast cancer awareness in particular. “I think it’s pretty neat what they’re doing for Kelly’s foundation,” Smith said. Although today’s forum will primarily include local entrepreneurs, Smith hopes the forum will return next year and involve Saint Mary’s students. The forum will take place at 11:30 a.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn on the Saint Mary’s campus.
Student Senate was filled with Harry Potter characters Wednesday as its members discussed ways to communicate more effectively with students across campus. In anticipation for Halloween, the members of Senate dressed as Harry Potter characters, and the student leaders became Ron Weasley, the Golden Snitch, Lord Voldemort, Hedwig, a dementor, the Whomping Willow and other figures from the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Student body president Catherine Soler and vice president Andrew Bell led the meeting as Hermione Granger and Harry Potter. Moving to more serious topics, Soler and Bell discussed campus-wide e-mails, table tents in dining halls and poster displays around campus. Student government will host “Whine Week” in November to take suggestions and complaints from students in the dining halls, Soler said. Students can also join the Notre Dame Student Government fan page on Facebook to stay updated on student government events and submit comments to campus leaders. “We really want to encourage students to send their feedback and their complaints through our Facebook page,” campus technology chair Casey Cockerham said. “Students live on Facebook anyways so it is a great discussion page.” Senators gave differing reports from their dorms on the effectiveness of “The Week” e-mails that are sent out to all students Sunday night with campus events to be held during the week ahead. “In my dorm girls said they really liked ‘The Week,’” Welsh Family Hall senator Elizabeth Jen said. “They just wished it would be more effective if it was organized by date.” Some senators said members of their dorms disregard “The Week” because the information is not concise. “A lot of guys in Siegfried do not like ‘The Week,’” Siegfried senator Kevin McDermott said. “They preferred bullet points or direct links.” Lyons Hall senator Erinn Riley said a more localized version of “The Week” e-mails sent out within the dorm rather than across the whole campus might be more successful. Senators also discussed posters and other information displays on campus. “A lot of people in my dorm like the table tents in dining halls that are quick and easy,” McDermott said. “But many people overlooked posters because there are so many.” Student Senate also discussed possible changes to midterms week. “During finals week there are limitations on what activities are available so there will not be a ton of distractions,” Bell said. “During midterms week all those commitments are still out there.” Some members of Senate said they wanted more emphasis on midterms week. “Midterms are usually as much as or about five percent less of my grade than my final exams,” chief of staff Nick Ruof said. “But midterms week seems the same as any other week in the semester.” Most senators said the schedule for midterms was too staggered to limit help everyone. “Most clubs also recognized that it was time for midterms and everyone was busy,” Cavanaugh senator Tegan Chapman said. “Nothing needs to be mandated.” Soler concluded the meeting by reminding the senators to save their costumes for the Harry Potter dinner to be held on Nov. 17.
Over the weekend, two members of the Notre Dame community received the Spirit of Holy Cross award. Larry Cunningham, professor emeritus of theology, and Barb Carlson, retired office manager and assistant to the director of the U.S. Province Office of Vocations, were recognized with the honor, which is sponsored by the Congregation of Holy Cross and given out on the eve of the Solemnity of Our Lady of Sorrows, the patroness of the Congregation. According to a press release from the Congregation of Holy Cross, “The Spirit of Holy Cross Award acknowledges the critical importance lay collaborators play in living out the vision and mission of Holy Cross founder Blessed Basil Moreauto make God known, loved and served through education, parish and mission settings.” Cunningham, who began teaching theology at Notre Dame in 1988, said he strongly believes in the mission of the Congregation and the University. “I have always felt that being a professor is a kind of vocation to serve the University and to serve the Church and to serve the broader public,” Cunningham said. “Since the Catholic ethos of Notre Dame is shaped by the Congregation, that inevitably meant that I wanted to be supportive of that mission and try to do so in any way that I could.” Some of these ways include teaching seminarians, being active in the Basilica and assisting Campus Ministry, he said. Cunningham said the Congregation’s message of educating the mind and heart especially resonates with him. “I think that not only do I have to try to be the best intellectual impact that I can be in my classroom but also to help develop the full person, which I understand the word heart to be a shorthand for that notion of helping people mature socially and spiritually and so on,” he said. Carlson also devoted her life to teaching, living out the Congregation’s motto of educating the mind and heart as a kindergarten teacher at Christ the King School in South Bend, she said. “It’s not the mind you’re educating. It’s a person’s faith and emotional development,” Carlson said. “The charism of Holy Cross is something I truly believe in. It’s reflected in faith, mission [and] service.” Carlson said she has been involved with the Holy Cross since birth; first as a parishioner at St. Joseph’s Parish in South Bend and also as a graduate of St. Joseph Grade School, St. Joseph High School and Saint Mary’s. In 1997, Carlson said she took time off from teaching to spend four months in East Africa interacting with Holy Cross missionaries and living the lifestyle of a third world country. “I learned as much about myself in that four months as I did those that I met,” she said. “It was a great growth experience for me.” After retiring from teaching, Carlson said she went on to work for the Holy Cross Office of Vocations. “The part that I enjoyed most was meeting and working with the incoming seminarians,” she said. “They pretty much unequivocally were great young men who had many talents and were very committed to the work of God in their lives.” In a Congregation of Holy Cross press release, Fr. Jim Gallagher, director of vocations, who nominated Carlson for the Spirit of Holy Cross award, said she has lived out the Holy Cross mission in all aspects of her life. “As a collaborator in education, parish and mission, Barb has connected with many levels of our life and work,” Gallagher said. “In her fidelity to her vocation as a wife, mother, teacher and assistant, she has been a powerful witness and encouragement to us to remain faithful to our vocation.” Carlson said she believes the Congregation has done more for her than she could ever do for it. “All along the way, there have been associations with Holy Cross priests and religious [in my life], and it very positively affected my life,” she said. “From my standpoint, I have gained much from my association and apparently they felt that I contributed to the Congregation.”
For the 15th consecutive year, the University of Notre Dame ranked among the nation’s top Peace Corps volunteer-producing universities, earning the 24th spot among medium-sized colleges and universities.The Peace Corps and the University of Notre Dame have shared a history since the agency’s establishment by President John F. Kennedy in 1961.University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh encouraged involving youth as the majority of Peace Corps volunteers and created the first Peace Corps volunteer training program sponsored by a university.Since the start of Notre Dame’s partnership with the Peace Corps, 878 Notre Dame graduates have volunteered with the Peace Corps and 13 Notre Dame alumni are currently serving abroad.Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet finds similarities between the missions and experiences of the Peace Corps and Notre Dame.“Both Notre Dame and the Peace Corps are rooted in similar missions, with a deep commitment to service and a belief in the ability of one person to make a difference,” she said. “Notre Dame equips its graduates with a strong academic foundation and a global curiosity, and the Peace Corps provides a hands-on leadership experience that offers volunteers the opportunity to travel to the farthest corners of the world while working to better the lives of others.”Hessler-Radelet said that applicants from Notre Dame have the experience and drive valued in a Peace Corps volunteer, contributing to the University’s position as one of the Peace Corps’ top producers of volunteers.“Peace Corps volunteers are, above all, committed to serving others,” she said. “Successful volunteers are often flexible, have an open mind and display a willingness to learn. Notre Dame graduates also bring a global awareness, cross-cultural experiences, leadership skills and a strong academic foundation that helps them to succeed.”Meghan Costello is the Peace Corps Midwest Recruiter for Michigan and Northern Indiana and a class of 2010 Notre Dame alum.Costello majored in political science and minored in peace studies and Italian, and immediately after graduation served in Rwanda as a Peace Corps volunteer primarily teaching English Education. Costello said her Notre Dame experience directly influenced her decision to join the Peace Corps.“Notre Dame inspired in me a liberal arts education and a spirit of service by simply being surrounded by so many people that are passionate about making the world a better place,” she said.Costello said her professors and course work contributed to her desire to serve.“Notre Dame is such an amazing environment where I felt like every single professor I talked to had this unique path and ideas for the future for us and it was inspiring,” she said. “Every single person I talked to who was doing international development was doing it in so many different ways, and my peace studies classes really helped me see the options that were available.”As a recruiter for the Peace Corps, Costello works with many young people considering a future with service because they want to make a difference in the world but may be uncertain of their path.“I think that a lot of young people always want to make a difference and the Peace Corps is a way to not only make a difference for the community you are working with, but also making a difference for yourself because the community you work with help you grow into who you are going to be and teach you tangible skills that will help you with whatever profession you eventually will go into,” she said.Travis Bluemling served with the Peace Corps in Indonesia from 2010-2012 and now acts as the agency’s Midwest Diversity Recruiter. Just like Costello, Bluemling talks to many young adults discerning their futures in service after college.Bluemling said, when he talks with young people, he emphasizes how the unique experience of a Peace Corps volunteer cannot compare to other fields of work most students select immediately following graduation.“There are a lot of things thrown at you as a student and you don’t really know which one might be the best fit, and I think the Peace Corps provides a unique experience because although we are not going into corporate America and making a lot of money right away, the idea of working with the Peace Corps and the connections and opportunities you are able to build through this experience are not even comparable,” Bluemling said.Michael Hebbeler, the director of student leadership and senior transitions at Notre Dame, said the Peace Corps’ unique path of service as a career is one of the reasons he is grateful for Notre Dame’s continued partnership with the agency.“Amid the pressures and forces that tell our students that they’ve got to get moving on their careers, gain financial security and position themselves in a society that values title, wealth and status, we have many students that push against these forces and choose paths that demand selflessness and seek the common good,” he said.Peace Corps witnessed a 22-year application high in 2014, prompted by a reform to the application process led by Hessler-Radelet that allows students to choose countries and programs they would like to be considered for via a one-hour online application.Hessler-Radelet said while every volunteer’s experience is different, all volunteers will gain valuable life lessons that they bring back to the United States and draw on to support their local communities.“Serving in the Peace Corps is truly a life-changing experience for volunteers,” she said. “They integrate into their communities and develop lasting relationships that will forever change their perspective of the world.“Peace Corps service has the power to open doors and change lives – not only in faraway countries, but also right here at home. Just as it did for me.”Tags: Peace Corps
Eight seniors gathered Tuesday night in LaFortune Student Center Ballroom to share the senior secrets they acquired over time at Notre Dame to a group of freshmen.Alex Cantrell, an RA in and former president of Alumni, kicked off the event by sharing five pieces of advice.“Try to organize and time manage, attack with a focus, take advantage of every opportunity, never stop learning and do anything you want because you can,” he said.Andrew Weiler, a resident assistant, former president of Knott Hall and founding member of Jubilee Institute for Financial Inclusion (JIFFI), spoke next, offering words of comfort to the first-year audience.“I want to promise that you’re all going to be alright,” Weiler said.Weiler said many freshmen can become so overwhelmed by anxieties about future plans that their Notre Dame educations suffer.“Anxieties about jobs and careers can turn what we do at Notre Dame to just being about gaining skills, and that is not what a Notre Dame education, or education in general, is all about,” he said.Weiler thinks a proper education means becoming a more well-rounded person — a person who is “interested and interesting.” He recommended three methods that can lead to a fuller education.“Try and choose a major you are passionate about, make a lot of friends and spend time with them and finally join the clubs and activities that inspire you,” he said.Hermona Abera, a senior and SUB director, gave suggestions to freshmen uncertain of future plans.“Do not worry if you do not have the future figured out,” she said. “I did not have it figured out freshmen year, but the more things I got involved with because they were fun, the more it helped me figure out in the long term what I wanted.”Abera followed up her advice by saying that while getting involved with different activities is recommend, finding time for yourself is equally as important.“Make time for yourself – and be sure get sleep,” she said.Jimmy McEntee, a teaching assistant to Carl Ackermann, Club Coordination Council president, interhall football champion and a future student at Harvard Law School, spoke next. McEntee emphasized the importance of discovering personal happiness at Notre Dame.“Try to figure out what makes you happy on campus, and though it will be difficult to find, when you find it, go and get it,” he said.McEntee suggested reaching out to professors or upperclassmen to help freshmen discern what activities will bring about the most happiness.“While Notre Dame has incredible resources, nothing is handed to you,” he said. “I really suggest meeting with people — whether its professors or upperclassmen — and try to figure out how to accomplish your goals during your four years here.”Following McEntee was Kathleen Krah, the vice president of Farley who studied abroad London and Dublin. Krah provided four pieces of advice she collected over her four years.“You should put yourself out there, build relationships, trust the process and enjoy every moment,” she said.She said the reason she always gets emotional when talking about her time at Notre Dame is her deep love of the memories she has formed here. She encouraged the freshmen to never forget the privilege of attending Notre Dame.“Every time you walk out of the library at 3 a.m. after studying for hours, just look up at the Dome and remember how lucky you are to be here,” she said.Next Matthias Farley, former Irish football safety and Notre Dame Football Unity Council member, addressed the freshmen. Farley echoed Krah’s advice to savor every moment at school.“Really appreciate the time that you are here and do not rush to the future, because it is going to be here before you know it,” he said.After Farley spoke, Shannon Hagedorn, a Career Center intern, offered insight into how to start the career process freshmen year.Hagedorn encouraged freshmen nervous about finding future careers to concentrate on exploring as many experiences as possible now because every new experience is an opportunity for development.“Use jobs and extracurriculars to define yourself, but do not do anything just because you think you should,” she said. “Careers will follow if you are pursuing your interests.”Current student body president Lauren Vidal concluded the event by addressing the importance of always maintaining trust in family, friend and school life. Vidal also told the freshmen to realize that they are entering adulthood.“We all need to grow up a little bit and realize that we are adults,” she said.Vidal said acting like an adult includes learning the standards of professionalism. She also emphasized the importance of reading the news every day.“The news always gives you perspective, because it is a great way to check yourself and put your troubles into their proper categories,” she said.Vidal final words stressed there are no limits to what any person can do.“You are not your stereotype, so choose to let what other people think is typical for your gender or culture or whatever else determines what you can do,” she said.Tags: JIFFI, Jubilee Institute for Financial Inclusion, Senior Secrets, Success Secrets
The Student Union Board (SUB) announced Sunday night that the All-American Rejects will perform at the Stepan Center on April 23.According to Louis Bertolotti, executive director of SUB, the committee is excited to bring the band to campus for its annual Spring Concert.“After receiving over 1,500 responses from the survey we sent out to the student body last month, we found that a clear plurality of nearly 30 percent wanted an alternative band as their first choice, and it was in the top two for about 50 percent of the student body,” Bertolotti said in an email. “A further 23 percent wanted a pop artist as their first choice, and another 13 percent wanted a rock artist.”Bertolotti said he felt the All-American Rejects represented a mix of all of these options.“They have sold over 10 million albums worldwide and have recorded a number of top hits,” Bertolotti said. “They released a new song in October of this past year and have begun recording a new album.”The mission of SUB is to provide quality programming for all undergraduate students at the University and Colleges, according to Bertolotti. “We are confident that the All-American Rejects will do this and put on a phenomenal show. After the great success of the Hunter Hayes concert last semester, we are looking forward to this exciting event,” he said. Lead SUB programmer Shadmn Mihr said he also thought the band was a good fit for the student body’s requests.“Polls conducted of the student body strongly spoke of a desire to return to a prominent band with several hits, and All-American Rejects fits that bill,” Mihr said in the press release. Originally from Oklahoma, the All-American Rejects broke into the mainstream with hits like “Gives You Hell” and “Move Along.”“We know this concert will be a success, and Notre Dame will be vibing all night long as they sing some of the most well-known songs of the last decade,” Mihr said.Tickets will go on sale Monday at 7 a.m. for $20 in the LaFortune Student Center box office, according to the release. All Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross students are eligible to buy tickets. Additionally, tickets will be sold at the door for $25.
Last semester, seniors Mark Davidson, Jessica Klouda and Erin Rice and graduate student Madeline Zupan registered for design professor Scott Shim’s interdisciplinary Collaborative Product Development course, where they were randomly assigned as a group for the semester’s project. The four students were runners up in the Walt Disney Imagineering Imaginations Design Competition on Jan. 27. (Editor’s Note: Erin Rice is a former graphics editor for The Observer)“We were thrilled that the results of months and months of work and collaboration resulted in such a fantastic outcome,” Zupan said. “Truly, just making it as far as we did — in terms of becoming finalists — was absolutely an honor in and of itself.Lauren Hebig “This competition brings in some of the most highly respected talent from designers and engineers across the country and so to even be included in this cohort was remarkable.”The competition charged teams with the task of designing a space in respect to their college or university. The Notre Dame team’s project, “The Spirit of the Isle,” was conceived as a shamrock-shaped island in one of the lakes on campus. “Ultimately, based on the prompt, we decided to look into the magic of Notre Dame, and we looked into designing our space around the lakes, so that’s why we chose an outdoor space,” Rice said. “When we were determining that ‘favorite spot’ on campus, we did a lot of this through generative research, student interviews, surveys, etc., and so that was basically our process in how we got there.” Klouda said the position of the lakes offered a great design opportunity. “We found that a lot of students like to go near the lakes and relax by the lakes,” she said. “ … We thought this was a really great place because there’s great views of the Dome from there, and it’s near the Grotto, so the spirit of campus is all right there and it’s a great vantage point.” The team also created a history for the island based on the founder of Notre Dame. “Our idea focused around a story that we created that was based on [Fr. Edwin Sorin] as if he were a sorcerer,” Rice said. “He comes across the plans many years ago, and he designs this island to protect future generations of students, faculty and visitors so they can enjoy the outdoor space during all of the seasons. “That was the basis of the story of our space, and we divided our space into five main areas. We also integrated into the design an app and a lot of technology — like futuristic or already-existing technology.”During their time in Shim’s class, the team spent a lot of time conducting research, interviewing students and issuing surveys.“One of our activities was mapping out the physical journey through campus and seeing what is a typical visitor’s trip like, what landmarks are they hitting, where are they stopping, where are they passing through,” Zupan said. “Then we mapped the exact same journey through a Disney theme park, and saw that there were striking similarities in the paths that people take — Notre Dame is the Disneyland of college campuses. When we arrived at that conclusion, the ideas started to flow from there.”Davidson said the purpose of the island was to help guests “destress.” “With our research, when we were trying to determine what students and guests of campus really do to destress, there really wasn’t a consensus, so we developed our island into a multi-use space,” Davidson said. Part of that multi-use space is a terraced amphitheater and areas for small groups to gather.“Part of the design is a giant amphitheater that, rather than having a raised amphitheater, it sinks into the lake, so it doesn’t obstruct any views of campus,” Zupan said. “It was a huge design imperative that we don’t make this big, clunky design that doesn’t integrate and doesn’t flow well. So that’s why most of the project is either flush to or below into the lake.” Zupan said the first submission did not allow teams to use the name, logo or any other trademarks, to avoid biases in the judges. “It was really a challenge to make it as general as possible, but also specific to the University, so you had to balance the two,” she said. “But Notre Dame, in terms of the inspiration, we were so heavily inspired by the campus and the beauty.”After making it through the first submission and past the semifinals, the team joined 17 other finalist students on five teams — chosen from over 300 entries — on the Imagineering campus in Glendale, California, for a final week of presentations and career preparation. “Throughout the course of the week and when we first arrived, we were blown away by the other teams’ projects, and we had the chance to meet these other teams,” Rice said. “So, in comparing ourselves to the other teams, we didn’t really know how to do that. “When we found out we got second, we all just looked at each other and went up to receive our reward and came back down and had a group hug, and it was very spontaneous. We were extremely excited, and I wouldn’t say surprised, because I think we’re all very confident in our work, but everyone was so talented. It was amazing.”The team members said their different backgrounds — mechanical engineering, design, industrial design and entrepreneurship — helped the team collaborate across disciplines and get at the true spirit of the competition.“That’s what I think ‘Imagineering’ is — it’s groups of people who think incredibly differently and come together to create something,” Rice said. “I think that’s the future of the workplace.”Tags: Disney Imagineering, Fr. Sorin, Walt Disney
University President Fr. John Jenkins released a statement Thursday announcing Notre Dame will ring the bells of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart Friday morning in “celebration and welcoming of immigrants from around the world.”By doing so, Jenkins said Notre Dame will take part in a global initiative known as the “Bells of Joy.”“Joining in a global ‘Bells of Joy’ initiative launched by former Irish President Mary McAleese, Notre Dame, together with churches and other institutions worldwide, will symbolically banish hatred and fear of our foreign brothers and sisters,” he said in the statement.Jenkins said in the statement that this celebration is particularly relevant this year, as the University was founded by immigrants 175 years ago.“As we celebrate the feast of St. Patrick, an immigrant brought to Ireland first as a slave who then returned as a missionary, and as the University of Notre Dame celebrates its founding 175 years ago by French and Irish immigrants who, like the many who came after them, brought faith, scholarship and industry to our nation, we pray for immigrants around the world and ask that they may continue to share their gifts,” he said.Tags: Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Bells of Joy, Fr. John Jenkins
After the grind of finals, Senior Week offered the class of 2017 one last chance to celebrate and spend time with friends and the Notre Dame community before graduating. The week featured a wide array of events planned for graduating students to participate in, as well as plenty of time for final goodbyes. Senior Amelia Zepernick, chair of the Senior Class Council (SCC) committee for Senior Week, said the committee had been hard at work planning and scheduling the events since January.“We took some traditional events — events that happen every year, like Commencement Ball and the [Chicago] Cubs game — but we also [planned] new events like Domerfest 2.0,” she said. “All the events we had planned by spring break.”The committee took inspiration from Senior Week events in past years while planning the class of 2017’s Senior Week, Zepernick said.“We’re continuing a lot of traditions that have had great responses in the past,” she said. “Some of the things that they did last year we’re continuing this year because they had a really good response. They added these really pretty stickers on the candles for the grotto visit, and they started Domerfest 2.0 last year, and we’re continuing that. I think that it’s really just the class that makes it different — events-wise, we’re doing a lot of the same things, but we’re putting our own little touches on it.”Zepernick said she was most excited for Domerfest 2.0 in the Stepan Center, because the class of 2017 was the last class to experience Domerfest in the building as freshmen. She said she also values the unique nature of the week as a last chance for students to be with friends before starting their professional lives.“I think it’s a really special tradition that Notre Dame has,” she said. “Not all schools have this sort of week where all the students stay on campus before graduation. I just think it’s a really special Notre Dame tradition.”Senior Megan Toal said she planned on going to most of the events, including BabeTostal, Saint Mary’s formal, Commencement Ball, Bowling Night and others.“I think it’s really important to just have one last hurrah with all my friends before we leave,” Toal said. “Just finals week is really rough because we have finals and we have to move out, but with Senior Week, we can focus on on our finals, and then focus on moving out and spending time with our friends afterward. I think it’s really important that we get this time with our friends because we’re a community — the Notre Dame family. Why not have one last big goodbye together?”While ready to be done with the stress and work of being a student, Toal said she will miss the social aspect of college.“I don’t think I’m going to miss being a student in terms of having exams and homework to do, but I think I’m just going to miss living so close to my friends,” she said. “In the end, I think I’m ready to move on, I’m ready to be a real adult and pursue my dreams and career.”Senior Caroline Spencer, who planned on attending Domerfest 2.0, the Cubs game, Commencement Ball and the tour of University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh’s office, also said she feels ready to graduate.“It’s definitely bittersweet,” Spencer said. “I do feel ready to graduate and ready to move on to the next phase of my life, but I am going to miss Notre Dame a lot, and obviously all the people I’ve met here.”Spencer said she encourages students to enjoy their college years and use the experience to learn more about themselves.“If I could do it all again, I would have not stressed so much about school,” she said. “College isn’t just about learning information in the classroom, it’s about learning about the sort of person that you want to be in life. A lot of that growth happens when you’re having fun.”Tags: Class of 2017, Commencement 2017, Commencement Ball, Domerfest 2.0, Senior Week