'If there's anywhere in the US where an Irishman can feel at home, it's Notre Dame'
Every Wednesday my fellow Irishmen and I finish the evening with a whiteboard session. In order to free our minds of whatever ideas have gripped us each week, we sit down and discuss them. This exercise ranges from possible business ideas to thoughts on the meaning of life. Anything goes at the whiteboard session. I really enjoy this time every week. It inspires me and awakens creativity in me that I never knew existed.
I came to Notre Dame thinking I would return home and work for a large software company. With a multitude of business-plan workshops and competitions, however, as well as a multitude of start-up initiatives, we are hard set on coming up with a captivating business idea.
No classes today, so it’s always used as a day to catch up. Most of us do thesis work, but it also gives us an opportunity to get chatting to friends and family at home. I’ve never been away before – it takes a bit of getting used to.
As a slight change to our usual Thursday evening, tonight we joined the Guibert family for dinner. Susan Guibert, the assistant director of public relations at the university, interviewed us for an article on real Irish students at Notre Dame; in the truly welcoming manner we’ve become accustomed to over here; she invited us over.
Last class in mobile computing: this really is an accelerated programme. This is the technical elective I’ve chosen to complement my thesis. This course explores challenges and opportunities of mobile computing. I’ve covered several of the areas during my undergraduate years, but I’m also getting great exposure to ones I haven’t.
Friday finished with the traditional pre-game tailgate – that’s an American term for what’s essentially a barbecue – in Innovation Park. All students and companies that use the park are invited along for food, drink and conversation. It always proves to be great fun, as well as a great way of networking.
Game day! Today Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish played their rivals Michigan in what proved to be a great game. Close to 100,000 people invade the campus and its surroundings for a good day’s build-up to the big event. Notre Dame have lost six of the past seven games against Michigan, but they have had a great season so far, so hopes were high.
The predictions proved correct. We came away victorious, 13-6. I bought season tickets when I arrived here, and it was definitely a great decision. The games are quite the spectacle, and the atmosphere is amazing. Imagine more than 80,000 fans screaming, chanting and singing, most of them rooting for Notre Dame. The passion for the sport here really doesn’t surprise me.
After game day, and to end the week, Sunday is a day of rest. I Skyped my family and my girlfriend and prepared for another week. It’s hard to know what each day will bring, but I think the unpredictability makes us all love it that little bit more. “Love thee, Notre Dame.”