Notre Dame is well-known across the nation for its reputation as one of the top universities. Students not only have a high standard for academia, but also in athletics, and other extra-curricular. However, there are a few quirks at Notre Dame that you wouldn’t find at any other college. These make the ND experience unique and unlike any other college.
1. Strong Dorm Life
At Notre Dame, Greek life doesn’t exist. This means you won’t ever hear “Sigma Alpha Epsilon” anywhere on campus, but this doesn’t mean that fraternities and sororities don’t persist. With 16 male dorms and 14 female dorms each with their own mascot, color, and personality, each single-sex dorm has the feel of its own Greek life. Dorm pride flows across ND, and it’s no wonder that the majority of students choose to live on-campus for most of their time there.
2. Crazy Traditions
From superstitions spread across campus to the midnight snowball fight on South Quad, there are countless traditions that Notre Dame holds dear. No one really knows where these came from, but every student knows to keep them year after year. First years always awkwardly interact with each other at Domerfest. Seniors throw marshmallows at the last home football game. Students look for a suitable spouse to have that “Ring by Spring.” And, of course, no one ever walks up the steps of the Main Building (which would mean that you wouldn’t graduate).
3. Squirrel Obsession
You think you may know squirrels wherever you come from, but these are a different breed. These squirrels are large, mean, and unlike the typical furry creatures you might be used to. Students watch these squirrels climb buildings, steal food, and even eat mice. Let it be known that there are many fan pages created for these rodents, and students are obsessed with them.
4. Football Hype
Everyone knows about the crazy football culture that permeates Notre Dame, but unless you experience it firsthand, you won’t know the passion that exists on campus. From the crack of dawn, it is guaranteed that “Shipping Off to Boston” will be blaring throughout the hallways. The campus bleeds green, especially with the large banner that hangs on Zahm House reading “Here Come the Irish.” Fans from all across the nation flood the campus, bringing in loud tailgates no matter the weather. Students deck out in gold, blue, and green, and march off to the stadium where they excitedly await the entrance of the gold-painted helmets right under the nation’s oldest university band.
5. Faith in the Grotto
Whether you’re Catholic or not, every students feels the immense sense of community that comes with the Grotto. A 1/7 replica of the true grotto in Lourdes, this is the place to come when you really need help. Every incoming freshman class begins their journey as one here, and every senior class ends their trip here. If you feel stressed about a test, go to the grotto and light a candle. During finals week, you’ll struggle to find a spot to place your offering. Everyone feels at peace here, and it is a place to truly let go of all your worries along with others who feel the same.
A truly special campus, Notre Dame has many special qualities about it. Many find their home here and revel in their shared peculiarities. Anyone who attends ND will definitely experience these happenings and laugh about it with others.