Esquire Theme by Matthew Buchanan
Social icons by Tim van Damme



Communication is Key

Going away to college means exactly that. Going away. Leaving your friends and family that you have known since birth. It’s a big step, no doubt. It’s what separates the men from the boys, the amateurs from the professionals, the weak from the strong. It is what fully defines you as a college student. You realize you’re no longer in high school when you can’t sit down for a home cooked meal every night after a long day of class. It hits you. And for many, it hits them hard. It’s a huge shift, and for those who don’t like change, that shift feels like an earthquake. Luckily, our generation has grown up in an era where everything has become instant, especially in the communication aspect. Now a days, I can send a text and a friend of mine from home can get it within the same thirty seconds of sending it. I can see my old pals’ reactions to stories I tell over revolutionary inventions such as Facetime and Skype. I can even upload all of my pictures from my weekends directly to Facebook and see how my friends celebrated their weekends just the same. I don’t think that the young adults of our generation truly appreciate our technology today. Back then, you would send a letter to someone and hope that they get it three days later. However, in a constantly instant world, it is always nice to get what is now known as ‘snail mail’ or a good old-fashioned letter. This past school year, I’ve been so fortunate to receive all kinds of cards, letters and care packages from friends and family all over. Getting mail while you’re away at school is exceptional. There’s truly nothing else like it. I always get chills right before I turn the key to my mailbox. My heart beats fast, my hopes get up and I pause my breathing ever so slightly. When I receive a letter in the mail, it shows love. It shows that someone took the time to sit down and think about you even for just five minutes. They took the time to go to the store, buy a card and write something long and meaningful, or short and to the point. It shows character. For that person, it would have taken them less time and money to send a quick text or email, but they chose not to. I always see people’s handwriting as something that is so special. In a text message, everyone’s words look the same. The same Helvetica message is always typed out clear as day upon opening my messages app on my phone. When you go away to college, there’s a lot you’ll miss, but there is even more you have to look forward to. Even though you won’t be able to see your friends from high school or family everyday, they are always a text away. Just know that. But, going away to college will prove whom your true friends are. Many people will lose touch with you. It’s no one’s fault, it’s just life. People will come in and out of your life all of the time to teach you lessons, help you grow and show you love. Yet, it’s those who go beyond the Sunday afternoon: “Hey. What’s up? I’m bored” text that truly care about you. The ones who send you the cards just to say hello, the ones who will talk to you on Skype for 7 hours, and the ones who will send you long texts just to say how much they love you and cherish your friendship are the ones that are your true friends. Those are the people that will help you grow the most. So here’s a tip: care for the ones who deserve it. College will separate a lot of people but it can also draw many even closer. And when it comes to communication: the more personal, the better. Buy some stamps, sit down, and write a letter every once in a while. Make it a long one. Write what you feel. Show your chicken-scratch of handwriting. Draw some doodles. Write a joke or a poem. And then, send it. I guarantee that the good deed will be recycled. Because in a world of instant everything, it’s always exciting to open that mailbox and have something for a change from a loved one and not just a boring bank statement. It’s the little things, the details that matter most in people’s lives. Always.

                                       ~Emily R. ‘17



Only 34 days left…

This past week I was accepted to Blackfriars Hall at Oxford University. Yeah, no, you’re thinking of the right Oxford—the one with all the Etonian boys and old buildings—in England. It’s a big deal. It will probably change the course of my life (because who doesn’t think they’re going to find a prince to marry if they go to Oxford; I’ll settle for a Duke or Earl or even a Count—I’m not picky). However, it is a full year program. Even though I had been working since my senior year in high school toward this, had been physically doing the application since Christmas, and had been to countless meetings to make sure I was doing everything in my power to get in—when I did get in, the second thing I thought of was everything I’m going to miss here. 

You have to understand, I’m realllllyyyyy bad at showing excitement. I’m also just really bad at being excited. My philosophy on life has been to have zero expectations and always think the second-worst thing is going to happen (not the worst thing, b/c that’s just depressing.) That way when sometime goes terribly wrong you’re not devastated. But if something goes incredibly right, then HOLY COW! IT’S THRILLING! I’ve been thinking this for so long that it’s hard to make myself excited about things when they do finally happen—that is until I’m completely immersed in them. Like I said above, I don’t mind staying in and doing nothing. But when I do go out I’ll most certainly have a wonderful time once I get there! (I’m fun to be around, I promise…) So how do I balance trying to get excited, yet still making sure I’m living in the moment here while it lasts. I’ll really only have 3 years here at college, so I better make them worth it. So far I’ve resorted to doing everything I can, all the time, with as may different people as possible. Sometimes when your life decides to show up all at once, you have to make it work so that you can make sure to get it all in. Like I’ve said before, there will always be more homework, tests, and papers. But my friends who are seniors and juniors won’t always be around. The junior moms won’t always be having an afternoon get-together, (insert your own crazy life). So, my conclusion: If I don’t seem excited about Oxford it’s only because I’m trying to enjoy the time I have left here, I promise. Come October 3 as I arrive in the UK I will be THRILLED and you’ll probably get sick of me after a week from all the pictures and such (enjoy the calm while you can…) 

So… here’s to my second-to-last Holy week with the Liturgical  Choir, my last orchestra concert of the year, the last few weeks of photographing for the Observer for a long while, and to all the juniors and seniors who I will miss devastatingly much. 



Ally D. ‘16



Giving Back (with blood)

Thinking back, if someone would have told me ten years ago that I would donate blood someday in the future voluntarily, I would have never believed them. For years, my fear of needles and anything medical related has crippled me into ever entering the nursing field. Although, sometimes being in college and being exposed to new people, new ideas and new cultures, it’s easy to look at things differently. My good friend ‘K’ donated blood for the first time about three years ago when her dad got sick and giving blood has been a yearly ritual for her ever since. I was inspired by her story and with the idea that each donation can potentially save three lives. Everyone on campus received an email on Tuesday to pre-register for the semi-annual blood drive the next day. Even though I was a little reluctant to put my name down, my friend was there to support me and in the end, I knew I was going to feel good about giving to a good cause. After class on Wednesday, my friend and I treated ourselves to a large dinner to make sure our iron and blood sugar levels were steady.  From there, we proceeded to the basement of the student center where there were lounge chairs set up and a full nursing staff. After filling out a few forms and running some tests that involved a lot of blood pressure cuffs and finger pricking, I was finally ready to donate for the first time. I waited anxiously for one of the nurses to call my name and when she finally did, I felt my body move automatically to the next available seat. I was greeted by a very friendly nurse who proceeded to prep me for the needle injection and after three squeezes of a stress ball, two deep breaths, and one small pinch in my left forearm, I was well underway. I stayed calm by talking with the nurses and my friend ‘K’ who was sitting right next to me during the whole time and even helped document my first experience. Before I knew it, it was all over. I found myself unafraid of needles and blood after just this one procedure. I even helped the nurse take out my needle and package my bag of donation. From there, the hospital supplied a plethora of free t-shirts, cookies and juice for us to help ourselves to. Overall, it was an amazing experience. I was able to get over a fear and save three lives in the process. If I could teach any incoming freshman a thing or two about college it would be: let it change you. Allow for college to open all kinds of possibilities for you and get over a few fears. Expose yourself. Take risks. In these four years here, you’ll grow more than you every thought possible. And no matter what, you’ll always make a friend along the way. I’ve learned that it’s amazing what the environment of college can have on you in trying new things. I’ve learned this so many times already through so many different experiences. And the best part is, it’s only my first year.

               ~Emily R. ‘17                                                                



Paris in Springtime

Last Wednesday through Saturday, a fellow Belle, Melissa, and I went to the City of Lights.  It was an incredible, exhausting, whirlwind of a trip, and as we say, ‘we’ll always have Paris.’ We stayed in a studio apartment we rented on, and it was an interesting experience to say the least.  Two girls living together in a room smaller than Saint Mary’s single dorm rooms for four days went well, but we couldn’t wait to get back to having our own rooms.  Here is a break down of our days in Paris and some photos to go along with it!

Wednesday, April 2

- 4am bus to the airport to catch our 6:15am flight.

- Arrive in Paris at our flat by noon, eat an entire baguette for lunch, and make our plan for the day

- Notre Dame cathedral

- Put a lock on LoveLock bridge with our names on it

- Saw the Pantheon, Saint Sulpice church, Saint Germain aux Pres

- Tea break in the Luxembourg Gardens

- Got crepes and walked past the Hotel des Invalides

- Saw the Eiffel Tower in person, freaked out, and took a million photos

- Went to the top of the Arc de Triumphe

- Strolled down the Champs Elysees and got macaroons at Laduree

- Saw the Tuileries Gardens and the Louvre

- Had French cheeses and bread for dinner 

Thursday, April 3

- Noon mass at Sacre Coeur basilica

- Brunch of omlettes, tea, baguettes with jam and butter, and juice

- Saw the Moulin Rogue and the Opera House

- Went to the Louvre Museum for several hours and saw so many wonderful, beautiful pieces of artwork.  Of course we saw the Mona Lisa!

- Tea and crepes for dinner

- Night cruise on the River Seine

Friday, April 4, My 20th Birthday!

- Went to the Palace of Versailles for the morning/afternoon.  We took the audioguide tour through the palace, and then we explored the gardens, Marie Antionette’s private house, the lake, and other features of the grounds on our own.

- Picnicked beside the Eiffel Tower before climbing to the second floor.

- Took the elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower and watched the sun set and the city lights go on.

- Had dinner at the Eiffel Cafe

Saturday, April 5

- Went to this vintage flea market and had croissants while browsing

- Our feet were bleeding, we were exhausted, and the weather was BEAUTIFUL, so we picnicked and read in the Luxembourg Gardens and on the Champs de Mars for the afternoon

- Took the evening flight back home to Ireland.

- Deirdre O. ‘16



Balancing Act

Studying abroad is undoubtedly one of the most wonderful experiences a young person can have.  When I boarded the plane to go to Rome last fall, I definitely was not the person I am right now.  Studying abroad has taught me responsibility, patience, time and money management, communications, respect for views/languages/cultures/people who are different than me, and just how blessed I am.  This year has been a once in a lifetime experience, and I am just along for the ride of blessings.  Along with the great experiences come the stressful.  I try to recall something my Dad once told me: that if you cannot change your circumstances, why stress about it?  Now, if the metro is jam packed or behind schedule in a foreign country, or if my peanut butter gets confiscated at Dublin airport, I just take a deep inhale and move on.  Right now, the major stresses are choosing classes, getting a room for next year, and communicating with my advisors, all while keeping up with life and school here in Ireland.  I have three final exams and four final papers to write, some of which are a minimum of 4,000 words (roughly 20 pages).   Of course, the work is all worth it, and everything with be okay in the end.  One of the things I miss the most is the Saint Mary’s education system. I like that classes there, at least the ones I have taken, emphasize discussion and question asking, whereas here my classes are more lecture based.  I also miss the small classes and the method of continuous assessment via papers, tests, or quizzes because here there is just one, large final exam or paper.  It is fascinating to me to be able to experience firsthand the differences in the educational systems in various countries.  For example, in Ireland students stay in high school one more year than in America, but then they only do three years of college.  

Anyway, as of now, I am living in 311 Le Mans Hall next year with two of my good friends, Gloria and Brenna.  Our room has a full bathroom, and I could not be more excited to share my junior year of college living with these beautiful girls.  

I have officially declared a double major in Religious Studies and Global Studies (focusing on International Development).  I am so happy that I can say I love my major and that I am happy and content.  I changed my mind about what I wanted to do with my life dozens of times over the past few years, and I changed my major accordingly several times.  It feels great to be able to feel that I know what I am being called to do with my life, and I am so grateful to have been able to make this discovery at, and through, Saint Mary’s College.

- Deirdre O. ‘16



Little Sibs Weekend

Last weekend the hallways of every dorm on campus had a different sound echoing through them. The discussions of seminar homework were replaced with faint dialogue of Disney movies behind closed doors. The plans for the weekend were made not centered around dorm parties, but instead encompassed activities that included scavenger hunts and tie-dying t-shirts. Finally, the dining hall was filled not only with young women but also little boys who were passionate about Spiderman and even younger girls who loved to show off their new princess costumes to the world. Every year, Saint Mary’s College hosts Little Sibs Weekend. The college chooses one weekend in the spring to host younger generations to spend three days here on campus and enjoy some quality time with their older siblings who attend SMC. Younger siblings are able to check in on Friday night and get a meal plan that covers all meal through both Saturday and Sunday. Both siblings also receive a t-shirt, a cup, and a rubber bracelet. Throughout all three days, Saint Mary’s does a great job in allowing siblings to bond through engaging, teambuilding activities. On Friday night, the Angela Athletic Facility was home to a number of sports, races and even a scavenger hunt. Pairings were also able to play glow in the dark beanbags while helping themselves to some free cotton candy and popcorn. There were numerous activities for all age groups. For the younger generation of little siblings, there were craft and coloring tables while the older kids got to enjoy viewings of the movie The Hunger Games and got to tie-dye the t-shirts that they had received. This year, my sixteen-year-old brother came to visit me here on campus. It was so exciting getting to see my brother everyday while we explored not only the campus of Saint Mary’s but also Notre Dame. We got to eat together in the dining hall and exchange stories while also catching up on our lives since we have seen each other. He still raves about the ice cream machine that Saint Mary’s provides with every meal. It was very refreshing to be able to introduce him to all of my friends and future roommates and we definitely made memories that will last a lifetime! I’m glad I got to witness my brother getting to experience college life hands-on for the very first time. Even if biologically there’s no way he can attend this particular college.

                                    ~Emily R. ‘17



Doing Too Much

When is it too much?  -and- When do all the things you do become too much?

When do you start saying no?  -but- Is saying no missing out on opportunities?

Well it’s… college. The stakes higher, the opportunities greater, the sleep rare, and the time—somehow—more limited. It can be great, but it can also be very overwhelming. When you say yes to everything you begin to be overcome and must schedule every hour of your day. But if you fill it with things you love—it’s great fun! People constantly tell me I “do too much.” While I cannot argue with that, it makes me happier because I’m always busy doing those things I love. I have 10 hours of choir rehearsal a week but I love the supportive community that the Liturgical Choir provides. I have wonderful friends who are willing to give up their Friday night and Saturday afternoon to help me move; inspiring and hilarious choir dinners every Tuesday and Thursday; and great strength and lasting happiness from singing wonderful pieces in the incredible, spiritual space of the Basilica. I often complain about photographing lots of events for the Observer because they tend to conflict with everything. But after I’m there shooting and I look at the photos I took, I’m immensely happy I went. Being able to capture and document my time here is incredible and something I’ll have forever. And it gets me to events I otherwise probably would not make time to go to. Being a new addition to the PEMCo community has also been a whirlwind—and really great! Meeting new people who are immensely talented and dedicated makes all my time worth devoting (even though I do not put in anywhere close to as much time as most of them). Being able to play my clarinet in the orchestra also allows me time to keep doing what I love while see all my friends at the same time!

So, yes, you can tell me I’m doing too much, but it’s only because I love what I’m doing. I do things that make me happy and help me wisely enjoy my very limited time in college. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes studying is fun and enjoyable, but everyone needs an outlet. I just have many.

Ally D. ‘16




Mass with Mooney

It was a normal chilly Monday night in South Bend. The campus was dark and quiet as usual. However, if one happened to enter into McCandless Hall on this very night just a few days ago, he or she would immediately be overcome with a feeling of energy and delight. Once a year, McCandless Hall hosts a Monday night mass in the McCandless chapel with the President of the College, Carol Ann Mooney. President Mooney herself attended Saint Mary’s College and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1972. Later on, she continued her education at the University of Notre Dame Law School where she graduated at the top of her class. Today, she is the president of Saint Mary’s College and honestly one of the most sincere, likeable people on campus. During mass, we prayed for her daughter who had just recently gone into labor at the very moment we were in church. The service lasted for about an hour and then we proceeded outside of the chapel to Vendoland (the common area of McCandless with a kitchen and vending machines for all to use). Here, the resident advisors of McCandless all gathered together and had monkey bread prepared and milkshakes for us as well. It was so humbling to see just how many people had gathered together just to make us first years feel at home and special. I mean really, even the president of the college itself was there to chat with! Saint Mary’s College always does a great job to ensure its students that we are all a close-knit community here. No one is left behind. The fact that not only did the priest himself join us girls for snacks but also the president of the college is something truly unique and remarkable. It goes to show that no matter what your title is, you are never too important or old to enjoy some quality time with your students on a Monday night.

                        ~Emily R. ‘17



Spring Break

Conveniently, the Saint Mary’s College spring break was March 8-16, and the National University of Ireland’s was March 14-23, so I had the pleasure of hosting three girls during the SMC break while still having ample time to travel for my break here in Ireland! 

Saint Patrick’s Day in Dublin was hectic and wonderful. The crowds were dense, but thankfully the rain held off.  The parade lasted for nearly two hours, and the enthusiastic crowd was dressed in all green.  After walking around Dublin for a bit, my friends and I headed back to our much less crowded hometown of Maynooth.  

Wednesday morning, my three American roommates and I boarded a plane of London at 6:30am.  Our exhaustion from lack of sleep quickly evaporated when we arrived in one of the most beautiful cities I had ever been to.  We accomplished so much over those three days that I am just going to bullet point everything to make it more concise and clear.  Also, every single day was sunny with clear skies; I cannot get over how blessed we were.

Wednesday, March 19

- Arrived in London, got situated at our flat, and made a game plan

- Walked to the London Eye, Big Ben, the House of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey

- Had our packed lunch and coffee in Trafalger Square

- Walked down Oxford Street while window shopping and people watching

- Picnicked in Hyde Park as the sun set beautifully

- Walked through the quaint Notting Hill neighborhood

- Went to King’s Cross Station and took photos at Platform 9 3/4

- Found the door on Baker Street where Sherlock is filmed.  The man who currently lives there caught us and sighed in disgust…oops!

Thursday, March 20

- Changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace

- Walked down the famous Mall, the Strand, and Fleet Street

- Walked over Millennium Bridge and saw the Globe Theatre

- Crossed the London Bridge, saw the Tower of London, and went in London’s oldest church and its crypt

- Went to the Evening Song service at Saint Paul’s cathedral

- Saw the play adaptation of Roddy Doyle’s book, The Commitments

Friday, March 21

- Went inside the Tower of London and did the full tour (Crown Jewels, towers, torture chambers, etc..)

- Went to the British Museum, someplace I could easily spend multiple days

- Took an overnight bus to Edinburgh

Saturday, March 22

- Arrived in Edinburgh bright and early, checked into our hostel, and made our plan

- Got coffee at The Elephant House, where J.K. Rowling penned the first two Harry Potter books

- Took a free walking tour around the city

- Climbed Arthur’s Seat, a large hill with panoramic views of the city

- Went to dinner at a Scottish tavern where my roommates tried haggis!  I am a vegetarian, so I did not!

Sunday, March 23

- Day tour of Glen Coe, Fort Augustus, The Highlands, Loch Ness, and Pitlochry.

Monday, March 24

- Brunch at The Elephant House

- Walked to the Royal Botanic Gardens

- Relaxed in the Meadows park as the sunset

- Took a bus to Glasgow, where we flew home from

One of the best weeks of my entire live!  I am so grateful to have these opportunities.

- Deirdre O. ‘16



Dorm Hunting

It’s incredibly difficult to imagine myself living anywhere else other than McCandless Hall. The all-freshmen dorm has been so good to me over these past 8 months and honestly, it is going to be bittersweet having to move out. However, as they say, all good things must come to an end and I cannot wait to experience the next set of memories that will follow me in a new building. I plan on living in Le Mans Hall next year with my good friend ‘D’ who is from California. We have really grown close since school has started and she’s one of my really good friends here. Le Mans hall is the oldest of all of the buildings and contains 3 stories of living quarters while the 1st floor houses offices and administrative rooms. It’s intense architecture and large-scale structure leaves a huge impact on every bystander who ever visits St. Mary’s. Seeing as though this year is already coming to a close, my friends and I all had to figure out where we were going to call home for next year. Every year, St. Mary’s College designates two days in the spring for already existing students to tour the halls of Le Mans and Holy Cross Hall and get a feel for where they would like to live the following year. At first, my friend ‘D’ and I looked at Holy Cross Hall. Holy Cross Hall is an amazing building with a really great set up. All of the rooms are known for their light hardwood floors, high ceilings, and tall windows. Plus, this building not only houses the post office, but also the women’s health office. Le Mans Hall on the other hand is different, but in a good way. The rooms in Le Mans are all different in size, shape and even color. Despite being a little smaller, most rooms come with a walk-in closet and/or a half bathroom. This makes everyday prep a lot easier because you no longer have to walk down the hall to brush your teeth in the morning. Overall, it was really inspiring to see what older girls had done to help make their small spaces livable! The amount of effort and creativity they put into their living spaces helped give ‘D’ and I a lot of ideas for next year. In terms of the process, St. Mary’s has moved their dorm selection method online this year. This means that everyone will be issued a number and time to register for their rooms. Unfortunately for the soon-to-be sophomores like myself, we are left with last pick, which is only fair. Although, I cannot wait until the later years where I’ll be able to pick the exact room that I want. But for now, I’m just glad I have found a great roommate and I can’t wait to start planning what our room will be like for next year.

                   ~Emily R. ‘17