1. At least half of the intramural team names were religiously inspired (The Black Robes, Pedro A-hoop-e, The Apostles – including at least one Judas who intentionally or not would give the ball to the other team):
2. The term “Fr. What a Waste” was used to talk about a younger priest on campus (if there were any), and any guy thinking about being a priest. And guys who led more than one campus ministry retreat, which was weird because…
3. Women almost always outnumbered men, especially in anything faith- or service-related.
4. Gender relations were just weird at times and people also had all sorts of theories to explain it (single-sex dorms/floors, many graduates of single-sex high schools, etc.).
5. And let’s just be honest, there were a disproportionate number of girls with the names Katie and Megan (and an usual number with Anne or Marie as a middle name).
6. While we’re at it, I bet you can think of at least ten college friends whose last names start with Mc or O’.
7. The pictures in brochures or on the website were far more racially diverse than the campus reality.
8. The thought, “Wow, I could have had much less debt if I went somewhere else” has crossed your mind.
9. You’ve lived through The Pronoun Wars: “May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of his – God’s! – name, for our good and the good of all his … God’s … holy Church.”
10. You learned about Catholic Social Teaching and social justice, and…
11. You had to take a “core” that included theology and philosophy (and you were subjected to endless debates about what should or should not be in the core), but…
12. Even after all that, the phrase “my tuition is paying for it” was used to justify stealing just about anything from the dining hall that wasn’t nailed down (e.g., fruit for the whole week, a giant jar of peanut butter, a table, a waffle iron. Feel free to insert others in the comments).
13. There were lots of passionate arguments about The Vagina Monologues and/or the choice of commencement speakers.
14. Outraged/amazed comments like “They even took the Bac-o-Bits!” were overheard in the dining hall on Fridays during Lent.
15. In general, there were heated debates about whether the school’s Catholic identity was Catholic enough … and that debate was fought by everyone except the students.
16. Because for students, the other campus “religion” was basketball and/or football.
17. Or at least it seemed like it until the Sunday before finals week, when church was packed.
18. There was at least one relentlessly awesome older nun.
19. There were lots of opinions about Notre Dame. Some people hated it, others loved it. Some people wanted to go there but didn’t get in, others were accepted but realized that they could go elsewhere for 1/2 the money – and live in an actual city. Some people thought of the place as Notre Dame’s rival school (even if Notre Dame students didn’t see them as a rival), etc. And if you went to Notre Dame, you loved yourself a little too much.
20. You knew at least some people for whom the “ring by spring” was actually true.
21. There were religious buzzwords, especially ones in Latin, like: “Wow, Megan Anne McClain, you were really a woman for others in living the magis by being the spes unica as you cura’d the personalis in doing a faith that does justice.”
22. You had classes with a crucifix in the room and a professor who is an atheist, but other classes with professors who attend (and/or celebrate) daily Mass.
23. “Mass at 10” meant going to church at 10:00 PM and not 10:00 AM., and…
24. “Church clothes” mainly involved a lot of dorm t-shirts, hoodies and sweatpants.
25. Doing post-graduate service seemed as normal as getting a job or going to graduate school.
26. There were long, elaborate signs of peace.
…26.5. That included man hugs. Lots and lots of man hugs.
27.5. Everybody said the words “tradition” and “family” to describe the place a little too much… but in the end it really did feel like a family.
The cover image, by Flickr user nixter, is of St. John’s church at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.