Someone submitted, via the Ask the Darcy page, the question:
why did you pick Notre Dame? and are you glad you did?
I know exactly who posted this because she said on Facebook “What if I don’t want to be anonymous?” and then told me what her questions were that she submitted. So, EMMELINE SPAULDING HART, here’s the answer.
The first part, why did I pick Notre Dame College of Ohio, is very complicated. I went through a long process of studying and visiting colleges and comparing programs and classes, and…ok, I picked it because it was far enough from home that I could justifiably live there, and close enough that I could run home crying whenever I wanted to. Also, in the olden days when I was there, there were no boys. Sure, I went to public school my whole life and had to have boys in my classes, but that just made me want an all women’s college that much more. Those were pretty much my deciding factors.
Am I glad I picked it? Yes, yes, absolutely a thousand times yes. My brother went to Ohio State because he could not get out of our small suburb fast enough. He wanted to get lost in the crowd and not be noticed and be able to go through four years of college without anyone knowing his name if he didn’t want them to. I wanted a place where I wouldn’t get lost, fall through the cracks or not be noticed because that was what high school was for me. Plus, NDC had such a beautiful compact campus, I felt like I was home from day 1. In the days of yore, there were two dorm buildings, a convent for the nuns (who existed back then), the administration building which was where all the classes were held, the library and the gym. That was it. I knew every person in my year…and the years above me…and the years below me. I had a huge dorm room to myself and a bathroom that I shared with only 1 other person. The thought of a public bathroom in a dorm terrified me. Darcy don’t do public showers.
I HATE when people say this, but NDC contributed about 90% of who I am now. In a way, I became more “aspergery” in college because I wasn’t trying so hard to blend. Not that I ever succeeded at blending. Also, I’d like to reiterate that while I identify very much with Asperger’s and have been officially diagnosed with it, I do feel that things are overdiagnosed and whether or not I have a “title” that goes along with my quirks is irrelevant. But in this case, it’s easier to clump it into that title rather than writing this caveat every time I mention something. Professors actually worked with me because they saw things that I didn’t realize, like that I’d do what I was supposed to or learn what I was supposed to, but I had no idea why. All it took was one professor saying “That’s right, but why?” and I started thinking differently. But it wasn’t just one professor, every one of them taught their class, but since the classes were so small, they were able to still cater their teaching to various kinds of learning.
I lived with people who were like, hey, ok, Darcy rocks back and forth a lot and sometimes flaps her hands around and sometimes goes completely silent but moves her mouth like she’s talking because she can’t get words out and can act a little weird – what’s for lunch?
I met two people who significantly changed my life – Catharine and Mary. Those two deserve a post of their own, that’s how important they are in my life.
Now to dispel some rumors about all women’s colleges. No, everyone did not turn out to be a lesbian. Yes, a lot of them did, but not EVERYONE. No, we did not have pillow fights while wearing skimpy lingerie, mostly we wore sweatpants and tee shirts. Ok, there was that ONE time when Mary was an RA and she and Catharine were going on rounds (Catharine was tagging along for the heck of it, she had no official capacity) and they opened the door to one of the floors and saw naked girls scatter. No one knows what that was about. Oh, and there was the time Mary found a naked man hiding in a shower. He belonged to one of the girls, I think, I’m pretty sure he wasn’t a random naked man. No, the dorms weren’t filled with drunk college girls every night – but Cleveland Heights bars and the flats (a former meat market in Cleveland) were. And then they’d come back and sneak alcohol in, and THEN the dorms would be filled with drunk college girls – but since I am me, I had no idea about any of this and was proud of the fact that once I managed to sneak my dog into my dorm room. It never occurred to me to sneak alcohol in. Oh, except that one time Mary opened my mini fridge to get a beverage and it was filled with vodka, which I was legitimately keeping in there for Catharine while her parents visited (sorry, Steve Mr. Fetzer and Julie Mrs. Fetzer), and Mary just closed the door to the fridge and said “Really? I’m just going to pretend I didn’t see that”. I was sort of a badass (not even close). And the last rumor – that you can walk into a classroom into a sea of beautiful young women, dressed in skimpy clothes and wearing make up and looking like models. I don’t think that happened even once. Flannel pajamas, baseball hats and ponytails were pretty much it.
I loved Notre Dame so much I went back in 2010 to get an English degree. It was….not the same. For one thing, there were boys. A lot of them. And they were usually sweaty. For another, there is a whole other building now for classes. That was all kinds of weird. And then there was the fact that I could have been the parent of most of my classmates at that point. Oh, and I was older than one of my professors by quite a few years. Thankfully, any time this subject came up, everyone was shocked that I wasn’t just a regular senior, so I guess I looked like I belonged, I just…didn’t exactly…I was old. The thing that killed me was having a professor who graduated high school at the same time I graduated college the first time (except I didn’t technically graduate but that’s another story).