Rachel O'Grady '18 | August 29, 2019
There’s nothing like two hours spent looking wistfully out a train window to inspire some over-contemplation.
As a new semester at Notre Dame begins — the third since my graduation — I have found myself reflecting on an institution that accompanied the start of nearly every semester I spent in South Bend: the South Shore Line. Being from Chicago (cue a collective “really?!” from the friends who heard me talk constantly about the place), the train connecting my hometown and my college town was a major part of my life as an undergrad. I’ve hopped on the South Shore at the beginnings of semesters and at the ends, at school breaks, and on nights when I just needed my mom’s cooking and my own bed.
It was on this train that I decided I wanted to switch my major from economics to political science, and where I first discovered the Hamilton soundtrack (which, at two hours and 22 minutes, is almost the exact length of a South Bend Airport to Millennium Station ride). Along the way, I sat next to wacky characters, friends I was in various stages of getting to know, and, on occasion, members of my own family.
My younger sister, Caroline, started at Notre Dame when I was a junior, and one weekend shortly after her orientation, our parents invited us up to our lake house. The house is conveniently located a short drive from the South Shore’s third westbound stop, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to show my sister the ropes. After her Friday classes and my Friday nap (freshman year vs. junior year!), we and a family friend boarded the afternoon train. I’d never taken the train to the lake house before, but I figured it couldn’t be any harder than taking the thing end to end. Turns out I was wrong! As you may have seen coming, we missed our stop. We ended up stranded in Michigan City — not too far from our final destination, but far enough that my lifesaver of a mom had to come to what felt like the middle of nowhere to pick us up. We haven’t missed our stop since.
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