Of Rings and Things

The third year of college, similar to the junior year of high school, is unique in that generally, this is the year students are allowed to choose their class rings.

ND class rings, large and small

Four years ago, My Favorite Domer (AKA College Guy) refused to have a high school class ring, even when I offered to pick up the tab for it.

‘I’d only wear it two years at most,’ he said. ‘Why spend a couple of hundred dollars on something like that?’

Part of me agreed with him. It was a rather senseless-sounding expense.

But back in the day, most of us wore our high school rings into college, thereby extending the practicality of the purchase.

Different times, I guess.

In the spring semester of his sophomore year, I received a flyer with information on ordering College Guy’s class ring — a ring he wouldn’t be allowed to receive or wear until two weeks into his junior year — and I shared it with him over the phone.

‘Definitely!’ he answered to my question about his desire for one.

When he came home in May, we pored over the brochure and the Website, examining the options, weighing the costs of the different metals, finishes, stones and sizes. Soon he knew exactly what he wanted.

So over the summer we trekked to South Bend and placed the order. It was way more money than either of us wanted to spend, but how can one put a price tag on memories?

Recently he called and announced he’d gotten his ring. I won’t get to see it for a while, but I marvel at the tradition, the history:

  • Notre Dame class rings haven’t changed since they were first offered, some 80 years ago!
  • Rings are worn with the school name facing the owner until that person graduates; the ring is then “turned outward to face the world.”
  • Class rings feature shamrocks, Celtic font, a cross, the interlocking ND, the school seal, and the Dome.
  • Rings can be personalized with initials, name, and graduation year.

Do you still have your class ring, from high school or college? Does it hold special memories for you?