Dear Class of 2017,
I am well aware this letter will put my name on a long — annoyingly long, perhaps — list of smiley well-wishers you have and will continue to encounter over the next few days.
But let me say that on behalf of The Ram (the weekly newspaper you’re holding), it’s my privilege to welcome you… Dare I say the h-word?
Amid the flurry of unpacking and the dullness of orientation, let’s step back and marinate in the moment. Soon enough, you may find yourself wishing you could rewind the clock and do it all over again.
Home is one of those four-lettered words that should be handled with care — short in length and phonetic sound, but certainly capable of packing some punch if used in the right context.
It has been my experience that parents — admittedly, mostly moms — dabbing at their eyes before the moment of ultimate goodbye arrives in front of South or Martyrs’, are often unwilling or unable to fully comprehend your transition of residency.
The strange, barren and whitewash room you’ve just been handed the key to could not possibly be your new home. A place to rest your head, sure. But a new home?
And perhaps you, too, are feeling some unease. I know from my own experience — between unpacking inside Queen’s Court two years ago, and dropping my younger sister, Taylor, off for the first time this month — it’s not easy.
At some point, the bird has to fly the nest, but the process does not seem to come without a little heartache.
The game of students giving other students advice is a dangerous one, fraught with pitfalls and a baked-in flavor of arrogance. But bear with me; it may do you some good to keep the following points in mind as you prepare to start your life at Fordham.
This campus is as beautiful as it is fleeting. I have found that these days, weeks and years tend to move a little faster than they did in high school. (Perhaps not around final exams.)
Blink your eyes and Spring Weekend has sprung up out of nowhere. Turn your head and half of your college career has gone whizzing by. Savor each day you are here because as quickly as Move-In Day came, graduation will come even faster.
The Arthur Avenue-fueled social scene — parties, late nights, yada yada — is often what dominates the conversation, but no college experience exists without its struggles and lonely moments.
You should prepare for that, and know that there are many administrators and student leaders available to help you in any way you need. (Head toward the smiley well-wishers when in doubt.)
Your future here and beyond is in your hands. As the conventional wisdom goes, you will only get out of Fordham you are willing to put in. The years you spend here are the vehicles by which your development into a more fully formed adulthood rides. Or not — I hear the local bartenders are really funny.
Go to class or sleep through it. Study for the test or go out with friends. Get involved with campus clubs and activities or go home on weekends.
Free independence: perhaps the greatest and most dangerous aspect of college life. These are your calls to make, but before you do recall the investments your loved ones, Fordham and so many others have made in your future success.
The people who sit next to you in the cafeteria or walk alongside you to class or workout on the machine next to yours are representatives of Fordham’s lifeblood: its community. And you are a now a part of that very special community. You chose us, and we chose you.
Step forward and immerse yourself in the campus culture here. Cheer at football games. Go to a concert at Rodrigue’s. Run for a United Student Government position. We move on very different paths in very different speeds, but every once in a while it’s nice to know there’s a community here to pick you up when you fall.
Some miscellaneous items: When walking on East Fordham Road at two in the morning, keep your iPhone in your pocket. Take advantage of the internship opportunities in New York City, and the cultural opportunities in the Bronx.
Do not be shy to explore the spiritual life that exists on campus. See your professors during office hours. And call home every once in a while; it’s easy to forget the people who helped you get to this place.
I wish you all the best as you embark on this exciting journey.