What does it mean to be a senior?
I would make a confident bet that most of the senior class at Fordham University has not contemplated this question, as we are all too caught up in classes, jobs and celebrating. I would also make a confident bet that many seniors are most concerned with how many internships they have had as well as their GPA and whether or not they have a job lined up after graduation. Still, I ardently challenge the level of importance seniors currently place on these three things and where they should actually rank on our proverbial “Level of Importance Totem Pole.”
I am an accounting major in the Gabelli School of Business. I have learned during my years at Fordham that, while the academic curriculum is both viable and important, there are more important things to a college career than any midterm or final grade. Education is experiential. Education happens both inside and outside of the classroom. This dichotomy between inside and outside is the crux of that statement. We are educated both inside and outside the Fordham gates. I spend almost 11 hours in the classroom every week. Including sleeping, there are 120 hours within the five-day class week. There is obviously a lot more time spent out of the classroom than inside of it. So why are we so focused on what happens inside of the classroom?
The answer is simple: pressure. We live in one of the most expensive and competitive cities in the world. Getting and keeping a job is extremely difficult, and therefore we are pressured to attain a certain academic standing along with a certain number of teacher recommendations, so we can one day receive our dream job and be happy. Right? Wrong. I am not just an accounting major. Humans have so many different emotions, likes, dislikes and facets.
Accounting consists of a generalized set of acceptable rules that accountants are meant to adhere to and practice in order to be successful. So, in order to be happy would I have to devote all my time during the week solely to accounting? Something in my heart makes that hard to believe. I am a firm believer that humans have passions, and it is these passions that allow us to achieve the satisfaction that is the truest form of symbiosis between the human and the action: happiness.
Personally, my passion is writing. I know I do not seem like the typical accounting major, and that is absolutely the case. No one person is strictly an accountant. No one person is strictly a doctor. Students at Fordham comprise of different pieces that make them beautiful people. These pieces of us need to be constantly fed. I must not strictly feed the accountant. I must feed the writer, the poet and the musician that are constantly trying to rip themselves out of my heart and into the world. There is nothing more satisfying than evoking our passions, and there is nothing worse than keeping them trapped inside.
It is my hope that everyone who is about to graduate is focused on working to live rather than living to work. I believe that people should focus more on what gives them that intangible satisfaction and vigor instead of the tangible, bi-weekly paycheck. Money does not feel. Money does not laugh, cry, fight or breathe. There are plenty of things I have learned within the Fordham classroom that will help me in the accounting field and prove extremely practical throughout my professional career. These skills will provide me the financial stability and benefits that I will use to support the family I aspire to have one day.
There are also things outside of the Fordham classroom that I started learning well before I came to Fordham. These experiences are comprised of the different human interactions I have had, the soaring peaks and the devastating valleys. I call these the human experience. They are the experiences that have taught me right from wrong. These are the experiences that have helped me discover my true passions in life and for what I eventually want to use those passions. They are the experiences that will truly matter regarding how I will shape myself, as the man I will be for my family. I ask that you all consider these words carefully. I beg that you focus on your passions and that you do not reduce yourself to your GPA or your starting salary. You have no idea yet, but you are so much more than that.
Rich Doyle, GSB ’14, is an accounting major from Williston Park, N.Y.