Every freshman experiences their own transition phase when starting college. All students are in a similar position, struggling to find their niche, to find friends and to become acquainted with their new room. However, some students are in a more difficult position than others. A great deal of Fordham students are from the tri-state area, so they are already used to the experiences of New York City.
Madison Shyer, FCRH ’20, is not one of those students. Shyer, a neuroscience major from Houston, Texas, had only been to the city three or four times before she began her visits to Fordham University. She was not completely clueless about the East Coast, but she recognized she had more than a few things to learn about living in New York.
Though unsure, Shyer was still enthusiastic about attending Fordham College at Rose Hill. “I really liked the fact that the Rose Hill campus still had the campus feel to it while still being close to the city,” she explained. Still, Shyer can recall how jarring the transition of moving from the South to the Northeast was during her first few months on campus. She was teased every now and then about her accent and was also slightly caught off guard with the season of autumn. “The fact that I was wearing a sweatshirt in September? Yeah, that was odd.”
She also expresses that she was surprised about her peers’ attire. In Texas, students would usually opt for function over fashion, wearing over-sized shirts or athletic shorts. Compared to Fordham students, Shyer felt underdressed. “A couple of my hallmates came into my room in October and sat me down for an intervention. They were concerned that I didn’t have enough clothes.”
Not all of the adjustments were drastic though. Shyer appreciates that New York experiences all four seasons and is thankful for how accessible public transportation is here versus in her home state. She also felt liberated after moving away from home, stating that she was grateful to have her own schedule. One thing Shyer was a bit confused about was how little knowledge native New Yorkers had about the rest of the country. “A lot of people who have grown up in the area have lived here their whole life and don’t really know anything about the rest of the United States. Moving to New York, I suppose I was hoping for a little more culture,” said Shyer. Shyer has not given up on her adventures though, and strives to meet new, diverse people every day.
Even while maintaining classes fit for a neuroscience major, Shyer has time to be heavily involved in campus life. Shyer is Secretary of Women in STEM, which she has been interested in since the start of her freshman year. She is also in the Integrative Neuroscience Student Association, University Choir, Autism Speaks U and is on the novice Women’s Rowing team.
Her advice to other freshmen? “I would highly recommend getting involved, it definitely opens up a lot of avenues for meeting people and figuring out a balance between academics, health and social life.” Though she is still a born and raised Texan, Madison is becoming more familiar with living in New York. She recognizes how different her hometown is from New York City, but can appreciate their differences, and has learned to value each city for its own worth. “I really enjoy living up here. I appreciate the fact that it’s almost like I have two different worlds to live in that are totally separate and I’m very glad that I now feel like I’m in the right place.”