This past Sunday, I was unsuccessful in getting a seat to see Colin Jost’s performance, the end of Spring Weekend’s festivities. I stood at the entrance of Fordham Prep, able to see inside into the atrium but not quite inside the building.
CAB volunteers and Public Safety officers had the unfortunate task of turning away the remnants. The unlucky few. I wasn’t too upset.
As I started to walk away in search of something else to occupy my time, it occurred to me that the last time I had set foot inside Fordham Prep was for Father McShane’s Academic Convocation at the very beginning of my freshman year. It seemed like a lifetime ago.
I vaguely remember Father McShane congratulating the class of 2017 on being Fordham’s best and brightest (that is, of course, until the next class inevitably arrived) and challenging us to embrace the tenets of a Jesuit education. All the brochure language was thrown around, with classic phrases like “cura personalis” and “magis”. Father McShane also told us, the youngest crop of Rams, that if by the end of our college careers we resembled who we were in that moment, we would have tragically wasted our time at Fordham. And although four years at Rose Hill have gone by in an unfairly quick fashion, the irrevocable change that took place within my person made the experience seem to span a generational divide. I doubt the kid sitting in that auditorium listening to some priest welcome him to a strange campus would have recognized the man unable to catch a comedy show.
Being a part of such a wonderfully dynamic community has been the most transformative experience in my life. Fordham allowed me to build a home filled with immensely dedicated and talented individuals that I’m better for having met. The professors that challenged me and demonstrated with vivid passion how rewarding a vocation can be. The tender bonds of friendship that became what I cherish most.
It hasn’t been a perfect experience. Fordham still grapples with serious institutional issues, from onerous bureaucratic procedures that discourage student engagement to an administration that occasionally stumbles in living up to its own virtues. And while I created memories I’ll treasure for the rest of my life, I’ve also had to nakedly confront my own personal shortcomings and failures. There are some things that I wish I had done, and there are some things I wish I had never done.
But that is the central gift of a Fordham education. It presents to us what is wrong with the world and imbibes a fire to right it. Equipped with a desire for growth, we strive to have the humility to discover who are innermost selves are and hope to find the courage to become better. We know that while the mind can understand these problems, it is the heart that will solve them.
We are Rams.
And no matter what life bring us after we leave, that fact will never change.