By Erin Shanahan
As a freshman, I was told by an upperclassman that college is just a game you play while you wait for the weekend. However, this senior ideology passed down to me wasn’t my modus operandi for much of my time at Fordham. Rather, for myself, and most of my other fellow editors at The Fordham Ram, college is just a game I play while I waited for Tuesday nights.
Tuesday production night at The Ram will always be an enigma to me. Production night is where we transform tangible inputs (like notes, interviews and photos) and intangible inputs (such as an article angles, student dissonance or the campus emotional climate) into a newspaper. It’s actually quite amazing when you think about it. Basically, our job is to bring order to chaos from 5 p.m. to 4 a.m. every Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. At Tuesday production night, we articulate the thoughts and feeling of other students that would otherwise remain unknown.
But it’s also where we mess around a lot.
I’ve learned quite a lot about journalism late night at The Ram, but I’ve learned so much more about myself, the value of laughter and the type of life I want to lead. This is all thanks to the amazing editors I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Our crazy, introspective and ridiculous conversations will forever remain some of my favorite college memories. Here’s a list of some of the things I’ve learned late-night at The Ram.
1. Mistakes will be made after 2:00 a.m. And that’s okay. It’s especially okay when you have a team of amazing editors to help pick you up. Failure is hard to stomach when perfection is a personal expectation. Guilt, shame and regret are emotions I know too well. It wasn’t until I started working on Volume 99 that I realized how debilitating these emotions were for me. Ultimately, I learned that these feelings are futile and counterproductive. I have my friends in The Ram Office to thank for that realization and for picking me up when I have fallen down.
2. You can, and will, eat an exorbitant amount of pizza (with penne on top) if you pull an “all-nighter” in The Ram Office. Especially if you are working to break a juicy piece with some of your best friends.
3. Take time to waste time. I tend to overbook myself at times (or constantly), so it’s been important for me to keep a strict schedule throughout college in order to be most productive. However, recently, I have been learning the value of taking time for myself. It’s okay to have unproductive moments throughout my day and at The Ram Office. Diverging from my schedule to daydream, chit-chatting with friends and just sitting still for a few minutes is now an expected part of my day. Interestingly, I’m learning that these moments can actually be very meaningful and often times productive.
4. Not all “bronies” are sexual, and they should not be assumed as such. For those who are not privy, a “brony” is a fan of My Little Pony who also happens to be male and/or outside the show’s target demographic of little girls. Despite popular belief, most “bronies” do not have a sexual fixation for My Little Pony. Rather, “bronies” are usually just friendly teenagers and young adults who simply aren’t afraid to admit they enjoy a show which is innocent, colorful and funny.
5. Relationships and breakups are hard, but they are a lot easier when you have a kind, compassionate and understanding team of Ram editors at your side. I think that about 80 percent of our office conversations after 1 a.m. are about our personal relationships. There’s just something in the air in the basement of McGinley that makes you tell-all in the wee hours of the night. But whatever fumes are floating about down there, I’m thankful for them. I have been lucky to have three volumes of personal therapists to keep me sane while I work at The Ram. Thank you all for helping me through my worst times and being there to see me at my best.
6. Using a desolate bathroom alone in the McGinley Basement after 2 a.m. is possibly the scariest experience of your life. Never go alone.
7. Experience is your best teacher. The Ram is a fabulous example of the benefits of experience. I am a psychology major. I have never taken a collegiate level journalism lecture. But I became the editor-in-chief of The Fordham Ram. This was only possible for two main reasons. First, because I threw myself into student journalism and I learned from my experiences in the field. Second, because I had the help of dozens of incredible and experienced peers. I think this is truly the greatest benefit of a college education. Knowledge isn’t just passed from teacher to student on a college campus. Rather, knowledge is passed from students to students and from experiencing situations that bother you. These experiences have forced me to stop to contemplate my own role at this school, in my community and in my own life. The Ram has been my most influential teacher here at Fordham. I could not be more thankful for the opportunities it has given me.
Thank you to all the individuals who have facilitated my experiences at The Fordham Ram. First and foremost, I’d like to thank my Mom and Dad for being a never ending source of love and encouragement. Without you, nothing in my life would be possible. Also, thank you for housing all my editors for a fun-filled weekend at our home this semester.
Thank you Ms. Markt, my high school journalism teacher. You fostered the journalism bug which grew inside me throughout college. My positive experiences at The Survey inspired me to continue working for my school newspaper in college.
Thank you Beth Knobel, The Ram’s faculty advisor, for your constant support both editorially and emotionally. I am so thankful that your guidance and expertise were always just a phone call away. You have been an incredible mentor and role model for me throughout my tenure as editor-in-chief and I will be forever grateful for your kindness and advice.
I’d like to thank all the past Ram editors who taught me so much and inspired me to keep working hard, particularly Kelly Kultys, Joe Vitale, Katie Meyer and Cailin McKenna. A special shoutout to my friend Laura Sanicola. You were such an influential figure in my Ram journey and I can’t imagine my Fordham experience without you in it. I can’t thank you enough for everything you have taught me about journalism, leadership and life.
Thank you to Margarita, my partner in crime. You have consistently kept me sane throughout this crazy year at The Ram in so many different ways. From being my personal therapist to catching the late night edits I’ve missed- you have been there for me through it all. Thank you for your friendship and your support.
To my sweet Theresa Schliep, I am so proud of you and how hard you have worked to get to this point. You are truly an incredible writer, editor, leader and friend. I am so excited to see where life takes you and I am so happy to be leaving The Ram in your trustworthy hands.
I expect great things from you and the rest of your stellar executive board: Taylor, Bailey, Jack and James.
To everyone who was a part of Volume 99, thank you. I was so blessed to not only have an incredible team of editors, but also 23 amazing friends. Thank you for all the laughs, the good times and the life lessons. Specifically, to my friends on the News Team, thank you for letting me eavesdrop on you from my desk.
Cheers to Volume 99- and here’s to the prospects of Volume 100!