By Joseph Esposito
Managing a busy schedule in college is no easy task, but Mary Theresa Goulding, FCRH ’19, has done it. Not only is she a full-time student, but she also plays on Fordham’s women’s basketball team and volunteers with the Jesuits multiple times a week. Goulding is from the town of Rangiora, which is in the South Island of New Zealand, and she had always wanted to come to America.
“It kind of was a last-minute decision to come to America,” said Goulding. “It was always, like, a dream, but I never knew I could actually fulfill it. And then one of my coaches gave me the opportunity.”
Goulding came to America when she began attending Gillette College in Wyoming. She studied there for a year, playing on their basketball team as well. Fordham found Goulding on film and flew to Texas to watch her play at Nationals. Two of the Fordham coaches spoke to her after the game, and, from there, they offered her an opportunity to come play at Fordham. Visiting Fordham for the first time was memorable for Goulding. “I loved it,” she said.
“I immediately knew this was the place for me; the coaching staff was amazing.” She also loved the campus, especially the balance of city life and a campus environment that Fordham provides. “I was amazed at how it was like an oasis,” she said.
During her visit, she met all of the coaching staff and spent time with some players. “That was a lot of fun,” said Goulding. “I really kind of connected with the coaches; it was the right fit.”
As a practicing Catholic, the Jesuits were also attractive for Goulding. “I liked that it was a Jesuit school and that there was a church on campus,” she said. Goulding is a small forward on the women’s team and has been playing since her sophomore year. October through March is the regular season, which involves a lot of travelling for away games. She and her team play twice a week, both at home and away. When there is not a game, the team is practicing and also lifting.
Time management is important to Goulding amidst her busy schedule. “It is definitely hard; you really have to be on top of it,” said Goulding. Sometimes this involves making sacrifices in her social life. “But that is a sacrifice I am willing to make for basketball,” she said. Goulding also volunteers with the retired Jesuits of Fordham as well as with the Sisters of Life in the city. In fact, her coaches have promoted this; the team has to do 24 hours of community service during the season. “That is part of the reason I liked the coaching staff; they encourage (us) to give back to the community,” she said.
But Goulding regularly does extra volunteering on her own time, around three times a week. Goulding visits Murray-Weigel Hall to read to, talk to and spend time with the Jesuits living there. She walks with them around campus and watches sports with them as well. “I love it,” she said. “I spend a lot of time there, so I have built a lot of connections with the priests there. I love seeing them; they have so much to share.” Volunteering has been a learning experience for Goulding. “I feel like older people have so much knowledge; if you give them the time, I think we as a younger generation can learn a lot from them,” she said.
Overall, Goulding feels she has gotten a lot out of her experience. “By giving, you receive,” she said. Prioritization is the secret for Goulding in managing school, sports and volunteering. “I feel like if you put anything as a priority, you always make time for it,” Goulding said. Goulding has enjoyed her experience at Fordham. “I’ve loved it; I have been very blessed. I am super grateful for the opportunity to be here,” she said.