Making Up for Lost Time

Hunter+Benegas+%2F+The+Fordham+Ram

Hunter Benegas / The Fordham Ram

Kelly Christ, Editorial Director

I wish I could start this by reminiscing on being a doe-eyed freshman nervously approaching The Fordham Ram’s table at the club fair. But I can’t. This story starts in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. 

I began my freshman year at Boston College, the college I had considered to be my dream school. When I quickly realized that Boston was not the right fit, I felt as though I had failed. But come February 2018, a light appeared at the end of the tunnel. I began to talk with my family about transferring, and Fordham was the only school that I applied to. 

Once I stepped foot on Fordham’s campus, everything began to fall into place. It may sound cliché, but it’s true. Despite how behind I felt, I quickly made friends who assured me that I was welcome anyway. There is something special about the Fordham community, something that many lose sight of over time. It is the general kindness of strangers, a sense of community that I can promise you is not present at every school. 

I attended The Fordham Ram general interest meeting in the fall of my sophomore year and soon began writing articles for the opinion section and copy editing. When applications for Volume 101 were released, I decided to apply to be a columnist. 

As a columnist for the culture section, I found a platform to bring light to a topic that I was so passionate about: mental health. This column opened more doors for me than I ever could have anticipated. It proved to me that I could combine my two biggest passions (and majors), psychology and English. It showed me that, through writing, I could connect with others and make a meaningful difference in their lives, no matter how small. 

Editorial director had been a dream position of mine since I first got involved with the Ram. It is an immensely special position, previously held by special people whose shoes I was terrified to fill. The sense of imposter syndrome that I felt probably could not be overstated. I had never been on staff before — yet here I was, writing weekly editorials that would be read as representative of the Ram as a publication. 

But we forged ahead, and I could not be prouder of what we have accomplished. The editorial truly highlights the magic of the Ram, a microcosm of the publication as whole. It is a group effort, combining the expansive talent of our team and proving our dedication to the Fordham community. 

As the pandemic forced campus to close in the spring of my junior year, I began to feel that same sense of loss that I had struggled with when I transferred. Again, I was missing out on time that had already been shortened from the start.

But what my unusual college experience has taught me is that time should not be our focus. No, I will not have gotten to spend a full four years at Fordham by the time that I graduate. But I got so much more than I ever could have expected from college. I have memories of Massachusetts, of shamelessly wandering through Fenway in a Yankees sweatshirt and exploring the streets of Salem in October. I have memories of New York, of late-night Metro-North rides and asking my friends “on- or off-campus Starbucks?” too many times a day.

On Tuesday nights, I cannot deny that I feel acutely aware of what could have been in a fall semester without COVID-19. The late nights in the print shop that we missed out on, the TikToks we could have made, the games of absurdly large chess with a set we probably should not have opened in the first place. We were just beginning.

I cannot put into words the gratitude I have for the Ram. My mental health column allowed me to see a future where I could continue to write while pursuing psychology. Working as an opinion editor transformed me from the frustrated “I don’t like talking about politics” type to a girl who happily listens to The New York Times podcasts before falling asleep. Being editorial director has given me confidence in my voice and a connection to Fordham on a level I would not have been able to get elsewhere. 

My time with the Ram may have been shorter than most who have held my positions, but it has been no less meaningful. As a transfer student, it takes much longer to feel that sense of belonging. You constantly feel as though you are making up for lost time, for things you missed out on and memories that you were not there to experience. But the Ram helped me to find that sense of belonging. It gave me something tangible to contribute to the Fordham community. I already fantasize about showing my kids my old, beat-up copy of the very first editorial we published, boring them with stories of the endless memories Fordham gave me, just as my very own Fordham alumni parents did to me. 

I want to express my gratitude to all of those who have proven to me that it is not about the quantity of time spent together, but the quality. 

To Emma, my opinion partner-in-crime, for all that you have done and the memories we have made panicking over politics. The Ram is so lucky to have you. To the rest of the print shop crew, Kieran, Rachel, Jimmy, Dylan and Alex, thank you for giving me the chance to experience the magic of production nights. I wish we had more time, but I am beyond grateful to have had what we had. To Vanessa, the bridge between the Ram and the rest of my Fordham family, thank you for showing me just how special this group is. The Ram truly is better than most. 

To Helen, for your endless patience and immense dedication. I am so proud of what we have done together (and how far we have come from being on the verge of tears while writing our first editorial). To the rest of the executive board, Andrew, Kristen, Max and James, for holding this paper together when so much was thrown our way.

To the Volume 101 executive board, Lindsay, Briana, Colette, Hannah and Aislinn, thank you for taking a chance on me and setting an example that was equally exciting and daunting to follow. I hope that I made you proud. To the rest of the incredible staff of Volume 102, thank you for the memories, laughter and late nights. Oh, how I wish we had more time.