Graduating preschool, graduating elementary school, graduating middle school, graduating high school…I should be a pro at this by now, but college graduation is different. Fordham was the first school in my life that I chose. I chose to be a Ram. I chose to spend the past four years of my life learning and loving the Bronx. I chose, over and over again, to change my major until I found the ones that I wanted to dedicate my life to. So, here I am, about to graduate, and I’m scared.
This hopefully won’t be the last graduation that I experience in my life. After Fordham, I still have at least one graduation ceremony to look forward to, but for some reason, this one means more to me than any of the others have so far. These friends that I’ve made at Fordham, the memories that I made, the life that I built, everything was my choice. It was the first time I was independent. I was finally on my own to pave my own way, and this is what I’ve ended up with.
I’m graduating with two majors that I honestly hadn’t ever considered before coming to Fordham. I’m graduating after playing a sport that I had never heard of before the club fair I stumbled onto my freshman year. This sport gave me a new family in the Women’s Rugby Team. I’m graduating with a new sister who was just some random girl that I moved in with halfway through my freshman year. So when I graduate, technically I get to keep these things, but I also am losing them.
I won’t have to make sure that the class I am taking fulfills a Core requirement and a requirement for my Philosophy major so I can make sure that I graduate on time ever again. I will never again step on the pitch with this team that has become my family. I will never again wake up in a tiny dorm room in NYC or an even tinier apartment in London with a girl that I watched slowly become the most intelligent and confident woman that I have ever met. We’re all going to pursue the rest of our lives without each other, and to me, that is terrifying.
After high school graduation you could say, “oh we’ll all be back in the summer! I’ll see you then!”, but that isn’t the case here. I have teammates who live in the Midwest, on the West Coast, on the East Coast, and internationally. We will never again all be together singing rugby songs after a game on a Sunday night. That girl that I met in Martyr’s Lalande is moving across the country to work in service, which means that I will never again be able to sit on the ground of our room eating Pugsley’s Sicilian kisses on a Tuesday night. This is the end of the road for this generation of Rams, and that is scary, but it is also encouraging.
While I’m losing the physical closeness of the people and places that I chose to make a part of my life while at Fordham, I will never lose the relationships that I built. I will always be able to call my best friend and tell her that I miss her and reminisce on old times. I will always be able to tease the numerous people on my team that gave me multiple concussions. I will always know the best place in the Bronx for a slice of Penne Vodka pizza and the best bakery for a birthday cake. Leaving Fordham doesn’t mean that I lose these things, it just means that I have a reason to visit as often as I can.
Approaching graduation is muddled by the stress of finals, finding an apartment for next year, working a part-time job I had to get to gain a semblance of financial independence during the pandemic, and preparing for law school. I am anxious, overwhelmed, scared, and sad. But I am hopeful, excited, optimistic, and beyond prepared for this next chapter of my life. Fordham has given me the building blocks for my future and I will always smile when I think about those times in the sun on Eddies or late-night visits to that yellow house across from Pugsley’s. I grew into myself at Fordham and I know I’m not done growing yet, but for right now, this has been my greatest growth spurt.
Thank you to Sarah, Mary, Julia, Brigid, Alexa, Alicia, my Global Outreach teams, the Women’s Rugby Club team, my London roommates, my Biology classmates who helped me make the leap out of STEM when I needed the push, my family for constantly listening to me bounce between homesick for my hometown and the Bronx, and all of my friends from home who came to experience the life I made for myself in the Bronx. Thank you, Fordham.