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The "Best Four Years of Your Life"

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Fordham University

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The "Best Four Years of Your Life"

Evan O'Hara

5.10.17

The night before my last day of high school was spent in a basement drinking to Brokeback Mountain and mulling over the future with friends. It’s a coming-of-age trope straight out of a movie. One of my friends even joked about how that evening would be the last night of our friendship, since college would irrevocably change us all and we’d never speak again. The weight of what was to come was palpable in the still night, and we eased our anxieties with Bud Light and nervous chatter. We all wondered aloud whether the tall tales of college life would prove true. Our knowledge was amassed through long talks with older friends, cousins, or siblings, as well as through movies like Animal House, Rudy and yeah, even Pitch Perfect. These stories gave us an authority on all things college that was entirely undeserved.

We wondered about the adventure that would come in the subsequent four years. We asked questions about the little things and the big things, but the heaviest one was: did I make the right choice?

I chose Fordham in the November of my senior year. The day I visited was rainy, cold, and grey. My tour guide showed us an RA room in Jogues and tripped while walking backwards. He explained that he balanced classes with his job, and planned to intern that summer for a bank. The jokes he made about Mugz fell on mostly deaf ears, but they showed a certain affinity for the school that was endearing. That day is seared into my mind so strongly that I sometimes wonder if it’s even accurate anymore. Memories have a way of melting into one another, and I’ve seen my fair share of tours meandering the paths on campus since. After seeing Fordham, I had never wanted to be a part of a community so badly. That was even after driving up and down the East Coast both ways. There’s certainly some irony in choosing a school 45 minutes away from home (three hours by NJ transit).

What came in those next four years was not the dream I had expected, but instead, a very painful dose of maturity. My freshman and sophomore years were adjustment phases I wouldn’t wish upon my enemies. After creating a long list of reasons why college was an expensive waste of time, I toyed with the idea of leaving.

But I didn’t.

Somehow, I still find myself raving about the university that almost broke me. Fordham has been a far from perfect experience, and I still believe the school has flaws that need attention. But, in hindsight, it was exactly right. I came to realize that not every day in college was going to fit seamlessly into the "best four years of my life" narrative. Instead, this time would be a capsule of moments that would affect me forever. My friend from home was right that college was a crucible for our best and worst days, but she was wrong that our high school friendships would not endure. That’s not to say that some "forever friends” weren’t lost along the way, but that was okay because there were people who replaced them even more comfortably.

The friends I have made and lost at Fordham were people I never realized I needed. The things that happened here could not have been scripted or planned out, but they feel deterministically necessary to have made me the person I am today. Even the CORE changed how I deal with my every day life - who would’ve known how handy my Urbanism and Sociology courses would be in discussions with my grandpa at Easter AND with my friend while walking down Fordham Rd?

It would probably surprise many who know me to hear that I walked into Loschert Hall timidly on my first day of freshman year. People might assume that I came thundering through the black gates that separate us from the Bronx with a smile on my face and slice of pizza in my hand. To the contrary, I spent every night of my first week of college on the phone with my parents sobbing. I literally I had a designated bench to cry on outside of Martyr’s.

As I spend my last few days scanning my ID to gain access to the picturesque campus Fordham offers, I can’t help but feel awash with a sense of sentimentality. A few strange “lasts” have hit me the hardest: signing into the wifi authentication account this May 1st, riding the Ram Van in bumper-to-bumper traffic, and not having the right outfit for the temperature in FMH, are just a few.

We all hear about Suits and Mugz, but really, there are many unsung heroes around Fordham who helped to make it home. Someday, their faces will bring that same comfort to another group of students. I highly doubt this month will be my last trip through Howl to see Liz, but saying goodbye to Nadine in the gym will probably make me cry. I wonder if Pepito will miss me forcefully attempting to break into the back of Bellini’s, how long it’ll take the guys from Rams to forget my order, or when the waitress at M&Gs will forget my face. These oft unsung heroes saved days with kindness, just like the friends I never expected to love did.

I think about some of the things I should have done in my time here, but then remember all of the accomplishments I’ve had, and realize how worthwhile everything was. While I hated Fordham sometimes, I’ve loved Fordham always. The pride that I have to walk away from this university is matched only by the love that I have for the people who have helped me through it.