Tales of A Baby Ram: My First Month At Fordham


Starting college means learning to do your own laundry. (YUERONG LI/ THE OBSERVER)


Standing on the sidewalk waiting to sign in on move-in day was surreal for two reasons: college had always felt so far in the future, and I thought it would maybe make me feel different.

It has been over one month since that metamorphic day. In my short time at Fordham, there are a few common college myths I have found to be untrue.

The most intimidating aspect of college is without a doubt the workload. There are so many classic horror stories about all-nighters in the library, essays that require an endless amount of pages, not to mention the massive amounts of readings assigned. But like a lot of things, once you actually start doing them, you find out they’re really not all that bad. So far, the workload has been heavy, but manageable.

The most striking difference between high school and college work is the length and purpose of each assignment. In my high school, teachers assigned nightly busywork type assignments that were short and due the next day. Now, because classes don’t meet every day, the work is longer because there is more time to do it (even though it still somehow ends up being left to the night before.)While I sometimes do feel personally victimized from the amounts of reading due for a class, it’s manageable.

The amount of responsibility has increased both in and out of the classroom. My mom left fairly soon after I moved everything into my dorm room. After, I realized there were a few things that I had to pick up from the drugstore. It occurred to me at that moment that it was all on me to figure out every part of this seemingly small trip, from finding the nearest store to buying my own necessities to getting back in time for the next orientation activity.

I expected the independence to hit me to an almost cliché point; but, like most cliches, it turned out to be so true. On the first day here, I half expected to be told some dorm rules and maybe a time frame you could leave and enter the dorms. Now I realize how absolutely naive that expectation was. Inside the classroom, the independence is clear through the syllabus that is handed out the first day. The professors aren’t reminding us what is due and when tests are; it is expected that we keep up with that ourselves.

Because I have a syllabus for each of my six classes, I found it most difficult in the beginning to keep myself organized. There were so many dates and different packets of paper and assignments, I was feeling overwhelmed with how to remember and sort everything. I had a planner, but did I really want to write down everything? Now, I have a little system figured out and am feeling a whole lot better. Instead of trying to combine all the schedules into one, I take photos of each and save them in a separate albums on my phone, which makes everything super accessible.

One thing I became very accustomed to was a lot of grades and being able to see them all updated regularly on an online portal. That’s why it has been a little bit scary that most of my classes don’t have any grades up yet. It feels like a game of high stakes – all or nothing- I know that the few grades I do get will matter a lot.

Also, it feels like I blinked and we are suddenly at midterms. For the past four years, midterms and January have always gone hand and hand. Suddenly, midterms are the second week of October, and I’m not even completely sure I  have learned enough to be tested yet. It seems crazy, and as I mentioned before, this is high stakes testing.

This year was the first time I ever had to buy my own textbooks, too. I attended public school my entire life, and textbooks had always been the type of thing that were passed out for free at the beginning of the year, stacked in my closet and left until the end of the year came and they needed to be turned back in. Before moving in, I ordered my books online and died a little bit inside when I saw the total cost deducted from my card. I thought they would go untouched and maybe turn out to be a waste. That changed the first week, when I actually used almost all of the books I bought for the first time in my life.

Another crazy thing about work in college is the absolute necessity for a good laptop. Before buying a MacBook for college, I had a four- year-old Gateway Windows laptop that took 30 minutes just to start up and be useable. Computers are such a crucial tool for classes that I actually don’t know what I would do without this one. It also amazes me how much power Apple has in the college market – especially when I walk into a classroom and see 20 nearly identical Apple laptops out.

Overall, even though the work sort of freaks me out, I know it will be all right. High school work seemed intimidating in middle school and college work seemed intimidating in high school. Most of us are sharing the same feelings as we go through the same experiences of a tough class with a lot of reading or one with a massive essay due at the end of the week. There are too many things to look forward to over the next year to be tripped up by an essay.