To Freshmen, From Upperclassmen

We’ve been there, now you’re here


Well, Rams, it’s that time of year again. Your local grocery store has cleared out a whole aisle for school supplies, and your inbox is flooded with emails from the campus bookstore harassing you to buy your textbooks. At this point, it’s old hat for most of us. But it’s not like that for the newest members of the Ramily.

We were all freshmen once, so why not share the wealth of wisdom we’ve gained during our time at Fordham?

Plan for at least 15 minutes of elevator wherever you’re going.” -Esmé Bleecker-Adams, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’21

For most New Yorkers, their most frequently used form of transportation is the subway. But as a student at Fordham Lincoln Center, you will likely find yourself using the elevator more than the 1 train. Lowenstein has seven elevators; McMahon, five elevators; McKeon, four elevators. That’s 16 elevators in total, but that’s not enough to transport every student at Fordham Lincoln Center in a timely manner. Particularly if you’re travelling to and from higher floors, you’re going to want to allow for some time. It’s a lucky day when you only stop on one other floor before your destination.

“Get involved, don’t be stupid, work smarter not harder and have fun!” -Jordan Meltzer, Gabelli School of Business (GSB) ’20

At the end of the day, your main objective in college is to graduate. But who says you can’t have fun in the meantime? At Fordham Lincoln Center, there’s plenty of fun and engaging clubs and extracurriculars to join. You may join some clubs that pair well with your major; you may join some that have nothing to do with your major. Either way, there’s something for everyone.

Robert Stryczek, GSB ’21, suggests that you join United Student Government. Owen Roche, FCLC ’21, thinks you should join The Observer. I think you should join whatever club makes you happy.

As far as not being stupid goes, this can mean many things. You’re an adult, and you’re growing. You’ll do stupid things. But that doesn’t mean you have to be stupid. Learn from your mistakes and grow.

Lastly, working hard will never go unrewarded, but remember that college is a marathon and not a sprint. Four years will only seem like a short time after you’ve received your degree. In the meantime, work efficiently to avoid burnout. And have fun!

Clubbing is a waste of money.” -Duncan Taylor, FCLC ’22

While a night on the town is always fun every once in a while, do keep in mind that expenses add up. And it’s not like we’re attending the cheapest university in America. From personal experience, going out got old after my first semester. Come springtime, my weekdays were so busy that I’d opt to relax on the weekends. While there are times to celebrate, like birthdays and holidays, there are other — free — things to do in the city that never sleeps.

Dump your high school man.” -Stephanie Mizrahi, FCLC ’20

While many stories circulate the internet of successful long-distance relationships, we mustn’t forget that they take a lot of hard work. Regardless of whether you and your high school sweetheart decide to part ways or stay together for college, don’t let it get in the way of your experience. Your freshman year should be about you, not your relationship.

“Keep track of your dining dollars! Some people ran out super quick and some had $300 left.” -Emma Kossoy, FCLC ’22

With the various meal plans Fordham offers, it’s difficult to know which one you’ll realistically use. As a result, people run out of swipes and dining dollars quickly; conversely, people get to the last week of school with enough swipes and dining dollars to feed a small village. No one likes spending more money to get them through the semester, nor does anyone like seeing their money go to waste. 

Fear not, for there are ways to keep track of your meal plan. At the register in the Community Dining Hall or the Ram Café, you can always ask how many swipes or dining dollars you have remaining. You can also download the Tapingo app to check your balance from your phone.

But in the event that you find yourself with a wealth of swipes and dining dollars, there are things you can do to spend them quickly. For example, find some friends who are low on swipes and pay for their meals. Or, buy meals for those who can’t afford to, like Marina Vergara, FCLC ’22, did at the end of last semester.

“Carry tupperware to every university event.” -Alyana Vera, FCLC ’20

Being a college student is expensive; everyone knows this. But next time you walk outside of your dorm room, check out the flyers that are hanging up around you. Those events will more than likely have free food. While it is all you can eat, no one ever considers the concept of “all you can take.” You may look funny for squirreling away food, but free food always tastes better.

Besides, food waste is a crisis in this country, is it not? Where does all of the extra catered food go when all is said and done? Why let it go in the trash when it could go in your mini-fridge and later your stomach?

So next time you decide to go to a university event, grab tupperware, or even a Ziploc bag.

“Office hours are invaluable! You’ll become friends with your professors; it’s the best!” -Samantha Rizzo, FCLC ’20

While your time outside of classes is definitely your time, it takes work both in and out of the classroom to fully understand everything and do your best academically. If you’re lucky enough to not have one class’ office hours to overlap with another class, do take advantage of that. In the event of an unexpected absence or not understanding a concept, learning in person is more valuable than any YouTube video or Google search. And, while emailing may seem easier, you’ll get an immediate response if you just see your professor in person.

“If you’re semi-interested in an on-campus event and there’s free food, go.” -Gillian Russo, FCLC ’21

Clubs and committees host a multitude of events every semester, and it’s difficult to decide which one to attend. Time is precious when you’re in college; don’t waste it. With that said, you don’t want to graduate with regrets. You (or your parents) are paying too much to have any. If an event strikes your fancy — even just a little bit — and there’s free food, go.

By attending, you might become even more interested in the club or committee that is hosting the event. You’ll meet the leaders and get a better idea of what they’re trying to accomplish. Or, if you don’t end up enjoying event, at least you’ll get free snacks out of it.

“Savor your time as a student. Internships will come when they do, but remember what you’re here for.” -Marielle Sarmiento, FCLC ’21

College is “Real World Lite” to many people. As freshmen, you may be eager to get your foot in the door to the real world. Fordham often boasts the myriad of respected companies that its students have interned for, which may have been a selling point for you. I know it was for me.

But as alluring as the real world might be, remember that, in the real world, summer is just another season and not a break. Slow down and savor the next four years.

“Always use Rate My Professor when registering for classes. But take it with a grain of salt.” -Courtney Brogle, FCLC ’21

People have different qualities that they look for in an educator. Whether you’re looking for a professor who doesn’t require attendance or a professor that will radically change the way you think about writing essays, Rate My Professor is the resource for you. I suggest having it pulled up in another tab while you look for courses.

Read more than just the first couple of reviews. In fact, I’d suggest that you read every review you can to get a wide variety of perspectives on the professor. But keep in mind that the reviews can be biased. Maybe the student became close to the professor. On the other hand, the student had an incident with the professor. One extremely bad (or extremely good) experience can dictate a student’s judgement of a teachers. 

People look for different things in a professor. For example, say one review ranted about how the professor solely used Socratic seminars. Maybe you enjoy Socratic seminars and you find them to be helpful. While the number rating on Rate My Professor is certainly helpful, gather all of the information you can before you commit to the class. 

Though we upperclassmen have a lot of knowledge to share, we’re still learning and growing like you. The only reason why we know what we know now is because we were once in your shoes. Whether it be working towards getting a “big boy job” like Meltzer, “trying to be less hard on [yourself]” like Vergara, or being a “health queen” like Alexandra Sheridan, FCLC ’22, we’re working on it. Welcome, class of 2023 — and good luck.