The United Student Government President Tina Thermadam, Fordham College at Lincoln Center ‘20, has worn multiple hats throughout her undergraduate career at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus. Now, with only three months until she graduates, she’s turning to the rest of the student body to share what she has learned from being involved on campus.
“We take Fordham for granted,” Thermadam said. She thinks that being a student in a large city means that many get distracted by all that Manhattan has to offer and forget about the value of our own college campus.
Fordham’s mantra is “New York is my campus, Fordham is my school,” and Thermadam has embodied that. A political science major on the pre-law track, she interned for the office of Hillary Clinton throughout her junior year and knows the Fordham student reality of juggling classwork and the responsibilities of an internship.
She talked about how grateful she is to be able to work with professionals to implement social media strategies, collaborate with legal advocacy campaigns and commute on the subways the way any other New Yorker would. But “while all that is great and fun, we also have to remember that being a student is a major part of our identity, and it should be acknowledged and celebrated,” she said.
Being an undergraduate college student is perhaps one of the most unique experiences of many people’s lives, and Thermadam feels like she sees so many Fordham students who are just drifting through it.
Thermadam spoke about how hard she and her friends worked in high school to get into a good college but how as soon as people set foot on their college campus they immediately started to think about their post-grad lives.
“I mean, when else are you going to be a college student?” she asked. “You have your whole life to be an employee, CEO, senator or businessperson, but you only have this tiny chunk of time to be a real student.
“Lincoln Center is unique in that there are two different types of students,” she explained, talking about those who “live and breathe student involvement” compared with those who only attend class.
We are all familiar with them. They’re the Gabelli students who only take night classes after a full workday in midtown; the theater students who have visited nearly every New York borough in one week for different auditions; the communications students who spend class time creating social media content for their internships and many others who prioritize off-campus learning.
Her message: “You don’t always have to go off campus to feel engaged. There are amazing opportunities right here.”
She knows she’s biased — she’s spent four years attending cultural events, working with different departments to implement changes, meeting with deans and catching up with the Argo Tea employees. She knows that being involved on campus is not going to be the right decision for everyone.
However, she also knows that she is walking away from Fordham with a unique skill set she could only have gained from being involved on campus and a list of friends and colleagues with whom she wants to keep in touch for years to come — and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
As a graduating senior, she hopes that she’s given something to Fordham that will mean students four years from now will be able to see the beauty of life on campus the way that she has.