The Freshest of Freshmen



What would the Fordham first-year experience be without the ubiquitous maroon lanyard and an assortment of ram stickers?


We have all seen that type of freshman — the freshman who sports Fordham apparel from head to toe, embodying a human crimson tide on the second day of class. On campus, they are visibly lost and are often seen walking in one direction and abruptly turning around and venturing the other way. 

Well, that’s me. I am the maroon monster walking the halls, and, of course, I had to take a picture of myself standing in front of the ram statue.

I had the notion that being a freshman was “totally fresh, man,” but, boy, was I in for a taste of reality! A reality that includes embarrassingly asking for directions to Lowenstein when you’re already in Lowenstein. 

Also, who knew college students didn’t need five packs of highlighters in every possible color or a dozen bottles of Wite-Out?

My enthusiasm stemmed from the idea that starting college would be exactly like the scenes in “Pitch Perfect,” where students receive flyer upon flyer at club fairs and explore their scenic campuses, often doing anything but homework. 

During one of my unnecessary but frequent visits to the bookstore, I came across the ultimate freshman indicator: the Fordham lanyard.

The wonders of new beginnings and the sheer amount of college merchandise I could purchase from the bookstore filled me with joy, leading me to fall victim to common first-year mistakes, including buying textbooks from the Fordham bookstore. The emails from the bookstore urging me to buy textbooks and winter gear surely didn’t help, either. 

During one of my unnecessary but frequent visits to the bookstore, I came across the ultimate freshman indicator: the Fordham lanyard. At the time, I had no idea that this polyester cord would give away my infancy, but upon opening Instagram, there was a meme at the top of my feed attacking me in all my freshman glory. 

It clowned freshmen and their use of the Fordham lanyard. Upon being enlightened by this meme, I quickly placed the lanyard back on its hook and bought a Fordham mug instead. I don’t drink coffee — nor am I a big fan of tea — but I just had to fill the void the lack of a lanyard left me with.  

As if the Fordham merch I already possessed was not enough, I bought a pack of stickers, just in case there was a plain surface that needed to be “Fordham-ized.” Freshmen LOVE stickers! I would plaster my entire body in Fordham stickers if I could. 

When we’re not buying stickers and apparel, you can find us getting lost on our way to Argo Tea (which I still haven’t found, by the way).

No freshman wants to seem like a freshman, but we can’t help it. At least we can hide our smiles and confusion as we try to decipher whether or not we know that masked person standing 6 feet away. 

We act like we know what we’re doing, but in reality, we have no clue. For example, I wish I knew the horrors of taking classes at 8:30 a.m., and that a bit more pressure is needed when pushing the elevator buttons or else you’ll be left standing pointlessly.

Through trial and error, we’ll surely get the hang of things, at some point. Although we are already well into the first semester, I’m sure the general inexperience of being a first-year student will strike up a new stumbling block as time progresses. 

There’s still a lot to learn, and even though COVID-19 has made for an unexpected freshman year, it certainly did not take away the little moments that contribute to the overall experience. Getting lost, being tempted by the bookstore and becoming excited at the mere thought of going to school won’t last too long, so I guess it’s time to savor these moments that are specific to being a new student.

Next time you spot a freshman on campus or in one of your Zoom classes, just know, we know. We’ll grow out of our “freshie” phase eventually and become upperclassmen before we even know it. Maybe I’ll hit up the bookstore and get the lanyard that’s calling my name and a few other unneeded items, like a bucket hat I’ll never wear. 

I hope I, too, could someday impart wisdom upon future freshmen through a Fordham meme. But for now, being a freshman might just be totally fresh, man.