Reflections on being spontaneous from a soon-to-be graduate
The Fordham First Person series focuses on sincerity and self-disclosure. Not necessarily newsy, but always relatable, this series presents the stories of our community, recounted in their own words.
It was one of those days. The kind of spring day you’d find advertised in the Fordham University catalog. It was April and I was walking around Rose Hill’s campus one more time with my parents trying to make a decision on college. It was down to two- Emerson College and Fordham- and I was hoping for some moment of inspiration to strike with big flashing neon arrows pointing towards a destination.
Emerson had the enticing allure of being a communications-based school and giving me the opportunity to play Division III baseball. Fordham had the pedigree I wanted, too, a school in New York City, great academics, and its own campus separated from the city. As we left our tour and headed towards the parking lot, I ran into some guys with gloves and bats in Fordham apparel and inquired about their gear. Fordham had started a club baseball team just that spring. Somehow, that put me over the edge. I made my decision.
What if I hadn’t walked by those guys? Sometimes I think about that chance passing and wonder if I’d still be a senior at Fordham today. I think there’s a good chance I would be. But life is funny that way. I’ve never played on Fordham’s club baseball team. I took a chance based on a spontaneous encounter and yet it’s been one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made.
When I reflect on my four years here, some of my most distinct memories have taken place right on campus, in the presence of others. Most of them have also resulted from spontaneous decisions. Last week was a microcosm of this. Monday, I received a text message from a friend who invited me to his Jazz Collective’s sponsored “Jazz It Up” series, where professional jazz musicians and groups play a free, live show in Duane Library. Tuesday, I got an email from Fordham’s “Academia Hispana” regarding their year-end “Noche Latina,” a celebration of Dominican culture with food, music and a student-run short play. Wednesday, I recited my movie segment on the weekly “Fordham Mornings” show, and later that night, helped lead the pep band during a men’s basketball game.
It was a nice, eclectic resume of activity on campus, and while Wednesday wasn’t inherently spontaneous, it opened myself up to be. The connective tissue however was the presence of community. I like movies and I like sports. Naturally, I watch a lot of television, especially with my roommates. But, as senior year continues to progress, and activities becomes unusually laced with nostalgia, I’ve noticed my memories aren’t from the mediated glow of screens. They’re from stage shows, get-togethers, and parties I’ve experienced with friends, outings to retreats with various groups, and sporting events I’ve covered. They’re live and engaged with people.
Many of them are also spontaneous. In the spring of junior year I was skeptically thinking about studying abroad in Spain over the summer to continue to progress with my Spanish. I was taking a film class at the time at Lincoln Center and while roaming its hallways that day I spotted a flyer about a summer course in London called British Heritage Film. It was perfect. I ended up going, had an amazing month in London and travelled to Paris and Barcelona. I toured Parliament, went up the Eiffel Tower, and walked around Gaudi Park. I met Fordham students I never knew before and thrived in the class. I even netted a best friend.
The clock is slowly counting down for me and I’m running out of time to do more of these activities. The great thing about these communal gatherings and trips is that they’re mostly centered on food. Free food. It’s a great day when you get a free meal and have a conversation with another student over chicken tenders and pigs in a blanket. It’s a great day when you join a club or organization on campus and meet once a week to rehearse, to talk, or to work. It’s a great day the former and latter are the same. They will give you more experiences, more people to meet, and more memories to acquire.
So, it’s a Tuesday night and you’ve got to start a paper that’s due on Friday. You get invited to see an open mic night at Rodrigue’s, or see some Fordham student stand-up comedy, or play in an intramural game. The instinct might be to say no, but you’ll probably spend a good half-hour scanning social media and wasting time. Each of these outings will only take an hour anyway. Say yes. Be spontaneous. Take part in your community. If you do, it won’t expire at graduation.