By Luke DeMonico - Fordham University
You have to realize the weight, the gravitas behind your college decision before you make it. Keep in mind, this is not just going to be the institution on your degree, this is going to be your home for the next four (or so) years!
The college you chose is going to be your home, your network, your way you chose to present yourself to recruiters and strangers alike. So you’ve got to be careful. I learned all this through a lot of deliberation, and with it, came the three major, non academic reasons I chose to attend Fordham University.
Location, Location, Location
I cannot emphasis enough that you have to remember–this is going to be your home! So you have to think hard; do you want a campus nestled in suburbia? Out in the middle of nature? Or deep in the concrete jungle? I have spent my whole life in the suburbs, granted a rare trip to NYC on occasion to see a show or Yankee game.
When I got my acceptance letter from Fordham, I was enthralled with the idea of a life in the Big Apple, lulling in the Met or Central Park, trips to SoHo and Williamsburg, and a life full of exotic food, exotic people, and long subway rides. But like everything else, it has its downsides. I often miss the forests and creeks and quite haze of my hometown, and all the peace it offered (but you get used to falling asleep to the sound of honking cars.)
Eyes Up, Ears Open
The absolute best advice I can give when it comes to choosing schools has got to be, far and by, to visit the schools before deciding! But when you visit the school, don’t treat it like a slog, or get so invested in trying to figure out the courses you’ll be taking senior year, but live in the now. Keep your eyes wide, your ears open, take it in. What are people doing? Are people tabling? What for? What do you hear in passing conversations?
When I went to Fordham, I didn’t hear palaver, I heard passing discussions on art exhibits in the city, discussions on Thomas Aquinas and Kierkegaard, activism opportunities were being marketed by the cafeteria. The kids at Fordham didn’t seem to be sailing through college, they were taking their education (and the city) in full, aware of their opportunities and not quick to waste them.
Follow Your Gut
At the end of the day, something about Fordham just felt right. I remember the moment, it was a warm late spring day, I was walking past Fordham’s Edward’s Parade, an epicenter of student activity, alive with sunbathers, picnickers, Frisbee games, and just a general vitality that seemed to radiate off it in waves. It was admitted students’ day, and I had met wonderful people, seem every inch of campus, and learned all about this program and that class.
At the end of that day, it was that feeling in me, an unstoppable smile had snuck onto my face, and I felt it. This was home. I felt truly at a place I could spend the next four years. There’s nothing wrong with trusting your intuition on matters like this. You shouldn’t just choose a place conducive to success or with the greatest prestige, but choose a place that you can truly call home. Not just freshman year, or even in your time there, but throughout your life as a proud alumnus.
It may be too early to call it, but I get the feeling I’m going to be a Ram for quite a while.