My Little Corner of the World


Erica Scalise reflects on her 3 year-long tenure at The Fordham Ram. (Courtesy of Erica Scalise/The Fordham Ram)

Erica Scalise, Projects Editor

I remember being as young as eight years old and feeling emotional at random, listening to my iPod nano, as my mother weaved through the traffic-ridden streets of Chicago. Life’s eternal questions plagued me from the backseat: Why am I here? What does it mean and where do I belong?

I’ve spent an overwhelmingly large portion of my short life concerned with the concept of my existence. After consuming an embarrassing number of self-help articles with titles like, “Coping With Existential Anxiety,” as well as frequent trips to that one “mortifying ordeal of being known” article, my inability to relax, even at 22, has often been my Achilles’ heel. 

When my eternal quest to quiet the constant noise of my own head proved itself unwavering, a place for facts and truth was perpetually opened. Being anxious brought me to a pen and paper several years ago. It pushed me toward a life of loving language’s littlest nuances, and most importantly, it brought me to B-52 on a warm April day in 2017. 

Having been an editor on my high school newspaper and a soon-to-be declared journalism major, I walked into the The Fordham Ram surprisingly collected and began copy editing leisurely, slipping in and out early on weeks I deemed myself “too busy” with a freshman schedule that in reality, begged to be filled. 

Three years later, I am completely befuddled by my previous understanding of the word “busy.” The Ram is no longer my occasional chance to flirt with em dashes and catch up with upperclassmen, but rather, the single most rewarding and challenging activity of my life that I’ve willfully shown up to, week after week.  

Words continue to fail me when I begin to consider all that The Ram has given me. From a staff writer to an Assistant News Editor, to Projects Editor, I’ve had the privilege to return each volume, to a staff of mostly strangers, who have inevitably become my best friends. 

After breaking away from a friend group I considered my main support system at the university, I went into the second semester of my sophomore year completely disoriented. Anxious to appear clingy at the potential of new friendships, I tiptoed into each of my relationships at The Ram in fear of rejection, but wound up stumbling into the arms of my best friends. 

Some weeks brought my fellow newsies and I topics with banal event coverage and unforgivingly long interviews, exposing the trials and tribulations of journalism more realistically than any four credit class ever could. There have been many late nights, social sacrifices, aggravating interviews and emotional breakdowns along the way. 

At times, when I felt most at home at The Ram, I was driven further away from the university, a place I often longed so dearly to feel like I belonged. In spearheading The Ram’s reporting on clerical abuse, I’ve poured over lists of abusive priests, talked to their victims and felt the crushing weight of self-doubt, doubt in the university’s willingness to protect its students and doubt in a faith I was raised practicing. I was met, all at once, with these heavy realizations and felt them just as much as I feel deep admiration for our paper for unearthing these, and several other, inconvenient truths. We are student journalists who have done the investigative work of real reporters and for this experience, I am eternally grateful. 

Practicing journalism at The Ram has reassured my confidence that the craftsmanship of words into sentences can drive sentences into stories, stories that can affect real change and change the course of humanity for generations. The art of news and storytelling helps us to recognize our humanity and has the capacity to heal us, to relieve us from the crushing weight of existential dread and to help us navigate through our differences, the common ties that bind us.  

Life’s eternal questions will always remain: Why am I here? What does it mean? And where do I belong? The Ram has answered all of these for me. 

Thank you to my parents for allowing me to leave the nest, against your own wishes, which has given me the experience of a lifetime in New York City. I love you for seeing potential and strength in me that I couldn’t always see in myself. 

Thank you to everyone on Volume 99, 100 and 101 for teaching me technical and life skills that I will carry with me, wherever the future may hold. 

Thank you to Theresa Schliep for teaching me how to write engaging ledes and for intimidating me by looking 25 years old on the first day I came into B-52. 

Thank you to Aislinn Keely, our fearless leader of Volume 101. I will never forget my first production night as Assistant News Editor, when I arrived with an anxiety attack and you gave me lavender essential oil to put on my wrists. Sometimes you pulled my articles at 1 a.m. and all of those times it hurt and I needed that. I would trust you with my life. Thank you.

Thank you to Helen Stevenson for just getting me and for getting news like no one else. You are a joy to work alongside. 

My fellow former news assistants, Hannah Gonzalez and Joergen Ostensen, I still need help with InDesign. Thank you. I love you both. 

Thank you to Beth Knobel, for advising on every late night phone call, and for always upholding journalistic integrity, especially in a time of such political divide. 

When I think of The Ram, I will always think of all of you. 

I will also always think of the ’90s indie rock band, Yo La Tengo’s rendition of “My Little Corner of the World.” It’s a love song, but I think the lyrics here are unabashedly true and all too fitting. The Fordham Ram is, and always will be, my little corner of the world.