Finding Our Way Back to Normal at Fordham


The start of any fall semester is a period of transition. We come off our summer break high and crash into our fall classes. Typically, that transition is most apparent for freshmen. It takes some time to adjust to college life after high school: you’re not living at home anymore, you’re responsible for doing your own laundry and you’re struggling to embrace the insane amount of freedom you have as a college student in New York City.

This fall, we are under unique circumstances. For the first time since March 2020, all students at Fordham University are attending full-size, in-person classes. The promise of going “back to normal” has been our carrot on a stick for the past year and a half, and it seems we finally caught it. We’ve longed for normalcy for a long time; however, it’s impossible to ignore the way our lives have shifted. Every Fordham student is going through a transition as our college lives once again transform into a new normal.

The transition back to normal affects freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors, albeit in different ways. Fordham’s Class of 2025 is the largest in the school’s history, composed of students who graduated high school in 2020 and 2021 when the pandemic was at its peak. The Class of 2024 shares a similar experience. For some sophomores, this is the first semester they’ve spent on campus; for all sophomores, this is the first time they’ve experienced Fordham at its full capacity. Even upperclassmen find themselves navigating an unfamiliar world. The past month saw sophomores, juniors and seniors reuniting with friends who opted to stay home last year or took gap years.

Even for those of us who are familiar with Fordham’s campuses, this is a significant transition. Things have been abnormal for so long that we no longer remember exactly what normal felt like. If you’ve felt overwhelmed by the crowds of people descending staircases in Keating, stressed out by the endless lines for Urban Kitchen or exhausted by a single in-person class, you’re not alone. Life has been quiet for a long time. Even if we spent all that time missing the noise, its sudden return is shocking.

Moreover, we’ve changed. As college students, we’re already at a transitional stage of life as we grow from children to adults. In the past year and a half, we spent a lot of time in our own company. Quarantine made us self-reflect like nothing else ever could. We got to know ourselves, for better or worse, and some of us learned new, surprising things. None of us are the same people we were before the pandemic, and we shouldn’t try to be.

Everything is going back to normal, but it’s okay not to feel normal. Regardless of what year you are or how long you’ve been at Fordham, we’ve all lost over a year of our lives to the pandemic. It’s foolish not to acknowledge its role in our lives, and it’s dangerous to hold ourselves to standards we cannot achieve.

If you’re reading this editorial in print, you’re holding a copy of the first full-length issue of The Fordham Ram since March 4, 2020. For months, we published exclusively online. This spring, we published four “baby papers” with a limited number of articles. We ourselves are going through a transition as we move back to full-size production: our older editors are remembering how to print a newspaper, and our new editors are learning for the first time. We have new writers publishing their first articles, new copy editors reading things over and new photographers snapping pictures. And with over 2,800 Fordham freshmen, we have scores of new readers, too.

We are happy to have you — each and every one of you — with us for the transition to a post-COVID Fordham. We urge you to be kind to one another and kind to yourself, to recognize how much you’re capable of without setting unrealistic expectations, and most importantly, to stay safe and enjoy your college experience as much as possible.