Sophomore is the Hannah Montana of Fordham


Chretien has been a member of the Fordham Dance Team since freshman year. (Courtesy of Rebecca Chretien for The Fordham Ram)

In her own words, Rebecca Chretien, FCRH ’24, explains the effect of working on the Ram and practicing for Fordham Dance back to back on Monday nights: “Sometimes I feel like I’m living a double life. Like  I’m Hannah Montana.”

Of course, when Chretien said this it was tongue-in-cheek — we both chuckled in the middle of a fairly straightforward interview. But thinking about it, the comparison bears some validity. 

Chretien, a sophomore from Houston, Texas, is a part of several spheres at Fordham University. She’s an avid reader and writer, a consummate dancer, a copy editor and a “Survivor” fan. Where she differs clearly from Hannah Montana is in her work-life balance –– Chretien seems to juggle her wide variety of activities with ease. All that being said, she acknowledges it wasn’t always that way. 

“I was a very busy person in high school,” Chretien said. “My school was majorly academic, but it also encouraged us to do extracurriculars.” As a result, she kept very busy, and was involved in the dance team, student council and her school’s preaching team. Though she enjoyed them all, the extracurriculars took up what little remaining free time she had in high school. “After high school I was so burnt out, so I decided that when I got to college I would start doing the things I know I like to do,” Chretien recounts. 

As a result, when she began attending Fordham, she cleared her schedule of everything but the necessities. That is, everything aside from dance. 

“It was weird coming into it, because at the end of high school I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue it,” Chretien said. At this point, she has been on the Fordham dance team for her entire college career; in fact, when she first tried out, she was one of only two freshmen to make it on to the team. Given the pandemic, Chretien’s freshman year on the dance team was relatively low-key, as there were no events to perform at. The Fordham dance team’s status as a half-club half-D-1 athletic team also made it difficult. This year, Chretien and her team can perform at Fordham events, but their D-1 status is still in limbo. 

Currently, the Fordham dance team doesn’t compete, and the university doesn’t issue them any gear. However, in a turn of events, they recently hired a new coach and have increased their weekly practices. “There are lots of weird uncertainties and tensions,” Chretien remarks. “We’re living them right now. I think now having a coach is giving us more legitimacy in the eyes of Fordham Athletics.” 

Even though the Fordham dance team isn’t an official D-1 team, Chretien finds that it is just as gratifying: “I think it is still really fulfilling … on the inside we know we work hard. We work as much as a dance team should.” Dance has, in general, always been a huge part of Chretien’s life. It was this realization (along with her mother’s prompting) that led her to trying out for Fordham’s team in the first place. Chretien said, “There are so many things that come with being a dancer: that poise, elegance, respect, hard work and dedication translate into my daily life.”

Those virtues certainly have seemed to translate into the rest of Chretien’s daily life, as she’s involved in multiple extracurriculars on campus. “I do copy editing for the Ram,” Chretien mentions. “I think that’s so much fun.” Chretien’s copy editing skills go hand-in-hand with her love for reading and writing — she even joined The Ampersand in fall 2021. “I actually came into Fordham undecided, but then I took a Jane Austen class fall semester freshman year,” Chretien said. “I loved it, and the professor talked to me and told me I should reconsider it.” And reconsider it she did. Chretien is now an English major — a perfect fit.

Aside from those pursuits, Chretien enjoys living in and exploring New York City, something completely different from her hometown in Texas — being from Texas myself, this was a familiar experience. Chretien finds that moving so far from home has been a strengthening, albeit difficult, experience. “If I’m going through something bad, I’ve learned I need to just do it myself,” Chretien said. “If something bad happens, I can’t just go home. It’s made me a lot stronger. I’m able to just confront things head on.”

Part of the way she has been able to do that is through forging her own unique community at Fordham. How, exactly, has she achieved this? Through a small whiteboard attached to the front of her dorm room. “When I lived in Martyrs, I put it on the outside of my door and wrote ‘knock for friends.’ It worked. After a week, I started doing polls.”

The polls range widely. Some days, Chretien and her roommate asked hall walkers to rank movies. Sometimes, they asked people to share secrets. Other times, red flags. “The whiteboard is supposed to be a community effort,” Chretien says. And, evidently, it’s worked well. “It’s been really exciting, a great way to make friends.”

With a rich and fulfilling schedule, Chretien is making the most of her time at Fordham, all while avoiding burnout. It isn’t an easy thing to accomplish, but for Chretien, it’s a cinch.