Student Athlete Column: A Letter to Seniors

Gigi Speer reflects on the past. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Gigi Speer reflects on the past. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Hi everyone,

If you’re not a senior, put this paper down, close your computer or exit out of this app on your phone. You’re not going to want to keep reading, trust me. Seriously. The next few pages are full of scary, almost-entering-the-world, boring stuff.

Okay, whew, they’re gone, it’s about time. And it really is about time.

I want to start this letter with a question. What was your earliest memory from being at Fordham? Close your eyes, and really take yourself back, whether it be months, a year or four years. Do you have it? Okay, keep that floating around in that amazing brain of yours. 

Sure, this is the student-athlete column, but this is really for anybody about to (maybe) get their degree in a couple of months. Before I say congrats, get ready or whatever else they may say on graduation day, I want to take it back. 

For me, my earliest memory is getting dropped off at Loschert with way too much but still not enough stuff, entering an empty building because I was getting there weeks early to get trained in driving those Ram Vans we love. 

I was sad, scared, excited, nervous, happy and a whole storm of emotions my 18-year-old brain had no idea how to process. My wonderful divorced parents formed an alliance this day to bring their youngest child to college for the first and last time. I swear Loschert was haunted that first night. 

The building smelled like cleaning products, Ritz crackers and garbage, the floor was cold but the wind was hot and my bare blue mattress stared back at me and laughed as I slowly opened the door to room 317. Weeks would go by, our door would stay deadbolted, I would always forget the bathroom code, I introduced myself to countless strangers and tried everything I could. 

I didn’t know a thing. 

What is your memory? Really think about it. Feel it. Where do you feel it? What comes up? Do you want to cry, laugh, smile or run away?

Okay cool, we just time traveled. We went back in time, back through grief, joy, unprecedented political times, a pandemic or two and so much more we might not even know. 

Now let’s return to the present. 

I still don’t know much for sure, but I think I know a little more about life than that girl full of wonder and fear did.

I still have that same melting pot of emotions, yet I’ve met people, done things and lived through more to compile a bit of a list, but I am going to need your help to add on to it because it is definitely incomplete. 

What We Seniors Know:

  1. Time goes by.
  2. The world has a funny way of surprising us.
  3. Laughing is one of the best things ever. 
  4. I don’t know what I’m doing.
  5. I’m grateful for everyone I’ve met.
  6. Moments of joy outweigh moments of pain.
  7. ________________________________
  8. ________________________________

Seriously, that is all I can put in a list for now. 

For all seniors (if you’re younger or older, I told you to leave already), we may relate to this list differently. Whether riding a high or scraping by on a low right now, there is something you can add to this list and I encourage you to do so, even if it’s just a mental note. One of the coolest people ever, Oprah Winfrey, wrote a book called “What I Know For Sure,” and I recommend it. If you don’t like reading, it goes a little something like this list above, plus some anecdotes about wealth and other things I cannot relate to yet. 

Let’s take a break from reading and time travel again, it’s fun. I want you to go further back, to your earliest memory ever. Seriously ever. Okay, one, two, three, go. 

Where are you? What do you see? Who are you with? Close your eyes and feel the moment as much as you can. 

Maybe this memory is a story you’ve told over and over, and years of repetition give you an expedient trip back in time. Maybe you can’t remember much, and all you see are colors or hear sounds you can’t quite make out.

Either way, this was a long time ago. Come back to the present, where you are reading this article and counting down the days until you leave this place. So much has changed. Welcome.

This is the part where I get to the congratulations and get ready’s. 


You went to college, you are currently in college and about to graduate. No more undergraduate fees are due in a couple of months, sitting in class will be a thing of the past and you did something 98 percent of the population doesn’t get to do (percentage completely made up).

Either way, wow. I’m proud. So much has happened in your time here, and that is to be celebrated. Pressure to perform, to excel, to have it all figured out is a concept in your mind, and something you do not need to listen to. Of course, we need to get by, to be nice to people and to do other things, but we can all do it our own way.

We’ve read enough ridiculous philosophers, stared at crazy equations and picked up enough knowledge to make our caveman ancestors go crazy. With all this information, I think there is only one takeaway.

Be grateful, and do what you want. We have a hundred years on this planet, and just spent four of them in college doing absolutely whatever. The version of you from your earliest memory, and from your first Fordham memory, would be so proud and impressed by you.

Although I am so happy I do not need to use a communal bathroom anymore, there is a lot about freshman year me that I can learn from. The fear, excitement, sadness,and happiness I felt entering the haunted halls of Loschert in August of 2018 are still present, in different ways. Now though, the metaphorical Loschert I will enter someday in may hopefully smell better, may be completely different from the dorm and will definitely be the start of a new era.

I am so grateful for that first memory and so grateful for how much I’ve learned in four years. Although I still don’t know much for sure, and certainly can’t make a book about what I do as Oprah did yet, I know at least six things. And so do you. Let’s keep adding to that list, and some days we may be more sure of it than others. Either way, I started this letter saying it really was about time. 

Time flies, that is true. Yet we can too if we really want to.

P.S: Shoutout to Kelly Bright for the Letter to Freshmen article that inspired this.