The Irresistibility of The Fordham Ram


Right now, I’m lying on one of the many couches lining the living room of Fordham’s retreat house in Goshen, New York. It’s reflection time during the Art and Yoga retreat, and I’m staring, dumbfounded, at one of the questions we’re supposed to reflect on: “What grounds you?” 

I can’t think of a single answer. 

When people shared their responses, it was everything from family to hobbies to the retreat house itself. I couldn’t shake this dissatisfaction that the thing that grounds me was out there, on the tip of my tongue, and I couldn’t figure it out. That is, until the following Tuesday rolled around and it hit me: The Fordham Ram. Yes, my school newspaper grounds me. It has for three years and probably will for a long time after.

I consider myself someone who values her friends as much as, if not more than, her family. I’ve depended on my chosen family, so-to-speak, to act in place of my family when they couldn’t be there for me. In the case of the Ram, it wasn’t a decision on my part. They chose me. And for someone who never quite felt accepted or grounded, that’s a lot.

To back track, this is technically my second goodbye From the Desk. The first time around, there’s a small chance I forgot it was supposed to be my goodbye, so I wrote about crochet. Don’t get me wrong, crochet is probably the second love of my life, but not exactly the closer I had wanted. Since realizing what I’d done, I’ve been fantasizing about how I’m going to perfectly craft this goodbye to mark the culmination of the (probably) hundreds of hours I’ve dedicated to this newspaper.

I was blessed with a second chance at this article and another opportunity to be part of this community — the ramily, if you will. I may not have planned to be at the Ram this semester for logistical reasons, but I couldn’t be more thankful that things worked out to allow me to stay.

I don’t want to complicate things, so I will just say that I love the Ram more than I love most things. I started as a freshman who loved to write and was saying yes to every opportunity that presented itself. I wrote a few articles and, like many others, took a leap of faith and applied for the opinion editor position, thinking it would put my name in the roster for the future, not that I’d actually get the spot. 

But to my genuine surprise, my name was in the email revealing the staff for Volume 102. And so began my journey of knowing absolutely nothing about InDesign, MailChimp, Websheets (and eventually WordPress) or even journalism itself, and trying to learn from every single outlet possible. The first production night stretched to nearly 5 a.m. Tears were shed. But I remember capturing the end of the night with a snapchat that said, “omg I just made a real newspaper.”

I still can’t quite explain the nature of what happens at the Ram between staff meetings on Sunday and paper distribution on Wednesday. But it has become so deeply ingrained in who I am that I am really struggling with this goodbye. 

Before I extend my gratitude for the joy my fellow staff members have, perhaps unknowingly, given me during my short time in college so far, I should recognize my freshman-year-self for being so fearless. 18-year-old Emma truly was a force to be reckoned with, and I hope to make her proud every day. 

The staff from my first semester as an editor on Volume 102 deserve so much appreciation for teaching me everything I know. Andrew, Helen and Kelly watched me struggle with InDesign and were patient while I pretended to understand what they taught me. I like to think that InDesign and I are friends now — I would even go so far as to say I’m going to miss working together. On Volume 103, Rachel and Dylan built up my confidence as an editor, and made sure I knew that, despite my uncertainties, I belonged there.

Since coming to Fordham, I’ve had my qualms with Fordham sprinkled with bouts of personal problems. But every Tuesday I walked into B-52 for production and quite literally escaped it all — the lack of windows really helped take me out of my reality. But more than that, my friends at the Ram didn’t know they were healing me with their crude jokes and compassion.

Hasna never hesitated to throw a compliment my way, even when it felt unwarranted after seven long hours in the basement of the McGinley Center. Nicole always lended an ear to my ranting, sulking or just my thoughts of the week, which is a lot to ask. Kari and Elisabeth have validated my outlandish commentary on the absurd things we talk about in that sacred space, perhaps contributing to my personal delusion. Isabel has been a true friend, both in the Ram office and during our efforts to start a crochet club from scratch. The entire copy table always had me in stitches. During weeks when I was struggling to maintain my sanity, it was their laughter and humor that revived me. The trust Ava had in me truly meant the world; she didn’t know it, but by being so open with me she made me feel like I belonged there that much more. Hanif, with his ridiculous lies — or as he would say, jokes — and constant, unwavering support has been the kind of friend that I never knew I needed.

Although they weren’t here this semester, I can always feel Taylor and Michela’s presence in B-52. Especially when I look at Stinky, the staff’s collective pet toy skunk. They gave me something to strive toward, both as an opinion editor and as a person. This semester couldn’t possibly have been the same without them, but even from Europe they were ready to be there for me whenever I needed them. 

The nights I sulked into the Ram office, lackluster and weighed down by things outside my control, I knew they knew. I’m not sure how we even got to this point, our only connection being this newspaper. Yet we function as a family, and I couldn’t be more grateful. 

Those who have known me over the years know that the Ram is basically all I can manage to talk about. As much as I love journalism and what I’ve been lucky enough to do over these last few years, what’s making this so painful is not so much my love for my job, but my love for the people. I’m sure they’ll poke fun of me for being soft and cheesy, but that just means they agree.

As I enter a confusing and scary time in my life (and I’m not even graduating yet), I’m comforted by the idea that I will always have the Ram to ground me, even if it’s just the memories that will have to hold me over. But I don’t think that’ll be the case. I have a feeling I’ll be a nuisance to these people for a long time.