“Girls,” Eddie’s Parade and Leaving the Nest


Abbey Delk was Volume 103’s newsletter. (Courtesy of the Fordham Ram)

I’ve been watching “Girls” a lot lately. That Lena Dunham shows that came out when we were in the sixth grade, remember? No?

I didn’t remember it either. A show about a group of lost, stumbling-through-life twenty-somethings didn’t really appeal to me when I was 12. I was still an avid Disney channel viewer back then, and I don’t think the sexual exploits of Hannah Horvath and her brunch bunch would have piqued my interest. 

But a decade after the first season of the show aired, I find myself finally in the exact demographic the show was aimed toward. I am eating it up. The first episode of the series begins with Dunham’s character sitting down to a nice dinner in a nice New York City restaurant with her parents. Then they tell her that they are cutting her off. Sorry, honey. Welcome to adulthood.

Isn’t that kind of what graduation season feels like? A long show of wining and dining and then a swift kick to the curb. Everyone is buttering up us seniors, telling us how proud they are of us for working so hard and getting through college during the most hellish years in recent memory. But … we still need to be out of our on-campus apartments before the sun sets on commencement day. We wouldn’t want to overstay our welcome. 

I don’t mean to sound bitter. Honestly, I don’t. We all have to leave the nest someday. It just feels so soon, doesn’t it? High school graduation feels like it happened a second ago, and now all of the sudden, I’m picking up a new graduation cap and trying to figure out how to wear it in a way that doesn’t make my bangs look insane in pictures. (Seriously, why are these things so ugly? I’m starting to understand why Serena Van der Woodson just tied the tassel to her hair and called it a day).

Really, it doesn’t even make sense that I feel so caught off guard by the arrival of my final month as a college student. A lot has happened since our graduating class arrived on campus in the fall of 2018. It should feel like an entire lifetime has passed. Donald Trump left the White House (and Twitter). A global pandemic forced us all to download the Zoom app on our laptops. An entire building sprang up on the Rose Hill campus at some point. And, of course, Taylor Swift released three studio albums — five, if you count the re-releases of “Fearless” and “Red.”

All of that, and it still seems we’ve barely had any time here. Why can’t there be a few more slow days on Eddie’s, lazily basking in the afternoon sun to the distant sound of balls thwacking off of spikeball nets? Where is the extra time to sit hungover in the cafeteria at noon on a Sunday, complaining about the dining hall food and going over the sordid details of the previous night? 

I doubt any of this year’s graduates would call our time at Fordham “perfect.” Maybe not even “good.” I mean, there was a whole three semesters of online classes and social distancing that kind of threw a wrench in the classic college experience. I know we all feel bad for the younger students who had to start college in the middle of a pandemic, but at least they didn’t really have an idea of what they were missing, right? Our class? We were exactly aware of how much fun we could have been having in 2020 and 2021, and it was not the greatest time having to adjust our expectations to the very new, very depressing reality that life doesn’t always work out the way we planned. Welcome to adulthood, indeed. 

But if there’s one thing I can say about this whole mess of a college experience, it’s that I got through it. We got through it. Not everyone can say the same. I’m not in the habit of making a big deal out of these kinds of milestones, but I also know that there were days in the last four years that truly, truly sucked and felt hopeless. I’m so glad they are behind us. 

There will be more bad days to come, of course. Some of us are heading for a turbulent decade of heartbreaks, losing out on dream jobs, worrying about making rent and student loan payments — all the time wondering if we are making all the wrong choices. And, unfortunately, we are all going to make one or two wrong choices in these weird and confusing post-grad years. For me, it helps to know that there are a whole lot of other smart, funny and passionate people who are also worried and confused and scared and unsure about the future. 

Maybe that’s why I keep watching “Girls,” a show that is clearly supposed to appeal to Buzzfeed millennials who wear cropped skinny jeans and owl-themed jewelry. (That isn’t a dig at millennials, by the way. I love those Buzzfeed quizzes, too.) But even if the show was supposed to be the voice of the generation before ours, I still find myself captivated by the young female characters trying their best to navigate careers and love and identity. All of them are messy and strange and sometimes downright entitled and rude, but there is something comforting about watching them navigate young adulthood. Very, very slowly I am watching these young women discover who they are and what they want and — just as important — what they do not want.

That’s the one thing I hope for myself and for any graduating senior reading this. Let’s just try to figure out what we don’t want for ourselves and then run as fast as possible in the other direction. And let’s definitely steal as many cookies from the dining hall as possible for they kick us off campus for good.