Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sunday Mass at Fordham (and in the city)!

One of the primary reasons I choose Fordham University, the Jesuit University of New York, was its Jesuit mission. While Fordham is welcoming to people of all faiths, it is important to recognize our unique Jesuit, Ignatian identity and Catholic faith. 

The University Church
As a child who grew up attending mass every Sunday, participating in weekly mass has become second nature. Fordham Campus Ministry offers so many means for students to become involved in the spiritual atmosphere at Fordham including, but definitely not limited to, Christian Life Communities, Ignatian Programs, Interfaith Ministry, Liturgical Ministries, Music Ministry, Retreats, Bible Study and of course daily masses.

When I came to Fordham I decided I wanted to become more involved during masses so I decided to become a Eucharistic Minister. Now, as a junior, I continue to serve at Sunday masses and masses on special occasions. When I serve as a Eucharistic Minister I feel a strong connection with the Fordham and Jesuit community, and I am able to reflect on my values and beliefs. I would strongly encourage anyone who is invested in his/her faith to take part in Fordham’s Campus Ministry Program and mass in some way.

Inside the University Church
With that said, I also love attending masses at different parishes to broaden my perspective. While Fordham has its own beautiful church, being so close to the city also allows one to go out and explore other parishes and churches, such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral. This past weekend I was in the city with friends. We spent the day shopping and dinning. However, we decided to try something different and, in fact, went to mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The cathedral is absolutely stunning and to be able to celebrate a mass there was unreal. There were people from all over the world visiting and professing the same faith; it amazed me!

St. Patrick's Cathedral 
While walking out of St. Patrick’s I took special note of the stained glass windows. The stained glass windows in Fordham’s church were originally gifts from King Louis of France to Archbishop Hughes and were intended for the Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral. However, when they did not fit, Fordham built a church that would fit these windows. So, the next time you are in the Fordham University Church, take a look! 

The University Church was dedicated to Archbishop John Hughes in 1845

Don't Forget Your Dancing Shoes!

Back when I was a freshman, I was very excited to start my college experience by getting involved on campus in any way possible, so at the annual Club Fair around Eddie’s, I signed up for at least twenty different clubs that all sounded interesting.  One of these clubs was Fordham Ballroom Club.  Like many girls, I had taken ballet classes for a while when I was little, but I never thought of trying to dance with a partner.  Because I signed up for Ballroom at the club fair, I received all of the emails describing the fun activities the club put on, but I was always too nervous to show up by myself and try something out of my comfort zone.  Now as I junior, I realize how much I regret not participating in Ballroom Club my first year here.  One of my roommates this year, Dorina, is actually the President of Fordham Ballroom Dance.  Before coming to Fordham, she had even less dance experience than me, and she learned at club meetings through the teaching of previous president Fred Engelhardt.  She persuaded me to come to Ballroom one week after teaching me some basic moves in the dining room of our apartment.  As a beginner, I was nervous that I would embarrass myself, but there were other people with little experience that were learning for the first time along with me, and the veteran dancers were very nice and helpful.  I was able to convince two of my friends to come with me, and we all ended up having a great time.

Learning some new moves
For Fordham Ballroom Dance, each week we meet in the McGinley Center Ballroom for an hour and learn moves to different standard ballroom styles.  We separate into sides, with boys on one side and girls on the other. Dorina teaches a couple of moves to the group, and then we pair up and practice what we just learned.  Each week we review and then build upon the previous week. So far we have learned aspects of the Waltz, Salsa, and Swing.  We switch partners each time we practice a new move, so another plus of this club is that I am always meeting new people.

Along with the weekly classes, the Ballroom Club coordinates a couple of trips a semester to a Club 412, a dance club in Manhattan where they have separate rooms that each are dedicated to a different style of ballroom.  I am really excited for our first trip so I can actually use what I have been practicing each week.  

Time to practice
Members having fun at Club 412
Check out some of these amazing performances from members of Fordham Ballroom Club!
(My talented roommate Dorina is the female lead featured in the first two videos)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Weekend Update

My friend and me enjoying the game 

Heather Richards

This weekend I attended my very first professional football game, and it was incredible! I got to see the New York Jets play and sat in the front row with my friend Eric and his family!

Megan McLaughlin
My weekend was spent taking the LSAT and then decompressing from taking the test. Unfortunately, that meant Sunday was all about catching up on my work. At least my friends and I camped out in our favorite library conference room complete with a stellar view of Fordham Road winding its way up the hill.

Great view from Walsh Library

The Statue of Liberty from the ferry 

Erica Restaino

This weekend I took a trip down to the Staten Island Ferry. I grabbed a slice of pizza and enjoyed a relaxing ride to Staten Island and back. The ferry was free, and it offered an amazing view of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan. It may have been a touristy trip, but you can't go to school in NYC without seeing the Statue of Liberty!

Concerts and Performances in NYC

We got a good spot for Grouplove at Rumsey Playfield!
One of my favorite things about living in New York City is having the opportunity to see endless concerts, shows and performances! My friends and I try to attend as many concerts in this city as we can. Some of the most famous stages in the country are in New York, from Webster Hall to Madison Square Garden. Last week, my friends and I saw Grouplove and Portugal. The Man in concert. The venue was at Rumsey Playfield in the middle of Central Park. The beautiful New York skyline in the background made this concert even more awesome.

This weekend was the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park. In order to win free tickets, you had to help raise awareness for extreme poverty around the world on the Global Citizen website. A lot of my friends won these free tickets and got to attend the festival, which was amazing! Performers such as No Doubt, Fun., Carrie Underwood and The Roots were featured live at the festival. Jay-Z headlined, and Beyonce also made a surprise appearance! According to my friends, the experience of singing along to “Empire State of Mind” with Jay-Z in the middle of Central Park was unmatched.
My friend, sophomore Habin Lee, got this awesome panorama of the festival!
Cold War Kids performing right on campus!
New York is one of the music capitals of the world, and it is often one of the highlights of the performer’s tour. Other performers my friends have seen include Kanye West, Young the Giant, Vampire Weekend and Kodaline. A performer always comes to Fordham’s annual Spring Weekend in April. Last year, Cold War Kids and Cartel performed along with DJ Enferno. Other performers that have been featured in previous years include Grouplove, MGMT, Third Eye Blind and Andy Grammar.

There’s always an awesome concert to see in New York City, which is one of the countless benefits of living here!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

New York is full of the best surprises

One of my favorite things to do in New York is to walk around on sunny days and enjoy the incredible weather. This is especially enjoyable now, as the seasons begin to change and Fall starts to set in. It won't be long before these summery, lovely days are gone, and I like to make the most of them while they last. My favorite area of the city to wander is lower Manhattan. From the Village to SoHo to the Lower East Side, there is always something exciting waiting around every corner. These neighborhoods are perfect for a leisurely afternoon stroll, and there are always new cafes, coffee shops, bookstores, galleries, and other surprises waiting to be discovered.

The beginnings of a beautiful day
Yesterday was one of those days where the city demanded to be explored. The weather was perfect, and I had very little work to do. My dad also came to New York for a surprise visit. We headed downtown, no particular destination in mind. It was a gorgeous day in the city, quite possibly one of the last true summer days this year. After a quick brunch near Bryant Park, we headed down to the Village, with the intention of going to a few art galleries. On our way there, we walked through Washington Square Park, where we stopped to watch some street performers dance. They were incredibly talented and interspersed their performance with jokes. While we were enjoying their performance, I was pulled in to help with a stunt!

Performers in Washington Square Park

The dancers announced to the crowd that they would be jumping over the heads of the people they pulled from the crowd. I was, understandably, quite nervous. However, my nerves were quite unnecessary, as the trick was over before I even realized it had started. This is what I love about New York. Your day will always be filled with surprises, and you never know what lies around the next corner. We did wind up at the art galleries we intended to visit, where the art dealers tried to convince me I needed an original Picasso for my dorm room. I very rarely make plans when I decide to have a "City day" exploring downtown, as experiences like the ones I had this weekend may not happen otherwise.
Right after I found out people would be jumping over my head

Walking through the Village

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Being a Senior at Fordham

As Senior Year started, pretty much the only questions I got from family, family friends and random strangers was “wow you’re a senior, what are you going to do post graduation?” I hate getting this question as much as everyone else does. It puts us on the spot to declare a course of action for the rest of our lives. It also erases the importance of this year as just time spent planning for something else and puts a preemptive end to our time as college students. 

Luckily Fordham has helped me strike a balance. By living so close to New York City, I get to intern three days a week at the French Investment Bank where I worked this summer. My advisor even helped me work my schedule so I can have all my classes packed into two days. I love my internship. I love the people I work with, I love my boss and I love the work I do there.  I find every day I go into the office to be exciting and challenging, and gives me a chance to perform at my absolute best.
 But at the same time, Fordham has shaped our senior year to be one of continuous growth. I’m taking a values seminar, a capstone course that takes an interdisciplinary look at different issues and I’m going to senior night, where my entire class dresses up like what our child selves wanted to be “when we grew up”. 
 All of this is a great way to “grow up” this year. I am excited for the future, I feel happy that I have found a career path that I love and look forward to doing every day. But I am also excited for the now. I am excited for dinners in the city with friends, snowball fights on Eddies and for continuing to learn and grow into the person I will be when I put on my cap and gown on that distant day in May. Fordham isn’t done with me yet and I’m not done with Fordham. Fordham has taught me that every day is a chance to learn something new. And continuing to learn is exactly what I intend to do post graduation.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Express Yourself

I began dancing at a very young age, and as I  grew up, dance has always remained a huge part of my life. When I was searching for colleges, my plan was to search for a college with dance team that I could audition for. I wanted to continue competitively dancing like I did in high school. When I visited Fordham, however, I absolutely fell in love with the school, with no mind to how I could continue to dance (because at the time I had no idea what Fordham offered in the dance department). In fact, I loved Fordham so much that I was willing to sacrifice a dance team just to go here, and so on April 29, 2012 I committed to Fordham University class of 2017.

The company from Spring 2014!!
Expressions at the Club Fair looking for incoming dancers!
The summer before I attended the university, I worked with a girl who not only went to Fordham but was a dancer as well. She told me about the dance club she had joined, Expressions Dance Alliance (EDA), and how on the company, she made some of her best friends and greatest memories at Fordham. So, on the day of the club fair my freshmen year, I sought out Expressions Dance Alliance for the audition date. I ended up making the company, and it has been one of the greatest things to happen to me at Fordham thus far. I love all of the girls in the company, and I  found a way to keep dance in my life when I had thought I had lost it.

Practicing on stage before our show!!
Expressions is student-run, and our dances are student-choreographed, so my second semester on the company, I got a chance to choreograph a dance for our recital. Any girl in the company can audition a dance to choreograph, and if it makes it past choreography auditions, dancers will vote to be in it, and it will be in the show. Each choreographer's dance practices for one hour a week, and every dancer must come for a three hour rehearsal on Sunday nights (one for class, and two for company dances). At the end of every semester, we have two shows, usually in Collins auditorium. Friends and family can finally see what we've spent hours working for the whole semester!

EDA has been such an awesome part of my Fordham experience, and a great outlet that takes me away from the stress of college; however, it is not the only other dance club/team that Fordham has. Flava is Fordham's incredible hip-hop club, and the Dance Team performs at sporting events and keeps the fans excited! 

So far this semester, Expressions has welcomed five fantastic new dancers, and we are currently rehearsing for our show in late November! We have our first company event tomorrow night, and are so excited to see where the rest of our Fall 2014 company goes. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Summer at LIFT and the City

A major attraction to Fordham for me was the fact that it’s so close to Manhattan. This provides an endless amount of opportunities—academic, social and professional! Since Manhattan is just a short train ride away, The Bronx is sometimes overshadowed by this bustling city. The Fordham community itself is an excellent hub of rich opportunities. This past summer, in fact, I had one of the most rewarding experiences of my life right here in the Bronx.

Just three short blocks down Belmont Avenue, is a non-profit organization called LIFT, the place that I interned at this past summer. LIFT has the ambitious goal of “lifting people out of poverty for good”. People in the Bronx community utilize its service to help with things like finding jobs, finding a place to live, and learning how to live on a strict budget. Everyday I got to meet with these community members, help them with whatever they needed, and learn a ton in the process. What first drew me to this internship was the convenience of being able to walk to work in less than five minutes.

Other than the rewarding work itself, interning at LIFT came with plenty of benefits. I got to work every day with an amazing group of people who I wouldn’t have otherwise met at Fordham. My fellow interns commuted to LIFT from all over New York, including Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn, and Washington Heights. We bonded outside of the office and would make fun trips together into Manhattan on the weekends. My favorite day was the one we spent at the American Museum of Natural History. This iconic museum is right across the street from Central Park, which allowed us to grab food from a street truck and eat on the green grass of the Park after touring the museum.
A couple of my coworkers, Caralie (middle), Laura (right), with me at the American Museum of Natural History
All of the Bronx interns in front of an Aztec exhibit at the AMNH
Central Park is such a beautiful place to have lunch, hang out with your friends, take a walk, or just breathe in the fresh air.

Interning at an organization like LIFT was such a great way to gain valuable experience while really giving back to my community. Fordham is located in one of the most culturally rich and diverse places in New York, and I am so grateful to have been able to better connect to it this summer. Walking around outside the gates of Fordham, I now feel more connected to the place I live, and I sometimes even see familiar faces! You can apply to places such as LIFT no matter what degree you are pursuing at Fordham. The Bronx really does have so much to offer!

Blog By: Abby Collins