Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Finals Study Breaks both On and Off Campus

Despite the stress with studying for finals kicking in during this time of year, both Fordham and the city itself have been so consistent in offering great ways to take some breaks during this intense time of studying. At Fordham, we have a couple of days after our designated last day of class, which was on December 10th, that are called reading days. Basically on reading days, we spend as much time preparing and studying for the coming of finals and although I spent a majority of my time studying for finals, which was incredibly long and stressful, I still had a great weekend to look forward to in the city and on campus! On Friday, I managed to score some tickets to a taping of Live with Kelly and Michael and went with a couple of my good friends. Although we went primarily to see Idina Menzel, who was promoting her Christmas album on the show, we were surprised when they let us stay for a second show that was being pre-taped for the holidays with Nick Jonas and Sting! We even got some rehearsal footage of Sting’s performance before the actual taping, and I had some serious goosebumps from when he sang a song from his newest Broadway show “The Last Ship.” It also didn’t hurt that Idina Menzel gave us a little wave when we cheered for her during a commercial break. :) 
Some pics I took of Kelly and Michael interviewing Idina Menzel and Nick Jonas as well as a pic of Idina Menzel getting touched up before singing a song off of her new Holiday Wishes album. We had pretty great seats!
I also found it so interesting to see the behind the scenes action that goes on during these live tapings. Seeing Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan go around the studio and interact with the audience during commercial breaks was something I never realized they could do. They were incredibly gracious, took some pics with fans, and were so funny and down to earth with their interactions with us. 
Kelly Ripa at a commercial break. She was equally as charismatic off camera as she was on!
It wasn’t too much fun waiting in the cold, but with good company and a fun experience at a TV show taping, it was definitely all worth it in the end.

With two of my good friends who are also huge Idina Menzel fans. Waiting in the cold was so much better with good company!
Sunday was the beautiful celebration of Gaudete Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent, and I had the honor of being able to participate in two choirs at the 11:00am and 7:00pm masses. Seeing the church filled that day made mass seem so special, everything from the way the candles were set up in the church to seeing everyone light their candles in a solemn procession was so breath-taking and made me appreciate just how despite this stressful time, we can all join together to celebrate the coming of Christmas. After mass, we celebrated the lighting of the Christmas tree, which made me so ready for Christmas to come around. It’s the little things that Fordham does to bring a community together and to lift each other’s spirits up during a stressful time in every college student’s life that make me so grateful to go here. I wish everyone else the best of luck on their finals, a Merry Christmas and safe travels back home as well!
Fordham doing Christmas right. Picture is the University Church and the Christmas tree that was lit during Gaudete Sunday.

My Wendy Williams Experience

A few months ago, I registered online to get tickets to the Wendy Williams Show. As I had gone once before, I was very excited to have a chance to go back. As soon as I got my email confirming my tickets, I was ready to go! The show I attended was on a Wednesday and the guest was Nick Jonas and celebrity chef Nadia G. Although I had to wake up earlier than I do for most of my classes, this experience was well worth it.  My roommate and I took the earliest Ram Van that we could into the city, and took the subway to Wendy’s studio. As we waited on line to get in, we talked about how eager we were to have a chance to be on live TV. After we were finally let into the basement of the studio building, Wendy’s amazing staff welcomed us to the show. As we waited in the room to be let into the studio my roommate got picked to be part of a trivia segment on the show! Keeping this in mind we went up to the studio excited for what was ahead of us. At 9:30 AM, we were finally let into the studio and ready for the show at 10 AM. The energy throughout the studio audience was like nothing I had seen before. There was a DJ and an entertainer who helped pumped everyone up during the countdown. At 10 AM it was finally time and Wendy walked in. As soon as she stepped onto the stage time went by extremely quickly. In what seemed like the blink of an eye the first segment of the show was over and it was time for a commercial break. During the commercial break the DJ and entertainer put on dance songs and interacted with the audience all while encouraging us to dance. It was quite an experience. Wendy even walked through the aisle and talked to us personally! She closed the show right in front of us while my mom of course, tivoed every minute. I can honestly say that this was an experience I cannot forget and I suggest everyone go to the Wendy Williams show!

My roommate and I in the studio audience

Monday, December 15, 2014

Weekend Update

Nicole Chiuchiolo
Finals week can be stressful, and sometimes you just need to get away from all the studying and do something fun. This weekend, I had the opportunity to do something both fun and productive! A few of my friends and I visited the Hayden Planetarium in New York City as an extra credit assignment for our astronomy class. It was an amazing experience, all of the exhibits were completely relevant to what we learned in class. The best part is that we were back to campus in time for dinner… and more studying. A visit to the planetarium was exactly what we needed to recharge!
My friend and me on our way into the awesome exhibit

Marisa Diaz
My weekend was filled with studying for finals, which start today. However, as a break from studying for finals, my roommates and I did Secret Santa to celebrate the holidays!
My roommates and me relaxing before finals
Nicole Cruz
On Sunday, I went to Madison Square Garden to watch the Men's basketball team take on St. John's. It was so much fun getting to see the Rams play at such a famous venue. We even got to see a few New York Knick players warming up after the game!
The Rams warming up before the game

Friday, December 12, 2014

Club Spotlight: Rodrigue's Coffee House

The members of Rodrigue's!
Each works weekly shifts to help with the general operations of the coffee house.
Rodrigue’s Coffee House (also known as “Rod’s”) is an entirely student run coffee shop on campus. It sits conveniently in the middle of all of the freshman dorms on campus. Inside, you’ll find students tables with students doing homework, couches with students relaxing, talking, or playing instruments, and students running the retail counter, selling coffee for only $1. Additionally, during finals, you can purchase a $5 discount card, entitling you to free coffee, tea, and espresso and reduced prices on everything else through the end of the semester.

The inside of Rodrigue's Coffee House!
In addition to providing a place to hang out and do homework, Rodrigue’s is a designated safe space. The club is dedicated to creating a welcoming space for all people that doesn’t discriminate or make others uncomfortable. This means that Rod’s is a place on campus where all students are encouraged to engage in open dialogue on how they feel about various social issues, including but not limited to racism, sexism, and LGBTQ issues. 

The crowd behind Rodrigue's Coffee House waiting for Titus Andronicus.
While Rodrigue’s main function is as a coffee shop, the club also puts on events like monthly open mic nights, Art Days, and various concerts. Recently, Rod’s hosted Titus Andronicus, a New Jersey band that has played at Lollapalooza, on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and been featured in Rolling Stone. It’s rumored that notable Fordham student Lana Del Rey even played at Rodrigue’s! The club also tries to find innovative fun events to host that are free to all students; most recently, they hosted a Lazer Tag night.  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Holidays and Concerts at Fordham

Fordham has always been known for its holiday festivities. Every holiday season, both of Fordham’s campuses are decked out in lights, tinsel, and many kinds of holiday decorations. In addition to Fordham’s glorious holiday appearance, the university has many holiday festivities spread out through the month of December. My favorite way to get into the holiday spirit at Fordham is by attending the university’s annual Lessons and Carols Festival. This festival is comprised of two concerts held on both Fordham campuses. It features The Fordham University Choir, The Fordham University Women’s Choir, The Aily/Fordham B.F.A. in Dance Program, and The Bronx Arts Ensemble.
The Lessons and Carols Program Cover
I had the pleasure of attending The Lessons and Carols Festival on both the Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses. I really enjoyed the choirs, the dancers, and the orchestra at both performances. The choirs sang beautiful holiday carols, and there were even opportunities for the audience to sing along! My roommate is in the Fordham University Women’s Choir, and seeing her and my other classmates perform was so much fun!
The Fordham University Women's Choir performing at
their Rose Hill Lessons and Carols concert

The Lessons and Carols Festival is one of many examples of the wonderful holiday spirit that Fordham embodies. Getting into the holiday spirit can be very difficult, especially during these stressful weeks before final exams. Going to holiday concerts like Lessons and Carols, and taking time to relax is very important for college students. Fordham does a great job encouraging students to relax, and to take time away from intense final exam studying to enjoy the holidays. I really enjoyed my time at The Lessons and Carols Festival, and I cannot wait to continue to celebrate my holidays at Fordham!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Staying Sane During Finals at Fordham

     As December rolls around, so does one of the most dreaded times of year for college students everywhere: finals. While finals at Fordham are certainly no joke when compared to other schools, that doesn't necessarily mean we have to suffer as badly as everyone else — and there's a lot to do around here to take the stress off your mind, even if it's only for an hour or two.

      To destress, CAB (Campus Activities Board) offers everything from free massages to stress relief puppies in the McGinley Student Center. Another common outing made by students to take a break from studying is to go christmas shopping; whether it be on 5th Avenue, Columbus Circle, SoHo, or online from the comfort of your own dorm. Each of those destinations are place people fly to New York from across the world to shop at, but for us it's just a subway, Metro-North, or Ram Van ride away!

The Foyer of the New York Public Library at Bryant Park
     If you're the kind of person who needs to lock yourself inside a library for hours on end to concentrate, Fordham certainly has you covered. With the Walsh Family Library at Rose Hill, and the Quinn and (brand new and beautiful) Law School Libraries at Lincoln Center, you won't have to go too far from your dorm or classroom. If you want a change of scenery however, the New York Public Library at Bryant Park is a common destination for many students, just a short ride away on the D train from either campus.

     If a library doesn't meet your needs and you need a more remote space to escape from school and really be able to concentrate, you're not alone once again. New York may seem like the distraction capital of the world, but there are precious pockets of the city that are perfect to get away from the buzz of campus and New York life in general. My personal favorite spot away from campus to read over my notes and prep for exams is the East River Promenade, that stretches from 60th to 98th street on the Upper East Side, a short ride away from campus on the 4 train.
A Panoramic View from the East River Promenade at Night
    But not to break from Fordham tradition, finals can never officially start until after the midnight breakfast on the last reading day— because how can you feel comfortable taking an exam if you didn't get your french toast sticks from Father McShane?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Fordham Becomes a Spoon University

 Good news for all Fordie’s foodies! Fordham has joined the 45 nationwide campuses with contributing students to Spoon University. Spoon University serves as an online guide for students to local on and off campus cuisine and beyond.
The Spoon’s national homepage provides articles from national contributors about all things food related. The national homepage also includes selected articles from over 1,000 student contributors and posts those that pertain to all college foodies, despite their location.
The Fordham University Spoon Chapter serves to provide Fordham students with a guide among the chaos that can be dining in NYC and on a college campus. As of the chapter’s launch last week, articles include a dorm-friendly recipe for a pumpkin spice mug cake and an article on the five best places to have tea in NYC.
Sophomore and Spoon journalist, Jess Mannino sought interest in the newly forming chapter because of her love for both the culinary and literary arts. Says Mannino on her new journalistic undertaking: “As a writer for Spoon University, I have been able to wed my love for writing and my love for food in a way that is conducive to learning about what it means to experience and to articulate experience.”
Mannino encourages even those students who haven’t yet awakened their inner Anthony Bourdain to read the Spoon for inspiration! “Reading this blog is a great way to become foodies by proxy,” explains Mannino. “With recipes, how-to's, suggestions, reviews, and tips, our team writes and photographs to cater to all of your wildest food inquiries.”

Read Jess’s article, “Your Guide to Local, Bronx Pizza” here!

Ready, Set, GO!

Global Outreach, or GO!, is a program at Fordham that gives students an opportunity to participate in service and immersion trips around the country and around the world.  GO! projects are based upon four pillars: social justice, simple living, community, and spirituality. Unlike other volunteer opportunities here at school, GO! teams make long-term commitments to their projects, as they spend time together each week in the months leading up to departure learning more about themselves, each other, the community they will be visiting, and the work they will be doing.  Rather than focusing on providing charity, students approach these projects with an open mind and a positive, yet humble, attitude.  They are taught to understand that injustices are complex, and that practicing solidarity with a community different from their own is as much a goal of the program as the "help" that they may be able to provide to that community.

Puebla's location in Mexico.

At the beginning of this semester, I was accepted to participate in GO! Mexico.  Over winter break, I will travel to Cholula, a city in the state of Puebla, with ten other students.  For ten days, we will live in home stays with Mexican families while we work with a local non-profit organization and learn about sustainability projects in the area.  Although we have not yet made our journey, Global Outreach at Fordham has already been an enriching and rewarding experience.  I feel fortunate to have gotten to know my team members - a diverse group of people who I may not have met otherwise.  And I'm looking forward to our trip in just 23 days!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Weekend Update

It's easy to see why students love Fordham during the holidays!
Linda Mule
The buzz is back on campus! After students departed as early as the Monday before Thanksgiving, Fordham's campus is back to being the fast paced and upbeat campus we know and love. The only difference? The huge wreathes and holiday decor which adorn buildings around campus! The holiday season is upon us at Fordham, with everything planned from a holiday fair with free sign ups to go ice skating in the city, Hanukkah celebrations, and Christmas carols! This is a magical time of year, and students are happier than ever to be back home for the holidays, their Fordham home. 

Just some of the miniature New York landmarks

Shannon Donovan
The New York Botanical Garden is right across the street from the main entrance to Fordham.  Every year they have a Holiday Train Show, featuring model trains on a track that runs through a miniature city.  The replicas of popular buildings and landmarks are made of natural materials like bark and leaves.  It is a holiday must!

One of the hundreds of dolls in the NYC store

Kate Callahan
This weekend my parents came to watch me perform with the University Choir in the Annual festival of Lessons and Carols.  Alumni, students, families, and visitors come from all over to see the show, and for many of them it marks the start of the holiday season.  During some downtime, my mom and I walked down 5th Avenue to check out the window displays at Saks and the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.  We stopped at the American Girl Place along the way to see some of my favorite toys from when I was a little kid.  The (window) shopping and concert really helped me get into the spirit!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Being Happy and Healthy at Fordham

It’s that time of year again! Campus is covered in wreaths and lights, student clubs and roommates are doing gift exchanges, and the semester is almost over. As exciting as that is, it also means finals are upon us here at Fordham. Finals, as you are probably realizing, can be a stressful time as paper assignments and exams begin to fill your calendar. Something that students sometimes ask about on campus tours is how Fordham helps students during particularly stressful times, like finals.

Fordham’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) are a great service that students can and should take advantage of. CPS offers twelve free counseling sessions to every Fordham student. These sessions can be one-on-one, and there are also group therapy sessions for women, men, and LGBTQ students. Fordham also offers community referrals and collaboration between campus ministry, health services, career services, and disability services to help students with whatever they may need.

Mental health services are not always foremost in someone’s mind when he or she is looking at colleges, and some people don’t even like to raise the question of what is available and for whom. Whether you end up using CPS yourself, recommending it to a friend, or never even going into the office, it’s important to remember that Fordham has these options and others available for all of its students. It is part of Fordham’s dedication to cura personalis, care of the whole person: body, mind, and spirit.