by Jack Archambault
There’s no way to begin this that could ever adequately describe the way I feel. The last 12 hours, and really the last week, ever since we found out that Fordham was canceling face-to-face classes, first until March 30th, then for the rest of the year, have felt like a fever dream. I don’t think anyone is able to put into words exactly how they feel, because they’ve never felt exactly this way before. But I’m going to do my best. Because I have to. Writing this is the only way I can even begin to cope with the disappointment – the massive, crushing disappointment – of having my final semester of college cut short in the second week of March. So how about I begin like this:
This really fucking sucks.
I was going to write this last night, but between the panic and sadness and confusion, I exhausted myself and fell asleep. And I knew that when I woke up this morning, there would be a fleeting moment when I’d see the sun shining through the windows in my childhood bedroom and would think that this was just another day waking up at home with nothing to do and not a care in the world. But then I’d think about it, and remember, and the anvil would drop in my stomach again and the panic and sadness and confusion would return.
Waking up is going to be like that for a while. Hell, every day is going to be like that for a while. Sometimes I’ll push it out of my mind for a few minutes and sit outside to enjoy the fresh air and the beginning of spring. But then I remember, and it hurts all over again.
What sucks, what really fucking sucks, isn’t the break. It’s the not knowing when the break will end, but still knowing that no matter when it does, we won’t be able to return to what we were doing. There’s no next school year that we can just go back to. This will end, and then it’s just the beginning of the rest of our lives, lives nobody could have predicted would begin like this.
But this will end. It absolutely will. One day, COVID-19 will be dead in the ground and I’ll be the first to spit on its grave. And it will be a beautiful, sunny day and all the friends who had to say goodbye too soon will see each other again. And they’ll walk at their graduations, and they’ll be so happy to be with each other and write the ending that this chapter of their lives deserves. And they’ll have made it through such a difficult time that it will feel like the rest of their lives are so full of joy and possibility that they might just burst.
I don’t know when that day is coming. But it is.
I wasn’t ready to leave. Nobody was. I wasn’t ready to stop waking up in the morning and getting a bagel and iced coffee from Best Deli before going to class. I wasn’t ready to stop playing basketball with my friends. I wasn’t ready to stop going to Mugz’s on Friday nights, even though it’s always the same, and even though we always complain that it’s full of freshmen. I wasn’t ready to stop going to the library (3rd floor, in the front, by the windows) and procrastinating by watching people pace on the sidewalk down below. But most of all, I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to my classes, or my professors, or the feral cats. I wasn’t ready to bid farewell to the zoo, or the Botans, or the park across from my apartment where a kid got robbed by a bunch of middle-schoolers last month. And I certainly wasn’t ready to say goodbye to my friends.
It’s tempting for me to dive into a list of all the things I won’t get to do now that my senior year has been cut short. But once I start doing that, I’ll never stop. And I’ll need to stop thinking about all those things at some point. We all will. Instead, I’ve been running through a list in my head of all the things I got to do during my last week at Fordham:
I got to celebrate my birthday surrounded by great friends. I got to go to Dayton, Ohio to watch basketball and play music. I got to kill it at karaoke. I got to see the Fordham men’s basketball team win a game in the Atlantic 10 tournament for the first time in my college career, a day I truly never thought would come.
I got to eat Full Moon pizza. I got to visit Suits. I got to experience Corona Day. I got to watch the Bachelor finale. I got to go out to dinner with the girl I had a crush on in my 8:30 A.M. Spanish class freshman year. And I got to experience the beginnings of what is sure to be a truly special, unique, and intense bond among a group of college seniors across the country who find themselves in the exact same position I do.
So now, all I can do is say thank you. Thank you to my parents. Thank you to my sisters. Thank you to my friends. Thank you to my professors. Thank you to the paper. Thank you to pep band. Thank you to Jogues and Tierney and Bathgate and Lorillard. Thank you to Bresus. Thank you to Gaitley. Hell, thanks to you, too, Neubauer.
Thank you to Best. Thank you to Rams. Thank you to Full Moon and Pugsley’s and University and, why not? thank you Nike’s.
Thank you, Fordham, and everyone who made it feel like home. That sunny day is coming.