Thank You, Fordham, and Goodbye

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 sucks.

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.

9 thoughts

  1. Jack ~ As a Fordham Junior parent I want to say how sorry I am for you and ALL the seniors! Hopefully, my son will be able to have a “normal” year next year. I have another son at Temple in Philly who is a senior! He is actually a fifth year Senior …… he needed a little extra time to get thru his course work because he has Aspergers! And after working so very hard for five years ….. I agree …… this fucking sucks! It sucks because if he should have graduated last year, and we were totally ok with him taking as much time as he needed, but now this! Temple’s graduation typically has 10,000 in attendance and I am certain it will be cancelled! I don’t know how you feel as a student, but I know it hurts as the parent, so it must be so very hard for all of you! I wish you and the class of 2020 the very best!

  2. Jack. As an alumna, I loved reading your mature response to this Terrible situation. You didn’t blame the administration. You didn’t find fault with decisions. You just acknowledged the losses and the feelings. This is real and all anybody can do.

    I think you have a bright future ahead. Keep trusting that bright day will come – because it will.

    God bless the Class of 2020. What stories you will have

    Kristin Lynch Graham ‘92

  3. I’m a sophomore parent and since the beginning of this crisis my heart has been truly broken for the seniors. I cannot even imagine what your feelings are right now. I hope theses couple months don’t always define your college experience. I know someday the stuff that really matters will take precedence. God bless you and your classmates. I wish for you all to persevere and find the silver lining. It’s gotta be out there somewhere.

  4. I am a parent of a senior and I thank you for writing exactly what my son and I were just crying about yesterday!! He wasn’t finished!!! It’s not fare!! I had more to do!! We as parents feel so sad for the seniors and their final days getting cut short! We continue to pray for a graduation and a end to this misery!!GO RAMS🙏🏻❤️

  5. Jack – such a thoughtful piece. While “this too shall pass” can sometimes aid navigating life’s challenges , this is uniquely painful – as Fordham alum , my husband and I reflect on the spring semester of our senior years as genuinely the best times of our lives because of the friendships and unique experiences endemic to Fordham and Rose Hill. I’m sure the seniors will figure out a Plan B once the hysteria ends , and while not ideal , will be able to reconnect and build experiences over the summer and spring which celebrate the journey you’ve undertaken and the one you have yet to begin – Fordham grit is unique.

  6. My heart aches for the Class of 2020. College seniors and HS seniors-it’s just not fair. (I have a HS senior).

    This is a beautiful write up. Your thoughts have provided a path of how I really believe we should move through life. Of course we should be allowed to feel and experience our disappointments to their fullest degree, but we cannot stay down in that pit for too long. We need to pull ourselves up when it seems almost impossible. So much of life is filled with positive memories and laughter. Those memories help us get through the sad times.

    The Fordham a University Class of 2020 is far more resilient than we ever needed to be at your age. You will do amazing things.

    Go Rams 🐏!
    Kelly Fallon Krug ‘92

  7. My heart aches for the Class of 2020. College seniors and HS seniors-it’s just not fair. (I have a HS senior)

    This is a beautiful write up. It’s also provides a path of how we should go through life. Of course we should be allowed to feel and experience our disappointments to their fullest degree, but we cannot stay there for too long. We need to pop back up and look ahead. So much of life is filled with positive memories. Those memories help us get through the sad times.

    The FU Class of 2020 is far more resilient than we ever needed to be at your age. You will do amazing things.

    Go Rams! 🐏
    Kelly Fallon Krug ‘92

    Kelly Fallon Krug ‘92

  8. While I am a Long Island native, I have lived in Dayton for 50+ years now. I’m a Dayton alum, a Flyer season ticket holder, grandparent to a UD freshman FB player and great aunt to a UD senior. My heart aches for seniors most of all! When my son picked up his son, he said it was surreal – the sadness, the goodbyes, the tears, the reluctance to put belongings in the car and Drive away. Of course, my heart goes out to basketball seniors everywhere and to all senior athletes at all levels everywhere to have their seasons abruptly end and just imagine, “what if.” May God bless you on the next leg of your journey, Jack and for all who are seriously impacted physically, spiritually and emotionally.

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