Mark Cahill had never set foot in the Bronx before June 29.
In fact, Cahill, a recent graduate of St. Louis University High School in St. Louis, Mo., had never visited New York City before he traveled to Fordham with his mother to attend New Student Orientation.
Standing in the middle of Keating First auditorium, Cahill said his only frame of reference for understanding the city was Nanjing, China, which he visited for two weeks last March.
“New York reminds me a lot of that because I was in a really urban part of Nanjing,” he said. “It seemed a lot more hectic there though; there were twice as many cars and hundreds of thousands of people driving on bikes.
“Here, there are a lot of people who seem like they’re immigrants. It’s a lot more culturally diverse than St. Louis.”
Cahill, who enrolled in the College of Business Administration with plans to major in finance and minor in Chinese, certainly got a taste of multicultural New York City. Earlier that morning, he and his mother, Ann, took a wrong turn out of the subway and walked several blocks down East Fordham Road before realizing their error.
It didn’t faze them, though, and after experiencing Rose Hill firsthand and learning about the opportunities Fordham offers in international business, Cahill said it was exactly what he wanted in a college.
“I really wanted to get out of St. Louis and go someplace—not really exotic—but away from the Midwest. I like the East Coast, so that’s another reason why I chose it,” he said.
“My counselor described Fordham as an oasis right in the middle of the Bronx, where you can forget that you’re in a city with millions of people.”
The daylong orientation, which drew roughly 200 students, was the first of three non-mandatory programs that Fordham offers during the summer to help incoming freshman make the leap to college. Talk of academics dominated the morning, while the afternoon was dedicated to campus life and extracurricular activities, such as cultural, political, service and special interest clubs.
Question-and-answer sessions in Keating First were followed by smaller breakout sessions outside, where orientation volunteers answered questions and explained the intricacies of the freshman dorm visitor policies to Cahill and five other students.
“Residential Life at Rose Hill,” a larger presentation for parents and students given in the McGinley Center Ballroom by the Office of Residential Life, filled out the day. Integrated learning communities in Tierney Hall and Queens Court were given special emphasis, and in case the presentation wasn’t convincing enough, tours of the buildings were offered afterward.
Although Cahill expressed interest in living in the newly renamed Loschert Hall, he and his mother toured Queens Court. That also afforded a brief visit to the University Church before they caught the D train back to their hotel in Times Square.
“This will be the first time I’ll be away from home for an extended period, and I’ll probably only come back during Christmas and during the summer, so it’ll be interesting to see how I can deal with that,” said Cahill, who’s eager to find a place to pursue his passions for racquetball and piano. “But I’m not really nervous; I’m more excited about it.”