Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Dear Mom, Thank You


Christine Rice MBA '23 and her mother, Josie Rice

Dear Mom,

January 2017

After a long day of classes on a brisk and chilly afternoon, I got home from school and scoured our home mailbox, spotting the letter that would completely change my life. Arriving in a white pack with the school logo on the upper left-hand side, the material was dense, as if it had multiple pieces of paper inside. My heart began to race as I ran inside to find you, the moment had arrived. So many questions and thoughts ran through my head- there was only one way to find out. I stood at the kitchen table alongside you as I opened the acceptance letter.

As soon as I saw the Congratulations in a bolded font on the first line, we both began to cry- this is what my grandmother, my mother, and ultimately I always worked for. From humble beginnings coming to the United States and working our way up into homeownership and entrepreneurial endeavors, I always knew that I would be the first person in my family to go to college and earn a Bachelor’s degree. Without you, this wouldn’t have been possible. I was incredibly excited for the next 4 years.

August 2017

Moving to a new city that was 3 hours away from home, I transitioned into university life. From freshman move-in to Homecoming Weekend, despite the distance, you were always there for me in ways that I couldn’t even comprehend.

Many difficulties arose as I began my battle with an autoimmune disorder that affects the very way that I lived my life. Throughout it all, you would advocate for me, call me every day to check on how I am doing, often drive up every weekend to see me and take me out to eat at my favorite place. In the moments when I didn’t have the strength to continue on my path, you encouraged and supported me to get through some of the toughest moments of my life.

May 2021

I finally made it to the finish line to earning my Bachelor’s Degree with Summa Cum Laude honors amidst a global pandemic. I did it! I became a first-generation college graduate.

As I walked across the stage and shook the hand of the Dean and University President, I turned to my left to see my Mom in the audience. Through it all, my Mom was there, once again, cheering me on for this momentous achievement. I felt so grateful. From all the things that I went through in order to get to this moment, I wouldn’t have been able to do so without my amazing Mom.

Looking back at my 17-year-old self, I would tell myself that my life journey hasn’t always been easy and that I can lean on my family and university for support. There are so many people who want to see you succeed, especially, in my case, my Mom.

The simplest way to summarize it is: Thank you Mom for everything.


Your Daughter

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Connection on Campus

By Logan Grasso

Is the sharp thrumming of your heartbeat due to a lack of oxygen flow as you hold your breath, or are you terrified that you’ll meet the gaze of who’s occupying the same space you’re in? Whether you’re hiding from a familiar face in the frozen foods aisle of a grocery store, a chill prickling the hairs on the nape of your neck. Or you feel the tension in your legs as you crouch to duck down behind your office desk, wishing to flee the scene. We’ve all been there before. You spot someone you know in public before they’ve noticed you, and now you have to hope that they don’t make that same connection. 

Oddly enough, I’ve never felt that disconsolate dread during my time at Hofstra. Any time I cross paths with one of my former classmates, there’s a mutual excitement that comes with that recognition. Even when I happen to see a professor! Instead of rolling my eyes, they light up a bit. I occasionally find myself wishing to happen upon them some days, when the sun needs just a little more brightening. It’s amusing when put this way, but I feel like I’m searching sometimes, my eyes scanning the crowds like I’m going to finally find Waldo. 

It may be a bit of an exaggeration to call this change in attitude a phenomenon, but one can’t help but wonder why there’s such a dramatic shift simply by circumstance. It’s kinda obvious. I didn’t have to ponder in rumination for too long. Though it still surprised me. Even for an introvert such as myself, I don’t mind the company of the people on campus. Because they enjoy my company as well. There’s a sincerity that isn’t just surface level.

Speaking with someone is overcomplicated. Even arranging the conversation is difficult. Sometimes, it doesn't seem worth the trouble. That is, until we actually do it. When you think about going to an amusement park, you think about the rides and how fun it'll be. Not the crowded competition of finding a parking spot so you can get your turn on the rides. Not the online ordering process worse than having to create a new password just to get some tickets. Not even the lines you'll have to wait on. Maybe, the pricing, I'll let that one slide. But you get the idea. We tend to concern ourselves with the level of difficulty when it's not tough to do at all. As a matter of fact, like all those issues with arranging a park vacation, you can just call them up to walk you through the process. That's what my advisor did for me. I hadn't thought to set up a meeting to figure out my class schedule. Figuring out a website to create an appointment seemed too complicated. But if you can find your advisor's office, or get as lucky as I did to have them as your professor, you can essentially do a walk-in. Anyone and everyone on campus is willing to help, all you have to do is find them. They may not be able to come to you but it's worth the trouble to go to them. 

Our professors don’t just ask us how we’re doing to be polite. They genuinely care to know. Our peers aren’t just waving as we pass by; fellow students actually stop to talk. It’s a distinct contrast from what most of us are familiar with. Making time for others even when we’re in a rush doesn’t cross our minds during the New York hustle, but time stops for everyone here because right now is OUR time. 

It’s our optimal time to grow. To connect. To become who we’re going to be for the rest of our lives. It’s time for class. It’s time for Common Hour. It’s OUR time.