Of Manresa and Midterms

Being a Manresa Scholar was tough. The Shared Expectations, the Manresa seminar, the extracurricular programs—certainly not a walk in the park. But would I have wanted my freshman year to go any other way? Not a chance. And I suspect, by the end of this year, neither will anyone from the Manresa Class of 2021.

I remember sitting in the O’Keefe Study Commons on the eve of Dean Parmach’s philosophy mid-term. A sprawl of handouts and notes covered the table before me. I had inhaled so much Philosophy that I felt about 99% confident. I got up to finally call it a night, but something stopped me—that 1% of uncertainty: What if that’s one of the questions? What if that’s what the entire test is on? The possibility haunted me and I had to choose: sleep or certainty. And though I tried my best, certainty won out. I studied, skimmed, and searched that last concept until I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

The next morning, I sat in my desk with a glint of sleep deprivation and determination in my eye. Dean Parmach placed a test in front of me and I began to read. And guess what: That 1% I studied an extra hour for? That small, specific piece of knowledge I dissected so carefully? Nowhere on the test. Zero mention. Suffice it to say, I was a tad peeved, but it was a good thing I had prepared the other 99% of knowledge. It turned out just fine.

It takes a special type of relentless perseverance to thrive in Manresa: a meticulous work ethic paired with an unslakable sense of curiosity. It’s that very drive that propelled you to apply to and ultimately be accepted into the program; resolve and resourcefulness define Manresa Scholars. The Manresa Scholars Program imbues within you an endless pursuit of knowledge; “almost” will hardly be enough, and excellence will become your earmark.McCarthy Dinner Immersion.jpg

Though occasionally the work is intense and the sleep scarce, nothing prepares you better for a fruitful college experience than Manresa. The lessons I gleaned from Manresa last year—both academic and personal—continue to shape the course of my Fordham career. As a Manresa Scholar, I learned that my words and actions have the power to affect a change; I learned to think and speak concisely, making every word forcible and meaningful.

The very hallmark of a Manresa Scholar resides in their ability to be men and women for others. This year, I get a chance to put that adage into effect in a personal way; I was afforded the opportunity to work as Dean Parmach’s Faculty Advisor Student Assistant (FASA) for the same class I took last year. As a FASA, I aim to help this batch of unsuspecting interlocutors. I provide insight into the academic experience and help to guide the freshmen through the maze of first-year uncertainties. I see it as my way to give back to a program and class that empowered and inspired me.

Now, I know how rigorous these classes are, but I know that you’re in Manresa because of your desire for rigor. As a former Manresa Scholar and FASA, I’ll be accessible if you need help with learning that 99%. But that last 1%? Well—I couldn’t stop you if I tried.

Rafael Saplala, FCRH 2020
Manresa Scholar, 2016-2017

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An Introduction to Shared Expectations

As members of the Manresa community, your living-learning experience is enhanced by authentic participation in shared activities. The Shared Expectations programming model is a way for Scholars to better understand and embrace four key Jesuit values: Learning, Sharing, Serving, and Reflecting.

Manresa Scholars are required to attend at least one program from each category during each semester, but most often, Scholars find themselves coming back for more to engage their intellectual interests and personal passions.

Learning
Programs produced and led by the in-house, live-in Manresa tutors allow students to fulfill their Learning requirement. Beneficial seminars introduce incoming freshmen to college life and the upcoming professional world. Examples include “Email Etiquette: Presenting Yourself Well,” “Writing Your First College Paper,” as well as multiple exam
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Sharing
Through professor led dinner-colloquia or guest lectures, Scholars are able to bother themselves intellectually, outside of the classroom. The programs can link up with themes of the Manresa Seminars, generate discussions on the role of Jesuit values in the world, or present ideas focused on the lives of millennials themselves. Previous topics include “Social Media and the Search for Self,” and “Love,” a Keyword Colloquium with Fordham President, Father McShane (see photo, courtesy of Zach Asato).

Serving
Serving programs tend to leave a significant impact on the Scholars, as service-learning work within a different environment allows for a unique experience. Whether serving food to the homeless in the city, or participating in a park clean-up in the Bronx (see photo), Manresa Scholars develop a better understanding and appreciation of the communities outside of Fordham’s campus.IMG_2944.jpg

Reflecting
This category allows Scholars to explore their relationship with topics such as ethics and justice, and connect more deeply to the spiritual values of the Manresa Program and Jesuit education. These programs are often coordinated in partnership with Fordham’s Campus Ministry and our resident Jesuit Housemaster, Father Lito Salazar, S.J., creating valuable connections for Scholars to carry on beyond their year in Manresa.

Lindsey Register, FCRH 2020
Manresa Programming & Marketing Fellow, 2017-2018

Manresa’s Finest: Nicole Benevento

Over the past four years, Nicole Benevento, FCRH 2017, has been an integral part of the Manresa community. She entered the Program as a freshman participant, served as its Intern as a sophomore and junior, and as live-in Tutor her senior year. Our community has truly benefited from her positive energy, dedication to student success, and Ignatian grit and kindness.

Benevento aspires to a career in the publishing industry following her internships with America Media, Fordham University Press, and Penguin Random House. She’ll take the skills and lessons learned from ManDSC_0004.JPGresa. Nicole notes that “Manresa helped me to feel comfortable and confident in my own skin, and I plan on having that newly-found confidence exude in my interviews and during meetings and interactions throughout my publishing career.”

Amid countless Manresa programs, she notes NYC Urban Immersion as her most memorable. The experience of volunteering at nearby soup kitchens and with homeless youth, and staying at Fordham Bedford Housing in the Bronx, ignited her passion for bridging the gap between rich and poor. In true Ignatian spirit, Nicole became bothered by inequality. “It was such an incredible experience because we were not only reflecting on the injustice in the world, but also witnessing it firsthand. It set something off inside me…it was the first time I really understood how privileged I am compared to others, and it didn’t sit well with me,” said Benevento.

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Benevento turns to the famous Babe Ruth quote for inspiration: “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” Nicole earned a double major in English and Italian and minored in Marketing, and served in Campus Ministry and on the boards of the Fordham Club and as vice president of Fordham’s chapter of the National Jesuit Honor Society Alpha Sigma Nu. “You will meet amazing people, form lifelong friendships, and create lasting memories if you take the initiative. College may seem overwhelming, but trust me, in the end each moment is so worth it,” said Benevento.

The Manresa Community wishes Benevento the best. Thank you, Nicole, for your service to Fordham. We look forward to having you back to share your experiences and wisdom with future Manresa Scholars.

Anja Asato, FCRH 2018
Manresa Programming and Marketing Fellow, 2016-2017

A Memorable Spring Semester

The 2016-2017 Manresa Scholars have officially completed their freshman year as Fordham Rams. This year has been filled with rigorous academics, engaged service-learning, and dedication to the Manresa-Loyola Hall community. As Scholars embark on new adventures as upperclassmen, we are confident that the lessons they’ve learned with Manresa will serve them well.

Fordham’s President, Fr. McShane, spent an evening speaking with Manresa Scholars on the topic of “Love” and the “Fordham Family.” A personal conversation with Fr. McShane is a special Fordham experience that Scholars will reminisce about throughout their time at Fordham and after graduation.

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During the NYC Urban Immersion Spring Break Service Project, a group of Manresa Scholars took part in service-learning projects and explored issues such as economic inequality, while practicing simple living for a meaningful and reflective experience.

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Manresa Scholars visited Bartow-Pell Park in the Bronx twice this semester, once to clean up the park grounds and again to help facilitate their annual Easter Egg Hunt.

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Manresa professors concluded the year’s dinner-colloquium series with a “Last Lecture.” Each professor shared their most valued piece of wisdom with Manresa Scholars before they embark on new journeys as upperclassmen.

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Scholars took a break from finals to celebrate the end-of-the-year on the Manresa patio to enjoy burritos and the warm weather.

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“Grit”: Lessons from Manresa Alumnae

Manresa Scholars become part of a prestigious group of Fordham students who go on to enter fields in business, law, communications, social service, and more. When Manresa Scholars leave Loyola, they still remain part of the community by sharing their knowledge and experiences with current Manresa Scholars, creating a diverse and active network.

This past week, three Manresa alumnae, Sara Kugel (FCRH ‘11), Danielle O’Boyle (GSB ‘12), and Victoria Cappucci (FCRH ’16), came to speak with current students about how “grit” played an integral  role in their post-graduation success. Together, the speakers and Scholars discussed the meaning of “grit” and spoke about how it refers to one’s ability to persevere, work hard, and focus this work ethic toward one’s passion. It also means utilizing strengths and realizing that not everything will go as planned, but that some resourcefulness and creativity can take you down meaningful paths.

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Kugel, Associate Producer at CBS News, spoke about focusing on your passion. By doing this, you can overcome the background noise and focus on your goals. However, she stressed the importance of balancing ambition and self-care. She also encouraged Manresa Scholars to reflect and appreciate this period of their lives where they can focus primarily on learning.

O’Boyle, Assistant District Attorney in the Queens County District Attorney’s Office, gave valuable advice to the pre-law students and those interested in the legal field. In her experience, “grit” meant never giving up despite rejection and never being too busy to take on the less glamorous tasks of a job. Knowing what needs to happen to achieve a goal can be vital to success.

Cappucci, who graduated from Fordham last year, gave Manresa Scholars advice about steps they can take during their time at Fordham and her experience post-graduation thus far. For her, having a long term goal to foster a sense of grit is important. She intends to attend law school and is currently working as a paralegal at Allen & Overy in Manhattan.

Each Manresa Scholar had a chance to work with the speakers in small groups to come up with concrete ways to apply a sense of “grit” to their lives. Whether it’s applying for more internships, getting better grades by visiting office hours, or joining a club related to their interests, Scholars can take steps to apply a sense of “grit” to their academic, work, and personal experiences. Whatever the goal, the speakers shared the importance of having a sense of purpose by doing something personally fulfilling.

Anja Asato, FCRH 2018
Manresa Programming & Marketing Fellow, 2016-2017

Central Park Excursion

Fordham’s location gives Manresa students the invaluable opportunity to explore the city. On a recent Friday afternoon, Dean Parmach took Manresa Scholars on a trip to the iconic New York attraction, Central Park.

Students took a scenic walk around the reservoir and down to Sheep’s Meadow. The Manresa Program truly cares for the whole student, encouraging both academics and exploration of your new home, New York City!

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For several Scholars, the excursion was their first visit to Central Park.

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Manresa Scholars enjoyed a quintessential late summer afternoon at Central Park.

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Manresa Faculty Director, Dean Robert Parmach, with Manresa Canine Mascot, Peewee.

The Secret Gem of the Bronx: A Manresa Event Sneak Peek

Our Manresa Staff has been working tirelessly on our upcoming year’s events and programs for you all. I’m here to give you a little inside information from behind the Manresa Intern’s desk. This September (although, I won’t give you the exact date, because that would ruin the surprise), the Manresa Program is going to hold an all-hands-on-deck service project at the Bronx’s very own Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum and Garden.

Before I let you in on the little secret on what we will be doing there, I’ll tell you about this hidden gem, one that even some people from the area do not know about.  Hundreds of years ago, there were around 20-30 mansions located in the Bronx along the Long Island Sound. Today, only one remains. This mansion, which is now both a New York City Landmark and a National Historic Landmark, is known as Bartow-Pell Mansion. The land was bought by Thomas Pell from the Siwanoy Indians in 1654, and was later sold to John Bartow in 1790. The house in which the Bartows lived still remains on the property and is the site of our upcoming service project.

This mansion is an official landmark and a living piece of Bronx history. Ellen Bruzelius (the mansion’s Executive Director) and her team give tours of, and offer service opportunities on, the mansion’s grounds. Last year, the Manresa Program took advantage of one such opportunity. It turned out to be one of our best programs of the year. Get ready, Manresa, because this September, we will participate in an outdoor garden cleanup in the beautiful and lush gardens at the Bartow-Pell Mansion while working alongside some of the inspiring individuals that make it possible. Put on your boots, long pants, and baseball caps, and get ready to make a difference!

Nicole Benevento, FCRH 2017
Manresa Program Student Intern, 2014-2015 and 2015-2016

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