Saying Goodbye to The College of New Rochelle

It’s taken me several days to write this post. It is difficult on so many levels because I  am saying goodbye to an important part of my life. No, I am not closing my websites, I am saying goodbye to something that led me who I am today….the place that shaped me into the woman I have become and helped me become a journalist.

I  am actually in tears as  I write this, in fact,  I have been crying since I found out the news  earlier this year. My alma mater, The College of New Rochelle is closing its doors for good. While I will not get into  details as to why,  I can say that it is something that has me heartbroken. My journey to get to  CNR and my time there was   incredible,  and something that I will never  forget. At the time  I   attended, it was an all-girls Catholic affiliated school, and I dreamed of sending my future daughter there.  I know several  ladies who had come from a CNR dynasty and it was  something I wanted for myself as well.

My CNR journey began in the year 2000, my junior year of high school. At the time, I was an average student, Bs with some As and Cs thrown in (thanks, math and science!).  While my grades weren’t the best, I  knew I  was ready for higher education. For me, high school was boring and I  was ready for more.   I wanted to expand my mind in ways I  couldn’t in high school. (For the record, I am not bashing high school, I was just over it at that point and wanted to move on. I  knew in college I  would be able to focus more difficult topics and finally begin building my career and life.)

Anyway, during spring break of my junior year, my mom and I  drove down to the college for a tour. It’s actually a funny story…..we actually thought it was a fake college at first because nobody ever heard of it. (And I’d just seen the episode of Boy Meets World when Eric got accepted into the fake Boris College). However, my mom asked around and we discovered it was indeed,  a  real college. We pulled into the parking lot and I turned to my mom and told her ‘ok, we can end the college search.  I  am going here.’ My mom was like, ‘um, let’s at least go through the doors first.’ However, I felt like Han Solo and Chewbacca in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I was home.

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I  talked to Kelly the admissions counselor and went on tour with a student Nicole and my decision was solidified. The search was over and this was going to be my home for four years. Kelly told me to raise my GPA a bit and do well on the SATs, but she seemed confident I would be a member of the CNR class of 2005. This led to me cracking down and studying more, focusing on community service (they were big into that…and it put me into the running for a  decent scholarship, which I ended up getting) and doing everything I  could to get accepted early admissions (After all, there was no reason to NOT do early admissions). Yes, it. Was a HUGE gamble, but one that paid off, because I  was accepted that December. (I actually called the admissions office to ask because it was I  was too impatient to wait for the letter to arrive!) Kelly told me I was accepted and from that moment on, it was an amazing journey….picking classes, waiting for roommate assignments, wondering what residence hall I’d be calling home (Maura for 3 years, Ursula for one)…the list goes on. I  didn’t even care it was an all-girls Catholic school, something about that school just screamed home.

Once I moved into Maura in August 2001 with my roommate Rosalie, my life began to change. I was more confident and felt more comfortable in the classroom. My classes were small (I don’t think I  EVER had more than 16 classmates) and I  got more hands on experience in learning and had the same professors over and over.  We developed a special bond and to this day, I not only remember important lessons, but am able to call them friends.

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They all pushed me and were tough on me, not to be mean, but they saw potential in me I never even realized. They helped me get internships with Councilmen, Congresswomen and with big names in media, including Sean Hannity and Geraldo Rivera. They introduced me to other staff on campus, helping me gain even more  friendships and mentors.

I  also gained friends,  a sisterhood, if you will. However,  the way we bonded had nothing to do with college itself,  but with the tragic events of 9/11. Most of us were on our own for the first time and grew up faster than we were ready for. We were also close to NYC and several of us had loved ones in that area of the attacks. We  all bonded instantly, supporting one another as we waited for news, grieving with those who lost loved ones and becoming stronger as we watched our worlds change forever.

I wish I  could name everyone, but then this post would be naming everyone who attended CNR at that time. Each friend changed my life for the better and I’m proud that I  am still in touch with most of these women today.

CNR may be closing its doors, but the love, lessons and sisterhood will  live on forever. While I am mourning the loss of the place I once called home, I smile at the memories and the fact that I  bonded with so many people who are still a part of my life today. Thank you to my girls (there are too many to name, but you know who you are). We share many memories,  adventures, tears,  tragedy, triumph and success that nobody could understand unless they attended CNR. You ladies will always be my sisters. Thank you, and I love  you!

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To my professors: Dr. Ong (who pushed me to beyond my limits and showed us CNR women what it meant to be a family man), Dr.Zimmer, (who encouraged me to write for the school paper and always had such positive energy and a good story), Dr. Grabowski (who made me fall in love with TV production and broadcasting, thanks to our campus TV show Off The Record and had great career advice), Dr. McCarthy (another family man who made me love the political side of journalism and was an incredible advisor), Dr Quinn (who helped me as a second advisor and helped me get two life changing internships…and also had a wicked sense of humor), Dr. McKernan (who made me love history in a more analytical way and always had a smile for everyone), Dr. Malloy (whom we lost during my senior year, but her memory and love for Economics lives in my heart….especially with impulse shopping,  my favorite lesson from her),   Dr. Iredes (who made love fitness and dance) and Dr. Smart (who helped me dig deeper as a writer and pushed me to be my best)….I THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.

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Author: Sammi Turano
Sammi has been a journalist for over a decade, specializing in entertainment, lifestyle, sports and celebrity news. She is the owner of TVGrapevine and Football in High Heels and the Host of Grapevine in High Heels With Sammi.

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