For Resident Assistant and GSB Junior, The Pun Also Rises

Originally published in The Fordham Ram on April 12, 2017.

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GSB Junior Christine Phelan cannot keep her plants to herself. (Courtesy of Christine Phelan)

Christine Phelan, GSB ’18, laughs a lot, maybe borderline too much, if you hate happiness. If there’s one thing to know about her, it is that. There are many other things, but chief among them is that Phelan is a laugher. Is she often laughing alone at her own puns? Maybe.

“I’m an avid pun enthusiast, so my friends hate me,” said Phelan, through fits of laughter. “But I’m better than other people at puns, so sometimes, they give me some credit.”

A second thing to know about Christine Phelan is that she is more than just someone who laughs a lot. For one thing, she has spent the past two years as a Resident Assistant for freshmen, first in Alumni Court South last year and then in Martyrs’ LaLande this year. But of course, when asked which building she is currently a RA in, she can’t help herself: “LaLande. Best in all LaLande.”

“I’ve always been kind of a RA as a person,” said Phelan. “I’ve always been the one who would take care of people when things would go wrong. I’ve always been the person who loves listening to stories, giving advice. It was a very easy transition into the role.” Naturally, she was laughing throughout this answer, but that may have had something to do with the fact that her interviewer is a former resident of hers who was sarcastically shocked that she declared herself a RA of a person.

All jokes aside – and if it isn’t abundantly clear yet, there are a lot of jokes – Phelan takes her role as a RA very seriously.

“The major thing that all freshmen want, pretty much, is to have a resource,” she said. “Someone who’s always able to listen and wants to hear – is basically an active listener, hears what you have to say, asks you questions about it. And someone who you can trust, who you can come to.”

A third thing to know about Christine Phelan is that, while she will once again only be a RA as a person and not as real-life Resident Assistant next year, she is hoping to still be plenty involved in trying to better the lives of students, as she is running for the position of vice president of Student Life in the upcoming United Student Government elections. She has been a USG senator all three of her years at Fordham. This past year, she has also served as the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and as the chairperson for the Committee on International Integration.

Lest that paragraph of impressive positions make you forget, Phelan’s sense of humor is involved in everything she does. To remind you, here is the beginning of her response to “What made you want to join USG?”:

“When I was…a young warthog…”

But now, no longer a young warthog, and with plenty of experience interacting with students under her belt, Phelan wants to help grow inclusivity among Fordham students, her main goal if she is elected VP of Student Life.

“Inclusivity is something that I’ve always tried to promote on campus,” said Phelan. “As VP of Student Life, I could hopefully bring it to that second tier and hopefully expand offerings when it comes to inclusivity.”

A fourth thing to know about Christine Phelan is that she used to want to be a veterinarian. Actually, I guess the fourth thing to know is that she no longer wants to be a vet, but instead has her eyes set on possibly going to law school or becoming involved in business innovation after spending time in the field of her major, accounting. That’s right: accounting. You know, that major full of spreadsheets and numbers and not puns. How’s that for a plot twist?

There are a great many other things to know about Christine Phelan. For example, her love for her family – “I have two younger brothers that I tell everyone about all the time, to the point where I’ll give other people updates immediately when things happen to my brothers” – her propensity to burst into song – “I will sing along to anything and so anytime I have been watching movies with friends that are musical in nature or are listening to any song I will probably be singing” – or her ability to coach people in all things job-acquiring related.

And if you can stand elite-level bad puns and the more-than-occasional musical outburst, you’ll find the antithesis of a stereotypical accounting major who is also a RA and is heavily involved in student government. In other words, a living, breathing, laughing person.

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