Preserving Your Long-Distance Relationship at College

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Your college experience will be influenced by the people you connect with and the relationships you build. People often emphasize the importance of starting college with an open mind. While this is great advice, let’s be real— everyone is starting this new chapter of their lives with different emotional attachments. Incoming freshmen often feel that in order to enjoy college, they must end their high school relationship –likely due to the widespread idea that previous relationships, especially those that are long-distance, don’t work in college. I however, have been in a long-distance relationship during my time at Syracuse and could not be happier. This is the reality for many freshmen entering college. If you want to maintain your relationship as you transition into college, I have found that commitment and communication are key.

Communication is critical.

Freshman year is full of drastic changes, so rather than fight it, be open to your relationship changing as well. You may have always talked on the phone at a certain time in high school, or eaten lunch together every day. That of course can no longer happen. But that doesn’t mean your relationship is dead. Shift your perspective and be open to a new normal. Communicate with your partner about what consistencies you need from your relationship and soon you’ll grow to cherish the new cadence of you and your partner’s routine.

Communication is critical to fostering a healthy long-distance relationship because you are simply not with each other as much as you were before. If there is an issue or you sense any red flags, be vocal about it. The only way to overcome obstacles in any relationship is to confront them directly and talk it out. Establish strong mutual trust with your partner and be open about the new activities in your life. This transparency will ease both of your emotions during times of self-doubt.

You shouldn’t feel the need to hold back on joining new clubs, or meeting new people. I have always been proactive in meeting new people and pursuing extracurriculars. Keeping busy doesn’t mean I don’t miss my partner, but it has allowed me to focus less on some of difficult realities of a long-distance relationship.

Accept that you will feel defeated and vulnerable at times, but be kind to yourself and your partner–this is all part of the process and it’s only temporary as you adjust to college life.

Make time to make it work.

Thank goodness we live in a time where technology is so readily available. It has enhanced the way we are able to communicate regardless of distance. Designate a time that works for the both of you to Skype or FaceTime and if possible, make it part of your everyday routine. Though you cannot feel your partner’s presence, you are able to hear and see him/her on the screen in front of you. It is inevitable that you will miss your loved one and I will tell you right now, it is not easy. But, take pride in the fact that you miss them and relish it because it means that you have someone worth missing. You share something so special that it makes your heart ache when you count down the days until you see them next. Plan surprise visits to your partner’s college or town–I guarantee you that the expression you will see on their face will make all the lonely times worth it.

Little things count.

Lastly, put in the effort. Something as small as a “good morning” text can make all the difference in your long-distance relationship. It is easy to get caught up with academic and social elements of college, but it helps to know that you are both putting in the effort to work on the relationship as a team, even if it is just a quick five-minute conversation. Sending periodic messages, checking in, or updating your partner about little nuances in your day-to-day life are much appreciated. They want to hear about your day and care about the little details, even if you don’t think they are worth mentioning. Remember, you are not in this alone; you have both have committed to a long-distance relationship with each other. And because you are not able to see each other all the time, every moment spent together will be that much more valuable than before.

Contrary to popular belief, you can still make your college career count without being single or “tied-down.” You know if your relationship is worth it. And if it is, give it a fighting chance as you welcome your first year at Syracuse University.

 

Eric Chuang is a senior at Syracuse University studying Public Relations at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a minor in English & Textual Studies. Additionally, he is part of the Fashion & Beauty Communications Milestone Program. Eric is a California native, dog enthusiast, fervent traveler, and sushi connoisseur. When not taking Buzzfeed quizzes or coming up with clever Instagram captions, he can most likely be found jamming to Taylor Swift’s “1989” album.

Making Time for Faith at College

At Syracuse there are so many different ways for students to make campus feel more like home. So far, I have become a part of a few groups— intramural sports teams, community service groups and Literacy Corps— but the community that is most important to me is the one I am a part of at 1 p.m. every Sunday, inside of Hendricks Chapel. As a Christian, Sunday is an important day on my calendar. Not only is it the last day of the weekend and the first day before classes begin, but it is also my time to rest, reflect on the week, and make a plan to improve in the future. A cornerstone of this process happens at the chapel. Nothing helps me gain the focus and perspective to do that more than the Sunday services.

I attended Catholic schools for six years before I came to Syracuse and have spent many years learning about my faith. So coming into my freshman year, finding a community that shared these same values was important to me. Luckily, the process to do so was a lot easier than I thought and I found that community pretty quickly. Within a few weeks on campus, I started going to Hendricks on Sundays. Not only was it great to worship and be around people doing the same, but it also gave me a sense of familiarity and belonging.  After attending my first service, I knew I had found a home. Since that day I’ve gone back to the chapel on a regular basis.

My experience is not an uncommon one. Many people attend these weekly services at both Hendricks Chapel and the Catholic Center, and I imagine they feel that same comfort that I do. In addition to Catholic Services, the university also offers services for members of many other religions so anyone can practice their faith. Hendricks is also non-denominational, meaning any person of any faith is welcome there. Although I haven’t personally attended any other services,  I  have friends that participate. They seem to love them as much as I do. I’m extremely grateful to go to a school that values faith and traditions— it goes a long way in making the students that come here feel at home.

 

Jalen Nash is a freshman studying pyschology in the College of Arts & Sciences. He was raised in Flatbush, New York and attended high school in New Jersey. In his free time, Jalen enjoys playing football and basketball, listening to music, reading, and writing. Jalen hopes to make a living, and be remembered, for his writing.

Chasing my Syracuse Dream

""The first video game I ever liked was Madden 2008. I was good at it. I had a lock-down defense and I could break out for eighty yard runs at any time. I was about nine at the time so I didn’t really have anything else to do. My favorite mode though was the career mode. There you customize your own player, and work to make him the best football player of all time. My 6’1 quarterback, actually was the best of all time. And he was from my favorite school, Syracuse University.

As a kid, Syracuse was the only college I even knew existed. My parents went there, my close family friends went there, my favorite athletes went there, I was completely surrounded by Syracuse University spirit my entire childhood. So for the remainder of it, probably until high school, I wanted to go there.

But then high school came, and that dream faded away. I was a teenager, so naturally I wouldn’t want to go to the school everyone else went to, I wanted to try my own thing. I also wanted to go to school on the west coast, where it’s warm. Third, I didn’t think I had the grades to get accepted in the first place…which was probably the most important thing…

For a year and a half or so I basically gave up on the whole Syracuse dream, yes because I wanted to be different but mainly because I doubted I could ever actually go there. When the application process started last year, Syracuse wasn’t even on my list.  At the time, I was perfectly fine with that… but my mom wasn’t. She must’ve asked me one hundred times to put it on my list, and eventually I agreed just so she’d leave me alone. I put my all into the application process, my essays were relentlessly proofread, and I studied hard for the SATs, but even with all that I thought of Syracuse as a “reach school” and left it at that.

Fast forward to early March, at that point I had gotten into all the schools I applied to, and my mind was set on going to a private school in North Carolina. I don’t think I really wanted to go there… but at the time, I was still trying to be independent and do my own thing, so I thought I did. I told all my friends that’s where I was going, I told some of my family, I told everyone but my mom. I had the logo as my wallpaper, I put Raleigh, North Carolina in my weather app — I was really into it. At the time, I figured that if I jumped on the school’s bandwagon early, it wouldn’t hurt so much when I didn’t get into Syracuse…

But, then I got a surprise. Syracuse accepted me. To this day, I can still vividly see the way the word “Congratulations” lept off my phone screen. I remember the way my mom’s eyes lit up when I told her the news. And above all, I can remember the feeling. It felt like a relief, like an honor, and as though a new door had been opened for me all at the same time. I was filled with so much excitement and anticipation for my future. I felt like nothing could stop me from my destiny but me. No words can really do that feeling justice.

After being accepted, there was little doubt as to what school I would attend. Syracuse University was the place I was destined to be. The worst part after getting accepted was waiting. I officially accepted my offer in mid-April, so that gave me about four months of just waiting for the college experience I had always dreamed of. For me, this was too long a wait so I decided to enroll in Syracuse’s SummerStart Program.

SummerStart began in early July, and even though it meant giving up the last summer of my high school years, it also gave me an opportunity to acclimate to my new life, plan for my future, and meet a bunch of people I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Everyone had three classes, so even though we technically had work over the summer, it wasn’t an overly intense workload. These classes helped me a lot and before even starting the fall semester, I already had eight credits. This may not seem like a lot, but having these extra credits allows for more academic flexibility. And depending on what I decide to major in, they could be the difference between graduating in three years or graduating in four.

Outside of academics, many of the closest friends I have now, are friends that I met in SummerStart. There are people from all walks of life with different backgrounds. A lot of people came from New York, which is to be expected, but there was also a huge population of people who came from California. There were some people from Texas, some from North Carolina, some from Atlanta. There were actually students from every state as well as many international students from places like Turkey and Russia. The diversity of the students in SummerStart was great, and it gave me ample opportunities to learn new customs and be exposed to different lifestyles and cultures. Coming into the fall semester with an already established friend group has undoubtedly made the transition to college easier. I credit my experience at SummerStart as one of the main reasons I am so happy to go to this school now.

My journey to Syracuse University was an eighteen years long. And despite all of the twists and turns life has thrown at me, I made it. The process of getting to this point has showed me two things. One is to never give up on your dreams. Often what you want will seem impossible, you may even begin to doubt it yourself, but if you stick with it, any goal you have can be accomplished. The second thing I learned is not to be afraid of taking a chance. I did not want to apply to Syracuse in the first place because I was afraid of rejection. If it wasn’t for me putting myself out there and overcoming these fears, I wouldn’t be here right now. And right now, I am literally living my dream.

 

Jalen Nash is a freshman studying pyschology in the College of Arts & Sciences. He was raised in Flatbush, New York and attended high school in New Jersey. In his free time, Jalen enjoys playing football and basketball, listening to music, reading, and writing. Jalen hopes to make a living, and be remembered, for his writing.

Why I Went Orange

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When deciding on how to address giving advice on choosing a college, I considered my stylistic options. Should I make a list of considerations? Should I take quotes from friends? Or, should I just reminisce and free associate?

I’ve decided on the last option. Three years ago, I was in your shoes, trying to decide where to go to school. I was down to four schools in April, all around the same price and fairly equal in academic prestige. I didn’t know how to make my decision. I visited each school over April break, and Syracuse was the last one I visited.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the other schools. The accepted students days were nice, and one university had the largest freshman dorms I’d ever seen. But none of them had that “wow” factor, which I couldn’t explain at the time but I think I can now. I was looking for a school that gave me butterflies, that made me so excited to be a part of the community that I wouldn’t feel like I was leaving home, but just going to a new one. I found that at Syracuse.

When I visited Syracuse for the first time, it was five days before I had to make my final decision on where to attend college. It was a beautiful spring day, and I was looking forward to touring Newhouse, seeing the quad- you know, the basics. The Accepted Students seminar in Newhouse was the first thing that made me think, “okay, there is something different about this place.” We heard professors and students speak about the amazing resources in Newhouse and broke up into small group tours. I felt welcomed and eager to start my own education here.

But the real catch for me was just walking around campus and seeing how happy everyone was. I saw students wearing Syracuse sweatshirts, Greek Life T’s, and club hoodies. I saw friends exchange quick hellos on their way to classes, happy to see each other but still keeping their eyes on the prize. It was the perfect blend of social and intellectual life that I did not realize I had been looking for. Not to mention how passionate people were about SU. One kid literally yelled at our tour group, “You’re gonna regret it if you don’t go here!” Okay, so maybe SU isn’t the right fit for everyone, but for me he was right- I’m thankful every day that I decided to attend Syracuse University.

My excitement only grew over the summer. Freshman year was a blur of excitement, new experiences and adjusting to independence. Going into my sophomore year, I was worried the novelty of college would wear off. However, I quickly realized that my love for Syracuse did not shrink- it only grew. Nervous excitement transformed into a comfortable familiarity. When I see student tours on campus, I smile wide because I want them to know that I truly love this place. I only have a year and a half left here, and it doesn’t seem like nearly enough time because I am so, so happy. However, I know that when the time comes, I’ll be ready to face the next chapter head-on, thanks to four years of personal growth and self-discovery here at SU.

 

Samantha is a junior majoring in public relations and policy studies. She is originally from Franklin, CT. Sam is a member of Hill Communications, the on-campus public relations firm. She is also a member of the Girl Code Movement, the women’s club lacrosse team, and the Kappa Alpha Theta women’s fraternity. In her free time she enjoys hiking, volunteering, traveling, and spending time with friends.

Signing up for Random Roommates

When I was an incoming freshman to SU, I searched tirelessly on the “Class of 2017” Facebook pages, trying to sell myself to potential roommates. Somewhat unsure exactly what type of a roommate I was looking for, I announced to the group that I was seeking “anyone who likes to have a good time but focuses on academics as well.” All I was sure of was that I wanted a roommate whom I was able to research on social media first before committing to live with them. I had heard a few roommate horror stories and did not want to sign up for the arbitrary roommate algorithm. However, as the deadline for roommate selection approached, I still was not able to find the right fit and even turned down several options.

I took this as a sign that my roommate search was not meant to be, so I decided to just let the system determine my fate. I received my roommate assignment and was put in a quad, which meant I had three random roommates. This was a pleasant surprise because I was able to share a living room with my roommates in addition to two bedrooms in the space. Though I was pleased with the outcome of my dorm, I was still unsure about the roommates I was going to live with.

My roommates came from different backgrounds and all different parts of the country. One of them was from Atlanta, another from New York City, and the third from Los Angeles. To my pleasant surprise,  I made three new friends right off the bat. I learned about different parts of the country that I had never visited and gained insight into the different cultures of each person’s diverse background.

While we were all a bit apprehensive at first, we soon started hanging out together more and more. We bonded over shared TV shows, made plans to go to the dining hall, and explored the campus together. I especially got along with one of my roommates, Adam, who is also from California. We found out that we actually shared some mutual friends and talked endlessly about our California roots. It was really nice to meet someone who understood exactly what I was going through as a West Coast native living on the other coast for the first time. We also branched out and got to know our whole floor, eventually becoming friends with everyone on floor five. Brewster fifth floor became a really close-knit family and I finally felt that SU was my home away from home. That sense of belonging was something I had longed for and being able to experience it encouraged me and gave me the confidence I needed to make even more friends.

Getting out of my comfort zone and looking at this as an opportunity to meet new people ended up being far better than playing it safe and picking my own roommate. Sure, random roommates can be a hit or miss situation, but you’ll be amazed how taking that chance is sure to be rewarding in the end.

 

Eric Chuang is a senior at Syracuse University studying Public Relations at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a minor in English & Textual Studies. Additionally, he is part of the Fashion & Beauty Communications Milestone Program. Eric is a California native, dog enthusiast, fervent traveler, and sushi connoisseur. When not taking Buzzfeed quizzes or coming up with clever Instagram captions, he can most likely be found jamming to Taylor Swift’s “1989” album.

No Car, No Problem

There is plenty to do on and off campus at Syracuse. Some activities however, are further away and require the use of a car. The university does not allow freshmen to have cars on-campus, and many upperclassmen, especially those whose hometowns are far away (like me), are also carless. Luckily, there are plenty of alternative forms of transportation available to students so that we do not miss out on fun opportunities. These are the ones I use most frequently:

Free Shuttle to Destiny USA

Destiny USA is the sixth largest shopping center in the nation with six stories of retail stores, restaurants, entertainment complexes and outlets, making it a popular destination among SU students. A 20 minute bus ride from campus, the free, roundtrip shuttle runs from College Place, right on main campus on Fridays and Saturdays. The first bus leaves at 6 p.m. and comes every thirty minutes. The bus also stops at the Archbold Gym, Sadler Hall and BBB bus stops. 

Free Shuttle to Downtown Syracuse

Take the free Connective Corridor Route 443 bus from College Place to the Warehouse, located at the heart of downtown. The bus ride is 20 minutes and takes you right into Armory Square–where there are plenty of great restaurants. Downtown Syracuse also offers fashionistas a number of trendy stores and an Urban Outfitters. The full schedule can be found here.

Discounted Buses For Thanksgiving

Every year, the Student Association (SA) provides charter buses for SU students to five different cities: New York City, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, and Rockaway, New Jersey. The buses are for SU students only at the round-trip price of just $99. I spoke to Keelan Erhard, the Chair of Student Life at SA, and he expressed that this is one of many initiatives SU is committed to, “We have ambassadors that ride the bus and they are the ones with the roster of students who purchased tickets,” said Erhard. “They’re in charge of making sure everyone is on the bus, and if they aren’t, they are tasked with contacting the person to see where they are so that the bus doesn’t leave without them.” SA provides the same service for spring break.

Free Shuttle to Wegman’s and Target

In addition to the buses for Thanksgiving, SA also offers a free shuttle service that takes students grocery shopping at Wegman’s and Target on a biweekly basis. The buses leave College Place every hour starting at noon on the designated dates. The full schedule can be found here.

Zipcar

If you want to be able to drive whenever you want, then renting a Zipcar is your best bet. SU has designated parking spots reserved for Zipcars all around campus. After you have applied for your Zipcar, you can reserve a car for however long you want just so long as you return the car at your agreed time. The late fee is quite hefty so be sure to extend your reservation if you feel like you may be late. The best thing about renting a Zipcar is that you can cater your usage to your schedule. You can apply for a Zipcar here.

SU’s transportation options benefit and enrich the student experience on campus. Not having a car does not mean you cannot get off of campus. Take advantage of those services and enjoy the area!

 

Eric Chuang is a senior at Syracuse University studying Public Relations at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a minor in English & Textual Studies. Additionally, he is part of the Fashion & Beauty Communications Milestone Program. Eric is a California native, dog enthusiast, fervent traveler, and sushi connoisseur. When not taking Buzzfeed quizzes or coming up with clever Instagram captions, he can most likely be found jamming to Taylor Swift’s “1989” album.

A New York Times Article, a Phone Call, a Wish, and Four Years Later

There is one wish I made a few years back that, as of late, has bothered me above all others. It was an excruciatingly hot day in the middle of August 2012. The sun was blaring as my dad, stepmom, and I waited in the line of cars swerved around the parking lot adjacent to BBB Halls. Cramped on one side of the car and surrounded by an excessive amount of clothing and Pinterest-inspired dorm décor, I was a mess. I was nervous. I was anxious. I was scared to be left alone. On that day, my first day on the Syracuse University campus, I silently wished that the four years ahead would go by quickly.

Now passed the finish line and officially an alumna, I can’t help but cringe at this wish. Not making it wouldn’t have made time go any faster or slower, but it would have been helpful to know then, on that hot summer day, that: those nerves were worth dealing with, the discomfort was worth working through, and those personal barriers were worth breaking down. I wish I knew then that I would become a stronger, more open minded, and more driven person thanks to the many differing and challenging opportunities Syracuse University would put within my path and equip me to face.

My first glimpse into the depth of the pride of Orange Nation occurred before I arrived on campus. Many welcoming and encouraging students, faculty, staff, and alumni commented and sent messages of congratulations following the publication of my article in The New York Times. Enthusiastically writing about my dream acceptance to Syracuse University, I painted a vision of what I hoped to achieve, including mixing my two academic passions, writing for the Daily Orange, and traveling abroad. I described the university as a place that fit me – a fosterer of education that would not force me to alter myself to attend. At that time, that description rang true, for everything I sought, SU offered.

No more than a few days after the article’s publication, I abruptly hid in a supply closet in the forensics classroom at my high school to take a call from Erin Martin Kane, SU’s then associate vice president for public relations. To my surprise, she offered me a position at SU’s Office of News Services. In that moment, I was undoubtedly excited and grateful, but I had no perception of how much that phone call would impact my experience at SU and the immeasurable amount of opportunity that would come with it.

An article, a phone call, a few months, and a nervous move-in day later, and my undergraduate career had launched. Over the course of the four years that encapsulated it, many memories were created, some of which I accurately predicted in my article – such as studying abroad and pursuing two majors – and most I had not, but all were more dynamic than originally expected.

As a dual major in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the College of Arts and Sciences, my academic experience was diverse, yet cohesive. I learned from authors, prosecutors, communication directors, veterans, photographers, graphic designers, entrepreneurs, and movie producers. I pursued subjects I am passionate about and subjects I was hesitant toward, gaining valuable skills from each class and appreciating exposure to topics of unknown territory. My academic experience was thought-provoking. It was strenuous. It was worthwhile. It was enjoyable.

As a founding member, recruitment chair, vice president of academics, and then president of Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority – a sorority being something I never thought I would join ­­– my longstanding shell of shyness disappeared and an indescribable support system emerged. I built memories with future lawyers, teachers, IT specialists, occupational therapists, communication professionals, dentists, talent agents, and accountants. I handled situations I was trained for and situations that could not have been predicted. I learned the importance of leadership, communication, prioritization, and inclusiveness as we attended academic conferences, planned campus-wide events, raised money for charities, promoted positive body image, welcomed new members, hosted a reception with Chancellor Syverud, and inducted a brave 15-year-old young lady with Cystic Fibrosis as an honorary sister. I celebrated as our young organization strengthened its bonds and successes. I was honored as we were awarded SU’s Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs’ highest award for 2015-2016 and as I was named chapter president of the year. My Greek experience was exciting. It was demanding. It was uplifting. It was empowering.

As a member of #44Social, SU’s student social media team, I worked creatively and served as a voice for the university. Though designer’s block and 140 character limit struggles were frequent occurrences, nothing compared to knowing a project brought smiles to the many faces in our community.

As a student abroad, my sense of independence and enthusiasm toward learning about other cultures and practices were invigorated. I survived the times of sleeping on a staircase after missing the last train in Cinque Terre, getting locked in an apartment in Seville, and saying goodbye to my host family, yet nothing will beat the enjoyment I had while traveling with good friends and sampling good food.

As a peer advisor and Student Affairs Advisory Board member and through the many Juice Jam concerts, Mayfest celebrations, comedy shows, philanthropy events, bus rides, Marshall Street runs, basketball games, and late nights at Bird Library, I met incredible people who influenced me in one way or another and made my four years unforgettable.

And, as an intern at SU’s Office of News Services, I wrote articles and press releases, designed infographics and media passes, photographed events, delivered broadcast reports, shook Oprah’s hand, documented a Commencement, attended a chancellor’s inauguration, witnessed the Dalai Lama rock an SU hat, live-tweeted the Mirror Awards, met SU alumnus Prince Sultan bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, shadowed amazing people, and gained the foundation to succeed in internships and my future career.

Now, a phone call, a wish, and four years later, it is clear that my original depiction of Syracuse University no longer suits me. I had not anticipated how inaccurate my description would become as I became more adept to varied situations through interactions with thousands of different people with different views of life. I learned to abandon any preconceived notions, take advantage of all situations, develop a better understanding of differing social and comparative perspectives, and become a member of a diverse community of undeniable pride and collaboration. I did alter myself at Syracuse, and in fact, it was for the better.

Now, my foundation remains the same, but my aspirations, priorities, and appreciation for the world have all evolved. Now I’m no longer nervous. Now I’m ready. I am a Syracuse University alumna, Class of 2016.

None of this would have been possible without the extraordinary people who have supported me along the way. Thank you to:

  • Paula McKinnon – for encouraging me to write for The New York Times, guiding me through my last year at Brooklyn Technical High School, and for being such a genuine, kindhearted person
  • Erin Martin Kane – for making that phone call, being the best mentor with the kindest soul, and drastically changing my experience at SU in more ways than I could have ever imagined
  • Maren Guse – for trusting me, offering advice, and giving me so many opportunities
  • Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz – for serving as an incredible role model and doing so much good for SU
  • Justina DeMott – for helping me remember to take care of myself, consistently encouraging me no matter the situation, and for being an unbelievably courageous person
  • Claudia Strong – for always pushing me to be creative and challenging me to produce my best work
  • Bill Jasso – for helping me fall back in love with writing and always making me laugh
  • My professors – for teaching me to be a stronger thinker, communicator, and person
  • My friends – for exploring all of the ridiculous adventures with me
  • My family – for loving me unconditionally
  • My dad – for everything. I love you bigger than a watermelon

 

Cassie Dagostino is a recent graduate of Syracuse University’s Newhouse School and Maxwell School with a BA in Public Relations and Political Science.

My Friend, Otto

It’s not often that the most “popular” person on campus is actually liked by everyone. It’s not often that someone with the responsibility of representing an entire school still makes time to hang with its students. And it’s not often that someone shaped like a circle can dance like the next Michael Jackson. These are just some of the things that make Otto the Orange so special. 

I first met Otto even before I was officially a Syracuse student at “Own the Dome. I was just a high school kid, trying to make a good first impression with my future classmates, so I tried my best to play it cool. Of course seeing Otto, I had to ask for a picture. I remember saying something like “What’s up Otto, you tryna take a flick?”, as I worked to mask the excitement bubbling inside of me. He didn’t say yes, Otto can’t talk, but he extended his hand and we posed in the typical “just-met-a-celebrity-don’t-want-to-look-star-struck” kind of pose. I never did tell anyone how happy that moment made me… but that picture was my phone background for a solid three months so it wasn’t that hard to tell. 

Fast forward to SummerStart. It was an especially hot day, I had just left the basketball court after losing to an upperclassman in a one-on-one game. I was annoyed, I was hot, I was a little bit sad and I just wanted to go back to my dorm and sleep. And then it happened. I glanced around the quad in front of me, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw the most beautiful hue of orange. Yes, it was Otto. He was riding through the quad on a scooter trying to spread love and good cheer. Perfect timing.

The third time I saw Otto was different, I had grown out of my “cool” phase. So much so that I ran full speed across the quad screaming “Otttooooo!!!” When I caught up with him, I gave him one of the strongest hugs I’ve ever given. We took a picture (which also became my background) and I went through the rest of my day with the happiness only an Otto the Orange sighting could give you.

Now, I see Otto on a weekly basis, walking through the quad, or jumping around with the marching band at their practices or even sometimes driving around in a car. Wherever he is, though, I know he’s spreading happiness and joy to the students at Syracuse University. Each time I see him I feel the same excitement as I did that first day at Own the Dome. And I’d imagine that many students feel the exact same way.

 

Jalen Nash is a freshman studying pyschology in the College of Arts & Sciences. He was raised in Flatbush, New York and attended high school in New Jersey. In his free time, Jalen enjoys playing football and basketball, listening to music, reading, and writing. Jalen hopes to make a living, and be remembered, for his writing.

Maybe I am a Typical Sorority Girl

To be honest, Greek life was never on my radar when I was applying to colleges. My cousin was in a sorority, but besides that, I had no connection to Greek life nor any desire to join. I used to even poke fun at sororities and believed every generalization made about sorority girls. In my eyes, sorority girls wore dresses and pearls, loved shopping, and never wore sweatpants. None of these are bad, but they definitely aren’t me.

Fast forward to the end of my first semester freshman year. I was on the fence about participating in recruitment. My roommate had been looking forward to signing up since September, but I almost backed out. I didn’t want to be someone I wasn’t. I didn’t want my friends at home to say I’d changed because I joined a sorority. The night before the deadline for signing up, my friend on the club lacrosse team, who is not in a sorority, convinced me to try recruitment. She said even though she personally didn’t like it, there was no harm in trying it out.

I still think about how thankful I am for her advice. I ended up going through recruitment and joining a house that was filled with amazing women from all walks of life. I’ve met some of my best friends through my sorority. They’re people who I can laugh with, people I can talk to, and people who inspire me to be my best self. It’s like being in seven different clubs, while only actually being in one. I love sports, I love volunteering, and I care about my grades. And these are all passions I have been able to pursue and enjoy while being in a sorority.

On weekends I participate in fun philanthropy events with my friends—everything from pancake eating contests to dodgeball tournaments, all while knowing the profits are going to a good cause, as each sorority and fraternity are involved with a specific charitable organization. On Halloween, my friends and I handed out candy to local youth students in the Boys and Girls Club who trick-or-treated on Walnut Avenue near campus. We have parties every weekend with hilarious themes, and I have never felt pressure to look, dress up, wear makeup, or act a certain way.

I now realize that my original perception of a “typical sorority girl” was based on looks alone. I now think a typical sorority girl is a positive way to describe any young woman who has found a home away from home in her Greek life.

 

Samantha is a junior majoring in public relations and policy studies. She is originally from Franklin, CT. Sam is a member of Hill Communications, the on-campus public relations firm. She is also a member of the Girl Code Movement, the women’s club lacrosse team, and the Kappa Alpha Theta women’s fraternity. In her free time she enjoys hiking, volunteering, traveling, and spending time with friends.

Do the Dorms Right

I can’t believe that last semester was my last semester living in the ‘Cuse dorms. I’m very excited to have a place off campus this fall, but dorm life is a such a great experience. You’re close to everything, constantly surrounded by friends, and you don’t have to worry about cooking for yourself or cleaning the bathroom. While ultra-convenient, living in a dorm still requires some planning and thought. Here I’ve listed my top five dorm room essentials, based on my on-campus housing experience:  

1. First Aid Kit/ Health Supplies box: Unfortunately, most people are bound to catch a cold at least once a semester (or three times, if you’re like me). It’s always good to have some cough drops or EmergenC on hand, especially during exams when it’s hard to find time to go to CVS.

2. Extra paper towels: Picture yourself lying in bed, studying (or watching Netflix.) You reach over to grab your cup of coffee without looking and spill it all over your desk. I find myself in this situation all too often. Trust me, toilet paper doesn’t get the job done. Keep a couple rolls of paper towels in your room so you don’t have to ask your neighbors for some or use your bath towel to wipe up your latest mess.

3. Doormat: Okay, this might not seem necessary, but trust me, it helps in a place like Syracuse. Coming home with muddy, snowy, wet boots at the end of a winter day and soaking the floor is not a fun way to end a long day of classes. Put your shoes on a small doormat right at the entrance. Not only will you keep the floor dry, but you’re also less likely to misplace your shoes and have to frantically search for them five minutes before class.

4. Bins for storage: Storage for clothes can be tricky, especially if you don’t plan on going home until the end of the semester. Syracuse weather changes very quickly, so even though it seems unnecessary when you move in August to pack a winter jacket, it’s not a bad idea. That being said, you don’t want to be rummaging through your winter hats and sweaters in September when it’s 60 degrees out. Stack storage bins under your bed to keep your clothes organized, easily accessible, but still out of the way.

5. Extra quarters/small bill for laundry: The laundry machines can be a bit temperamental. I’ve been stuck with a pile of wet clothes more than once when the card reader (which you can use to pay for laundry from money on your SuperCard account) wasn’t working. And it’s tougher than you’d think to find someone in the dorms with a spare quarter, so having a few bucks on hand can help you avoid air-drying clothes in your room or exchanging a $20 for 80 quarters.

There ya have it! Pack up these five extra things as you are getting ready to head to the hill and you are ready-made for an even smoother dorm experience.

 

Samantha is a junior majoring in public relations and policy studies. She is originally from Franklin, CT. Sam is a member of Hill Communications, the on-campus public relations firm. She is also a member of the Girl Code Movement, the women’s club lacrosse team, and the Kappa Alpha Theta women’s fraternity. In her free time she enjoys hiking, volunteering, traveling, and spending time with friends.