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.

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.

Making an Impact on Campus

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The Student Association (SA) at Syracuse University was created in 1944 to serve as the liaison between the student body and the university. Each year, SA rolls out a variety of leadership initiatives that confront and improve the student experience at SU. Having been at SU for almost four full years now, I have noticed some drastic changes that have gone a long way in fostering a safe and inclusive environment for students. Here are some recent initiatives SA has taken on:

Heat lamps in bus stops

This initiative was introduced last year and has since been fully rolled out. The newly installed heat lamps at major campus bus stops, keep students warm while waiting for the campus shuttles and make the cold temperatures much more bearable.

Bike Share Program

Although the program only kicked off this semester, it has been a long time coming for SU students. According to Jane Hong, recent SU graduate and former SA Vice President, “We have a fairly large population of students that bike around campus and the local community. We knew that a program like this would quite literally mobilize students to explore the surrounding area, and get out of the orange bubble.”

The program encourages students to immerse themselves in what’s beyond the university campus and explore the city of Syracuse. Hong also expressed that “what impresses me the most about the Bike Share Program is thinking about how many students actually contributed to this initiative — all because they wanted this to be a reality for future students.”

The bikes are available by reservation with a signed liability waiver. The reservations are free to make and bikes can be picked up and returned at the rack outside Schine Student Center.

Free feminine products on campus

One of SA’s many student life initiatives is to provide menstrual products in all non-residential buildings, starting Oct. 28. With this new initiative, students will have access to free tampons and pads in every bathroom on campus. This campus-wide plan will change the taboo topic of female menstruation; by projecting a positive light on this unspoken issue, SA is taking a stance for inclusiveness in a college campus.

Adding new minors

SA is a major advocate of students declaring new minors. This significant change in the traditional structure and its curriculums was mobilized to fulfill students’ diverse passions.

“My freshman or sophomore year, one of our assembly representatives successfully advocated for a minor in Arabic,” Hong recalled. “He was an Arabic major, and he knew there was so much for students to gain from being able to minor in a Middle Eastern language. The university and the office of academic affairs agreed, and now students have the opportunity to minor in an extremely important global language like Arabic.” Students can speak to their academic advisors regarding the new minors and the process of declaring one. View a list of SU’s current minors.

Chat and Dine

In  an effort to encourage relationship-building and networking between students and faculty, SA kicked off the ‘Chat and Dine’ initiative two years ago and has since proven to be a student favorite. The program offers free lunch at Goldstein Alumni & Faculty Center for small groups of students and staff or faculty members.The program serves as an alternative to office hours, with many students opting to talk about career goals and academic advice. Students can apply here to be considered for the program. Students just have to provide detail on the reason for the meeting and SA arranges the rest.

In recent years, SA has been pushing further to accomplish initiatives that will benefit students and faculty as a whole. With the implementation of new amenities and programs, SA has consistently provided concrete solutions to many of the university’s issues. For more information on SA and how to join, visit their website and follow them on Twitter.

 

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.

Four Years, Four “Houses”, Four Unique Experiences

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Where you live in college plays a big role in making friends and shaping your experience. As a senior, I have now lived in four completely different places, all of which have their own unique perks and quirks. Below is a breakdown of every place I have lived (or currently live) during my years at SU:

Freshman Year: Brewster, Boland, Brockway Halls (BBB)

I am grateful to have lived here as a freshman because BBB has an extremely close-knit community, likely due to the fact that these are freshmen-only dorms. I immediately became friends with not only the students on my floor, but also those on many other floors. There is also a strong sense of inclusion in BBB as there are plenty of people from other countries and diverse backgrounds. With its own gym located in the basement, BBB residents do not need to leave the building to exercise. Even if you don’t use the gym though, by the end of the school year, you will be in great shape, simply because you will have a bit of a walk to class from BBB, and because it is located on one of Syracuse’s many hills.

Sophomore Year: Marion Hall

Located in the heart of campus, Marion Hall is minutes away from many major buildings. The hall’s easy access to Bird Library made me a library regular my sophomore year. My room was very close to Walnut Avenue, which houses sororities and fraternities, so on some Friday nights, the noise level was a bit loud. (If you are someone who may be in your dorm on weekend nights this may be more of an issue, but if you are someone who enjoys going out, it shouldn’t be a huge problem.) Being a smaller dorm, there wasn’t the same level of community that I enjoyed in BBB but I definitely liked the convenience.

Junior Year: Harrison Street

My junior year, I lived at the top of the hill on Harrison Street, right across from the Chancellor’s house. One unique perk was our apartment’s roof access. It was probably the main reason we signed the lease so quickly, and during the year we hung out up there quite a bit. The location is relatively close to the academic buildings I took classes in and by then, most of my friends lived nearby. Being from California, it was important that if I lived off-campus the house was furnished. Luckily my rent in this house included a bed, refrigerator, desk and other basic furniture. This isn’t necessarily the norm, but with so many out-of-state, and international students at Syracuse, there is definitely furnished off-campus housing to be found. Being out of the dorms was different– but nice– because I was still able to live with my friends, but I had my own room and therefore more personal space.

Senior Year: Euclid Avenue

Senior year is here and I am ending my college career with a great housing arrangement! This year I am living on Euclid Avenue, a very lively street with lots of students and always something going on. Most of my friends are also living around this area, and there has never been a dull moment. The walk to campus is by no means brutal, but it is the longest walk I have had since arriving at SU. I have found that the trickiest part about living off-campus is getting food if you don’t have a campus meal plan. If you or one of your roommates has a car, you can buy groceries and cook for yourself (or get a lot of takeout!) Either way, you just need to plan ahead so you don’t get caught with nothing to eat.

Every dorm and apartment has a different personality, from its location and student community to its dining halls and other amenities. Looking back, I think it’s important to make the most of your freshman experience–that’s where I really found my group of friends. No matter what dorm you are assigned to though, you will have a great first year as you will be surrounded by new friends who will make wherever you live your home.

Check out more dorms, and the rest of the Syracuse campus with the virtual tour!

 

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.

Being an LGBT Student at Syracuse University

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It is inevitable to feel a bit apprehensive about applying to colleges. You never truly understand the culture of a school until you are attending it. One of the many reasons I decided to attend SU was the amount of pride the school takes in supporting the LGBT community and ensuring a prejudice-free educational environment for everyone. In 2014, Syracuse University was ranked as one of the top 10 LGBT-friendly colleges in the nation by The Huffington Post. This ranking shows just how accepting the institution is of the LGBT community and that SU is constantly trying to ensure that everyone feels accepted here.

SU’s LGBT Resource Center is the on-campus source for anything relating to marginalized genders and sexualities. By encouraging meaningful dialogues exploring social justice, integrity, advocacy, and leadership through weekly discussion groups, students are able to come together and create a safer space for everyone. At the LGBT Resource Center, I often meet like-minded peers who take pride in their sexual identities and are active in various initiatives enacted by the resource center. For example, the “You Are Not Alone” annual campaign seeks to convey a message of acceptance for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and asexual communities. Every year, in honor of National Coming Out Day on October 11, the university releases a list of SU students, faculty, staff, and alumni who have penned their support for the cause. (check out last year’s list)

In addition, the LGBT Resource Center hosts events, socials, and fundraisers that align with their mission to break social barriers and boundaries. Last year, the resource center was able to bring “Orange is the New Black” actress, Laverne Cox, to SU to speak about her journey as a transgender woman. She gave significant insight on being a minority who is queer and how that has triggered many hardships in her life. She has been so inspirational to me and it was truly an honor to listen to her shed light on bullying and bigotry while educating people on misconceptions they have regarding the transgender community.

SU is a community that is welcoming and accepting of student backgrounds. Diversity is what accelerates this university forward and creates an environment that is suitable for all students. I have always felt comfortable expressing myself and being who I really am at SU because everyone is open-minded here. I have never witnessed or heard of any hateful acts committed toward LGBT students here and that’s a true testament to the myriad resources the university’s uses to educate students on sexual diversity. The university’s active efforts to demonstrate its support for the LGBT community continue to validate my decision to attend this institution and there is no place I would rather be than 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.

Class of 2016 Students Reflect on their Years at Syracuse

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From pulling consecutive all-nighters and weekends with friends, seniors have plenty to reminisce over. This week, I went around campus in search of some insight from SU’s graduating seniors about what they will miss the most and what they learned here. Here’s what they said:

Erin Miller: Advertising major

“Syracuse has an amazing student startup scene. I’m really going to miss all the entrepreneurial hubs on and off campus. It’s going to be crazy not being around people that are super stoked about an orange school 24/7, but we got to spread that orange pride somehow: by taking over the world.”

Tringa Ajeti: Theater Management major and CRS minor

“I transferred to Syracuse so unfortunately I’ve only been here for three years, but I completely mean it when I say that transferring to SU was the best decision I’ve ever made. I really owe it all to the amazing friends I’ve made throughout this whole college journey- especially the ones I’ve shared crazy (but great!) memories with. While there have been a few lows here and there (like the number of all nighters I pulled in hopes of passing my core classes…) I can leave Syracuse knowing that I’ve really had a great college experience and that if I could go back and do it all over again, there would be nothing I would change about it.”

Victoria Pineda: Marketing Management major

“Coming to Syracuse was the best decision I made. Towards the end of my freshman year I was so close to transferring, but the new friendships I made influenced me to stay in the end.”

Cori Rosen: Television, Radio, Film major/ Marketing minor

“I’ll definitely miss the people I met over the past four years at Syracuse. But I’ll miss the greek salad from King David’s more.”

Celeste Sanchez: Political Philosophy major, Management Studies minor

“I’ve learned so much about who I truly am. I’ve grown up, gone through highs and lows, and have made life-changing friends. These four years definitely fly by so don’t take any of your time here for granted. Keep up with your classes, but still make sure to maintain a good balance and have fun.”

Eunice Kim: Advertising and International Relations dual major

“My four years at Syracuse were made up of the highest and lowest moments of my life, which really pushed me to think about who I am and where my identity lies. I am grateful that God was faithful in providing loving and caring friends who walked alongside me to explore these questions. I can confidently say that if it wasn’t for my time at SU, I would have never become the person that I am today.”

Jane Hong: Broadcast Digital Journalism and Political Science minor

“It’s hard for me to imagine not physically being surrounded by people who are as passionate, vibrant, and eager to learn: people who have constantly challenged me to think and see differently. Syracuse has rooted itself in me. And while it’ll always be a part of me, it’s tough to think that I won’t always physically be here to be a part of the community.”

Michelle Yan: Photojournalism and Psychology dual major

“Looking at the people I met my freshmen year – from my roommate to my photo professors/classmates to friends from church to God – and seeing how much of a stranger we were to each other to seeing how intimately we know each other now, I feel like things really came full circle…. Like an orange.”

Kenzie Lau-Kee: PR and Marketing dual major

“I’m going to miss how close I live to all my friends and how it’s socially acceptable to go out four nights a week.”

Paola Suro: Broadcast Digital Journalism major, Marketing and Psychology minors

“I was always told to enjoy college because it would be the best four years of my life. And that it all comes and goes in the blink of an eye. I never really understood what that meant until this semester. Coming to Syracuse was the best decision I’ve ever made, because I’ve not only grown, but I also made friendships that will last a lifetime. Go Orange!”

Alexander Lai: Biology and Psychology dual major

“I can honestly say that being at Syracuse has changed me for the better. I’m leaving college a completely different person, and I couldn’t be more grateful for all the laughs, lessons, sleepless nights, snowy days, and friends I’ve made along the way. I really did find myself here, so thanks, Syracuse, for reminding me in moments where I felt like nothing, that just being here was already everything. It was perfect.”

 

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.

What it is like to Shamelessly #BleedOrange

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When I was applying to colleges, I had my eye on schools located in metropolitan areas: New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, etc. As someone who enjoys bustling streets and sleepless lights, I knew I wanted to end up in a big city. However, I eventually realized that while I want to settle in a big city, what I really wanted for my college years was a traditional campus atmosphere. I wanted to immerse myself in school spirit. That was when I knew Syracuse University was the school for me.

I got my first taste of what bleeding orange really means when I attended “Own the Dome” the spring before my freshman year. On that day, I became part of “Otto’s Army.” I got to see the inside of the famous dome–“where the magic happens”– and learned the SU anthem, “Head Held High.” I immediately fell in love with this school and all of its spirit and emotion. I have never owned more orange clothing than I do now and I am so proud of it. Regardless of how the basketball and football teams play,  everyone shows their unconditional support for our teams. As an SU student, even if you previously knew nothing about sports, you just become a die-hard fan. And, member of Otto’s Army isn’t a title you vacate at graduation either, it stays with you for the rest of your life.

This basketball season is the first time in history that both SU’s men’s and women’s basketball teams have made it to the Final Four. All over campus and on social media, students are proudly showing their orange pride. The Student Association even provided free buses for students to travel to Houston and Indianapolis for the men’s and women’s Final Four games. Students were lining up at midnight the night before bus tickets were available at the ticket office just to secure a spot. That is dedication!

Bleeding orange isn’t just about the festivities and tailgates though. As a member of the Orange Nation,  you are welcomed into a strong and supportive network the day you arrive on campus. I recently attended a guest speaker event featuring a Newhouse alum who now works at ESPN, and he expressed how he will always answer an email sent from an syr.edu email. The alumni network here is incredibly connected and they are always willing to extend career advice to current students, all you have to do is ask.

For students who are considering SU, don’t say I didn’t warn you — your wardrobe will have an unhealthy amount of orange in it. (Orange is the new black!) And you will soon realize that this campus we call home weaves students, faculty, and staff together with one common thread: we all bleed orange!

 

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.

Why You Don’t Need to Stress About Picking a Major

Newhouse III Complex Students Career Services

When I was applying to colleges, the first question I asked myself was, “What do you see yourself pursuing as a career?” This can be a daunting question, but it is absolutely necessary to think about. However, do not think it is the end of the world if, by the time you are in college, you are still uncertain what it is that you want to do with the rest of your life. This is not an easy decision, and as you decide, it is important to branch out and explore different options to find the best fit for you.

I came into Syracuse as an undecided Arts and Sciences student because I was just not sure what I wanted to do. I spoke to peer advisors and academic advisors to discuss different majors offered and career paths that interested me. By looking at the big picture and utilizing resources on campus, I was able to network and gain industry insight into certain careers that interested me. I attended guest speaker events, career fairs, involvement fairs, and visited the Career Services Center several times before committing to my current major.

During my freshman year, I also joined an organization called the Wellslink Leadership Program. It is a professional networking organization that assigns you a peer mentor for the year. This mentor is usually in a similar major or program as you. My peer mentor was in Newhouse and after speaking to her about my career outlook, I knew I wanted to be in Newhouse as well. College is the time and place to experiment and really get to know yourself. I knew I wanted to write because it is a passion of mine, but my strong interest in media propelled my decision to pursue public relations.

I was also advised to enroll in general education courses to help develop basic skills and fulfill core requirements. My freshman year, I took a course called CLS 105, College Learning Strategies, and it was one of the best classes I have ever taken. The class taught me about time management, leadership, teamwork, and strategic skills on studying by catering them to fit your personality type. As a result of this class, I am able to better grasp what works for me and what doesn’t–a skill that has been helpful to me thus far.

I also learned that being a worried, panicking freshman does not do much to help your situation. On the whole, don’t stress out too much about not knowing what major you want to pursue. Freshman year is your time to explore. You will soon realize that many students are in the same boat as you and you just need to take a deep breath, utilize all the resources that are available and be patient with yourself–there are so many opportunities and so many people willing to help, you can be sure that you will find your way.

 

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.

The Newhouse Dream

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I still remember the day I received my acceptance letter from Syracuse University. It was the last acceptance letter I was expecting out of the nine universities around the nation I had applied to. My apprehension was building and all that was occupying my mind was the question, “Is it a big or small envelope?” This was the moment of truth and the moment of decision. I had been offered admission at several schools, but was still unsure where I wanted to go as I was still waiting on SU.

The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications had been at the top of my “College Checklist” since my sophomore year in high school. It is expected that one student at my high school from each graduating class attend SU, and I wanted to be that one student. With all my eggs in one basket, I had hoped for the best when applying to SU. Though I had some other options to pick from, I knew SU was the school for me because Newhouse was where I felt I belonged. After endless hours of research and conversations with SU alums, I had my heart set on Newhouse.

Plot twist: I was accepted into a different program instead of Newhouse. I was utterly disappointed in myself. I almost attended another university because I was so discouraged by this unexpected outcome. Sure, I had heard many success stories of students transferring into Newhouse; however, I was not sure if I was ready to take that chance. Newhouse was where I wanted to end up, and if I was not able to successfully transfer, I would have been devastated. In the following few days, I had to make one of the most difficult decisions I had ever faced. Ultimately, I committed to SU and decided to go in as an undecided major.

Two years later, here I am. I’m proud to say that I successfully transferred into Newhouse. Under the guidance of Newhouse advisors, I determined which classes I needed to take to smoothly transfer from one school to another. In doing so, I learned that the intra-university transfer process is actually very simple: work for good grades and stay persistent with your advisor. Transferring into another program simply requires a form you need to fill out and your transcript. Newhouse then evaluates transfer applicants based on their Grade Point Average (GPA). The higher your GPA, the higher your chances will be for transferring into Newhouse. (Visit this site for specific deadlines and requirements.)

To ensure that I had the best GPA possible, I focused on my academics. While it was difficult to balance a social life, I put many of my extracurriculars on hold to utilize my time studying. I created agendas, set goals, and planned study groups to make sure that I stayed on track with my school work. I studied in Huntington Hall during finals week to avoid the crowds in Bird Library and other popular study rooms. Despite the array of extracurricular activities available on campus, I persevered and didn’t succumb to different distractions.

For anyone discouraged by not being accepted into the program of their choice, do not give up. SU believes in second chances and you will have plenty of opportunities to transfer into the school that fits you best. Advisors at each school will do anything they can to help you get to where you want to be. Be sure to be proactive in seeing your advisor regularly. Schedule an appointment with them to discuss career goals– you will be surprised how many connections they may have. Set plans and objectives at the beginning of every semester to make sure that you follow through on your work. Seek advice from veterans of the transfer process. They have the most firsthand knowledge and insight on the process and are happy to share how they successfully transferred.

The Wellslink Leadership Program is a great way to network with leaders on campus who can help you with your academics. This program is open to all undergraduate students and assigns students a peer leader who will work closely with them to help them through the semester.

As a freshman, I was paired with a Newhouse student who became my mentor for everything. She suggested that I hold off on taking COM 107, an introductory Newhouse course available to all majors, because it can be a difficult class. I took her advice so that I could devote all my time to my core classes and could not be more grateful that she was there to guide me.

The most important thing to consider is your course load. Don’t bite off more than you can chew as this is a crucial time in your college career. Any mishap in your grades can hinder your chances of transferring into your dream college within SU. Take electives and core requirement courses– and excel in them so that you can boast the best GPA possible. I am so grateful for the guidance I received freshman year as it helped me get where I wanted to be.

The resources available to students on campus are valuable–make sure to take advantage of them!

 

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.