Built-in Bestie


The summer before I came to Syracuse University, I heard piles upon piles of sage college wisdom. Aunts, uncles, teachers, older friends, each dispensed their nuggets of College Knowledge on my waiting ears. They expected me to be stressed – about classes, about leaving home, about making friends – and tried to assuage my fears with fun stories about their time at college. Whether it worked or not, I can’t say, but I tried to absorb it all as if I was studying for a final exam.

Overwhelmingly, the advice wasn’t about classes, or dining halls, or getting lost on the first day (though to be fair, that stuff turned out to be pretty straightforward). Everyone wanted to tell me about their college roommates.

Every story seemed pretty much the same: lasting friendships, sisterly bonds. An aunt told me that my roommate would be the first person to come through for me in a jam. My dad was in one of his college roommates’ weddings.

It’s really cathartic to know going into a new, scary place where you don’t know anyone, that you’ve got a built-in friend on your very first day. Many of my peers and I were of the opinion that Facebook is mostly for moms, but everyone I knew was putting that aside to scour Groups and Pages for the perfect roommate – their perfect first friend. That seemed like a lot of work for me, so I put in a request for a random roommate and let fate guide me from there. It was only afterward that I started to fret about it. What if we didn’t like each other? What if we weren’t friends? Would my college experience be ruined?

(Spoiler Alert: no.)

Fast-forwarding to my first few days after move-in, my new roommate and I quickly realized we had next to nothing in common. She was nice and smart, and she kept to her half of the room, and for my entire freshman year, that was about as far as our friendship went. We sat in companionable silence and did our homework on opposite sides of the room. I offered her pizza when I ordered too much, and she offered me some leftover fries. Beyond that, we kept to our own circles.

At first, I felt a little gypped. I’d heard all these great roommate stories, where was my automatic BFF? But as the semester went on, I quickly found my own friends, in dining halls, in classes, on other floors of my dorm. People I did have things in common with, who I really jived with. Within a week, I had a veritable circle of new friends, who I’d only met because I wasn’t attached to my roommate all the time. One trip to the dining hall by myself, one “great T-shirt, dude, I love that show!” and I didn’t even need a built-in best friend. I’d found the people that would become my best friends all on their own.

The one thing nobody told me on my journey toward Syracuse was that in the end, you don’t have to be best friends with your roommate. At this point, I think it was better for me that I wasn’t. I branched out, met more new and interesting people than I would have otherwise.

Now, though, as a sophomore, I can tell you that having a roommate that’s also your best friend? Also a pretty sweet deal.


Meg Burnard ’20 is studying Communication Sciences and Disorders and Linguistics in the College of Arts and Sciences. She grew up in Rochester, New York. Meg is a member of Democracy Matters, and in her free time she enjoys reading comics, going to concerts, and playing games with friends. More blogs from Meg Burnard.

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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 ’17, is a  Public Relations major 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. More blogs from Eric Chuang.

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Four Years, Four “Houses”, Four Unique Experiences


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 ’17, is a  Public Relations major 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. More blogs from Eric Chuang.

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