Today, the Class of 2019 begins their epic journey from the first official day as a student at Syracuse University towards a lifetime of being asked to donate money back to Syracuse because of it.
It's a special time in a young person's life. It can also be daunting and scary. So many new experiences and unknowns and they're all coming at you fast. And that's before you delve into the horrors that await you as a Syracuse sports fan.
The TNIAAM staff is here to help. Some of us attended SU, some didn't and some still do. Given that our statuses in the world are so different, we all come from a different POVs. Regardless, we've all got one piece of advice to share with you as you begin your life as an official Syracuse Orange. I'm sure the comments will provide even more...
Find out who you are, and embrace it. Whoever that person may be, they're probably not the one you're arriving on campus as. You'll surprise yourself a thousand times over if you're willing to try new things and meet new people. Regarding the latter: it'll NEVER be easier to meet people than it will be over the next four years, so take advantage of it while you can. Some folks you meet could be temporary acquaintences. Or others, in my case, end up being your best friends and the person you vow to spend the rest of your life with (we met IN CLASS, by the way... so no, you don't have to rely on parties to find that person at all). Of course, enjoy yourself, and be sure to drink plenty (though do so responsibly). And above all (in my book): GET SEASON TICKETS TO FOOTBALL AND SUPPORT THE GODDAMN TEAM ALL SEASON.
Don't be afraid to screw up. Grades don't matter nearly as much as you think but you still need to pull a B just to be somewhat respectable. I got D's in two programming classes and now I work in IT.
JOIN MARCHING BAND. Or any extra-curriculars for that matter. Don't overdo it, though, because time-management is key. You will thank yourself, in the end, because through activities outside of classes and events held by your dorms, you will probably meet some of your best friends for life.
Take advantage of what Syracuse has to offer, both the University and the City. Talk to faculty and staff and don't be afraid to seek their help. Get involved in something you love. Don't be constrained by your major- take risks, explore interests, be safe, and most importantly, attend all SU sporting events, and not just football, and basketball.
Since I'm pretty sure I'm the only Stumpy on staff over here, I'll toss you some advice about interacting with the other side of the hill. Don't be afraid to embrace the fact you can utilize one of the best environmental schools in the country for free. One rule, don't walk across ESF's quad. Just trust me. You may get tackled. At SU, head on out and watch some of the non revenue sports, they're always a good time.
Don't worry so much. Don't worry about school - grades don't really matter after college. Don't worry about getting the perfect job or internship - the dream ones usually suck a whole lot more than you'd think, and probably 90% of you will end up working in a field other than the one you major in during college. Make sure you experience as many things as you can outside of school. For me, it was writing for The Daily Orange. I learned far more there than I ever did in a classrom. I also met my wife there, which is the best thing that happened to me in college. As important as school is - even though grades don't matter, make sure not to fail out - the best part of college is the people you will meet. Go to bars, go to basketball games, take a crazy roadtrip to Clemson for a football game. Meet people, do dumb things with those people, and you'll find you've made friends for life. It sounds cliche - and it is - but this is the time to do it.
The Invisible Swordsman
I probably graduated with your parents, so you will probably not listen to me even though I know exactly what is best for you. First off, support your sports teams...ALL OF THEM! I figure you must like sports if you are on this blog, so trust me: we are more than a great basketball program and a storied football program. We've got great Cross-Country, Field Hockey, Soccer, Women's Basketball too, and believe me they LOVE the support from the student body. Go see a game, meet some new people, and watch us win...a lot. Second, have a great time in school, but always try to ask yourself the question: "is what I am doing respectful?" before you actually do it. Finally, ignore the last bit of advice if you come across anyone wearing Georgetown apparel. I'm so proud of all of you...now don't screw up!
Be a little nervous. This is a completely new experience! It would probably be more weird if were completely comfortable as opposed to a little nervous. You will adjust! You know that cute girl in your English 101 class that you keep trying to impress by telling her you went 10-for-10 in a free throw competition? Stop doing this! She'd much rather you ask her about how she won her 8th grade spelling bee or tap danced her way to victory in her high school talent show. Let her talk about herself; besides, she doesn't care about your sharpshooting abilities anyway. Get off social media and meet people in real life. Make real human connections by joining a club or getting involved on campus. You also know that person you see on campus that you only sort-of know, but don't know if you should say hi or just pretend like you don't see them? Always say hi. They'll be happy you remembered them. Remember names. This can be tough as it usually takes meeting someone three separate times before names become memorized, but people will be very impressed if you remember their name the first time around. It's never too early to start looking for internships. There are great internship programs, even for freshman. Build your résumé! Spend time getting to know yourself. You will learn a great deal about who you are after your freshman year is complete. Remember: Avoid Mully's, Dorian's is great but only after 1 a.m. and if you have a friend that goes to Marist be sure to visit them.
First of all...a note:
Dear SU Freshman, If you've already put any of these up on your dorm wall, please remove them immediately. pic.twitter.com/HxD4v9eTlf— NunesMagician.com (@NunesMagician) August 27, 2015
Second of all, so you know how there were all those things in high school that seemed to be life-alteringly important but now no one cares about (SAT/ACT test, prom, the outcome of high school sporting events, etc.)? Well you're about to begin a stretch where there's a whole new slew of things that fit that bill. I will ask you to try to resist those trappings. A lot of people are going to make you feel like if you don't pick a major, like, tomorrow...you're screwed for the rest of your life. If you want to be a doctor or an accountant, then yes, your major is important. For 80% of us out here in the working world, your major is essentially meaningless by the time you're 25. I say that not to discourage you but to implore you to take classes that sound interesting and challenging and fascinating. Sure, it makes logical sense to take that Marketing 101 class, but you'll probably appreciate the things you learn in an art history class or a philosophy class way more, real-world applications be damned.
You're a freshman. Enjoy being a freshman.
Also, buy my book.