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May 18 2017
by Chloe Mathieu

A Freshman's Guide to Syracuse University

By Chloe Mathieu - May 18 2017
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Welcome, Syracuse class of 2021, to the most exciting, insane, busy and orange four years of your life! Congratulations on officially committing to SU. As someone who just finished her freshman year, I know exactly how you’re feeling. It wasn’t too long ago that I was preparing for high school graduation, summer vacations, goodbyes to friends from home and welcome weekend at ‘Cuse. The next few months will undoubtedly be a whirlwind. I’m here to help make things a little less overwhelming by imparting some wisdom about SU on you. The more you know before getting to college, hopefully the more confident you'll be sitting in the Dome on convocation day.

1. Leave your door open.

Picture the first day of college after you’ve moved into your dorm — your family has said their (sometimes tearful) goodbyes and you’ve realized you’re on your own. What should you do? Prop open your door while you finish organizing your room. You’ll be amazed by how many of your new neighbors will pop their heads in to say hello. Everyone’s out to make new friends, and your floor is the perfect place to start. Leaving your door open shows everyone that you’re 100 percent down to meeting new people. Don’t be afraid to walk down the halls of your floor to find other potential friends who did the same thing.


2. Go to every welcome weekend event.

Syracuse PACKS welcome weekend with activities. From freshman convocation to Citrus in the City to welcome events for specific colleges, there is no shortage of things planned for Syracuse’s newest students. It can even get a little overwhelming at first. Despite the insanity, every event is absolutely worth attending. I met some of my closest friends at welcome weekend events and learned a lot about Syracuse in general. Plus, you’re only a freshman once, so enjoy the attention while you can.

The author at Citrus in the City 2016

3. Introduce yourself to your professors.

At various points during welcome weekend you'll have opportunities to introduce yourself to some of your professors. Do not let those chances pass by! Professors remember when you take the time to say hello, trust me. It impacts their first impression of you in the best possible way. Professors at ‘Cuse are extremely knowledgeable resources, and the more professors you're at least friendly with, the better. This applies to every class you have at Syracuse too, not just during welcome weekend or during freshman year. Every professor can be an asset or even a friend to you if you put in some extra effort.


4. Schine.

A lot of people often overlook Schine student center’s hidden gems at first, most notably the quesadilla station and the Dunkin that accepts your SuperFOOD money. Do not be one of those people. Snacks or meals in Schine are often tastier than a lot of things in the dining halls and are great choices if you're willing to use your FOOD money rather than meal swipes. Take advantage of having the ability to get your Dunkin fix without spending extra money at the one on Marshall Street.

Wikimedia Commons

5. Student tickets.

Before freshman year you’ll be sent multiple emails about purchasing student ticket packages for football and basketball games at the Dome. I did not take advantage of these offers, and let me tell you, that was a mistake. Take or leave the football season tickets, but basketball season tickets are a must. You don’t want to miss out on games like last year’s Duke game, believe me.


6. Marshall Street.

There are a few secrets to navigating Marshall Street, the closest thing Syracuse has to a downtown area. Let’s break it down a little.

 Chipotle is ALWAYS packed. Always. Mobile orders will be your best friends.

The Starbucks on Marshall is also always crowded, but Café Kubal is a few feet away and serves coffee that is (in my opinion) just as good.

DJ's. The ultimate freshman bar, or at least it was until it got shut down to anyone under 21 this past school year. Even if you aren’t old enough to get into DJ's, it’s commonly talked about on SU’s campus, so knowing what this literal hole-in-the-wall is proves to be pretty crucial.

Insomnia Cookies = heaven in one gooey dessert. If you're like I was, and have never heard of Insomnia, buckle up. Arguably one of the best stores on Marshall Street, Insomnia will deliver you fresh-baked and delicious cookies at almost any hour of the night or day. The danger with Insomnia is that you can gain the freshman 15 and not even be phased, because their cookies are just. Too. Good. To. Care.  

Other restaurants on Marshall offer a lot of options for when you just can’t stomach the dining hall food for one more minute. Pita Pit, Jimmy Johns and Calios all offer fast-food-esque dining for when you’re starving at midnight. Places like Bleu Monkey are nicer, sit-down restaurants, and are popular options for events like parent’s weekend.


7. Greek life.

About 30 percent of Syracuse’s student body is involved in Greek life. The fraternities and sororities on campus definitely play a part in the social scene at Syracuse, but it isn’t necessary to be Greek to have a healthy social life. Personally, I have not joined a sorority at Syracuse and my freshman year was full of other opportunities to join organizations and meet new people. I know many students who began rushing but didn’t finish the process, or got a bid only to drop it. I also know many who rushed, joined a frat or sorority and absolutely love it. Waiting until sophomore year to rush is also an option that many people take advantage of. The bottom line is that going Greek doesn’t make or break your social life at Syracuse, and any decision you make should be made in your own best interest.


8. BLEED ORANGE.

Ernie Davis. The number 44. Otto the Orange. These things and many more will soon become deeply associated with Syracuse in the minds of incoming freshmen. The number one thing I can say about ‘Cuse is that the student body lives and breathes orange. If you're not in love with Syracuse before you arrive in the fall, you will be when you leave in May after your first year is over. SU boasts some of the best school spirit I’ve ever experienced or heard about at any college. We proudly bleed orange every day.

In closing, all I can say is… WELCOME TO SYRACUSE, BABY ORANGES! On behalf of the sophomore class of 2020, and all other upperclassmen, we can’t wait for you to arrive on campus in August. We are SO excited to meet you! Enjoy every second of your freshman year, because it’ll be over faster than you can even fathom.

Lead Image Credit: Chloe Mathieu


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Chloe Mathieu - Syracuse University

Chloe is a sophomore at Syracuse University studying Television, Radio, and Film. She loves theater and singing, and is only the slightest bit (i.e. extremely) obsessed with showtunes. She believes that any problem can be remedied by great book and a hot cup of tea. Follow Chloe on twitter @chloeinprogress.

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