7 Reasons I Chose Syracuse University

7 Reasons I Chose Syracuse University

I knew that I was always meant to bleed Orange and Blue.

The college process is scary and exciting all at once.

Choosing a school that is right for you is a major decision that requires a lot of thinking about and researching. When I was a high school student, everybody knew that my dream was Syracuse University.

All of my college sweatshirts and pajamas were strictly Syracuse themed. Everybody always asks me why I chose Syracuse, especially when I live in Boca Raton, FL so I decided to answer the long, drawn out question.

1. The School Spirit

Syracuse is known for its school spirit and engaging sports.

I always wanted a school that dressed up for games and cheered on their school. Coming together as a family always puts a huge smile on my face, especially when we win a game. Even if we don't win a game, I still have the most amazing time tailgating with my friends dressed from head to toe in Orange and Blue.

Although other schools may have similar school spirit "levels," no one else has a massive dome on their campus!

2. A Family Who Bleeds Orange and Blue

My father attended this university back in 1986. Then, my older cousin, Ilyssa, came through and once I visited her, I knew this school was for me.

After Ilyssa graduated, my other cousin, Sam, joined the crew and then it was finally my turn! Although no one pressured me to choose or attend this school, I always knew it was the one for me and that I could find myself at home here.

Everybody says once you visit a school you will get "the feeling" that you are at the right school. I applied to multiple schools, however, none of them compared to the love and passion I felt for Syracuse University.

3. The Location

Although Syracuse is very far up North and the weather can be crazy, I love the fact that it is only a bus ride away from NYC and other nearby states. I always knew I wanted to go out of state for college, and having family up north makes it much easier when they are so close to me.

Other schools are similar to Syracuse with the big sports teams, however, they are not in states that provide easy transportation to hometowns such as New York or New Jersey.

Even though I am not in my home state of Florida, I know that I am always a few hours away from my family up north, which is very comforting.

4. The Size

Syracuse could be considered a big school to some, however, the students tend to disagree. Everywhere on campus is walking distance which is very convenient.

If you ask the students on campus, most will say that once you find your friends, your club, or whatever you get involved with on campus, the school becomes much smaller. I was not someone who wanted a small school, but I didn't necessarily want a massive school either. That is why I think Syracuse was the perfect fit for me.

5. The Mascot

Even though our mascot is a silly fruit, everyone who attends Syracuse knows ho Otto the Orange is important to our school. He is constantly running around campus and taking pictures with students. When I came here with my family as a high school student taking my tour, Otto was running around and music by the bookstore was playing and as I previously stated, I just knew I was home.

6. The Variety of Classes Available

Syracuse has so many different options for majors and minors that it ultimately makes it hard to make a decision on one path that you want to study.

For instance, Syracuse is home to the Newhouse School for Communications and offers classes that focus on Buzzfeed, Twitter, and much more that may be very interesting for some. Syracuse will make sure that you are on the path you need to be and enjoying yourself every step of the way.

7. The Perfect Balance of Academics and Social life

Everybody always says that college is the best four years of your life because you are constantly partying.

Although we want to think that is true, that is certainly not the case. I knew I was never a Harvard student that was 100% dedicated to my school work, but I also knew that I preferred a little challenge over no challenge at all. Syracuse offers the perfect balance of academics and social life because in order play hard you must work hard as well.

It may seem that I am a little obsessed with Syracuse, which is very true. I was always obsessed with this school, and alwyas knew this was going to be the school for me. Hopefully, everybody feels as poassionately for their school as I do because there is nothing better than looking forward to waking up and walking through campus knowing that all of that hard work in high school, finally payed off.

Cover Image Credit: Syracuse University

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Why The Walk Out Was Necessary For The Gun Control Conversation

The kids are our future and they're making sure we know it.

If you haven't heard about the March 14th Walk Out protest that took place in high schools all across the country, you may be living under a rock. The protest was posted all over social media and shared hundreds of times by passionate students in high schools from coast to coast. It was truly a movement and, like all movements before it, caused a lot of conversation and controversy amongst political parties, parents and really anyone who heard about it.

The Walk Out was organized by the organizers of the Women's March to push for gun reform and to honor students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school; the school where a month before, 17 students and faculty members were killed in cold blood by a shooter. Since that event the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas spoke on national television in front of their peers and superiors alike, begging for stricter gun laws and citing the deaths of their friends and teachers as the reason why. Those senseless deaths deserved not to be in vain. On March 14th, the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas walked out of their classes for 17 minutes - in honor of the 17 lives lost that day and to shout their message of stricter gun control loud and clear. These students were not the only ones who did so; thanks to social media, the Walk Out was shared on all platforms and students across the country united with their peers to honor the victims and ask that something be done to prevent more senseless acts of violence in our nation's schools. Despite being something these students felt strongly about, their act was the topic of much controversy in America; the topic of gun control is an incredibly divisive and partisan issue, and these students made sure it was clear what side they were on.

For one teacher in Oak Hall, Virginia, this Walk Out was not the answer. Many people were against the idea, claiming that students were only using it as an excuse to get out of class or to draw attention to themselves rather than the issue it was protesting. This sixth-grade teacher's counter to the movement quickly went viral, prompting more conversation and argument.

At first glance, the message is obvious and innocuous; it's blatantly clear that many of the perpetrators of school shootings in the past have cited mental illness or bullying as the reason they felt compelled to do what they did. The purpose behind the Walk Up Not Out campaign is to fix that, to spread kindness in our schools and hopefully derail a plan of mass murder by inviting someone to sit at your lunch table. It's not a revolutionary idea.

The problem with this campaign becomes clearer the longer you think about it. It is, in essence, victim shaming. By telling students that "just be[ing] nice" is all they need to do, the message of these killings being the students' fault that people feel the need to shoot up schools comes out pretty clearly. Even if this was not the intention of this counter-campaign, that is what is has become.

As a person who has grown up with and around mental illness, and has been in a high school where I saw and have firsthand experience with kids not being so nice to each other, I have never felt the need to grab a gun and take it with me to exact revenge on my peers. I know plenty of people that I went to high school with and connected with later who were bullied, by definition, who ate lunch alone, who never had partners for projects... None of these people ever thought that murdering their classmates was an answer to their problems. While it does seem like a cop out when these cases come to light, the underlying factor of extreme mental illness can not be smiled away. A person who feels the need to kill people is not going to lose that need by eating lunch with other students.

This epidemic of school shootings needs to come to an end. All of the students who walked out of their classrooms in protest of senseless violence, all of the students who are scared to go to school because what if they're next?, and all of the parents who now have to worry that maybe their child won't come home from somewhere they're supposed to be safe know this. Stricter gun control is a huge issue, one that will not be solved easily, but the conversation has to start somewhere. These students are our future, they will be voting in the next election, they will be voting at their state and local levels; these students have something to say and a whole lot of fire behind it.

Walk Up Not Out may very well have been started solely to undermine these students, but it is not a lost cause. These students are walking up to each other every day, talking about their futures and what they can do to ensure they see them. These students are walking up to the voting podiums, making choices to make sure they have the representation that will most showcase their ideals. These students are walking out of their classes to make sure their voices are heard, but they are walking up every day, to make their voices mean something.

Regardless of if you are for or against gun control, it is hard to argue that these students are not making a difference. They are starting the conversation and fighting for their own peace of mind. The kids are our future, and they're making sure we know it.

Cover Image Credit: https://cdn.saleminteractivemedia.com/associated-press/data/photos/2018/73/90e03728-35e2-45f3-b174-08cdca720976.jpg

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8 Reasons JMU Dukes Should Feel Extra Lucky This St. Paddy's Day

And every other day.

Just around the corner is a day young and old alike can celebrate together: St. Paddy's Day. This day dedicated to remembering the death of Saint Patrick himself has become a holiday focused on food, friends, and any alcohol that is green.

However, here at James Madison University, we have just a few extra reasons to feel lucky this year...

1. The Quad.

It doesn't matter if it's rainy and cold or hot and sunny, walking down to the quad will always brighten up your day. With Wilson hall as the perfect backdrop for all of your photoshoots, the quad cats, dogs running around, and your squad, the quad is something we should never take for granted.

2. Football.

if you've never been to a JMU football game, I feel sorry for you, genuinely I do. The atmosphere at Bridge-forth Stadium during a game is unlike anything you will experience in your lifetime.

3. Food.

Fifth in the nation, but first in our hearts. Between quinoa bowls from SSC, peanut butter pie at E-hall, Mongolian at Top Dog (rip after this year), or salads from UREC; JMU dining does a phenomenal job giving us as students lots of options when it comes to food choices.

4. The academics.

With midterms in our rearview and the preparation for finals soon beginning, it's hard to feel "lucky" for all of this work. Think about it. We are #blessed to be able to attend a university that prides itself on such rigorous course loads! Yeah, it sucks, but we will be better people one day because of it.

5. The people.

Honestly, not to gas ourselves up but as a student body, we are pretty damn awesome. The people here are unlike people I've met anywhere else. They love you for who you are, they support you, they laugh with you, cry with you, and motivate you. Man, they're just irreplaceable.

6. The free stuff.

Whether it's free shirts during FROG week, free tots at UPB's Late Night Breakfast, free comedians, free Bibles from local pastors... I think you can pick up on the common theme between all of these, it's FREE.

7. The opportunities.

The opportunities here are literally endless. Want to travel? Sign up for a study abroad program. Want to meet new people? Rush a sorority/fraternity. Not into Greek life? Join one of JMU's other three hundred organizations. Want to stay to yourself? Go for it. With resume help, interview tips, travel options, service trips, so many orgs, and literally SO much more, there's nothing that JMU doesn't provide... except a parking space.

8. The extracurriculars.

Whether you rush a sorority/fraternity, join the University Program Board, Saferides, Student Ambassadors, club sports, campus ministries, or diversity organizations; you name it, JMU has it.

Cover Image Credit: @jamesmadisonuniversity / Instagram

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