First Day Fall 2017

First day perspectives: Freshman vs Senior

The first day of class reveals differing hopes, fears and expectations for an SU Freshman and Senior.

As the hustle and bustle of the first day of the school year winds to a close, Jared Birchmore and Victoria Muriel are thinking very different things. Both students at Syracuse, they have a home in common, but little else. Muriel, a freshman hoping to major in anthropology, has barely been on campus a week, while Birchmore, a double major in sociology and citizenship and civic engagement, is beginning his fourth and final year at the university.

Only three years apart in age, Birchmore and Muriel have nearly opposite hopes, fears and expectations for the year. The NewsHouse asked them to talk about the year ahead and their time so far.

What are your expectations for this academic year?

Victoria Muriel: I’m hoping to grow as a person. I want to develop my knowledge base and skills. I want to become more mature and just become a better citizen and human being. I hope to become more of an adult, essentially.

Jared Birchmore: I’m going to try to find a balance between academics and preparing myself for my career after I graduate. And I want to just enjoy the year. This is the last time I’ll be in an environment like Syracuse with people I’ve grown up with for four years. So my goal is to strike that balance between enjoying myself and preparing myself for what comes after this.

What has been your best experience at Syracuse thus far?

Victoria: I went to a party, actually, for a group on campus and met a lot of upperclassmen and they were super welcoming and really kind and awesome people to have conversations with, which was kind of unexpected because I’m a freshman and I thought they would be like “Ew, a freshman.” It was just different from the high school experience for me. The types of conversations and the way people respond to you is different. That’s when I really realized I’m in college. Also the crumbling facade of the house tipped me off.

Jared: I’ve been an orientation leader for three years and that’s where I’ve found some of my closest friends and have been able to share my experience of Syracuse University and just the energy and love that’s at this school. The second would be Nourish International, which is a huge part of who I am now and my college career in general. That really directed me into the career path I’m trying to go into and helped me to be able to take on all these responsibilities for something I’m passionate about and that I really love doing.

Where do you see yourself this time next year?

Victoria: I’m not entirely sure what the future holds, and I don’t have one particular direction. I want to try a bunch of different things and see where it leads me. I really hope to be involved in theatre and something musical like acapella and anthropology club. I feel like by then, or at least I’m hoping, there will be exponential change. I’m hoping to be well-adjusted and a very different, super involved person.

Jared: That’s still very up in the air, which is good and bad. I definitely want to do some traveling. After that I want to get involved in some sort of community development. I’ve done work in Uganda before in that field and I would love to either go back or find some other place that’s doing similar work and get involved at the base level. I want to get my feet wet and see how I like that sector.

What are you nervous about this year?

Victoria: Making friends and meeting new people and developing bonds. Everyone’s coming from all different parts of the country and the world. I’m worried about finding my people.

Jared: I’m definitely nervous about time management. It feels like that’s something you have to figure out and adjust every year. All of your commitments and everything change and shift like your priorities. I want to find that balance. I want to really make the most out of the year without giving anything up. And the uncertainty of post-grad life is nerve-wracking as well, but it’s something I’m looking forward to playing with and working out as the year progresses.

What was the best thing about your freshman year?

Jared: Getting to know all of the different things on campus. I went to a bunch of different shows, acapella and danceworks, and was able to see all of the different ways that the students here and my friends in particular are involved and even though I’m not talented enough to go perform for acapella it’s just so fun to see the people you interact with during classes or after classes in something that they’re great at doing and that they’re passionate about as a friend and in general.

What is the best thing about Syracuse so far?

Victoria: Everyone has been super nice and open so far. I feel really good about everything I’m studying and I feel like I am working towards a future for myself. I feel like I’m on my own track, which is super cool.

What does Syracuse mean to you?

Jared: Syracuse means the world to me. It’s a place that I definitely am able to call home now, which is really corny, but I’ve been able to find people here who motivate me to be better in all aspects of life. Being involved in all the things Syracuse has to offer has made me learn more about myself and find ways to enjoy the little things around me as well.

Victoria, what would you like to ask a senior?

Victoria: How do you make the most of your time here?

Jared: Sign up for a bunch of different things right off the bat. Even if there’s the slightest bit of interest in an organization or in a random research project a professor brings up to you. Even if you think you’re unqualified, just go out for it. And if you really are, someone will tell you. But then you’re able to find something that you’re passionate about. It took me a full year to be able to find that. If you’re able to find that right when you start at the university, it sets you up so much better as a launching pad for the rest of your career.

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