One down, 246 days to go

After a sun-soaked first day of school warmed nervous freshman and relaxed upperclassmen alike, the countdown to May is officially on.

When freshman Justin Hoffman showed up to his calculus class Monday morning, the Carnegie classroom location he scribbled down was completely empty. In fact, it wasn’t a classroom at all –- just some kind of office.

Unfortunately for many of the 3,450 freshmen starting their Syracuse University careers Monday, Hoffman's not alone.

Photo: Danielle Carrick
Students sit on the lawn across from Syracuse University's Schine Student Center during Monday's opening day of fall classes.

Obviously confused first-years gripped their printed MySlice schedules and campus maps, wandering the paths and searching for building names such as Hinds and Heroy halls. 

On the Quad, students staked out plots in the grass and whipped out sunglasses and laptops, catching up with friends and enjoying the beautiful weather.

Upperclassmen gloated about schedules that didn’t begin until after noon, while freshmen talked of their quests to find their 8 a.m. classes.

Hoffman, who plans to major in psychology, said the Syracuse campus is a bit more intimidating than his high school’s, which only had 1,100 students in the entire school.

“I’ve been really nervous, but it hasn’t been that bad,” Hoffman said. “I think I’m liking my teachers, and I feel like it’s not as big of a deal as I was making it out to be.”

Victoria Welch, a television, radio and film sophomore, admitted that on her first day last year, she was one of the nervous freshmen wandering around with a campus map. Now in her second year, Welch feels much less nervous and the first-day butterflies are starting to wear off.

“I realize how comfortable I am here,” Welch said. “I feel like I’m home.”

By Monday afternoon, Welch said she had already changed her class schedule three times. She attended an Italian class in the morning and hated the professor. So she dashed to the Schine Student Center, logged into MySlice, dropped the class and signed up for another Italian class this afternoon.

Someone who seemed much less nervous about classes was civil engineering senior Madara Blumberga. She said she took all of her most difficult classes before final year so she could have a light course-load.

“And next semester is going to be a breeze,” Blumberga said. “I only have like six required credits, so I’m going to be taking dancing and cooking. It’s great.”

Thinking back to her first day freshman year, Blumberga said she didn’t know how hard her classes would be, or even what a recitation meant. Since that day, though, she’s gotten to know her professors, the campus and fellow students.

“There’s a lot of learning to do. But after a while, you get used to it,” she said. “I have a lot more confidence because I’ve been here for three years. I know where my classes are, I know all the people in my classes.

"So it’s easier. Definitely easier.”

The Syracuse University campus came to life Monday as classes for the fall semester started. (Photo: Danielle Carrick)

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