First time for everything: Upperclassmen dish the dirt on their early experiences at SU
On paper, college is a place for higher education. It is a forum for learning and improving oneself — a place to change for the better.
While these ideas are ultimately true, when said alone, they paint an idyllic picture of a place that many people know differently. In the process of bettering oneself, college also provides an opportunity to misstep: to make mistakes, take the wrong classes, dance with the wrong partners and choose every single major except the right one.
Or it can be a place to find inspiration in a classroom, to fall in love with a precocious stranger and figure out who you want to be. Only one thing is really inevitable on campus: every student is going to have to try something for the first time. The opportunities, for better or worse, are endless.
First hook-up hazards
It’s all fun and games until your friend gets lost on the dance floor.
Clea Nievera, a junior psychology major, learned this lesson the hard way her freshman year.
After 30 minutes of unsuccessful party hopping, Nievera and her friends ended up at the Syracuse University chapter of Theta Chi. Nievera was not pleased with the delay but proceeded on with the night, hopping on to the dance floor to have some fun with her friends.
It didn’t quite happen like that.
“Next thing you know, I can’t find her at all,” Nievera said. “I started panicking.”
Nievera had just seen her friend dancing with one of the fraternity brothers but after searching the floor, could not find her anywhere. Giving up on the main party arena, she went to search the rooms.
There she found her friend engaged in conversation with the Theta Chi brother from the dance floor. In the light, Nievera made an unsettling discovery.
“This guy was like…really ugly,” Nievera said. She was shocked to find her friend in such an unfortunate situation.
Said Nievera: “There’s no harm in dancing with someone, but why would you go anywhere but the dance floor with this guy?”
Fraternity row is a wild world for students who didn’t party in high school.
Kelley Wares, a junior entrepreneurship and real estate major, was a bundle of anxiety at her first SU party for this reason.
“I was nervous,” Wares said.
While she dealt with her first party jitters through aversion, a friend who had accompanied her to the party handled them differently.
Wares and her other friends began to keep a tally of how many people on the dance floor their friend made out with. This particular tally ended at four; however, two were chosen for more intimate physical activities not appropriate for the dance floor.
The party ended for Wares, but the fun continued for her friend when one of the two gentlemen suitors she got preemptively promiscuous with ended up as the teaching assistant for one of her classes their first semester. It was a party foul Wares, and especially her friend, would not forget.
First in-class ingenuity
A fascination with technology can manifest itself through several different scenarios. It can come about as a result of an entertaining professor who keeps the class engaged during coding class.
It can be the consequence of a young girl determined to understand the machine in front of her, taking apart and reconstructing her entire desktop computer in order to make sense of its functions.
For Christina Fieni, it was a combination of the two.
IST 195: Information Technologies, an introductory class for School of Information Studies students taught by iSchool professor Jeff Rubin, was the class in which Fieni said she “fell in love with technology.” A former magazine journalism and anthropology dual major, Fieni, who was always fascinated by design, grew to love the technology behind the art.
“I switched majors because of that class,” Fieni said. She is currently a junior advertising and information technology dual major.
Fieni becomes reminiscent of her childhood when discussing the class, which made her think about when she took apart her computer to try and figure out how it worked. Learning the ins and outs of technology under Rubin made her recall this insatiable curiosity.
Fieni mentioned Rubin’s introduction to Java, a coding script used in elements of web design.
“It forced me to challenge myself,” she said.
For those unaccustomed to talking freely about sex, CFS 388: Human Sexuality, taught by professor Joseph Fanelli, might come as a bit of a shock.
In the eyes of junior computer engineering major Nathan Garland, it was a much welcomed one.
Garland took the class with friends and loved the relevance of it. Because ofthe professor’s natural humor and ability to keep the course engaging, he was able to teach students about real issues, said Garland.
He remembered one class in particular in which Professor Fanelli brought in several transgender speakers to talk to the class about sexuality in their lives.
“It put everything that we were being taught right there in front of us,” Garland said, “with real world examples and experiences going on.”
In a part of the class, students get to choose between several options to count toward their final grade: going to couples therapy, writing a term paper or attending a weekly discussion group. Garland opted for the latter and was not disappointed.
“Being able to talk with other people and get their opinions on relationships was really rewarding,” Garland said.
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