BackgroundInterview Date:January 2019
Gender Identity: Female
Race/Ethnicity: East Asian/South Korean
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2021
High School Experience: Public school in Andover, Massachusetts with 800 people in the graduating class. There was a prominent culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Majors: International Relations and French.
Extracurricular Activities: LINK (Liberty in North Korea).
How has LINK impacted your experience so far?
I’ve been doing LINK since high school, and it has connected me to so many people. LINK at Syracuse has a lot of outreach research, along with a large number of participating members.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
For International Relations, it’s a lot of reading and writing. For the major, you are required to be fluent in a language and study abroad. Luckily, this correlates with my French major where our grades are about 80% essays and 20% exams.
Is there anything you feel that your major’s departments do especially well or poorly?
They are great at pushing study abroad for the International Relations major. For French, the department is pretty small and not the most popular here, but there isn’t anything to criticize. [Syracuse’s most popular majors fall under the departments of Communications, Social Sciences, and Business.]
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I would say it depends on what your major is. If you are in the STEM program, I’d say it’s more competitive because there are less people. For other departments, including mine, I think it’s more collaborative.
What is your favorite class you’ve taken for your majors?
My favorite has been Critical Issues for the United States. There were three units where we talked about the public education system, voting, and race.
What is your least favorite class you’ve taken in your majors?
My least favorite class was probably an Introduction to Chemistry course.
How accessible have your professors been?
They have been very accessible. They respond to emails promptly, and have walk in hours at least once a week.
Do you feel that people are open to multiple schools of thought in the classroom?
I would say yes, but I’ve taken a lot of classes based on political debates. The professors try not to express their opinions, but it does show a little bit when a student provides a conservative point of view. This is probably because Syracuse is a very liberal school overall.
Why did you pick your majors? Are you happy with your choice?
I’m happy with my choice and I chose to do International Relations because my parents are both from South Korea, so I already had a head start on analyzing different perspectives. I also wanted to travel the world, so I decided French would be helpful at some point.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Day Hall with 1 roommate
Sophomore: DellPlain Hall with 1 roommate
How was transitioning from your hometown in Massachusetts to Syracuse, NY?
It wasn’t too bad because the community [in my town] feels very similar to how it is on campus. There are also a lot of kids from my town who go here.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
On campus is pretty safe. The second you get off the main campus and walk on Marshall Street, it feels less safe. We get regular emails from the Department of Safety, informing us about the crime that takes place. There are also officers walking around the campus which makes it feel safer.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
The students generally stay on campus, especially without a car. I’d say a lot of people go and hang out around the fraternity and sorority house.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you like to participate in at Syracuse?
I generally go to fraternity parties.
What nights of the week do you regularly do things?
I’ll go out Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Another big night to go out on is Tuesday, I guess for a break during the week. Friday is a big night to go out to the bars, but other than that it’s mostly parties.
How happy are you with the nightlife at Syracuse? Is there anything you would change if you could?
It’s known for partying a lot, and we have tailgates during the warmer seasons. I enjoy it, but sometimes I wish the bars were better.
What have been your favorite times at Syracuse?
Last year in the fall during parents weekend we had a huge football game against Clemson. We somehow beat them, and tons of kids stormed a parking lot.
How did you meet your closest friends?
I met them on my hall freshman year. You all just ban together and get close because nobody knows what they are doing.
How would you describe the overall social scene at Syracuse?
It’s very social, mostly because of Greek life.
What impact does not being in a sorority have on you?
As a girl, it doesn’t have a negative impact on my social life. You can still get into any party and will meet lots of people. I’ve heard from a lot of guys that it’s a necessity to join a fraternity if you want to have a social life.
To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I would say the campus is over 50% White people. [The university is 57% White.] We also have a large group of international students who typically stick to themselves. [About 20% of Syracuse is made up of International students], but for the most part there are no issues between groups.
How has the size of Syracuse influenced your social experience?
I actually wanted to go to a smaller school before I came here, but having a large population of [of 15,252] students gives you an opportunity to meet more people to find your crowd.
Have you used financial aid? If so, accommodating was the office to your needs? Were they responsive to your questions?
I get financial aid because it’s super expensive to go here. [Tuition is $50,230, but total direct costs around about $67,000.]They didn’t give me a scholarship, but they are accommodating to some degree. You really have to apply for scholarships outside of the university.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Syracuse before you entered as a freshman?
I wish I knew how important Greek life was to everybody. Here, it’s in your face all of the time which makes it hard to not be part of it.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
A lot of freshmen go to one bar and some have told me they regret not taking advantage of the great opportunities around them, such as tailgates.
Reasons to attend Syracuse:
1) There is a really active nightlife scene.
2) There are tons of student organizations.
3) There are really cool buildings and classroom setups.
Reasons to not attend Syracuse:
1) The weather. It goes from boiling hot in the summer, to freezing cold in a matter of two weeks.
2) There isn’t much to do outside of campus, or any nice parts to walk through. There isn’t much of a crazy nightlife outside of the school.
3) If you don’t like Greek life that could be a con. About 30% of the students are affiliated.