My journey to Syracuse University

Jalen Wade

I often find it funny how life ends up working out. When I was first applying to colleges in high school, Syracuse was probably the second to last place I wanted to go. My parents are alumni here, and my dad was on the football team and was pretty popular on campus.

Despite how much my parents loved the school, they never heavily encouraged me to apply. I suppose that’s why when I actually went on a school visit, I was extremely open to coming.

I ended up getting into Syracuse, but due to financial considerations, I ended up attending the University of Maryland, a school I didn’t wish to attend due to its closeness to where I grew up. By the end of my time at UMD however, I ended up loving it. Even the closeness to home, which I thought I would have hated, was something that served as a comfort to me at times when I needed a break from school.

When I graduated, my mother put graduate school on the table and one of the schools I chose was Newhouse. I figured that I could use this chance to explore the “what if?” that I didn’t take when I was first applying for universities. In the middle of the summer I made the eight-hour trek up to Syracuse with my mother and aunt to move my stuff in.

Living in Syracuse has been an interesting experience so far. One of the new things I have had to learn how to do for myself is cooking complex meals. Before, I could usually do something like go to the dining hall if I was hungry or didn’t feel like heating up something in the microwave.

I’ve had to try and learn to cook a variety of foods like chicken breast, steak and assorted vegetables, with mixed results at first. On one occasion, the fire alarm went off. When making sausage links, I accidentally got so much smoke going that I ended up stinking up both my apartment and the hallway outside my door.

One of the biggest concerns I had about living in Syracuse was having nobody to hang out with. I was honestly shocked to find that I got along so well with the people in my graduate journalism course. We found ourselves forming a tight group and going out every weekend. I guess it’s true what they say about the “Newhouse mafia.”

In a strange twist, I’ve found myself not communicating as much with people back home due to how much fun I’ve been having here. I often find myself surprised with how fast time is flying by. I have only been here for a few months, and it feels like I have barely scratched the surface of things I want to do here. 

Now, I find myself laughing at how much I thought I didn’t want to go to Syracuse. Now, all I can think about is how much longer I would like to stay.

Jalen Wade is a graduate student in the magazine, news and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School.