August 31st is quickly approaching, and we all know what that means: time to replace that Netflix bookmark with your favorite textbook rental site of choice. But before you settle down in your new dorm room, if you’re an incoming freshman (or a transfer student!) follow these 8 tips from iSchool Peer Advisors to make for a great first year.

1. Don’t wear your lanyard around your neck. Just don’t do it.

Otto sporting a traditional Syracuse lanyard.

Otto sporting a traditional Syracuse lanyard.

It might seem like the logical thing to do, but wearing the classic navy or orange “Syracuse University” lanyard that houses your SUID and fresh new dorm key around your neck is the number one way for upperclassmen to spot freshmen when fall rolls around. That being said, make sure you always have these crucial things in hand as your student ID serves many purposes on campus, and no one wants to be locked out of their room by their roommate. Opt for a trendier storage method, like a small ID case or a sleek backpack with an ID pouch.

Amazon Textbook Rental - via

Amazon Textbook Rental – via

2. As previously mentioned, rent your textbooks.

Syllabus week will become a bit overwhelming once your teachers tell you that you MUST obtain the latest edition of their chosen texts, since retail value for most college books are 3 digits. It took me a few semesters to realize that renting your books cuts down costs, and avoids the headache of trying to sell back your books at the end of the semester. My favorite rental site is Amazon because of 2-day free shipping with Amazon Prime (you can get a 6-month trial if you sign up with your new campus email!), but there are other popular sites, like

3. Learn how to navigate the library.

Bird Library at SU - via

Bird Library at SU

Bird Library, the main library on campus, is the study spot of choice for the majority of students. Make sure you walk in with a full charge on your devices, because there are very few outlets available–especially once midterms roll around. If you prefer a quieter atmosphere with an abundance of outlets, check out Carnegie Library on the quad. Hinds Hall, home to the iSchool, is also the best, because it sits right in the middle of those two spaces.

4. Network, network, network.

Networking is a crucial part of the business world, and it’s twofold: making connections, and making them last. It’s never too soon to start building your professional network because these networks will bode you well in the future. A good place to start is with your professors. Don’t be afraid to walk up and introduce yourself with a handshake on the first day; you never know what a simple interaction can bring. Bonus tip: LinkedIn is a super helpful tool to maintain these professional connections.

Networking - via


5. Get to know your classmates.

Some of the most valuable relationships you can build are with your peers. Faculty and professors are definitely useful, but you will be sitting next to some incredibly intelligent and talented individuals in class. Take the time to get to know each other, as you will be growing and learning alongside them for the next few years. The iSchool is great because it’s such a close-knit community, so definitely take advantage of that aspect.

Director of Information Management and Technology undergraduate program Deb Nosky pumping up the Peer Advisors as orientation weekend approaches.

Deb Nosky pumping up the Peer Advisors as orientation weekend approaches.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

There’s always been dispute about whether or not there is a stupid question, but when you’re a freshman, there definitely is not. No one expects you to know everything; in fact, as a peer advisor, we hope you don’t already know everything. We’re here to address your concerns, so if you have any hesitations, whether it be which class to sign up for or which café to eat at on campus, ask away. If you are a first-year or transfer student, you will meet your peer advisor during orientation this coming weekend. Also, we attend your weekly IST 101 sections to answer questions and provide insight so there is plenty of opportunity to connect.

7. Find something you love and make it your own.

Sure, from a resume perspective, it’s nice to dive into extracurriculars upon arriving to campus so that you stand out from other students. That aspect aside, it’s so important to engage in activities to make yourself happy. School can get pretty stressful, so you want something that you can look forward to (and that gets you through those early morning recitations). Being involved for the right reasons will make your experience so much more enjoyable and give you something to be proud of. The iSchool alone has great student organizations that are available, yet campus-wide the opportunities are endless.

8. Take advantage of every opportunity, because these may not come again.

You have picked a perfect place to start your higher education. The iSchool, and Syracuse University in general, are abundant with unique opportunities. Whether it be a career fair, an alumni visit, a speaker series, a workshop, or even a social event: always attend!

These functions are at your fingertips for a reason–and could lead to valuable experiences and lessons learned. Even if it makes you nervous, push yourself out of your comfort zone because it will allow you to grow not just professionally, but more importantly personally.

If you have any questions as you’re arriving to campus, feel free to tweet me at @meganminier or shoot me an email ( Good luck!