I always say that I didn’t choose Syracuse University – Syracuse University chose me. The same goes for the iSchool. SU has been in my family since my cousin, the late Horace Morris attended. He was the first African-American scholarship football player in the mid-1940’s. Years later, both of my parents would attend.
My parents Martin Davis ’78 and Michelle Davis ’82 G’85 and I with Chancellor Syverud at the Legacy Reception during Family Weekend in October.
Growing up my parents and their friends would always talk about SU, and we even hosted alumni gatherings at our home. When my older siblings started to go off to college, my parents said: “You either go to an Ivy League school, or you go to Syracuse”. They’re all SU alumni now. My plans didn’t include SU, and yet I became an iSchool student three years later. I couldn’t be happier with the community that I’ve joined here!
If you asked me as a child where I wanted to go to school, I would say either Yale or Syracuse. By the time I reached my junior year of high school, things were not so clear. I had been working in the entertainment industry as an actor and singer since I was 3 years old. I had established a nice career performing in commercials, voice-over’s, television shows, films, cruises, and theatricals. Including the lead as “Young Simba” in the national tour of Disney’s Award-winning Broadway musical, The Lion King.
Most of my friends in the industry skipped college and continued working, to great success. My parents had emphasized the importance of education since I was a child, so that was not an option for me. I eventually made up my mind to attend school in Los Angeles. There I could continue working/performing while earning a degree.
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Journey to the iSchool
The thought of me moving across the country was a bit too much for my parents to handle (I’m the baby of the family). They still pushed for me to change my mind and look at SU. Although I had been to campus countless times since I was a child, I eventually made the obligatory official visit to campus.
My brother suggested we tour the iSchool. I was originally considering Drama (for obvious reasons), but I had always been good with technology. I was in an Engineering magnet program at my high school so IT wasn’t that much of a stretch.
During this visit, an iSchool senior gave us a tour, and then professor Jeff Rubin gave us the iSchool pitch. I decided to apply, but I still wasn’t set on attending SU. Part of this was the rebel in me wanting to blaze my own trail, while also avoiding cold weather. The other part was my desire to not have my career interrupted by school. I was choosing between studying drama at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts at U.C. Irvine in California, and the iSchool.
The picture I took with iSchool professor Jeff Rubin during my visit to the iSchool in 2013.
As the May 1st acceptance deadline approached, I started to see this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share in and complete my family’s legacy at SU, not to mention being able to spend my Freshman year with my older sister (who would be a senior by then). Adding to that, the iSchool promised a degree that came with job security. The choice was clear, and I became a student in the iSchool Class of 2018.
I intend to use my Information Management & Technology degree to support me as I continue to further my career in Entertainment. I am also big on philanthropy and giving back, so the technical skills and knowledge that I have gained, I will always be able to utilize to further the organizations that I am a part of and causes that I support.
Back in November, I was asked to take over the OurSyracuseU Instagram account, by Maren Guse Powell, (SU’s Assistant Director of Digital and Social Media). At the time I was enrolled in a course she was teaching, Social Media in the Enterprise (IST 486). I had followed former Student Association President Aysha Seedat’s takeover the year before, so I was somewhat familiar. This was an opportunity to share my SU experience and bring attention to a few of the organizations that I am a part of. Social media content creation and management have always interested me, so this was a good experience for that.
Tabling for Student Philanthropy Council in Schine Student Center with Jeannie May ’17, for Giving Cuse Day!
Planning the posts came naturally, as my week was jam-packed with meetings, events, and other activities so I didn’t have to search for ideas. I wanted to show the range of my SU experience and avoid redundancy, so I chose moments that were different from one another and represented diversity on campus.
I had one piece of advice that I wanted to share through my posts, which was that SU provides the opportunities; you just have to bring the action. There’s always a lot going on at SU, and you can do it all. Ok, maybe not everything, but a lot of things. It’s all about finding balance and staying motivated. If there’s anything you want to do, you can do it, and you should do it! That way of thinking has guided me throughout my time here at ‘Cuse and has protected me from feeling regret… after all, you can’t regret NOT doing what you’ve already done (because you’ve done it)!
Find the recap of my takeover here: http://socialmedia.syr.edu/malcolm-ali-davis-18-oursyracuseu/
Interested in sharing your SU experience? Apply for a @OurSyracuseU takeover here: http://socialmedia.syr.edu/oursyracuseu/apply-for-oursyracuseu/