My name is Emily Fesnak ‘17 and I took over the @OurSyracuseU Instagram account the week of February 22 through February 26.

Since the first day of freshmen year, students are encouraged to get involved on campus. I remember being told to join as many clubs as possible, which seemed incredibly overwhelming at the time. There are hundreds of clubs on campus, so how could I ever choose just a few? I love to dance, sing, read, swim, run and the list goes on and on. There was no way I could indulge in all my interests and still do homework, go to work and keep up my grades.

Since that first year, I’ve always said that I could go to college for four extra years and still not experience every club or opportunity that Syracuse has to offer. However, this breadth of opportunity is also what makes this school so wonderful; every student has the chance to find his or her niche … or two.

Getting Started

Throughout my three years here, I have weaved in and out of numerous clubs, groups, executive boards and organizations. I was eager to explore as many activities as I could. It was through this weaving that I found a job with the 44social media team, working for Maren Guse. Maren initiated and launched the OurSyracuseU project, first testing it out with her student employees, which is how I got involved.

Personally, I am not a skilled Instagrammer, so I was a bit nervous accepting Maren’s offer to take over the account. Since she is my boss, I didn’t want to let her down by posting lame pictures. However, I decided to give it a shot because the idea was intriguing and I felt that I had a unique perspective of this campus that I could share.

My Story

As a female information management & technology and public relations dual major with a minor in computer engineering, my days are balanced by classrooms filled entirely of girls or almost entirely with boys. Girls are still a minority in STEM majors, but being in that minority, I have found that my professors and faculty at Syracuse University have encouraged me to push past stigmas and stereotypes in order to pursue my passions.

This was the story that I hoped to share on OurSyracuseU. I wanted to share my appreciation for the endless and crucial support that I have found at this school. I had initially joined the iSchool undergraduate program with little to no technical skills, but through my involvement on campus, I discovered a passion for computer programming that turned into a career path. I hope that in sharing my experience, I can inspire other girls to get involved and pursue passions in STEM fields as well.

Beyond academics, however, I had a lot more to share. I also wanted to share the ways that Syracuse has nurtured me as an individual. I found my campus family through the Syracuse club swim team. I don’t know where I would be without such a wonderful group of students who share my love for the water. Swimming has always been a stress-reliever for me and is part of who I am. In college, when a student is so far from the comfort of home, it is important to find an emotional support system on campus. For me, that was the swim team, but for others that may be Greek life or a theater group or classmates. By sharing my story, perhaps I encouraged others to seek out their own Syracuse family.

The Social Part of Social Media

Being able to share my passions was exciting enough, but the positive feedback and connections I made with alumni and students took this experience to a whole new level. Prospective students commented about how excited they were to get involved, which made me genuinely happy because my involvement on campus has been so vital to my growth here. Honestly, if I hadn’t been involved, I wouldn’t have stumbled upon my passion in computer programming. The activities students are involved in outside of classes are what truly shape their college experience.

What makes OurSyracuseU so special is that it highlights the vastly diverse opportunities available to all students to get involved. There is no one way to “do college” and this account allows students to celebrate and showcase their unique life. The chance to so publicly share our stories is a rare one. What do you have to share?

You Can Do It, Too!

If you are a Syracuse student interested in taking over the OurSyracuseU Instagram account, apply today!

Read more about Emily on her OurSyracuseU profile, or follow the OurSyracuseU Instagram account.