Forever Orange program gives students chance to recapture lost years

Forever Orange offers second shot for college

Students are electing to return to SU for grad school and recoup time from their pandemic experience.
Published: May 12, 2022 | Updated: May 13th, 2022 at 9:30 am


Syracuse University Law School entrance
Students from the Law and Journalism schools took a chance on grad school after losing out on senior experiences due to the pandemic.

Students in college only have a finite amount of time at a university. Within the four years they spend at Syracuse University, there is so much they might wish to accomplish. For juniors and seniors of the class of 2021, it became a year of lost experiences. However, because of grad school, some of these students have had the ability to reclaim the time that they lost.

Courtney Ter, a New Media and Management major, was a junior when she went into virtual learning for her classes. Despite the worsening news at the time, Ter and her classmates believed that after an extended spring break in 2020 things would return to normal. This did not happen, Ter was forced to be at home away from her friends. She had also turned 21 as the world shut down and she thought about all the activities she missed out on.

“I didn’t get the chance to really like, experience it and have fun and go be a part of those daytime parties that I would have. Because of COVID passing everything down,” Ter said. “They just didn’t happen those years and I haven’t been able to like having those quintessential Syracuse party moments.”

In the time since she graduated, Ter has decided to come back to SU for a master’s at the Newhouse School.

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Something that has enabled her and others to return to school is the Forever Orange Scholarship. The scholarship provides half of the tuition for students who enroll full-time in a qualifying graduate degree or certificate program at SU.

Ter says that the scholarship was a great opportunity for her as it allowed her to get a do-over on her junior and senior years.

“Recapturing senior year was a selling point,” Ter said. “So that was kind of like the thing that finally made my decision between just simply going out into the workforce after my undergraduate degree versus staying for an extra year. I haven’t really thought about not being prepared enough for the real world.”

Zach Carr was a law student who also did theater as a hobby during his time at SU. He and his castmates had been preparing to put on a show in the spring but Covid put a stop to it.

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Carr said that online learning had been difficult for him when school got back in session. He says that this was due to the hybrid nature of class where the teacher was better at addressing the students who were in person vs the ones that had been exclusively virtual.

Carr recounted a French class he was taking that he had to withdraw from due to the class becoming unmanageable for him.

“I always had so much trouble understanding this professor I just couldn’t hear what he was saying. And everyone else could and I just felt myself just kind of slipping behind. And I actually ended up having to withdraw from the class after some big deadline because I wasn’t going to pass it just because I couldn’t. I felt like I couldn’t hear anything and everyone else could,” said Carr.

Initially, Carr had planned to attend law school right after he graduated but fear of a second outbreak stopped him.

“ I kind of delayed doing that. I didn’t go right to law school after college. Because again, you know, I felt like there was just a really high chance that something would go south, and campus would be closed. And so I took a year off so that I could start law school later,” said Carr.

One of the aspects of grad school that Carr said was most appealing to him was being able to be in person with other students and not Zoom having to worry about a bad connection or not being heard in the class.

Devin Miller is a law student who graduated in 2018. He decided to come back a few years later to do law school but by that time, Covid had hit his first year of law school. For the first year of his graduate experience, his classes were virtual, something he says affected the dynamic between his classmates.

“We didn’t get that immediate honeymoon period of going into a new school. We kind of didn’t have to get together and get to know each other. We had to kind of do that on the fly,” said Miller.

Miller says the virtual nature of his initial grad school experience made things difficult. He often found it hard to focus due to being at home during his classes.

He says that he feels online learning could be especially difficult for grad classes due to different kinds of applications for graduate courses versus undergrad coursework.

 

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Despite his initial rough time with grad school, he doesn’t feel any bitterness as he was at least able to experience everyone during his time in undergrad years.

For these students grad school has been a chance to not just further their education but also to get back the time that they lost.

 

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is a digital editor and contributor for The NewsHouse.