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Visiting Law Schools

Favorite things to do outside of Syracuse Law

by Hannah Rakoczy-Kostrycky (1L)

Law school is one of those experiences where you can never truly understand or prepare for it until it’s too late.  Many of us come in thinking that we’ll be able to handle the 15 hour days and the 40-page-per-night (per class) readings, only to very quickly realize just how woefully unprepared we really are.  It happens sooner for some and later for others, but the ensuing panic inevitably sets in.   Once that happens, it’s time to take a break and get away for a few hours.  When you spend all day in the law school, surrounded only by other law students who are also stressed and over-worked, it’s easy to fall into the vacuum and forget that the outside world exists.  If you’re going to make it through with all your marbles intact, you’ll need to learn how to separate yourself from the school every once in a while.

Although Syracuse itself is a small city, there is plenty to do both around town and in the surrounding Finger Lakes area.  If you’re looking for a quick break, Marshall Street is only a few minutes’ walk through the main campus (trust me, you’ll forget that even THAT exists).  Whether you’re looking for a non-law-school place to study, or a quick lunch that doesn’t include the Erie Doctrine, Marshall Street is the place to go.  You can find anything from burgers to sushi to gourmet waffles – all just down the hill.  Armory Square is the place to be on Friday or Saturday nights.  There are plenty of restaurants if you’re looking for something a little nicer than Chipotle, and the nightlife in general has more of a city than a college-town feel to it.  Finally, Destiny USA is only about a 10 minute drive down the highway.  Destiny is more than just a mall – it is a small city in its own right.  In addition to great shopping, it has an IMAX movie theater, glow-in-the-dark mini golf course, laser tag, go-kart track, and ropes course.  The restaurants range from standard food-court fair to Texas de Brazil and Cheesecake Factory.  Oh, and there’s a Dave and Buster’s.  

If you or a friend have a car, it’s worth taking a day trip or two out to the surrounding Finger Lakes.  If you’re more of an outdoorsy type, Syracuse is within driving distance of numerous state parks, campgrounds, hiking trails, and ski slopes.  If nature isn’t your thing, there are countless wineries and picture-perfect small shopping towns to explore.  Ithaca, home to Cornell University, is less than an hour away and great if you’re looking for a change of pace without too much planning; it has a college town feel and plenty of options for those who don’t really know what they want to do but just want to get out.  Fall is an especially exciting time around these parts.  Almost any road that leads out of Syracuse will take you straight into the heart of some beautiful foliage and will undoubtedly take you to a pumpkin patch or apple picking farm!   After studying for midterms for three weeks straight, it’s amazing what a hayride and a fresh apple cider donut can do to heal your soul.

Syracuse University itself has a lot to offer if you want to stay closer to home.  Even though we tend to stay ensconced in the C.O.L., it’s important for us to remember that we are part of a larger University and can take advantage of all it has to offer.  You can check out Recreational Services at the Archbold gym for free fitness classes or pick-up games throughout the week. You can also visit Setnor School of Music’s website for a schedule of recitals and performances throughout the year.  Both are free and only steps from the law school itself.  The SU Daily News emails are also a great place to find free events and lectures sponsored by the University around campus.  And of course, no experience at Syracuse would be complete without a basketball game.  Law students are eligible for the student rates and many take advantage of that to buy season tickets.  If basketball isn’t your sport, SU is also home to football, lacrosse, soccer, and many other nationally-ranked sports teams.

Whatever your interests, you’ll be able to find something to take your mind off the pressures of law school, if only for a few hours.  The best way to stay at the top of your game is to remember to take care of your health and well-being before anything else;  relax every once in a while – Erie will still be there when you get back.

Questions?  Find me on the Law Ambassador website.

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