As Orange alumni, my father (Hugh Johnston ’83) and uncle (Russell Johnston ’88) both hoped I would fall in love with Syracuse the way they did. My family has a love affair with sports (unfortunately, we’re Jets, Mets and Knicks fans) so, naturally, my first experience with Syracuse was through sports and came in the form of six overtimes. Perhaps it was watching history being made, or maybe it was my Connecticut background, but I took extra delight in watching the Orange win the Big East tournament game against UConn in 2009. Two nights later, my father and I went to the championship game, and I was hooked.
During my freshman year, my roommate and a friend of ours decided to camp out for the game against Connecticut–a game in late February. As absent-minded freshmen, we had not considered what it would be like sleeping outdoors in a Syracuse winter; this was the first and last time we would camp out for a game. Unfortunately, this realization was made one tent purchase too late. We got our money’s worth, though. Syracuse clinched the regular season title and once, again, beat Connecticut 71-69.
After my freshman year, I withdrew from the university to take classes at a local community college and explore other areas of study, as I was unsure of what I wanted to do. My best friend from high school encouraged me to transfer to the University of Miami, but after returning to Syracuse twice to visit during my time away, I knew there was no chance I could pass up returning to complete my degree at SU. It’s cold and it snows until May, but from the moment I stepped on campus, it felt like home.