I still remember the first day of my freshman year–the expectations, the nerves and the excitement to create a new me. Growing up, I had gone to the same school for fifteen years. Everyone knew who I was, and I had the same label from third grade to senior year. Syracuse offered me an escape from the life I had always lived. I became infatuated with the opportunity to build a new Richard and create friends and relationships that would take me in a direction I had never experienced. In a way, freshman year offered me the first taste of my addiction to the feeling of fear of the unknown.
Through all the different experiences Syracuse University offered me, the ability to balance an academic, social and professional balance was key. I remember telling my parents that I could create a class schedule that would allow me to only have classes on Tuesday and Thursday. When they would wonder how it was possible, my reply would be, “Yes, I am still taking the fifteen credits, and, yes, I will graduate on time, but think of all the extra time I’ll have for activities now!” Little did they know that all that extra time would translate into two businesses, five internships, many hours volunteering at the VA hospital and a spot on the Syracuse Rugby team. It all was worth it when I won the CNY Alumni business competition during my junior year–on my mom’s birthday. “I told you all that time without classes would translate into something,” were my words to her as I walked off the stage from receiving the award to give her a hug.
When I look back on the time I had at Syracuse, I can map all the different directions and decisions I made to get to where I am now. I started as a kid who came to Syracuse for the social scene, and, after exploring the strengths and benefits of the tight knit community, I learned who I was and what I wanted to be later in life. I left knowing that my immediate future was to pursue my passion for helping educate people about the power of investing and creating a beneficial future for themselves.
While my home is now in New York City, my position as a private wealth manager for The Nulman Group at HighTower Advisors allows me to live life like a dream–a dream I didn’t realize I had until Syracuse. I travel the world, understanding different cultures, exploring the unknown and finding people along the way who have a true need of understanding their financial future. Through my travels, people always ask me what American universities are like, and I am always surprised when people halfway around the world know about Syracuse. The strength of the alumni community and passion for bleeding Orange is seen not only in the state of New York or in the United States of America, but you can find an Orange trail across the world.
My time at Syracuse has come and gone, but I will be forever thankful for the friends, experiences and night’s I’ll never remember that shaped me to who I will be for the future. The best advice I can give current SU students is to get out in the community, don’t stay in one group and always ask yourself how you can improve something that interests you…you never know where it may lead.
- Alumni of the Week: Richard Lewis ’17 - October 25, 2017