Living in the University Area: This life isn’t for everyone

When I first moved to the University area I was 25 years old, I was a graduate student, and I had never lived in the city or near a major university before. Two of those things belong together … the other one not so much.  My name is Ryan Nellenback and I live on the second floor of a two family house near Syracuse University.

The University area has so many different sounds, people, and businesses.  These characteristics round out an incredible living scenario. Don’t get me wrong it’s not all fantastic. However, it has a fascination that everyone you talk to seems to come back to the idea that they wish they lived where you did. Those people think of nothing more than Athletics, intelligent coffee talk, academia, and being “cool”. I love it but there is so much more that follows you into this place of living called the University Area.

The sounds can keep you awake all night unless you are used to them. It took me a couple of months to get used to the sounds of the university and it’s surrounding. Honestly, I never thought I would hear the things that I do. I can say that you hear animals rustling behind the house, cats crying or fighting, the army of children downstairs, the parties raging across the street or around the corner, the cars driving too fast down the street, the honking of taxi horns, the plows that can’t get down the street because students have not moved their cars for alternate parking, the police rescuing students from themselves, and yes intoxicated students trying to find their way back to their homes.  The sounds are both something that I love and something that can make a person go crazy. As I have lived here for 5 years I have become so accustomed to them that at the end of the day I rarely notice anything except  the army of children that live below me.

People are a main component of where I live as well. I live in an area of graduate students, undergraduate students, young professionals, hippies, and some people who could tell you about the beginning of time. It’s the most divers group of people that I have ever been around. The graduate and undergraduate students come and go. They are here to study, have fun, and move on. I like them because they experience life and an incredibly fast pace. I was once there and I was very much wrapped up in my own life. I was worried about classes, money, and what I was going to do with my friends at any given moment. It was a great life. I didn’t have much to worry about and you can clearly see that they do not either. They’re a great group….but they have their shortcomings when it comes to being good neighbors sometimes.

The young professionals in the area aka me live here because we like being connected to the idea of University. We like the university characteristics, people, pace of life, and the idea\establishment that it represents. It’s fun to be around what is celebrated. This ranges from athletics through graduation. I’m not gonna lie. I like it when graduation comes around. It means I get a break from parking problems and it gets quiet for a little bit. Lastly, the elders of the area. These people have been here from the very beginning. They remember this and that. The staples of the neighborhood will tell you everything about their neighborhood. Make no mistake…it is their neighborhood and you are just here for a time like everyone else. This used to be a neighborhood dedicated to its city. All that was before university housing pushed students more and more this way. These people don’t mind the students who have come through at all. They just want those around them to realize that this is a neighborhood with a lot of history and it should be respected. I love the people in my neighborhood. However, I cant lie. I look forward to graduation because it gives my neighborhood a break and gives me a better parking spot.

The last characteristic that makes up the university area are the businesses that feed off of the neighborhood. On one side you have two sushi places, a very hipster pub called beer bellies, café kubal, a neighborhood bar, and a local pizza place. This side is more dedicated to the old neighborhood. On the other side you have two very nice bars, three pizza places,  starbucks, chipotle, and a number of university clothing stores. Both have their places in the surrounding area. I choose to stick with the local business just because I like the coffee and pizza better but that is my opinion. I love both sides of the coin here mainly because I can walk to either side and enjoy myself.

All this said I love where I live. I never thought I would live in a place like this but through everything this is where I call home. I know that in my surrounding area we love to help those around us and I dread the day that I have to move away from all that is in the air. What is makes up your neighborhood? What do you like and dislike?


Thanks so much for the opportunity to write my thoughs on the WithLuckBLog. It has been a pleasure and I look forward to writing again. Have a wonderful day!


Ryan, you’re the best. You totally rocked your first post! I’d write more about how much I love you, but It’s 1am and I’m supposed to be at the bus by 1:15am….I’m guessing you don’t find this to be surprising. Thanks for hooking me up with this awesome post. You always have a little corner to share your thoughts here!


  1. After I graduated college I lived in an area that was similar to this. Close to everything, lots of young professionals and college students in the area. As the years went by I moved further and further away. Now we live in a neighborhood made up of families, some with small children and babies like us. And I love it. It’s quiet except for the occasional sound of kids playing or the ice cream truck… music to my ears!

    xo, Yi-chia
    Always Maylee

  2. Im getting married soon and i think that the move away from the university area will start soon. Just like you said further and further away. For now I’m still here but i can see the progression soon.

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