Five Things About Stony Brook I Wish Someone Had Told Me

Stony Brook University is a great school for a multitude of reasons, but there are some aspects about it that I really wish I had known prior to coming here. If anyone out there is considering becoming a seawolf, I just want to lay out some less-publicized features of the school for you.

  1. 1. It’s a commuter school

    college students at a party

    While many people in the Long Island area are sure to know this, myself as a newcomer to the area had no idea whatsoever that Stony Brook was an atypical campus. Indeed, almost 50% of Stony Brook students do not live on campus and many undergrads live with their parents. Of course, this is a great way to save money, but it also means that it can be super difficult to hang out with your friends, since many live an hour away and a lot of them still live under strict house rules mandated by their parents. Not to mention, campus is notoriously “dead” over the weekends, meaning it can be challenging to do anything social during your time off from classes. I personally have just done work and slept on the weekends, even before the pandemic—not exactly ideal. 

  2. 2. It’s a STEM school

    person putting liquid into test tubes

    Again, while I’m sure many people familiar with Stony Brook know this, I grew up in an area where no one had heard of this school, so all I had to go off of was what I read on websites. Since I was applying as a social science major, the university did not really advertise to me that they are extremely STEM-heavy—I had to learn that the hard way. I swear almost every single person I met during orientation was pre-med and it was really surprising to me. Stony Brook really emphasizes its STEM departments more than anything else, and a lot of events, organizations and resources are directed primarily towards STEM students, so it’s a good thing to know if you’re considering coming here.

  3. 3. Not all dorms are created equal

    Now that I’m a junior at SBU, this seems really obvious, but there are huge discrepancies that exist amongst the quality of the dorms. My ignorant freshman-self unwisely prioritized Roosevelt as my preferred dorm of choice. While it was fine and I got through it, there are definitely better residential choices out there, namely…any other dorm on campus. From my own experience as well as just a general consensus, suites are a lot better than corridors: a personal living room and bathroom will improve your quality of life tremendously. 

  4. 4. It is far from NYC

    people walking on crosswalk in NYC at nighttime

    When I decided to come to Stony Brook, a big reason for this was that it was close to New York City—or so I thought. In reality, if you go by train, which most people do, it normally takes 110 minutes, which is almost two hours. To pile it on, it costs $39.50 for a round trip from Stony to Penn Station. This is quite expensive for most college students and it definitely makes a fun day trip to the city a lot more costly. When I chose to come here, I expected to be venturing out to the city at least once a month. In a typical semester pre-Covid, I’d say I went once, or maybe even twice if I had a field trip. So, if you have cash and time, this is a great convenience that attending SBU offers, but I know most college students don’t, including myself. 

  5. 5. Campus spirit is lacking

    Pretty much everyone who goes here acknowledges that Stony Brook has really limited spirit. Any time we are asked “What’s a seawolf?”, we’re almost always made to repeat the expected “I’m a seawolf!”, even though it’s seldom louder the second time around. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been huge on team spirit, but it is a bit odd when I visit other schools and see how enthusiastic everyone is about attending their college. I don’t think a school needs exorbitant cheer among the student body to make it a worthy school to attend, but I think it would be nice if Stony Brook kicked it up a notch or two.  

Overall, Stony Brook is a wonderful and affordable school to attend, and I appreciate a lot about it, especially with how well the university has been handling the pandemic. I don’t regret coming here at all, but I do wish that I had someone tell me these things about the school back when I was making my college decisions, so that I had been better informed.