Dakota, welcome to Syracuse, where I also live, and congratulations on exercising your 2nd Amendment freedom and taking steps to provide for your self defense and protection. I would be glad to provide some tips, based on my own experiences and my personal opinions about how to OC, and CC (concealed carry) here in Utah.
When carrying, it's very important to have a good holster. And when OCing, it's even more important to have a good retention holster, meaning, one that will allow you to maintain control of the gun, yet still have it readily accessible to you. There are several good retention type holsters available, so look around and check out the various options. I prefer the Blackhawk Serpa holster for my XDm 9mm, and I use that anytime that I OC, which is about 90% of the time.
I'm definitely a proponent of reasonable OC, but I also recognize that there are times when CC is necessary or appropriate. Whenever I OC with the Serpa, I also carry a very nice concealable holster in my back pocket, in case I need to switch to CC. I was introduced to an awesome soft holster that I use for CC by Denny Wanlass at Red Dot Guns in Layton. It's called the Sticky Holster. I would recommend that you check it out as an option for the times that you CC.
I'm quite committed to our 2nd Amendment rights, as well as our rights to determine the manner that we provide for our personal protection. For me, I believe that there's value and reasons for OCing, so I OC everywhere that I'm legally allowed to carry, with just a couple of exceptions. I don't carry at work, because my employer does not allow it, and right now, I'd like to keep my job. My employer provides armed security onsite, so I depend on those good people while I'm at work. But as soon as I'm back in my car, I make sure that my guns are back on my hip, where they belong.
There are some businesses that have anti-2nd Amendment (2A) policies, and you should probably decide whether or not you want to give your hard earned money to businesses that don't support your constitutional rights, or to just not go there. I know that my son-in-law was asked to leave the Denny's restaurant in Layton while he was OCing, at which point he and his entire family left that business, after paying for the little bit of food that they'd been given, and they've never been back.
I would strong suggest that you consider the additional responsibility that you have as someone that exercises your 2A rights by carrying openly, to represent the entire group of those that carry guns. By carrying openly, you are a very visible representation of what can be good, and what might be bad, about everyone that carries a gun. I would recommend that you go out of your way to be extra polite, and civil, and accomodating to everyone that you see, or sees you. Never be agressive or be percieved as someone that would escalate any situation to violent levels.
I would also suggest wearing clothes that convey a level of respect and class to the people around you. If possible, avoid wearing dirty, torn jeans and a tee shirt while OCing. But if that's who you are, and that's just what you do, then please, be that person with great respect and civility.
There may be times that someone will approach you and express their negative opinion about that fact that you OC a gun. I would encourage you again, to be polite, be respectful, and to allow all people to have their opinion and express it as they see fit. Tolerance and politeness, especially while you're openly carrying, is usually the best course. And I would suggest to never, never draw that gun from the holster in public, unless you intend to use for its intend purpose.
As soon as you're 21, I would strongly suggest that you get your Utah CFP. I have the CFP and carry it with me in my wallet at the same time that I'm OCing... Your options to carry are expanded when you have that permit.
Check out this video on YouTube, by Dave Champion. It has some very good points about OCing that are probably good for everyone to consider... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaM-G5YOAmU#t=33m30s