Students walk to class Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, on Alumni Memorial Walkway. Future graduates worry about adjusting from living in the Lehigh bubble to the working world. (Alexis McGowan/B&W Staff)

Life after Lehigh: Alumni share transition experiences

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With fewer than 100 days until graduation, many seniors are anticipating their transition into the real world.

“Don’t rush it, soak up every minute of it, but know that you’re prepared,” said Andrew Woodward, ’11, the Young Alumni Council president.

Woodward said he didn’t rush to start working after graduation. He suggests that recent graduates take their time and do something they care about before entering the workforce.

Sarah Thomson, ’13, said in an email she would tell seniors who are preparing to graduate to find a balance.

“It’s easy to go full speed ahead into a new job and lose track of everything else,” she wrote. “You also need to balance that with building and maintaining friendships, getting involved in your community and finding something you can fall back to when work gets stressful.”

The transition from Lehigh to the working world holds different challenges for everyone. Leaving campus means no longer planning your own schedule or having friends right down the hall.

“It was difficult at first to adjust to a more strict schedule compared to Lehigh where you could pick classes that allowed you to sleep in or end the day early,” Thomson wrote.

Although Thomson said it has been hard being away from friends, she has been able to stay in touch with her Lehigh friends and make new friends through Lehigh’s Young Alumni Council.

Lynda Asadourian, ’13, said after graduation she moved to New York City to attend dental school at Columbia University. A Lehigh alum who graduated a year before her helped her adjust.

“He helped me a lot just adjusting and answering all my questions,” she said. “I was friends with him before dental school, so it was a nice transition.”

Asadourian said the move to New York City was nice because most of her friends from Lehigh moved there as well.

Bo Johns, ’14, said Lehigh students getting ready to graduate should feel comfortable reaching out to alumni for guidance.

“One of the things I didn’t realize is that, especially with Lehigh alumni, we have this common understanding of this experience at school,” Johns said. “I love it when current students or recent grads reach out because we can talk about that, but also people are very open to sharing their experiences and helping others figure out what they want to do.”

Although many students will be moving away from Bethlehem after graduation, there are several opportunities to stay connected with Lehigh.

“Stay connected to Lehigh, whether that’s by staying in contact with friends, volunteering in some capacity or coming back for events,” Thomson wrote. “It’s easy for life to get really busy, but it’s important to make time for the place that shaped who you are and help pay that forward.”

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