As a sophomore, one of the best things I decided to do was bring my car to campus.
It’s gotten me to class on time, and I’ve been able to go to more events on campus, but that’s just the start of it.
Having my car on campus has allowed me to explore Bethlehem and the area around it in greater detail. I’ve gone to places I never would have last year because of the hassle involved, and I’ve been able to experience more of the North Side because it’s no longer a pain to do so.
During my freshman year, I felt like I was disconnected from the Bethlehem area around me. For all intents and purposes, my world ended at East Fifth Street. I was in my own little campus bubble.
Without being able to go wherever you want, whenever you want, it can feel like you’re not really a part of the community — that you’re someone from the outside, in awe of the things you see looking in.
If you’re a freshman reading this right now, there’s a good chance that you’re going through the same thing I went through. You either feel the disconnect between Lehigh students and the community, or you never really thought about it in the first place. Both options aren’t ideal.
And without interacting with the community around you, you’re not truly experiencing Lehigh to the fullest.
Lehigh is forever intertwined with Bethlehem, and there’s no way to get around that. It’s almost sad how little interaction everyone seems to have with Bethlehem as a whole.
Most people prefer to stay on campus, when all they have to do is look around themselves to realize that we are in a truly special place. No other place is quite like Bethlehem. It has a certain charm that’s hard to describe, but it’s always there.
There is an opportunity to look around and be a part of something greater than ourselves. There is a community out there waiting for us to integrate with it — it’s up to us to go out there and do it.
But that isn’t as easy as it sounds.
When you ask people why they don’t spend more of their time in the city, answers vary from, “It’s too much effort to get to the North Side,” to, “I’m already spending an insane amount of time on my work.”
It’s a problem every student faces when asked, “What do you want to do today?” Even if they want to go out and do something in the city, the difficulty of making plans will often persuade them to stay at Lehigh.
Hopefully, by your second or third year at Lehigh, you have your feet underneath you and know your way around. With a guaranteed degree of stability, it’s easier to feel more and more confident going out to experience everything Bethlehem has to offer.
Once you understand the freedom you have at Lehigh, the world opens up. You are granted a host of new opportunities and challenges that you simply cannot turn away from.
Too often we make the mistake of shutting out the world in front of our eyes.
Instead, simply breathe, take a step back and look.
John Lindenau, ’20, is a columnist and associate sports editor for The Brown and White. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.