‘Inexplicably Happy’ Column: The good, the bad and graduation


There isn’t much time left until I am done with my college career forever.

Jackie Peterson

Jackie Peterson

Only 18 class periods, three papers and 33 days left.

This is even my last column. After three years of columns for The Brown and White, this is the end.

Wow, that got dark.

What can I say, though? College has been a mixed bag of experiences.

On the one hand, being at Lehigh is one of the reasons my mental recovery has been hard. I’m constantly berated by papers, tests, readings, assignments and professors. I don’t have any time to practice mindfulness or try to slow down, or even keep up on exercise. I’m constantly working and stressed about the next five or 10 things I have to do. Keeping myself fed and getting enough sleep is a task in and of itself.

Over the summer, when I worked full time and still took an accelerated summer course, I felt good. I had a good amount to do, but it wasn’t too much. That’s the key. Here, I’m constantly busy. There is no break between four o’clocks for me — there’s always the next paper, and then the one for the other class, and the video project for that other class, and 300-odd pages of reading, and then there’s another paper for that first class because it’s suddenly November.

But, as my mom keeps telling me, I’m almost done. After December 16, finals will be over, and I will be done forever. I’ll get through my surgery in January, and I’ll be able to rest easy. No more papers, no more professors, no more worrying.

But Lehigh has also been a home to me. Even in the cramped dorms, I always referred to Lehigh as my home. It confused the hell out of everyone, and I think it offended my mom a little at first.

But while others could go to their actual homes on the weekends, mine was 3,000 miles away. So I made the best of it. I tried to make a home in Bethlehem. I made some great friends. I explored the city, got a library card, became a regular at some North and South Side restaurants and worked at a local bar my sophomore year. I live in Bethlehem, not Lehigh. I honestly love this little Christmas city — excuse my Jewishness.

I’ll never regret coming to Lehigh. While others have told me that Lehigh was never their first choice or that they wish they had committed to another school, I’ve never had a doubt. Lehigh is the place for me. It may have been shaky for a while in the social scene, especially without a connection to Greek life, but that got better once I started actually started speaking to people.

What really makes me sure that Lehigh was the right choice, though, is the journalism department. Everyone always asks why on earth Lehigh was my first choice if I wasn’t an engineer or a business student, but it was obvious to me.

The professors really care about you, and they have a lot of relevant experience in the field. My adviser is actually the sweetest human being alive, and has helped me out of more bad situations than I can count. That’s right, Jack Lule, I’m talking about you. Matt Veto, you’re in that category too, don’t worry. But the list could go on forever. Jeremy Littau and Bill White have both written me wonderful recommendations and have helped me to become the multimedia-savvy, AP style-following journalist I am. Kathy Olson taught me all about torts and libel and the first amendment, and she’s the coolest. The list goes on to include basically the entirety of the journalism department.

They have taught me how to be a good journalist, not just a good writer. My time at The Brown and White couldn’t have been better either — especially with the recent redesign of the paper and website. First of all, I met some of my best friends in the press room. Plus, I found out that page design might be even more interesting to me than writing. I found out that I like writing columns, and I developed my own writing style and voice.

Ultimately, Lehigh has been an amazing experience, even with my PTSD and depression. Lehigh brought me to Milan. Lehigh got me an internship at Adobe. Lehigh hired the people that will leave a mark on my life forever.

Here’s a cranky old senior’s advice to you: embrace Lehigh and it will embrace you right back.

Comment policy

Comments posted to The Brown and White website are reviewed by a moderator before being approved. Incendiary speech or harassing language, including comments targeted at individuals, may be deemed unacceptable and not published. Spam and other soliciting will also be declined.

The Brown and White also reserves the right to not publish entirely anonymous comments.

Leave A Reply