Advocating for Lehigh is hard.
Every day, whether it’s as an orientation leader or during lunch with prospective students, I tend to gloss over major issues on this campus.
This school has high tuition prices. The hookup culture is just as strong as our party culture. We create excuses to drink from 9 a.m. morning cocktails to 4 p.m. barbecues to 9 p.m. pregames then throughout the rest of the night. Our relationship with South Bethlehem isn’t as strong as it could be. Social divides are alive and well as members of Greek life, athletes and non-affiliated students find comfort with similarities. Socioeconomic status weighs heavy on the minds of many, and majors consistently bash other majors.
Yet I have never loved a school more.
Lehigh certainly has its faults — many of which are already outlined above. It’s easy to exploit those faults and only focus on the negatives, but that’s not fair to the rest of what Lehigh has to offer.
I know because I was one of those people before who absolutely and wholeheartedly hated Lehigh.
I barely wanted to go to a university, let alone one in the town where I was born and raised. I held preconceived notions of this school and let them rule my entire first semester here. I quickly learned that wasn’t the best way to live through college. I decided to change my mindset about Lehigh, and with that I changed my entire experience here.
Because the truth of the matter is that Lehigh has given me more than I could have ever imagined.
Through Lehigh, I got to spend six weeks in Milan interning at a renowned luxury magazine, traveling, attending Men’s Fashion Week, going to operas and eating the best Italian food I’ve ever had in my life.
Through Lehigh, I was able to conduct research on the Libyan Civil War and create an intensive multimedia storytelling project surrounding experiences of a family living in that war zone.
Through Lehigh, I was able to visit the United Nations headquarters in New York every month to attend briefings and interact with heads of states, ambassadors and NGOs from every place on planet Earth.
Through Lehigh, I made the best friends I could have ever asked for through my work study at the Career Center, positions in the Office of First-Year Experience and even by creating content for The Brown and White.
Through Lehigh, my day-to-day interactions with students, faculty and staff have shaped who I’ve become as a person.
I hear complaints about Lehigh almost every day, and I understand them. Sometimes the food in the dining halls just isn’t that great, and sometimes you’re tired of being made fun of for being in “Rauch High School.”
But this school has so much to offer. I feel blessed to be here and to have had the opportunities that I’ve had. I want everyone else to have that same feeling too.
Don’t just focus on what may seem to be negative aspects of this school. Flip your perspective so you can really see the benefits of being a student here.
I said I tend to gloss over the faults of Lehigh to first-year and prospective students, but that’s only because I still haven’t caught my breath from explaining all the good this university has to offer. That’s not to say that those faults aren’t important to discuss and fix, but it does show that every school has its silver linings.
Welcome to Lehigh.
Nadine Elsayed, ’18, is a multimedia editor for The Brown and White. She can be reached at [email protected].