Everything happens for a reason.
It took me until the end of my sophomore year at Lehigh to fully understand what that quote meant to me. It took me just as long to embrace it.
When I started freshman year, I was incredibly excited and eager to learn more about myself. I was starting a brand new chapter of my life, getting a chance to meet new people and finally experience “the best four years of my life.”
After orientation and the first week of classes, I became friends with girls in my classes and my hall. But it never felt the same as being with friends from home. I felt as though I was alone while I watched my friends thriving at their colleges from their posts on social media.
When freshman year came to a close, I was overwhelmed. I knew my classes would be challenging, but I had no idea how many sleepless nights I would endure. The amount of stress I put on myself to do well in my classes was unbearable, not to mention the burden of trying to find my place at Lehigh. I was just going through the motions. I didn’t belong.
I was extremely scared to introduce myself to new people throughout the year. My fear of rejection took control. My true self would scare people away, I thought. Overthinking things became the norm.
Those fears affected everything else like a domino effect. My focus in class slowly faded away. I barely talked to my high school friends about how I was feeling and lied about the fun I was having at college.
In high school, I had my close group of friends to depend and lean on for support. At Lehigh, I struggled to find my place — it seemed like everyone else found theirs so quickly and I was trying to catch up.
But time passed. During finals week, one of my best friends from home was explaining a huge fight she had with her friends at school. She needed my guidance.
That moment gave me a whole new perspective on how I was approaching life at Lehigh. Rather than feeling sorry for myself and guilty for not fitting in, a new thought came to mind.
I couldn’t keep forcing myself to be friends with everyone.
I had to be realistic. Most importantly, I had to be myself. “Everything else will fall into place,” I thought. I just had to give it time.
I realized I have control over my own life. If something doesn’t go how I hoped it would, I shouldn’t be afraid to be proactive and make a decision on what to do.
When I came back in the spring, I was ready to realign my focus on what was best for me instead of worrying about what everyone else thought. I felt so alone when reality said otherwise.
As a junior, I’m much more thankful for my first-year experience than I thought I would be. Newfound confidence is the sole reason for the charismatic, happy and positive person I am today.
Nothing brings me greater joy than seeing someone I know and saying hello in the hopes that I made their day a little bit better.
I know the future has many new adventures in store for me. Juggling school work, friends, family and getting involved with the Lehigh community all take a great amount of patience to keep a balance between it all.
We live and learn through our mistakes. Nothing is ever as perfect as it seems — we’re always going to have our setbacks and failures. What’s important is that we keep living and learning, no matter what obstacles lie ahead.
We’re always going to have best and worst days.
Tomorrow is always a new opportunity.
Everything happens for a reason.
Kate Morrell, ’19, is an associate photo editor for The Brown and White. She can be reached at [email protected]