As a college student, I often feel bombarded with negativity and pressure from the media, the stresses of school work and controversial social atmospheres. Just last week, as I parted ways with my family after moving in for the spring semester, I thought back to the long hours spent in the library and the late nights.
But after six much-needed weeks back home, I thought about how everything, somehow, worked out during my first semester. Things fell into place. Despite the flaws that students may find, Lehigh University is a great school.
As a first semester freshman, it didn’t take long for me to learn I had chosen the right school for me and my future self.
“Energy” is the first word that comes to mind when I think of Lehigh. The raw academic pursuit and devotion to scholarship is the trait that separates Lehigh from other institutions. At any given moment, breakthroughs are being made all over campus.
I find myself reflecting on why I am at Lehigh in the first place. Lehigh takes pride in making this journey worth it by providing students the tools for success later in life.
What does it matter that I am here and not somewhere else? What benefits and drawbacks do I face here?
We deserve answers to these questions. We are paying more than enough for this coveted Lehigh degree. Think about it — the answers show themselves every day at this school.
Lehigh has mastered the idea of realistic flexibility. Undergraduates are typically between the ages of 18 and 21, so the maps of our lives do not need to be etched in stone. However, purpose and meaning are virtues that are essential to success after college.
These virtues are instilled at this university through devotion to hard work, broadened perspectives and the pursuit of opportunities that abound. Job readiness is an integral part of Lehigh’s preparation for post-graduation life.
In all honesty, however, many other schools across the country have an academic energy. A factor that separates Lehigh from other universities is the social energy.
During my first two weeks on campus, I noticed many conversations regarding Lehigh’s place in the Bethlehem community. In orientation, EvoLUtion and casually among peers, the message from Lehigh was clear to me: We are not secluded up on this hill.
Today, I see Lehigh students engaged in America Reads America Counts and service learning projects through the Community Service Office, two programs that work to bridge the gap between the South Bethlehem community and Lehigh students. They work to lift the veil that can, at times, blanket students from real-world struggles. As someone who participates in these activities, I share in my peers’ fervor for making the world a better place, starting locally in Bethlehem.
While there are positive social aspects to Lehigh’s community, I still question the relationship between Lehigh students and the police. This relationship appears ever-strained. Why, or how, do some parties get busted and some do not? This answer often feels elusive.
As a freshman who is still learning to navigate life at Lehigh, I have many unanswered questions about the party scene — from the amnesty policy and citations to alternative activities if you don’t want to spend your Friday nights sweating and swaying to ear-piercing music.
While I am not naive to think Lehigh is without flaws, I believe that this school generates great thinkers and scholars. It helps great people find great opportunities after graduation in the scary world beyond Lehigh. Most importantly, it helps you find — or even recreate — yourself.
As I begin my spring semester, I am eager to dive into the world of academia and intellectual progress, renew my lasting connections with peers and continue to work toward a better campus and college experience. Ultimately, what makes Lehigh so special, to me, is that I am not alone in this excitement for the upcoming semester.
Jordan Wolman ’21, is an assistant news editor for The Brown and White. He can be reached at [email protected].