Throughout my entire college application process, I could never pinpoint what I wanted in a school.
Did I want to be close or far from home?
City or campus?
Large or small?
Despite all of the uncertainty, I knew one thing for sure: there was no way I was going to a “party school.”
Lehigh’s name is plastered in many “Top 10” lists throughout the internet. Unfortunately, many of these rankings have nothing to do with academics or achievements. In fact, the most common list Lehigh finds itself landing on is one ranking it as a party or alcohol heavy school, consistently reaching epic heights in these categories.
As an outsider, the portrayal of a seemingly rowdy campus lifestyle overshadowed the incredible prestige of the university itself. So, I chose to reject Lehigh altogether, letting its true value ultimately slip through the cracks.
Despite my firm stance on the refusal to apply, I caved into my mother’s constant begging and took a tour. To my surprise, I actually enjoyed my information session and was amazed at the incredible opportunities that the campus community had to offer. My tour guide took the lead shortly after, talking about all of the ways Lehigh has helped him develop his career goals through summer internships and networking opportunities.
But what I will never forget is this: I asked him with his heavy engineering workload, what does he do for fun? With that, he looked down at me, smiled and said, “Trust me, all we do here is work hard. But don’t get me wrong, we play way harder”
He was right.
“Work Hard, Play Harder,” it is known as the unofficial motto of Lehigh’s campus community, describing students ability to have a thriving social life while simultaneously excelling in the classroom.
Publications like the Princeton Review, rank Lehigh as one of the top 50 universities in the country. However, at the same time, Lehigh appears high on lists such as “Lots of Hard Liquor,” first on “Heavy Beer” consumption and sixth on top “Party Schools.”
As a Lehigh student today, I am no longer an outsider. I see beyond the party-scene reputation. Libraries on campus are overflowing, most of the time with no seats remaining. Clubs and conferences are constantly promoted on the front lawn. Philanthropy events by our Greek system bring the campus community together after a long week of 4 o’clocks.
But don’t get me wrong. I am not here to say that Lehigh students don’t love to party. Of course we do. We party harder than most of my friends across the country with people going out Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays during the day and even Saturday nights.
The Lehigh student body are some of the smartest, driven and motivated individuals that I am proud to know and associate with. I see our brilliance in and out of the classroom every day. I feel that sometimes people forget that our class acceptance rate was a mere 22 percent. That’s incredible to think about. We are such an exclusive group of students and have such bright futures ahead of us.
We will work hard in the classroom — possibly harder than most students across the country — but we will also be able to have fun.
Honestly, I think that’s the most important combination. Because at the end of the day, we are all still kids in our college years. We have our entire lives to work and develop responsibilities. But for now, we should enjoy our youth while also achieving academically. That’s who we are as a student body.
I now wonder what other students overlooked Lehigh in their college process like the way I tried to. I wonder about the students who saw the numerous lists painting the university with degeneracy and felt that they would be wasting their investment and time.
Lehigh should not be reduced to simply a top party school in the country, but in fact, it should be highlighted as a community with people who are capable of having a good time while also achieving greatness in and out of the classroom.
Jessica Raytsin, ’22, is an assistant news editor for The Brown and White. She can be reached at [email protected]