Edit Desk: Home away from home

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Julia DiRubbo

I have been at Lehigh for a little over two years now, developing my own life away from my family. 

I didn’t ever think twice about being away from home and from the people I love, since I found so many people who make Lehigh feel like my home.  I never questioned what my world would be like if my family life and school life were to intersect. Nevertheless, my younger sister Sarah submitted her application to Lehigh about a year ago, and my mind started to reel.

I was primarily convinced that she wouldn’t end up here. She had amazing college options on her list, most of which appeared to be a great fit for her on the surface.  When she finally got accepted to come here, I was anxious.

In my head, I thought about how wonderful it was for me to come here alone and develop my own experience.  I worried what would happen to Sarah if she were to come in with the confidence that most first-year students lack at the beginning of college.  Would she be able to develop friendships the same way I did? Most of my first-year friendships were formed out of mutual confusion for being thrown into a brand-new place with brand new faces.  Would her primary social experience differ from mine?

But also, what if she came here and I couldn’t make the time for her that she deserves?  She was coming to a place where I had already established my own routine. I worried she would feel like I was letting her down if I couldn’t spend enough time with her.  

This all sounds extremely selfish. But anyone who has faced this same moral quandary knows that these are all realistic thoughts.  Ultimately, I decided that I was not going to sway Sarah’s decision at all. I was not going to encourage her nor discourage her from choosing to come to Lehigh.

Last April, I received a call from my sister.  She informed me that she made the decision to attend Lehigh.  

Most of my anxious thoughts subsided on the spot, as I was undeniably ecstatic that she had finally made her college decision.  I also realized at that moment that I would be spending the next two full years with my best friend, which gave me an overwhelming feeling of joy.  From that day forward, I couldn’t wait to get back to school.

My feelings of insecurity about this decision did not go away throughout the summer, but they certainly waned for the most part.  I was not fully confident that this would be the correct decision for her until we both got to Lehigh in August.

Immediately, I found myself spending time with her without even trying.  I was an orientation leader and got to experience the entirety of orientation alongside her, which really set the tone for our relationship at school.

We have both been here for almost a month, and I find myself texting Sarah on a daily basis either checking in or asking her to spend time with me.  We get dinner together or hang out almost every other day, which makes me feel like I never left my family at home. Being at Lehigh with my partner in crime has truly made my junior year feel like the best year I’ve had in college so far.

 

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