Navigating senior year: A family affair


I’ve always considered myself to be somewhat of a homebody.

As a kid, I always preferred having sleepovers at my own house, and as a teenager I made sure my nights out with friends were equal in count to the nights at home with my family. 

Coming to Lehigh was a big step for me — I was going to leave the house I had lived in for my entire life and start at an unfamiliar school. I’d have to learn to share a room (and everything else that comes with a dorm) for the first time.

I remember my move-in day so vividly. I remember the proud yet almost tearful look on my family’s faces when they realized it was time to say goodbye. For the first time ever, my family would return to our home and I would have to stay at school (which honestly didn’t feel like home at all). I remember looking around my Upper Cents dorm and thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?”

It took some convincing, both by my family and by myself, for me to believe Lehigh would ever feel like home. But eventually, it did. 

I dove into my work and met people who made me feel like I had a second family; I eventually forgot about the fact that I was missing home in the first place.

Flash forward to the middle of my junior year, my younger brother Jack began his own college search. As close as we are, we are very different both academically and socially, so I didn’t imagine Lehigh would be on his radar. 

When he told me he was thinking about applying, I didn’t know how to feel. I had hyped Lehigh up to everyone I knew, including him. What if I over-hyped it? Jack knew I enjoyed my classes, found a tight-knit group of friends and enjoyed the social scene. What if he didn’t have the same experience? 

Julia Duchossois, ’22, with her brother Jack Duchossois, ’25, at the fall 2021 Lehigh versus Lafayette Rivalry game. (Julia Duchossois/B&W Staff)

When Jack decided to come to Lehigh, I was, admittedly, still a bit nervous, but I was excited to share Lehigh with my brother. I figured I probably wouldn’t see him much and that he would write his own Lehigh story. 

Funny enough, I find myself talking to Jack without even meaning to. I run into him on our way to class, we laugh over stories about mutual friends and he is the best Rathbone chicken finger Friday plug. 

Having a piece of home at Lehigh with me has made my experience come full circle. 

Lehigh was once just my school, but it now has so much more meaning to me because of my brother’s relationship with the school. Jack and I will always be able to share our home away from home. 

Looking back, my insecurities about Jack coming to Lehigh were silly. I should have known he would figure out what worked for him academically, find people he clicked with and find his way around campus without having to guide him — everyone figures it out eventually, right?

When I graduate from Lehigh in a few months, I know that I am leaving Jack in a place that will foster a home for him just like it did for me. 

I might have grown up a homebody, but Lehigh feels like home now, too.

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1 Comment

  1. Dayle Duchossois on

    Julia & Jack, there are not a lot of Duchossois families in the US so when we see someone with that name it is always fun to see how they are connected to the Chicago clan. would love to hear from either of you. Oddly, you posted this on my birthday!

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