My college experience has been … odd, to put things plainly.
Before coming to Lehigh, I was a freshman elsewhere at a college near all-too familiar towns, yet ironically, far off my radar when it came to my college search.
Despite its admirable reputation, it was a school I secretly dreaded going to. Not knowing what I wanted for the next four years of my life, I applied early decision to a place that, to me, felt comfortable. On the day I was accepted, I was of course excited — yet, I felt a part of myself questioning whether I was making the right choice. It was really my only choice.
On move-in day and the weeks that followed, I tried my best to fully embrace my new life. I managed to make some incredible friends and joined the school’s running club. When I wasn’t with them or on a run, I was flooded with feelings of regret. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t picture myself there for four entire years.
Deal’s off, I was ready to leave.
By December of 2018, I began applying to transfer schools. What was an extremely stressful time resulted in what I would later recognize as one of the most strange, yet rewarding experiences of my life thus far.
Accepted into Lehigh, I was ready to start anew and finally settle down from the stress of transferring.
I was sure I’d enjoy my new life. As a transfer student, I expected my experience to be a bit more unconventional than the average sophomore’s when it came to making friends and such, but never did I predict the onset of a pandemic that would completely shake up my college experience, along with so many others.
One semester into life at Lehigh and I was back at home, computer on 24/7, taking classes from my childhood bedroom. Something that I was so excited for fell right from my fingertips as soon as I got it.
One year at a college I disliked and only half of one somewhere I did like — this couldn’t possibly be how my college experience was going to be.
With freshman and sophomore year in the books, as you’d predict, junior year would follow. This was going to be my year, I swore it.
Of course, COVID-19 had other plans. Although hopeful, while I applied for an exemption to live on campus for the spring semester and was accepted, I lived alone in my dorm with only a small number of others on my entire floor. I never even saw them, due to COVID-19 housing restrictions. It was a ghost town.
At that point, I accepted my college experience’s fate. I would just have to get through college for what it was and move on afterward to the next, hopefully more exciting, chapter of my life.
However, as 2021 progressed, I began meeting more people through mutual friends. It started to feel like I was getting somewhere. Hope was not lost. Maybe I could salvage this.
Senior year was my last shot at a normal college experience.
For one thing, it was my first time being able to choose my own roommates. It was also my first full academic year actually living on campus since I was admitted to Lehigh. Things were going to be different this time.
And they were.
Senior year has been a time in my life that I will remember in the days, months, years and decades to come.
With amazing friends, weekends, trips and photos to commemorate them, I feel as if I’ve finally had the college experience I’ve always heard of and wanted.
It took some time and patience, but it’s finally here.
And while it feels like I just got it, its end is coming soon with graduation approaching.
Despite its brevity, I’m thankful for my time at Lehigh. I’ve learned so much during my time here and made the memories I hoped I would.
So, thank you to my parents and family for making life at Lehigh possible. And thank you to my professors and friends for turning my somewhat odd college experience into something I will always remember.
While it feels like the good times have just started, I know there will be more to come.
And I can’t wait.