Edit Desk: Paying it forward


Before coming to Lehigh, I made a big “college chop,” cutting off eight inches of my long, brown hair. I hated it and cried as soon as I got back into my car. 

As my time at Lehigh began, my hair was short and brown, I was nervous about keeping up academically, I kept running into a girl I had rejected as a roommate via Instagram DMs and, at one point, I sat down in my advisor’s office, and said I didn’t really have much interest in being an editor for The Brown and White.  

Things change. 

Four years later, my hair has grown out and the natural brown is now semi-bleached, I have been successful in my classes — though I’m still waiting on this semester’s grades — I have been living with the aforementioned rejected roommate for the past three years and I have become an editor for the paper, which has been one of the most fulfilling experiences throughout my time at Lehigh. 

There have been a lot more changes and a lot of accompanying growing pains in between these two points in time. There were lessons I learned the hard way, mistakes I made and times when I was just dealt a rough hand of cards.  

Throughout the bad days, though, I have felt the kindness and support of those around me — whether that has come from friends, faculty, classmates or strangers — and it has made the tough spots sting a little less. Sometimes it is the smallest acts that make the biggest difference. 

During my freshman year, when faces were not familiar, I was left alone at a party after my date went to the bathroom. I stood in peril until a girl I didn’t know left her group of friends to keep me company — an unnecessary act of kindness that eased my anxiety. 

Sitting at home during the lockdown and getting a Slack message from our newspaper’s advisor, starting with something along the lines of “Hi fam,” or “Hello dear family,” followed by a note of appreciation, made me smile on days when they were hard to come by.

On an especially bad day, a home cooked meal and an open door from a friend helped repair my stomach knotted by rejection. 

Being welcomed with hugs, rather than nods or waves, by Brown and White editors from past semesters, whom I had only ever interacted with over Zoom, made me feel like I was part of a special community after the pandemic left me deprived of just that.

It’s the little things that have made me feel supported and that have helped make Lehigh a home. 

After however many credit hours, never skipping a class and late nights in the library, I couldn’t tell you what a Riemann sum is or the name of any character in “The Tempest.” But what I do remember are these little moments and the way they made me feel.

It’s hugs from familiar faces at bars, yelling to my friends on the sidewalk as they pass my house and trekking to the newsroom every Sunday and Wednesday that have made Lehigh a place I love. 

In these small moments, I also find myself at a loss for how to repay those who have helped me — it feels as though there’s not much I can offer in return. I am left with the resolution to pay it forward. Because of this, I do my best to lead with kindness, not be frugal with appreciation or compliments and hopefully play a part in continuing the community whose support I have grown in.  

As I conclude my final article for The Brown and White, following many news articles, breaking news briefs, lifestyle articles and edit desks — as well as a single sports article — I am left with a great amount of gratitude, pride, heartbreak and excitement. This paper has helped shape me. 

I will walk the stage in a matter of weeks and move my tassel from right to left; as I do I will say goodbye to many of the people who I have grown to love, but the support they have given me and the impact they have had has left its mark, and will stay with me wherever the next steps lead. 

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