- Class: Freshman
- Major: Journalism
- Gender: F
- High School: Roy C. Ketcham High School
- Transfer Student: N
Lehigh University is a fantastic place and I couldn't possibly be happier anywhere else. Yes, it is rather annoying to climb the mountain a few times a day to get to and from class, especially when you're burdened with a backpack full of textbooks. However, mostly because of all the stairs, I'm in the best shape of my life! Granted, I am a student-athlete and therefore have to work out every day, but all of my friends who are non-athletes say the same thing. If you gain the "freshman 15" here, it's probably because of all the leg muscle you gain. Lehigh is a perfect fit for anyone looking for a school that's not too big and not too small. It has a big school "feel" in that you'll meet someone new every day and everyone turns out to cheer on our sports teams, especially football and wrestling. Still, Lehigh is small enough that no student will ever get lost in a shuffle. No one is a mere number here. We're a big family. A cool thing I found out about Lehigh when I got here was that Lehigh is becoming part of something we call the "New Ivy League." When many students hear the names Harvard and Yale, they automatically assume they can't get in, so they apply to less well-known schools like Lehigh. Because of this, Lehigh's rejection rate is increasing substantially. I'm told in the next few years, it will actually be harder to get into Lehigh than into an Ivy League school. But don't let that discourage you! The best thing about Lehigh is that there is something for everyone here. We have musical groups, communtity service organizations, various clubs, Greek life, varsity and intramural sports, student government and academic honors organizations, to name a few. Students here can participate in anything from club soccer to ballroom dancing classes to Habitat for Humanity. No matter what you're interested in, there's always a place for you.
Lehigh's faculty is a diverse group of people. The professors definitely know what they're talking about. Some are tougher than others; a lot of it depends on the subject matter. Many are willing to work with you outside of class and will do anything they can to make sure you're understanding the material. Then there are some whose policies are so strict, they won't even let you make up a test if your mother dies (God forbid!). The teaching methods are rather widespread. I've only been here for one year, but so far my favorite class has been Editing. I'm a journalism major and I couldn't be happier. In editing, we learn the rules of writing, such as grammar and punctuation, how to avoid cliches, and how to find the little errors that could ruin a story. Reading that, you'd probably think it sounds repressively dull. But I have so much fun, it's ridiculous. That's a fun thing about college; you begin to discover who you really are. Me? I'm a bonafide geek, and I'm proud of it! Students are studying all the time here. Even in the dining hall, people have their homework with them. It's because everyone is very serious about their education, much of which is quite difficult. It depends on your major how much you will have to do. With my major, I'm lucky enough to have just enough work to keep me on my toes without depriving me of my health and sanity. My roommate is in engineering, and it seems as if she never stops working, though she assures me it's not that bad. The journalism department here is fantastic. I'm sure I speak for everyone in my major when I say we are lucky to have such a great program. Most if not all of the professors are or were practicing journalists, so they have invaluable firsthand experience. They are all easy to approach and are more than happy to help students out, especially the ones who apply themselves. They're great at advice, too. I feel like I'm being genuinely prepared for life after college.
Lehigh is currently trying to expand diversity. Right now, the majority of students are white males. The male to female to ratio when I applied was somewhere around 60:40. Lehigh is working to balance that out. Lehigh is also working to attract more diverse applicants with things like Umoja house, which is diversity housing, and I believe there is some sort of Islamic Studies facility in the works for years to come. I personally have not had any experience with Lehigh's LGBT population, but I am familiar with a place called the Rainbow Room, where LGBTQA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Ally) students can go to feel safe and accepted should they ever feel otherwise. Many offices around campus also display the pink triangle sign, which means that the room is a safe zone for LGBTQA students if they ever need someone to talk to. There are also counseling services freely available in Johnson Hall, which is our Health Services headquarters. Another great feature at Lehigh is a group called Break the Silence, which is a student organization that exists to help students of all sexes, races, religions and sexual preferences. Break the Silence runs a hotline that students can call should they ever feel depressed, scared or oppressed and also if they were sexually violated in some way. Break the Silence is an invaluable part of Lehigh's community, a safety net for students should they ever feel alone or if something bad happens to them. Most of the students I have met are from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New England or Long Island. There is also a surprising (to me, anyway) number of Californian students as well. Lehigh is also host to a large population of international students. I have met students from Vietnam, Malawi and Jordan, and those are only the girls on my floor! Based on the people I know, most Lehigh students come from middle- to upper-class backgrounds, but Lehigh is also very good about giving financial aid to those who need it. I have heard many students talk about money and how much of it they hope to make someday. I met one guy at the beginning of the year who said he wanted one house on the beach and another in India! He said he would have servants and everything. I would be lucky to get an apartment that didn't have water damage and some kind of infestation, but that doesn't really bother me. I honestly don't know how much the average journalist makes, but I'm willing to bet it's not enough for a mansion in New Delhi. Students here are politically active on both sides of the political spectrum, though I would have to say that Democrats outweigh the Republicans by a decent margin. The political groups on campus are always active, hosting talks and events to raise awareness. Presidential candidate Barack Obama has a particularly active following here. Students for Barack Obama had tables set up all over the place, getting people to register to vote in the Pennsylvania primary.
The Best Things
There's always something to do!
The Worst Things
Most of the classrooms are at the very bottom of the hill, whereas most of the dorms are at the top.