Why I Transferred... And Came Back

Why I Transferred... And Came Back

For anyone considering transferring.

I cried the day that I got my acceptance letter to Lehigh University.

I also cried the day that I explained to my parents why I wanted to transfer.

It was November 14, 2014 and I was in my senior year of high school when I decided to apply Early Decision I to Lehigh. I was being recruited for rowing and it seemed like the best decision for my family and I at the time. After spending a weekend there and at my other choices of schools on Official Visits for rowing I was convinced that Lehigh was my dream school. After an amazing first semester where I saw success both in school and in athletics I was more than excited to come back for the spring semester. I had never had academics be so easy for me due to all the newly found free time and I had never been rowing so well as I saw my personal best drop by over thirty seconds. I centered my life around academics and rowing in an effort not to overwhelm myself and knowing that come spring time I was hoping to add being a member of a sorority to the mix. I wanted to put maximum effort into the few things I was a part of, instead of stretching myself too far and half-assing a bunch of small activities. It reached the point where I was stressing and obsessing over what boat I would be in, how many seconds I needed to drop off of my 2k, and whether I was using the proper form during lifts.

All of this being said, it's no surprise that when I slammed my head into the edge of a squat bar and was out for my first major collegiate season, my world began to feel like it was crumbling.

As I lost the ability to participate in the activity I had thrown myself into the most and dealt with an injury that required me to sleep or lie alone in the dark all day I felt cut off from everything and everyone I thought I was so close to. It took seven weeks, four failed bike tests, countless headaches, and a lot of tears before I was finally granted return to play. The date I was cleared also happened to be two days before our league championship race and the end of our season. It was more than seven weeks out from my last legitimate practice, I had gained thirty-one seconds on my newfound personal best, and I was distraught.

I was beyond happy for my teammates as I watched them excel countless times throughout the season, each race only getting better and better. They were having the successful season that we as a team had worked so hard for and talked about so much. However, as I sat alone in my hotel room the night before championships (we were given roommates by boat pair), I couldn't help but cry. I knew that the role my teammates needed me to play now was one of the spare; helping out with extra details and loose ends and cheering them on as loud as I could and I was more than happy to do that. But, that doesn't mean that sitting in on a pre-race boat meeting that night was any less bittersweet. As they spoke about how hard they had worked all season and that now was the time to showcase that work, I couldn't help but think of all the hours I had put in as well and how badly I wanted to be out there pulling for each and every one of them.

Championships passed, the team did well, and we were right back at it getting ready for the fall season. I was ready for a fresh start and even more motivated to work my hardest, but a part of me couldn't help but feel something was wrong. I loved Lehigh, at least I thought I did, but I spent my spring semester of freshman year feeling miserable. Though I was granted accommodations from the University for my concussion, there was no uniform procedure for each class, leaving discretion completely up to my professors on when I needed to make up exams and assignments I was allowed to miss. Most of my professors were completely understanding and accommodating, but in one of my classes, I was made to make up an exam two days after having concussed myself or take the 0. I struggled to keep up with work that I should have asked for extensions on because falling behind in college is like a death sentence for your GPA. I told myself I would rather suffer through the worsened headaches that staring at a page gave me than sleep through class to heal. My GPA suffered anyway even though I found myself spending more and more time on assignments and blowing through a bottle of Tylenol instead of just sleeping to make my headaches go away. In retrospect, this is probably why it took me seven full weeks to recover.

So, with this disillusioned mindset coming out of the spring semester of my freshman year and as someone who wants more than anything just to be happy, I sat down with my parents and told them all of the reasons I thought I wanted to transfer. I thought I needed a smaller school, where I could put less pressure on myself but still row. I felt guilty because Lehigh is an expensive place to be unhappy. At the end of May, I found myself applying and being accepted on partial scholarship to a small, Division III school close to home. It took me about a month of weighing pros and cons and a visit to the rowing team's NCAA training practices to decide whether or not I wanted to make the switch. At the end of June, I thought I had it all figured out.

I wanted to make the switch, I wanted to switch to a Division III school closer to home, where I could have the time to be involved with things outside of just rowing, academics, and my sorority and where I could drive home for the weekend if I wanted to. Telling my friends, teammates and sorority sisters I was leaving was the hardest part, and after that, I started to get excited for a fresh start.

I was excited the day I moved in, I was living in a freshman hall on the edge of campus and was a quick bike ride away from the water and the boathouse in the morning. However, post four-day orientation and two days into classes I began to realize how much I missed Lehigh, it was beyond what would have been characteristic of someone who had transferred and left behind friends. I realized just how small 1,400 people was and I began to feel like I was in a different version of my high school. It was a great school with some extremely nice people, but something wasn't clicking with me. I called my parents and my best friends bawling every day, multiple times a day, I skipped meals because all I wanted to do was lay in bed, and the thing I had thought was my main priority in school outside of academics, rowing, became unimportant to me. It was something I could take or leave, I was late to morning lift and I was missing meetings, I had become apathetic to almost everything. Sure, I didn't give the school that huge of a chance and some people may judge me for that but sometimes when you know something is wrong, you just know.

Four days into classes starting, I withdrew from the college I had transferred to and had petitioned for readmission back into Lehigh for the Fall 2016 semester. I was walking back to my bed after class when I got the e-mail that granted me readmission and I started crying tears of joy. I ran back to my dorm, packed up my things and was gone the next day, en route to Lehigh without even stopping at home first.

I cried the day I was driving back to Bethlehem, PA and I saw Lehigh's campus again. I was flooded with emotions and overjoyed to be back, this time with more than one hundred percent certainty that this is where I needed to be. Transferring taught me that your experience at college is what you make of it and if you're unhappy somewhere that you thought was your dream school, you probably just need to switch up your involvement. When I was making my decision to leave, it didn't occur to me that I was probably just so miserable second semester solely because of my concussion, and I'm not going to have to go through the rest of college in a constant state of being concussed. Just because I had a bad experience in dealing with that, doesn't mean that the rest of my experiences will be bad here.

Since coming back, I've tried to throw myself into getting involved in any way that I can and I have thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. I love being able to attend all of the events I previously had to miss for my sorority and I love being able to go volunteer at the Boys & Girls Club some afternoons, both things I never had the time for before. I'm no longer the same freshman that was afraid of getting too involved and I have come to realize that it is up to you to decide what shape you want your college experience to have. I miss rowing and I do want to explore if that is something that is still in the cards for me because it made me happy.

But, I can honestly say that since coming back to Lehigh and deciding to try things I thought I never had the time for before, I am the happiest that I have ever been.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Salvo

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.

It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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High School Seniors Should Be Excited For College, Not Scared

Even though it seems stressful and it is a big new place, it will be some of the best memories you will have for life.


Going into the summer after my high school graduation, all I could think about was college, and how I was going to prepare to go to a new school and move away from home. Just know, it is not as stressful as you prepare yourself for it to be. You don't need to worry about not having any friends or not knowing how to get to all the different buildings because you have to remember everyone else on campus has been in the exact same position you are in, and there are tons of people on campus to help you.

One of the things I was most worried about was classes and how to know which classes to take. My advice is to go to counseling and plan out your classes before you register. Planning out classes will drastically help you stay on track and the counselors will help you make a balanced schedule that you can actually handle.

Another piece of advice would be to not bring as much stuff for your dorm as you think you will need. By all means, bring the essential things that you will need, but remember a dorm room is very small and you share it with another person. You won't have a ton of space for extra stuff and you want to have space to move around and actually live in your dorm.

Finally, if you are concerned about meeting people and making friends, just try and be as outgoing and open as possible. Everyone else in the dorms is just as nervous as you are too meet people, it really helps to try to branch out. Joining clubs or greek life also helps you meet people around campus with common interests as you.

College is not something to be scared of. Even though it seems stressful and it is a big new place, it will be some of the best memories you will have for life.


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