Transitioning from student to alum

The second semester of senior year at Lehigh is different for everyone. Whether seniors already have post-grad plans settled and are coasting through, or are still searching for the perfect job like me (Sorry, mom and dad!), things ending forces people to reflect.

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I’ll always remember what an alum said at a Boston-area Lehigh accepted students reception during my senior year of high school. When speaking on Lehigh’s close-knit alumni network, he said, “You’re a student for four years, but an alum for life.” Camaraderie among Lehigh students and alumni, as we all know, is no joke. From my internship in the Office of Advancement this year, I’ve been lucky enough to be exposed to many alumni. Most congratulate me on my impending graduating and remind me to enjoy the time I have left here. Enjoying my last few months is not hard to do. The hard part will be saying goodbye to my cozy little comfort zone here.

The little quirks of Lehigh and Bethlehem are like inside jokes for Lehigh alumni. Where else, besides Pantry 1, can you walk in to buy plastic cups and walk out with a sandwich that has mozzarella sticks inside of it? Not Duane Reade, that’s for sure. More than just these quirks, what I’ll miss most about Lehigh is being surrounded by Lehigh students. For whatever reason, during our sessions with high school guidance counselors and stressed out conversations with family/friends/anyone who would listen, years ago we all chose Lehigh after everything. Lehigh students are motivated, energetic, and flexible. I love walking into any room on campus knowing the people around me are doing great things.

What if I walk into my office and my coworkers went to Lafayette?

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My four years at Lehigh have been hard, fun, and more testing than anticipated. It’s interesting to think about who I was four years ago and who I will be in another four years. All three girls (women? Nah.) are so different. They have completely different lifestyles and make completely different decisions. One ends her nights in a booth at Hawk’s Nest, one ends her’s on the sandy patio of Leon’s, and the eldest spends her nights in some mysterious place where 26 year olds go. Through all of it, Lehigh has and will continue to mold this girl. I’m just glad that while my time on campus is ending, I’ll always be part of the Lehigh family.

Freshman year:

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Now:

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Claire Shapanka ’15

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