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Arms Open for 2017

In many ways, 2016 was one of the best years for me (read my highlights from the year here!). Although my first semester at Lehigh wasn't ideal, 2016 also included an incredible second semester of high school, a few of the greatest trips I've been on (not quite as outstanding as my multiple European adventures in 2015, but I still can't complain), and some really amazing blogging growth that I have all of you to thank for! It's hard to believe that my winter break is already half over, because I feel like I've been so busy since being at home that I haven't even had time to just relax and do nothing, which was something I craved so much when I was at school, studying all the time, and kind of totally dreading my existence at Lehigh. That said, I haven't exactly set out goals or resolutions for 2017 quite yet, but I have started to think about where I want this year to take me, and I thought it might be helpful for me to organize my thoughts by sharing with you all where I am at with that.

Before I started my first semester at Lehigh I asked my brother, who is just one year older than me, "is college fun? like, do you love it," and he told me that college isn't necessary fun all the time, but it's more so interesting, because you figure out so much about yourself. He tried explaining to me what that meant, but it's a little hard to comprehend if you've never found yourself in a situation like that. This was definitely a recurring thought in my mind throughout my semester, and something that, now, I couldn't agree with more. In 2016, I learned that I need to do what makes me happy, and I need to figure out what happiness means for me, because what I had thought was what I wanted is not necessarily what I want, nor what I should contain and limit myself to.

Let me explain what I mean: since my first visit to Lehigh in February of my sophomore year of high school (so crazy to think about!), I pretty much knew I was going. I knew I'd apply early decision, and if I got in, I was going. When senior year rolled around, Lehigh was the only school I was considering, and the only school I applied to, with the exception of one safety and one random app that I submitted half-complete because I was bored. The point is, I limited myself so strictly to what I thought I wanted, because I thought what Lehigh offered and what Lehigh "is" that I would be so happy there that there simply was nowhere else that would be a better fit. Then, in 2016, I got to Lehigh and I hated it. I wrote about my experience in this post. I cried everyday. I called my mom every night. I begged my parents to let me drop out, or to let me transfer, or even just to fly me home for weekends. I left school as much as I could, and I rarely went to parties. I felt completely lost, because I had the opportunity to pick any school in the country, and I picked Lehigh, I thought that was my dream, and then I was so, so wrong about it. But here's the thing: do you know how many people hated first semester? A lot. Two of my friends of all of my friends like their colleges right now. It gets so much better, but that doesn't make it easier.

Driving home from Chicago yesterday after dropping my brother back at his apartment at school, I was talking to my mom about what to wear to rush since I will be going through rush right when I get back to school in two weeks, and I started to cry in the car. I've always wanted to join a sorority since I was little. My mom was a Phi Mu at Purdue and her sorority sisters are some of her best friends in the world. When I chose a college, I knew I wanted greek life, and that I wanted to live in a house with my sorority sisters. And now? I couldn't care less. I don't want to go back. I want to be so open minded, to go back to Lehigh and go through rush with an open heart and open mind and clear eyes and a great outlook, but it's so hard. I keep asking myself, why? Is that going to make me happy? If I was wrong about Lehigh, am I wrong about this too?

2016 taught me that change is hard. 2016 taught me that I want to be happy, but I just don't exactly know what that means. So, I guess my goal is in 2017: find what makes me happy. In 2017, I want to find what really clicks for me. If I figure that out, and I make that work at Lehigh, then that would be amazing. I think deep down that's what I want... I want to stay. I wish it'll be like everyone says; first semester is the worst, but you go through rush, you trust the process, and you end up where you should be and you're so much happier. I sincerely hope that's what happens. But, if not, that's okay. I may have made a mistake in choosing a school, and it's really not the end of the world. In 2017, I want to find what makes me happy, and I want to work to achieve that. 

I want 2017 to be the year where I figure out what makes me genuinely happy, and that's what I reach for, that's what I strive to achieve, and I can stop making myself angry and upset over so many little things. I want to stop knocking myself down, closing off my mind, and limiting to myself to what I feel I'm capable of or what I think I'm able to do, and let myself do whatever I want in order to achieve happiness.

That's where I'm at. I'm working on myself. I'm working on and focusing on my happiness, because that is the ultimate goal for me. I want to look back on my life, on this year, and say it was a great one because I tried to make myself happy and enjoy each moment as it passes. I'm not sure what it'll take, or even if this is something I'll ever really be able to check off as "accomplished," but I'm excited to see how it all pans out.
I'd love to hear where you're at in setting any goals you might have for 2017. Thanks for letting me rant ;) 

love you. each of you! happy new year!


  1. Fran, thanks for sharing your Lehigh story! I'm in the process of applying to college right now and I'm in a similar situation to you, I have 1 school that is pretty much the only one I want to go to, but I'm terrified that I'll get there and hate it so I'm trying to keep my options open. Since I'll be starting college in 2017, my goal is to make the most out of my first semester and try not to go into it with too many expectations. Good luck with rush and second semester!
    Lauren |

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience! I can relate to what you were going through during your first semester. I struggled like crazy my first semester and wanted to transfer like crazy. The worst thing that I did was to compare my experience to all my friends experience. They were having the time of their lives and I wasn't! It was by far the worst thing that I could possibly do. I decided to stick it out and second semester was a lot better. I decided to join new clubs, which helped me find a good group of friends, focus more on my school work and find something that I was passionate about, and step out of my comfort zone. I know you will find your groove soon and you will feel different when you go back to school in a couple of weeks. You are more familiar with your surroundings and now you can focus on "you" instead of catching up or doing what you think you should be doing. Feel free to reach out any time!
    xo elle //

  3. Hey Girl! I have similar feelings about my college and it makes me so sad! I've already applied to two other colleges in the hopes of being accepted. God has amazing plans for you, best of luck to you!

  4. Lehigh has nine great sororities ! You will love it -- focus on where you make a connection. When you get your bid, celebrate with your new sisters and even if it's not your first choice chapter, give the girls a chance and get to know the 80+ girls and the 30+ girls in your new member class. You will find a home at Lehigh and won't look back.

  5. I completely understand where you are coming from, Fran! This last semester was hard on me, and for the first couple of weeks, I really wondered if I made the right decision going to college, not just my college but college in general. What got me through was my sorority, and I even hate typing that because it sounds so cliche. Joining my sorority made campus seem so much smaller and gave me a community that welcomed me with open arms the minute I joined. Recruitment can and will be stressful, but all of the work is worth it. I truly hope you find your home. My biggest piece of advice is to give it a couple of weeks when you first join because you might not be 100% happy at first. If you, however, don't find your home, everything will still be okay like you said because you will find what makes you happy.

  6. This breaks my heart but I know you are the strong and fabulous Frannie so nothing really will stop you!! Seriously. You've got this girl. I'm in the midst of my college search right now and being real: it's so scary. I definitely believe you will find where you are meant to be!!

  7. Julianna is right! My advice: give it a month. The Lehigh sororities do an amazing job at welcoming new girls and integrating them into chapter life. Your new big will be an amazing resource for you too. Don't worry about what your friend groups decide to do, too. New year, new semester, fresh start. Final piece of advice? Your Rho Chi (recruitment counselor) is specially trained to help you navigate recruitment-- and Lehigh's Greek life office is top. And, girl, you have the "what to wear" thing down -- your outfits are recruitment-ready and SO super cute. Good luck and keep us posted!!

  8. Thanks for the post! I was like you - hated my first semester, went into second semester with an attitude that I'm going to make this work, most people have rough first semesters, etc. and yet, things just didn't get better. So I spent the second half of second semester reevaluating what I wanted in a school, preparing my transfer apps and now that I just finished up my first semester sophomore year at a new school, I am infinitely more happy than I was last year. The things I was positive I wanted in a school when I was looking at colleges as a junior/senior (big state school in a college town where everything revolved around tailgates, Greek life, etc.) turned out NOT to be the things I actually enjoyed when I got there. Now I'm at a school where I know all my professors, I'm not defined by what sorority I'm in, etc. and I love it.

    I hope this doesn't come across as me telling you things at Lehigh won't get better (crossing my fingers they do!!), just throwing it out there that sometimes a school just isn't a good fit, even if you thought it would be, and it's totally fine to transfer.

  9. You are definitely not alone Fran! first semester was really hard on my academically and socially. No one from my high school goes to my college so I basically started friendless, but as the semester went on and as I went out with my sorority friends, it got easier.
    I am so glad that you are rushing, because it was honestly the best decision I've made in college. And remember that a sorority isn't instant friends, but it is something to bond over! Have a fantastic second semester and a great 2017!
    much love, Sarah

  10. I definitely had these feelings freshmen year too. Joining an organization your passionate about, like Greek Life, makes college so much better. I joined a sorority my sophomore year and it made me like college so much more! I can't wait to follow along as you begin rush.

  11. Can't wait to see where this semester takes you, Fran! I'm a high school senior so I love hearing more about your college experience!



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