Richards, Packing Tips, & Lehigh Experience by Dan O’Leary

Introduction: Welcome to the Garage! Well at least that’s what we called it my first year. My name is Dan O’Leary. I’m a gryphon at Richards now and still the house’s nicknames continue to change, but one thing stays the same. It’s the place I call home and it houses what I think are the best and biggest rooms on campus. We were really different people walking in; I was a baseball player studying engineering and my neighbor played acoustic guitar in his band, but it is definitely the differences that made us closer. I got some guitar lessons, some programming skills, and a couple people to play pick-up basketball games with, while others got some lessons on how to get whooped in FIFA. Woot Woot!!!! It’s different going to one of the best engineering and overall academic schools in the country than just going to a dime-a-dozen school I imagine. My teachers in high school used to beg me to tutor people, but at Lehigh I can actually work with others and get things done as a team. Everyone is on my level or pushing me to do better. I will always remember Richards as where I started to grow Lehigh family, expand my networks, and slowly learn all the nuances of Lehigh’s culture.

What to do ASAP: Just talk to people!!! It’s crazy how much I’ve grown at Lehigh. I came in as a cocky yet shy first-year student who was hesitant to talk to people, but after a day or two that shyness went away. Why? I could only ignore people for so long. I’ve always embraced the open door mindset rather than the cell block mentality. These are residence halls not jail cells. Yes, I have had a few smelly people post up on my bed, but a friend can be anyone at first. You may be surprised who your best friends become. There are no more cool kids, jocks, or cliques of that nature unless you want there to be. There’s just people who work hard, play hard, and sleep hard.

As a gryphon, I’ve seen the a lot of emotions at move in. If there is one thing I know, it’s that you should be happy when your mom cries at the thought of leaving. It means she loves you, some sweet treats may come in the mail regularly, and she thinks you’ll never come home because you like it too much. As a gryphon, I’ve transformed from that arrogant fool I mentioned to a confident ice-breaker. I thrive in awkward moments and it is because the bar is set too high now. Nothing is more awkward than the first day of college. People say it’s kindergarten all over again, but there is no comparison. Big people like us don’t just talk to strangers easily; little kids haven’t even learned not to answer the door to strangers yet. Good news is that everyone is in the same boat, so we all need to float together. Bottom line is you need to take risks, be open-minded, and simply keep your door open. I give my 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Room Opinion: Everyone has a different opinion about the different residence hall rooms, but here are some tips

–        Only bring what you need!!! If you really want all your clothes fine, but I only bring what I’m going to wear. You’re going to go home at times during the semester most likely so bring clothes in waves if you can.

–        Stock up on cleaning and shower supplies and get some good hygiene habits going. It’s the classic tale of “no one likes the smelly kid,” but in this case that includes the kid that doesn’t change his clothes or do laundry.

–       Bring a Whiteboard for your door! As a first year student, it was a great way to communicate because people get bogged down with texts or simply miss it sometimes. As a gryphon, I always feel loved when a resident draws something hilarious on my whiteboard or simply writes a quote that inspires me.

–        Keep a well-stocked fridge.

–        Bring a small area rug. Tile flooring is great because it’s easy to clean but it’s cold and some comfort on your feet will eventually be appreciated. You can’t wear shoes and socks all the time.

–        Bring stuff for your wall. Personalize your room. White walls play tricks on the mind!

–        Bring a pair of plastic tubs to put under your bed and organize your stuff. Great way to save space and store food or simply miscellaneous items.

–        Bring an egg crate for your bed. It makes a difference.

–        Bring simple medicine. Bring Nyquil, Emergen-C, or pain relievers. You never know. You’re not going to what to go to the medical center for small stuff. It’s just a good thing to have.

To sum things up, bring what your gut tells you to bring. Think about what you want to do at Lehigh and do it. As a gryphon, I’ll always try to get you more involved, studying harder, more social, etc… but you know you best. You may need your daily personal time or things to do with friends. Simply rule is that if it doesn’t fit in your car in one load, you probably have too much stuff. You can then expect to get claustrophobic symptoms.

Ugly Truth: Through my residence hall experience, I’ve gained numerous opportunities. I’ve gotten internship/job offers from parents, joined Baja SAE because of friends, and am serving as president in a fraternity with past friends and residents. The people around you give you opportunities that vary greatly. Doors open and life-changing experiences happen here. Whether its attempting to make food or simply going to the beach for a day, the first-year experience is something that is hard to let go. In high school, most make friends that last for the moment. In college, you make friends that last a lifetime all in that first year. From resident to gryphon to fraternity president, it’s all about having and being a part of that first year experience over and over again for me. The sad thing is no one knows it until they go home for the first time, until you miss every person you’ve met over the past couple of weeks, or in my case until I yell at my mom for picking me up earlier than she said. The ugly truth is that I wish I could be a first year student just one more time.

The End: In an effort to keep it readable and brief, I, of course, could not answer all the questions you have. As I said my name is Dan O’Leary and I am a rather active, confident, and rugged Irish Italian American. I went from the city lights of New York to the suburbs of Allentown, PA. I went from blue collar jobs to the “yuppie mentality.” I went from playing sports at the college level, to injuries, to coaching youth sports for little kids and big high school babies. Bottom line is that I have a huge range of experience and would be happy to use that coupled with my 3 years of student life, fraternity experience, and gryphon employment to answer any questions you have. I’m happy to now be a gryphon in Leavitt of Upper Cents with an exceptional gryphon staff beside me. My email is ddo214@lehigh.edu and I’m always open to a phone call or video chat in case you need something more personal and private. Just reach out to me with questions or just to know one more person at Lehigh before school starts. We will surely work something out. I can answer questions about the dorm, greek life, your love life according to my residents last year, and anything else you got. I do love a challenge. I warn you that I’m a blunt guy. I only deal in honesty. Don’t be a stranger and have a fantastic year at Lehigh! Or exceptional if you prefer…

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