“You wake up and you’re still a little drunk and you can’t believe that hot girl from last night actually has a beard and a penis.” – Jon Stewart

Sometimes, you really should take a second look.

Lehigh students are notorious for complaining about our school’s flaws. Personally, it is one of my favorite pastimes. So, when selected as a speaker for the 2011 Honors Convocation, I confess that I yearned to ruffle some feathers in front of the school’s administration. The provost called me in for a meeting after hearing of my intentions. To my displeasure, the proverbial man discouraged me from being too controversial. Instead, I decided plan B was to write the sequel to Dr. King’s infamous “I Have a Dream”. Unfortunately, I had trouble conjuring such inspirational words. Now I was really stuck.

Amid contemplation of plan C, I saw an email from my fraternity president, reminding me to fill out the school-required Anti-Hazing Compliance Form. Of course, my fraternity would never haze anyone. However, before signing, I looked up the University’s definition of hazing, and it made me wonder if Lehigh hazed me?

According to the definition, hazing includes “forced calisthenics” and “exposure to the elements”.
Well, in the winter I traverse tens of thousands of ice-encrusted steps, up and down the mountain, occasionally risking severe injury. Of course, I would take the bus, but it is perennially broken down. This year Lehigh got new, smaller buses that break down less frequently. Now, when I wait at the bus stops hoping to escape the freezing rain or snow, I can count on getting my dreams of warmth, comfort, and dryness being dashed by the sight of a full bus passing me by without a backward glance. And since there are no sidewalks on the Hill I trudge through the snowy roads carefully avoiding being trucked by LUPD’s batmobile or that girl in her white BMW coupe with the Italian flag decal. I think I have been hazed.

Hazing is “any situation created…to produce mental or physical discomfort”.
Freshman year, my 6’9” roommate and my 6’4” self were forced to live one of the smallest dorms on campus, M&M A-219. Lehigh did supply extra-long beds, but they did not fit in our room. In fact, people often asked why we were living in the hallway closet. Unfortunately, there was enough room for bed bugs when about â…” of our floor suffered through an infestation for the whole spring semester. Last year, I lived up on the hill at Kappa Alpha where our fireplace and heat did not work many times during the winter. Unfortunately, that did not stop the colony of mice from making themselves at home. However, it seemingly stopped Residential Services from doing anything about it. I think I have been hazed.

Hazing includes “any activity that would subject the individual to physical harm or mental stress, such as sleep deprivation, forced exclusion from social contact, “¦or any other forced activity which would adversely affect the mental health…of the individual”.
In my soon to be 7 full semesters at Lehigh, I will have taken 14 rounds of midterms and 7 rounds of finals. Last semester, I had 3 midterms in a period of less than 24 hours”¦twice. Sophomore year, I had 5, 3-hour finals over a period of 4 consecutive days. Not to mention that I must incur approximately 8 hours of library isolation and complete exclusion from social contact to prepare for each midterm and 20 hours for each final. I think I have been hazed.

So, what do you think? Has Lehigh hazed me?

Let’s review: forced calisthenics (check), exposure to the elements (check), uncomfortable living arrangements (check), mental stress (check), sleep deprivation (check), forced exclusion from social contact (check).

Well, it seems that I have, in fact, been hazed. That being said, as my time at Lehigh comes to a close, I would readily submit to being hazed all over again. Why?

The real world blows. I’d rather keep being hazed by Residential Services, the various administrative offices, and the segway battalion everyday than have to be a real person.