Acclimating to Drexel
April 6, 2017
Hey everyone! In my last post, I briefly introduced myself, talked about where I am from and what I do on campus. As I was thinking about what I was going to write about today, I decided that I might as well start at the beginning of my Drexel experience, my freshman year. As I mentioned previously, I am from Seattle, Washington and lived there my entire life before coming to Philadelphia. So why did I pack my bags and move to a city where I quite literally didn’t know a single person? To be honest, I have always been an independent person and after a thorough investigation of my options, I believed that Drexel would open the most doors and give me the most opportunities for my career.
When I got to campus, I actually moved in early as a part of a Jewish early move-in program run through Hillel called "Jewniversity." I came with just two suitcases, a guitar, and a backpack—which actually seemed like a lot of stuff as I stepped out of the airport. I quickly realized, however, that compared to my peers in the program coming with multiple vans worth of stuff, I appeared to be quite the minimalist. I won’t lie: it was intimidating at first being in a new city, with new people, alone for the first time. But, thankfully, through Jewniversity I was able to meet some incredible people—people who I now call my best friends—before regular move-in, allowing me to have a support system if I needed anything at all in my first few weeks of school.
As a member of the Pennoni Honors College, I opted to live in the Honors Learning Community in Millennium. And while it might sound cliché, this was one of the best decisions I have ever made...
Once all freshmen had moved in to their respective residence halls, I had the pleasure of meeting my floor mates on Floor 15 of Millennium Hall. As a member of the Pennoni Honors College, I opted to live in the Honors Learning Community in Millennium. And while it might sound cliché, this was one of the best decisions I have ever made, as it gave me the opportunity to live with some of the most intelligent, unique people that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. It was an extraordinarily humbling experience to be surrounded by people my age of such a high aptitude and overall knowledge coming into college, yet I never felt intimidated or that I didn’t belong. Our floor RA did a great job of planning floor events and always having her door open to talk if we ever needed. I think that that helped foster a collaborative, amicable community where I felt comfortable talking with my peers about any topic, from school to personal issues and everything in between.
The last thing I want to talk about that helped me as I was adjusting to college was joining a fraternity. Being Jewish, I decided to join Alpha Epsilon Pi, the Jewish fraternity on campus. The great thing about Greek life, especially on Drexel’s campus, is that it breaks out of a lot of the stereotypes about fraternities and sororities, and allows students to connect with both the Drexel and Philadelphia communities in a unique way. Not only have I made some of my closest friends through Greek life, but I have also been able to volunteer and raise money for important causes that I probably would not have otherwise. For example, once a month, my fraternity volunteers at Jewish Relief Agency (JRA), packing and delivering boxes of food for families around the community who struggle to get food otherwise. Similarly, last year we raised over $10,000 for the Gift of Life Foundation, an organization that focuses on and helps facilitate tissue and organ donation. Being able to take part in something greater than myself with my best friends has been something that I am extremely grateful for and something that I am very glad I decided to take part in.
I hope that this has given you an idea of ways to help adjust to college life as a freshman. As a Sophomore, something I have realized is that your college experience is all about what you make of it and thankfully, Drexel gives you every opportunity imaginable to have the greatest four or five years of your life here. I am very thankful that I took that leap of faith and made the choice to go to school across the country. Hope my freshman year story was helpful and interesting and if you made it this far, thanks for reading!
Albert Hanan is a Sophomore at Drexel University studying architectural engineering with a minor in business administration. Originally from Seattle, Washington, Albert is a member of the Pennoni Honors College as well as the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity. When not in class or studying, Albert enjoys hiking, playing basketball, and playing guitar.