Scholar Voices: My Life at Lehigh
In our latest Scholar Voices feature, we hear from Lehigh University rising junior Tsion Taye. A Washington, D.C. native and an Earl Woods Scholar, Tsion takes us inside her first two years as a college student, highlighting some memorable life experiences. Proceeds from tournaments like next week’s Quicken Loans National help us provide the support and resources necessary for students like Tsion to achieve their dreams.
I was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia until my parents chose to bring me and my sister to America, the land of endless opportunities. Since they sacrificed a lot for us along the road, I wanted to work hard to make them proud. When it came time to go off to college, I chose Lehigh University in Pennsylvania for various reasons.
I was intrigued by Lehigh’s computer science and business interdisciplinary program because it combined my interests in problem solving and management. I also liked the fact that Lehigh was out of state, allowing me the opportunity to be more independent and grow as an individual. As I hoped, when I got to Lehigh I was exposed to many different experiences and opportunities that gave me a chance to become a well-rounded person.
My freshmen year, I was eager to try a lot of things while hoping to balance the workload from the courses I was taking. I slowly learned to manage my time well and to not be afraid to ask for help when I needed it. I was also able to join the marching band and play the drums. I joined a Christian fellowship on campus and got a job where I built my communication and networking skills by calling Lehigh alumni. I even participated in a service trip during spring break that allowed me to work with elementary school children—which made me realize how much I absolutely adore kids!
The following year, I was fortunate enough to lead one of these service trips and take a group of eight volunteers with me to Boston, where we worked with an underfunded elementary school. I enjoyed that experience tremendously as I learned that the little things make a difference and paving the way for children’s education is pivotal.
As I continued my sophomore year, I was even more eager to be active on campus and take a shot at opportunities that came my way. As a result, I chose to serve as a residential assistant (Gryphon) in a first-year, female student residence hall. Even though having a big hall was tough, I tried to be as much of a mentor and support system to the girls as humanly possible, whether it was by being there to listen to them when they worried about classes or by celebrating the birthdays on the hall every month.
What made sophomore year even more exciting was studying abroad during the winter break. Growing up, I was always a big fan of watching Korean dramas and I have a deep appreciation for Korean culture in general. Once I found the opportunity, I knew studying abroad in Korea was inevitable.
My winter break turned out really interesting because that same year our marching band was invited to London by the Queen to perform at the New Year’s Day parade. As a result, I was fortunate enough to travel to London for a week before heading directly to South Korea for my study abroad trip. I have always enjoyed traveling to new places and discovering new cultures so I was extremely happy amid all of this.
Traveling to one country is somewhat manageable but to be able to travel to both was a bit financially stressful for me. I really appreciate the support of my TGR Foundation mentor, Brian Frederick, who understood what the trip meant to me and was willing to help as much as he could. I know if it was not for his support, I would not have been able to travel to South Korea and make my dreams a reality.
Overall, I know I have grown as an individual through my two years in college. My experiences have given me the opportunity to become more responsible in terms of managing money and my time with my school work, traveling abroad by myself, being fearless, discovering what makes me happy and pursuing it. I know there will be more opportunities for me to grow and learn in the next two years of my college career and I honestly cannot wait!
Redefining what it means to be a champion.