freshman 8: elizabeth harris







Author Julia Teti is a sophomore at Syracuse University majoring in English and textual studies with intentions of a dual minor in creative and screen writing. She is a 2013 Mt. Lebanon High School graduate. For “Freshmen: 8,” Teti interviewed eight of her classmates to find out how their freshman year went and to find out what advice they have for those about to embark on the journey.

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ELIZABETH HARRIS, Duquesne University
Music Therapy

Elizabeth-HarrisJT: How did Mt. Lebanon High School prepare you for college?

EH: Mt. Lebanon High School prepared me so much for college. I’ve actually found that my classes in college are easier than Mt. Lebanon. It’s insane. Some people in my college don’t know how to cite things. It’s absurd.

JT: What was the hardest part of the transition?

EH: I think the hardest thing was adjusting to the environment. Not only are you living on your own but you’re expected to have a certain circuit that surrounds you: friends, academics and other responsibilities separate from school. Like your eating habits and taking care of yourself. It’s kind of like you are just thrown out there after living in Mt. Lebanon where you were almost catered to your every need. The hardest thing is just putting yourself in a different environment and knowing yourself and making your own decisions.

JT: Is college less or more challenging than high school?

online exclusive logoEH: This is hard mostly because I am a music student. In college my studies are way different from my high school studies. I had more academic obligations in high school than in college. I’m focusing on music theory and practicing. But I think that the whole deal with college is that you have other responsibilities. So I would say that high school was harder academically, but I felt more secure. Being put in a new situation everything becomes more heightened.

JT: How do you balance academics and extracurriculars and a social life?

EH: I try to make a schedule. I like to be organized knowing when I’m doing what and for how long. I try to get work done before anything social.

JT: What surprised you most about college?

EH: I think I was really surprised by the fact that I thought people would be more dedicated to their work and be more creative with their work. Not a lot of people are as focused as I thought they would be. Everyone’s going haywire being on his or her own, but they forget that the reason they are at school is to go to school.

JT: What’s something you wish you had done your freshman year?

EH: Personally as a music student I wish I had collaborated with people more. When music is your work, it becomes less fun. I wish I had worked with more people.

JT: What was the most memorable part of your freshman year?

EH: I would go see my friends who are in a band and they would play at this pizza place. I would go with a group of people, eat pizza and enjoy the music.

JT: Are you glad you stayed in Pittsburgh?

EH: I was upset at first. I’ve lived here my whole life. I wanted to experience a new place but I do love Pittsburgh. It has an amazing cultural district, a great concert scene, plus Duquesne is so close to everything. I can take a bus or walk or take the T and go somewhere in the city.

JT: If you could give one piece of advice to an incoming college freshman, what would it be?

EH: Never settle, because if you want to go somewhere, then go there. If you want to do something, then do that thing. Don’t take anything less than what you deserve.


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