Alumni Corner: Lauren Vitale, VSB Class of 1993


Lauren during a visit back to Villanova a few years ago

Lauren Vitale Class of '93

Not so very long ago (or so it seems in my mind), I was a bright-eyed young student in the midst of my freshman year at Villanova. I walked through the same quad, cheered for the same Wildcat teams and was taught by some of the very same professors (I’m looking at you, Profs. Emig and Monahan!) that you now get to enjoy.  Does Professor Emig still ask you the names of his triplets as a bonus question on his exams? Ask him about the time he built a crib before he realized they were having triplets. You won’t regret it!

Back when I attended Villanova, Sheehan was girls only, and Sullivan housed the boys. Bartley did not have a café, and hot water with cocoa powder was the fanciest drink you could get at the Connelly Center. Most notably, the glorious new residence halls on the South side of Lancaster Ave. were nothing more than two overflowing parking lots full of shiny new BMWs, Audis and my big ‘ol used Buick, handed down from my mom, which my friends happily nicknamed “the boat.”  

Despite these changes, however, after chatting with some of you during a recent campus visit, it is clear that while the face of Villanova may have changed, the heart of Nova — its students — remains the same.  And it is for you students ,that I have started this column.   

My years at Nova were some of the best of my life. They were also some of the worst. It was a roller coaster of highs and lows, both academically and socially. As the saying goes, I wish that I had known then what I know now. Unfortunately, I did not, and I made more mistakes than I care to remember.  But maybe you don’t have to make quite as many mistakes. Perhaps by sharing the benefit of my hindsight, I can make your journey a bit smoother as you head down the same path I once traveled. That is what I hope to accomplish with this column.

If you think that I don’t know you, that I cannot possibly relate to you, you are wrong.  I was you.  Wherever you are, believe me, I have already been there. I have lived on campus (Sheehan) and off-campus (Thomas Ave.), sometimes with one roommate, sometimes with five. I even spent some time living alone when my roommate was forced to leave mid-year. I pledged a sorority, went to frat parties, pulled all-nighters before exams, and frequented the Main Line bars (Kelly’s, Smokey Joes, Barley Corns, Gators and the after-hours Yorkshire Club were the hotspots). I didn’t play a sport, but I did make it through exactly one brutal 4:30 a.m. workout with the crew team, and still have the scar to prove it!

I went through the freshman period of adjustment, trying to figure out where I fit in and who I wanted to be in this new chapter of my life, on my own for the first time without the safety net of my family and friends. There were times when I was on top of the world, surrounded by new friends and happier than I had ever been. And there were times when I felt completely and utterly alone. I struggled with choosing my major, conflicted as to whether to follow my own dreams or the path my parents had carved out for me. I dealt with annoying roommate issues. I was faced with temptation to do things I knew were wrong, but sometimes gave in anyway to fit in. Perhaps the biggest struggle was trying to keep up my grades and my social life simultaneously, which, spoiler alert, did not end well for my grades. I was put on academic probation, but I later also made the Dean’s list. Like I said, it was a rollercoaster.

If I had been lucky enough to have someone with similar experience to advise me throughout those years, life would have been much easier, and I like to think I would have made some better choices.  

So, Villanovans, let me be that person for you. Reach out to me.  Tell me what you would like to see discussed in future columns. It can be academic, social or career issues, or anything else. No topic is off limits, and your name and email will remain strictly confidential.  In the meantime, stay tuned for articles on topics such as choosing a career, scoring internships, dealing with roommates, succeeding academically, finding your “people,”and any other issues that you send my way.  See you next month!


Have a question or issue you would like to see discussed in a future column? Please email at: [email protected], or text me at 610-550-3229