Freshman Profile: From Concrete Maze to Green Mountains

by Kiara Bean, Correspondent

The transition from high school to university can be pretty hard for some students. They have to adjust to a new school system, new types of classes, and a new living environment. As if that wouldn’t be enough, some come from a big city and must adapt to life in a small family-oriented town, or vice versa.

New freshman Erik Lechleitner had to not only get used to a new university life, but also move across the country and change his urban lifestyle out for the quieter town life. He came from Evanston, Illinois, just outside of Chicago, and fell in love with the little town of Prescott, Arizona. “I really like the mountains of Prescott and just how different the area is from Illinois,” Lechleitner commented on his new temporary home.

Lechleitner is a Global Security and Intelligence Studies (GSIS) major, but this wasn’t his original choice. “I originally heard about ERAU from an aviation perspective. I originally wanted to be a pilot, but when I started looking into applying to Riddle, I read about the GSIS program, and my interests switched right away,” said Lechleitner. He always wanted to study something that will genuinely interest him. “I chose ERAU because of the GSIS program and just how unique it was. No one else offered a program that interested me the way GSIS did…it encapsulated a lot of my interests, like Intelligence, International Relations, PoliSci, Security, and some leadership/management. It’s such a diverse topic which can be used in so many ways,” 

commented Lechleitner. 

His first year is going well so far. “This year is obviously really different than any other freshman year, but I’m still happy with how it’s going. I’ve gotten involved, and I’d say I’ve made the best of the situation. I’ve heard a lot of good things about what ERAU does normally, so I’m looking forward to that,” Lechleitner mentioned. His favorite class is Intro to Global Security with Dr. Shannon: “The material we cover is really interesting, and I’m a big fan of how Dr. Shannon teaches her classes. We’ve also been able to do some really fun projects that really make me look forward to the GSIS program.” He’s enjoying his school life so far and looking forward to the next three and half years at ERAU. He is also considering doing a study abroad if it will work out for him.

“ERAU might be a pretty small school, but there are a lot of good people here, and I really like the community and clubs,” said Lechleitner. “I joined SOAR and Global Affairs Club. I really like both of them and don’t regret joining. I’m waiting till there are less COVID restrictions to see if I want to join any other ones.” Besides school and extracurriculars, Lechleitner keeps himself busy with his new job: “I just started working as a student dispatcher for campus safety. It’s a great job, and I like all the people I work with. I definitely plan on staying there all 4 years I’m here.”

Lechleitner is currently housed in T2, and he does not have any complaints: “Living there is nice. There are good views, and it’s all pretty new.” He mentioned that he was very lucky because his three suitemates are really great, and they get along very well. Lechleitner also found his favorite place to eat on campus. He likes how convenient the food carts parked outside the dorms are: “I’d say my favorite has to be the food carts. Eileen with the hotdog cart and Joe with the Mexican food cart are my personal favorites. They’re really convenient and taste great.”

On the question of whetherquestion whether or not his first semester at ERAU fulfilled his hopes, Lechleitner replied, “I’d say so. I know that there’s a lot of things we missed out on this semester, but I’m happy we were able to come in person and have hybrid/in person classes.”