Turning green: From school spirit or nerves?


Each year, thousands of young people across America and millions all over the world leave high schools and hometowns to pursue a higher education. 
The sudden absence of friends, family or even a familiar language can be both liberating and nerve-racking, an experience Mercyhurst College’s new freshmen feel vividly as they begin to integrate into the campus community.

“I’m still not ready to leave my high school behind,” freshman Phuong Nguyen, a Vietnamese student coming to Mercyhurst, said a few weeks before freshman move-in day. 

Her friends, she said, are forever irreplaceable.  “It [is] agonizing when I have to leave them,” Nguyen said.

The absence of familiar faces adds to the surrealism of the first few days in college.  Freshman Trenice Scott said she didn’t feel like high school was being left behind until she began to hang out with her friends from high school for the last time.  

“I didn’t know what I was getting into,” Scott said, as she began to feel anxious at orientation.  All the same, she is looking forward to a new sense of independence, even if it means taking on more responsibilities than she had in high school.

Kerri Janoske of Chardon, Ohio, learned about Mercyhurst from her sister, who attends the college as a sophomore.  While she admitted she was nervous, she said she was more excited about moving in to Mercyhurst.  

“It seemed to be what I was looking for in a college.  Not too big, not too small, not too far, not too close,” Janoske said.  She said it will be strange not to see her friends from high school almost every day, but she added that she looks forward to meeting new friends in college.

Parents, also, seem to be taking the process well. 

“My parents let me take a train by myself to my grandpa’s house, which is nearly 1,000 kilometers from my house, when I was in grade 3,” Nguyen said.  “Now, they believe that I can do well in college despite the fact that this is the first time I [will live] far away from home for such a long time.”