As September 29th draws closer, the first month at Mercyhurst College draws to a end for the class of 2013.
By this time many freshmen have taken their first test, turned in their first essay and survived their first attempt to do their own laundry. They know where the library is, what the bus schedules are, how long it takes to get to class. They are finally beginning to feel as though they belong on campus.
“I basically found my usual group of off-beat people,” freshman Katie Felong of Redwood City, Calif. said. There have already been a multitude of movie nights in her residence hall, both in individual dorms and in the lobby. People are invited to stay and watch as they pass a room as people look for others with similar interests.
But the sense of camaraderie was not always so strong. Elizabeth Abernathy, a forensic anthropology major from North Carolina, came to Mercyhurst with a sense of dread.
“Because I lived so far away, I was worried that everyone here would already know people to hang out with and I would be alone,” Abernathy said.
“I was terrified that I would have an emotional breakdown and have to go home,” Amanda Schmeltzer of McMurry, Pa. said. “Thankfully, only the first part of that came true,” she added and laughed.
The sense of community is something that the Mercyhurst College staff have been trying to push freshmen to pursue, and it certainly worked on a more local level.
“The floor [in our residence hall] is its own community,” Shana Brown, who lives in Baldwin Hall, said. “I feel like I’ve connected more with our floor than with the school.”
“It’s like Mercyhurst is the town we live in, and our floor is our neighborhood,” Schmeltzer said. “We belong to both, we just know more people in our ‘neighborhood.’”