Coming to college as a freshman is a big adjustment for a lot of students.
Most young people need leaders that are prepared for anything as they walk into their classrooms at the beginning of the year and equally so at the beginning of the second semester.
They need a resource, and Mercyhurst’s answer is a Laker Leader.
Our Laker Leaders are a huge part of our campus community and need to grow in numbers each year to motivate the new freshman class. With the Class of 2023 set to walk through the gates in a few months, the search has started for the Laker Leaders of next year.
These students take on the challenge of an additional class called iMU (Introduction to Mercyhurst University) within their schedule and are tasked with helping incoming freshmen get acclimatized to college.
Erin Jenkins, a senior Art Education and Art Therapy major, has been part of the Laker Leader team for the past three years. She knew immediately after her freshman year that she wanted to help change the lives of incoming freshmen for years to come.
“I want to encourage people to apply for this because being a Laker Leader has been so much fun and such a rewarding experience. There is nothing like the feeling of seeing once nervous incoming students find their niche and blossom,” Jenkins said.
Being a Laker Leader for the past three years has given Jenkins the chance to meet many new students and to watch them transition each year at Mercyhurst.
“I have loved every minute of this role,” Jenkins said. “Being a Laker Leader has been one of the best of my Mercyhurst moments, and I would highly recommend it.”
For sophomore English major Braeden Barnett, being a Laker Leader has helped him with public speaking and engagement skills. He feels that he has grown a lot from the experience of standing in front of a class each day and keeping students engaged with Mercyhurst subject matter.
“I knew I wanted to be a Laker Leader pretty early into my freshman year,” Barnett said. “After being a Leader for two sections of iMU, I would recommend it because I enjoyed getting to connect with students and work with my facilitator.”
With time on his side, he plans to be a Laker Leader for two more years to come.
Grace Simson, a junior Music Therapy major, also has enjoyed the Laker Leader experience.
“I knew from the moment I found out about Laker Leaders I wanted to be one. I knew that I enjoyed helping students and being a leader,” she said.
Simson participated in a similar program in high school and knew that this would be a good way to connect her high school skills to a college level.
“Being a Laker Leader has made me much more patient and understanding. I strive to provide students with a friendly smile and a helpful hand at any time,” Simson said. Her welcoming smile has become known on campus, and even on the cover of last issue’s Merciad.
The sentiments that happy Laker Leaders have shared generally revolve around friendships made and skills learned from service to others. Seeing freshmen grow more comfortable with the school is perhaps the most rewarding feeling.
The chance to become a Laker Leader is now available to all students, with the exception of graduating seniors.
Applications are due by Feb. 22 and can be given to the Campus Involvement Center staff in the Student Union.
Good luck to all those ready to help a new generation of Lakers!