Just 32 days to graduation.
The countdown is on, and almost every senior you see walking Mercyhurst’s campus is buzzing with anticipation and anxiety (and, of course, sleep deprivation).
As the semester winds down, it is difficult not to reflect on my past four years at this institution.
Why should you care about my time at Mercyhurst?
I hope that this encourages my fellow seniors to reflect and take the graduation stage in stride, even if you are not ready to leave this beautiful campus.
I also hope that underclassmen will keep the little pieces of advice that I weave throughout this story in mind as they continue their journey.
Overall, I would say my time at Mercyhurst was not too bad.
There were some great times and, naturally, some rough times.
I remember waking up on move-in day, excited to begin the next chapter in my life.
As we pulled up to the iconic iron gates, nervous anticipation came over me.
I was entering a new place without knowing anyone.
What if I didn’t make any friends?
What if I didn’t like it here?
I am glad to say that this was not the case.
I moved into Warde, met my roommate and almost everyone on the fourth floor became friends instantly.
My advice here is to not spend too much of your time on a minute number of friendships.
There are so many students and faculty from all walks of life.
Become friends with as many people as you can. Not only will it make you a more well-rounded individual, but you never know who you will forge strong bonds of friendship with.
However, at the end of the day, remember that you are here for you and no one else.
You pay good money to be here for your education, and that is all that matters.
If there is something that you see that you don’t like, speak up about it.
You deserve to be respected. Remember how I said those on the fourth floor of Warde became friends instantly?
Well, throughout the course of the year, people began to show who they really were: Cliques were formed, gossip took over and people hated each other.
I attribute this to being trapped on campus as a freshman, in close quarters and with tensions building, it is only natural for friendships to die and fights to break out.
Although, I did witness many of these relationships mended throughout my senior year as most people mellowed out.
My class had to deal with the transition period of Mercyhurst.
We were the last class to be under Gamble’s reign, and we witnessed President Michael T. Victor pick up the pieces of the unfortunate presidency.
He brought Hurst Day to us, is expanding campus and seems like he genuinely cares about the students whenever he graces us with his presence around campus.
It may seem that a lot of the new additions to Mercyhurst may be unnecessary, but at the end of the day we previously were in a financial crisis.
Victor was brought in to deal with it and is doing what he can to the best of his ability.
As a future alumna, I look forward to coming back to see how much more Mercyhurst has improved.
I decided to double major in Criminal Justice and Forensic Anthropology and minor in Psychology of Crime and Justice.
I also did the 4+1 program for Criminal Justice Administration.
Many people thought I was crazy for doing so, but at the end of the day your 12 credit hour semester cost the same as my 18 credit hour semester.
One thing that is nearly impossible to do, is to have nothing to do at Mercyhurst.
There are so many things to do if you know where to look.
As someone whose work study is in the Performing Arts Center, there is at least one event happening every week.
The Music, Dance, Art, and Theatre departments and program are always working hard to present something to the campus and community.
The Mercyhurst Institute of Arts and Culture brings amazing performances to campus and their events are FREE for Mercyhurst students.
Why would you not take advantage of this?
SAC/MAC events happen almost every weekend as well.
There are plenty of lectures to attend (at least for extra credit).
The Hospitality department hosts meals in their Marriott cafe.
These meals feature senior Hospitality majors who have to prepare and execute a fancy and tasty three-course meal as part of their final project. Unfortunately, it is not well-known to the Mercyhurst community.
So if you want a fancy three-course meal for only $12.70, then make a reservation in advance because they fill up quickly by the Erie community.
Attend a Carpe Diem retreat.
I kept telling myself I would attend a retreat, and I am so glad I finally had the chance to do so this year.
You may have heard this from a lot of different people, but it truly is a life-changing experience.
So many different people attend these retreats, and you will become friends with every single one of them because you will gain a new perspective of the people around you.
So go and try something new. If your friends don’t want to go — well, you are an adult, and you can go by yourself and meet new people.
There were countless times when my friends chose to be hermits and sat around in their dorms and apartments on their phones.
Part of me wanted to fit the mold and be like them, but I decided to venture out and try new things. I never regretted it once.
There are also a number of clubs and organizations for you to join. These can make yourself a more well-rounded person if anything.
You can write or take photos for the Merciad and get paid for it.
If you play a musical instrument and would like to continue doing so, the Music department is always looking to expand their ensembles.
Audition for a play or musical — there are always casting notices listed, and once you join that program, you become a part of their family.
I knew coming in freshman year that my time here would go by so quickly, and it really did.
My advice to you is to make the most of your time at Mercyhurst because when you are a senior facing graduation, you realize that it is truly time for the adult world.
I cannot emphasize how many opportunities are present, so take advantage of them and make the most of it.