Whisper of the River inspires students to make fond memories

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A little under four years ago, I cracked open Ferrol Sams’ infamous book The Whisper of the River as my family went on a small vacation right after I graduated high school. As we all know, Mercer expects us to read this before we show up in August. I figured that this would be a good as time as any to begin reading, and looking back, I distinctly remember being in the minority of people who enjoyed it from my freshman class.
I’m not sure at what point while reading did I make a small promise to myself that I needed to be able to look back and be content with my time at Mercer, but the promise stuck. Not only do I look back and cherish my four blissfully short years here, I wish and pray that I could have more time here.
I’m not scared of the real world or anything; I just love Mercer that much. In fact, I will be attending Mercer for grad school as I strive to be a double bear.
A few nights ago, I sat with a few of my brothers, and we echoed the same desire that we were ready to move on, but not start over. None of us want to say goodbye to a place that turned us into the people we are today, along with the amazing people we’ve met along the way.
I am incredibly thankful and blessed for the opportunities that I’ve received here. I know that if I wanted to, I could write my own Whisper with my own Sambo, because of all that I went through here. I’m sure I could capture hearts and minds to show people just how amazing Mercer can be if you just embrace it. There is so much that our small campus had to offer, if you just try.
More than anything, I have to thank all of the professors and advisors that I have been fortunate to take classes with over the past four years. From learning about my own voice to discovering what drives me, I have received a great education both inside and outside the classroom.
I know they say that you’ll find a professor in college who will be a lifelong friend, but I’m lucky in that I need two hands to count the number of professors who I will definitely stay in contact with following graduation.
I am forever indebted to The Cluster and its editorial staff. Slowly, I understood just what power that print media has, and even more slowly, I began to understand that what an amazing opportunity I had been given to write about topics I feel strongly about.
Three years later, I can honestly say that it has been one of my richest experiences at this campus. To Liz, Samir, Brittany, Kaleigh, Kaitlin and the older editors like Lillian, thank you.
You’ve taught me far more than you ever realized.
To my amazing brotherhood, I absolutely hate having to leave you all. Alpha Tau Omega has made me the man I am today, and every single one of my brothers will have a place in my heart.
Every brother has helped shape me, and the memories I have put Sambo’s to shame. I know that every brother will say the same when they graduate, and I know that every member of Greek Life will say the same thing about their organization. That is the beauty of it.
I’m thankful for the memories that I’ve shared with others at our beloved University, and while I will miss them as the years go by, I’m eternally grateful for having lived through them.
The cherry on top for me was definitely this March Madness cycle where Mercer won. Travis Smith’s three from the right corner in Logan, Utah is one of the greatest moments I have ever been witness to. The resulting scream in Mercer Village of jubilation and disbelief that we’d clawed back one last time is one of my favorite sounds ever. Sports might not mean much to many of you, but there is no denying that the moment will be imprinted in many of our minds.
As I lament the time I have left, I strongly feel that, despite the loss of the First Year Seminar program, everyone needs to read The Whisper of the River before they come to Mercer. It inspires us to have the memories like Sambo and really make Mercer our own.
I am glad I made that silent promise to myself, because I wouldn’t have done a lot of the things I have. I feel that my hijinks following the CIT were equal to or greater than his toilet paper prank, but that can be left for history to decide.
In essence, I know that most people really don’t know what they want to do with themselves while entering college, and four years at Mercer will change even the staunchest of minds on occasion.
However, I do know that these formative years are the same for all of us, and I’m eternally grateful for having lived through them at Mercer.
Whether it is making and eating cheese dip at six in the morning, climbing the roof of the engineering building to gaze at the stars, playing intramurals like they are the Olympics, or living and laughing with my dear friends both in the fraternity and outside of it, I love Mercer and will never forget this place.
Thank you Jesse for founding such an amazing place and for all the leaders who have shaped it into the institution it has become.
Seize every day you are blessed with at Mercer, because those four years quickly become five months, and then, those few months become just a handful of days you have to cherish and make the most of.
“…for Mercer we will live and die!”

Comments, questions or concerns about this column can be sent to garret.tyler.mcdowell@live.mercer.edu

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