I created the title in hopes that I would be purposely vague with what Mercer changed. For one, looking around the landscape of campus these past few days, Mercer has definitely changed.
Porter Patch is now a pile of red clay and rubble. Crush and go gravel covers the pathways that were part of my daily morning running routine. The football field takes the place of a muddy drainage pit that I got stuck in my freshman year while trying to carry a snare drum and my clarinet over to the homecoming bonfire.
There is no more intramural softball field where I clotheslined a rather annoying guy at second base and got away with it. The bookstore has moved, the climbing tower has been erected, the ropes course where the new practice soccer fields are is gone.
The lofts replaced parking lots and older houses. A lot has changed over the course of my four years. I can only wonder how much of Mercer has been changed by us, and how much of us Mercer has changed.
I know that I am a completely different person than when I first walked on campus. I was a rather timid freshman, hiding behind the fact that I was living with one of my best friends of seven years. I wanted to get out there, but I wanted to relish in the comfort of the familiar.
I eventually found my own and now rarely, if ever, talk to that friend I lived with for both freshman and sophomore year.
I’ve gone through a lot of friendships since freshman year and even though there has been heartbreak, every single person I’ve come into contact with here at Mercer and each of the friendships I have formed shaped who I am today.
Mercer’s canvas and their slogan: Be the Bear, has always offered a space for me to find my own, and I could not be any more grateful than I am now.
I may be frustrated with the construction, my grades may have fallen due to a severe case of senioritis, but in the grand scheme of things Mercer is more than just a campus undergoing renovation. It’s more than a place where we receive grades and a VERY expensive piece of paper to hang up on our walls.
I don’t know if I’m speaking for others when I say that Mercer is a pseudo-home. I’ve grown up here.
I went from that timid freshman to someone who is writing these thoughts of mine in a newspaper. I’m not sure if these thoughts are very coherent, but they exist.
We each came to Mercer because of one reason or another, and for whatever that reason I want to thank you in the cheesiest way possible. The faculty and staff, the professors, the students, and the organizations I have interacted with over the last four years have made some sort of impact that has been felt.
In some ways, Mercer’s renovation can be a visual representation of the renovation going through each and every one of us.
Some days we find our self at stand stills due to climates of various natures, but eventually we get going. One day we will be that finished product. We may not know it at the time, but others will see it and bear witness.
I’m thankful for the time Mercer has given me to learn and grow. I’ve changed. Mercer’s changed, and will continue to change with each incoming class that makes an impact on our campus. That thought may be a little scary, but it’s definitely one that makes me excited about the future.