Seniors reminisce about their time at Mercer

Holly Burrell:

When I accepted the challenge of reminiscing about my time at Mercer, I thought it was going to be a piece of cake. Then I struggled with words for a while. Then I thought about sending in a piece of paper with tears and smiles drawn all over it because I honestly cannot think of a better way to summarize how I feel about my home for the past four years. Sometimes I’ve wished to be elsewhere. Sometimes I’ve wanted to go back to Carrollton to see my parents. But I’ve found that living life at Mercer is like any good relationship: sometimes it’s hard and sometimes you want to give up, but if you stick through the tough times, it can be the most rewarding experience of your life. I came to Mercer thinking that I was going to study a lot, never procrastinate, and find my fulfillment in straight A’s (no joke). Mercer has since given me a slap upside the head and reminded me that life is more than academic and professional success. Instead, it is about having a little fun, serving the community we are in, learning to deal and laugh when times get tough, finding your faith, making friends, and loving through brokenness. Sometimes people treat college as a stepping-stone that isn’t really reflective of “real” life. While that is true on some level, I think that Mercer has taught us what is important and how to strike a balance between things that matter a little and things that matter a lot. This is our real adult life, and we are living it. I originally fell in love with Mercer in the spring of 2008 for the beautiful campus. The honeymoon period is long over, but I am still in love with Mercer University because of the lessons I’ve learned and the people I’ve learned to love.

Brittani Howell:
I honestly don’t know how to sum up my time at Mercer, and that’s partly because it doesn’t feel like it’s over yet. In a month plus a day, I will board a plane for Thailand to teach English for ten months with Service First—something I probably would not have done if not for Mercer and the experiences it granted me with Mercer on Mission. The reality that I am leaving has not sunk in yet. Earlier today, I was walking across the Quad toward the CCJ, looking at the white admin tower against the glorious blue spring sky, and I thought, “This isn’t really happening, is it? There’s no way.” I meandered over to Jesse’s Plaza, toward the bench where my favorite Mercer picture was taken: myself and my five closest friends from freshman year, laughing and falling all over each other in a chaotic pile. I gave Jesse’s head a rub as I passed, more for the familiarity of the gesture than anything else.
I could not begin to thank all of the people who deserve it for getting me through my college experience—friends, family and professors who listened to my stress and my woes and celebrated my triumphs. When I came here, I did not expect to find such a nurturing community: one where professors invited me to their offices and their home, and gave me books, encouragement and much-needed advice. I owe so much to Mercer’s travel programs that allowed me to visit ten different countries during my undergrad career, to The Cluster for turning me into a journalist and to the friends who helped me grow (and put up with my less-than-graceful growing pains).
Mercer—and Macon, really, and everyone I’ve known in those two communities—has worked its way into the bedrock of who I am, and it will continue be part of me as I build on that foundation. Maybe that’s why I feel like I’m not really leaving. In a way, a part of me will always be here, and a part of here will always be with me.

Suzanne Stroup:
My time at Mercer has been filled with art and beauty. I know that sounds really cheesy, but as a journalism and theatre double major, I’ve been supremely lucky to be surrounded by so much talent.
Freshman year, I did a show at a local theatre instead of auditioning for Mercer theatre right off the bat (because, if I’m totally honest with myself, I was completely intimidated by the Mercer Players). As I was sitting in Jay Black’s office after my show closed, he told me that I needed to get involved with Mercer theatre. Then I auditioned for Cinders the next semester, and the rest is history.
I’ve been in 12 shows in the past three and a half years, and have seen countless more. I’ve been lucky to get to participate in my passion in so many capacities, from learning about production and performance theory from Marian Zielinski, to performing my hour long senior performance project, to seeing shows for free. Now that I have a professional acting job lined up after graduation, I realize how much of an incubator this program has been for me and I couldn’t be more excited to see what the Mercer Players are going to do after the current seniors leave.
At that same meeting with Jay freshman year, he also told me that I needed to get more involved with The Cluster and journalism through Mercer. I didn’t take him up on that advice until my senior year, but I’m so glad that I did. I’ve made some really great friends through working on The Cluster, and have made some really good memories. I’ve learned so much from the other editors and writers, and I wish I had gotten involved much earlier.
I’m really going to miss this place and all of the people that made it feel like home, and I know that Mercer is going to thrive to a level that we can’t even fathom once we’re gone.

Shawn Patterson:
I started at Mercer as a transfer student. As a transfer student it was not easy to meet friends, and on top of that I didn’t live on campus. During my first year at Mercer I kept to myself. I didn’t talk to people much and went home right after classes. I later learned that treating college this way wouldn’t work. College is about the experiences as well the education. If I had stayed to myself I would missed half of the college experience. It was not until I was well within my ‘major’ classes that I started making friends. I started to get involved with some of the clubs around campus,too. Over my last two years I have worked on some projects that have helped me move towards what I hope to do for the rest of my life. Through these projects I have made valuable contacts in my career field.
Through all my experiences I would have to say the best piece of advice is to be yourself, but don’t be too shy. Get involved with your major, clubs and activities. Go have fun! College is about having fun and learning both academically and through new life experiences.