Courtesy of Victoria Yrizarry
When she first came to Mercer, Victoria Yrizarry thought she might never feel at home. Going to college was going to be hard enough, but then, just months before move in, her father passed away unexpectedly.
“I was doubtful that I would ever be completely comfortable,” she said in a Facebook message.
Yrizarry is now a senior music education major, a Mercer Singer, a music director, a peer advisor and a member of the orientation leadership team. She found her niche — but she didn’t do it alone. Yrizarry said that she had an incredible peer advisor, Katie Elliott, as well as a solid orientation group that helped her adjust to life at Mercer.
“[Elliott] constantly made herself available to us, she accepted everyone for who they were, and I could tell that she was genuinely invested in each person in our group,” Yrizarry said.
Yrizarry is currently preparing to welcome her last group of freshmen to Mercer. She said that she wants to help students feel the way that she feels about Mercer. That’s why she applied to be a PA in the first place.
“I wanted them to feel that they had a place and a family here always,” Yrizarry said.
Always can be a strong word, though. This year, as mentioned before, is Yrizarry’s senior year. There are a lot of “lasts” coming for her, but she said that she’s also got a lot to be excited about, such as completing her senior voice recital and student teaching.
Yrizarry also said that once she’s graduated, she’ll be one more step toward her goal: being a choir director.
“I have wanted to be a choir director since high school,” she said. “I love music and I have a passion for teaching, so it was almost a no-brainer for me. My goal is to teach middle school choir, but I would be happy to work in a high school, too.”
She’s already on her way there. Yrizarry is going into her second year as the music director at St. Peter Claver Catholic Church in Macon and has also assisted with music lessons at the Academy of Classical Education. However, those positions aren’t the only places she has learned how to lead; her time with the Mercer Singers has been a learning experience as well.
“While I love being a leader, I could probably say I equally love sitting back and allowing someone else to lead, too. ” she said. “For example, Dr. [Stanley] Roberts has the reign in Mercer Singers and that gives me the opportunity to learn how to be a better leader. So I [sic] always appreciate when those opportunities arise.”
All in all, Yrizarry said that her experience at Mercer has been based on recognizing those opportunities for growth and taking advantage of them.
“My biggest takeaway from my experience at Mercer is to say ‘yes’ more in life,” Yrizarry said. “Be open to new experiences and opportunities because you don’t know what you could be passing up.”