Ten Years Ago Today…
Decisions that you make in life define where you go. Ten years ago today, I followed through on a decision I made – my decision on where to go to college. I left my parents’ house to move into my dorm room at Mercer University (Dowell 101) and start my college career. Granted, I was 20 minutes from home, my parents pushed me to live on campus for the experience. I’m glad that they did.
On August 18, 2001, Mercer’s upperclassmen rolled out the red carpet for the new students, helping the freshmen and their parents unload cars, carry boxes up and down stairs, provide directions, etc. It was their way of welcoming us into the Mercer family and it’s a tradition at the University that I look back on fondly. Knowing that it’s set to take place this Saturday for the incoming class brings a smile to my face. I would be living with my friend Rachel from high school, and someone we didn’t meet until move-in day, Emily who came from TN.
Our parents left after we were all moved in (I may or may not have jumped up and down in the room after mine left) and the Orientation festivities started right away. We broke into our O-groups and the Orientation Assistants kept us busy from morning until night for the next three days. Ice breakers, songs, meetings, tours, you name it – we did it. We were free and we were excited to be in college. We didn’t know what life would hold for us for the next four years, but we grabbed it by the horns and went with it.
Some students branched out, some didn’t. I have to say that I was definitely a prude my freshman year and didn’t really lighten up until I went abroad. However, I stuck to my morals and beliefs and I feel like things worked out in the end.
Looking back at the decisions I made in my first year at Mercer I can draw some very definitive lines as to how I got to where I am now:
- I declared my major in Technical Communication.
Really, I made this decision before I selected Mercer as my choice school – it was the only school in the state with the degree. Growing up on a computer and the emerging online space, I was fascinated with the internet and web design. I didn’t know how I’d end up finding a job or what I’d do with this degree at the time, but I was convinced it would be an advantageous decision. The coursework was interesting and the professors were fantastic – it was exactly what I wanted. Because of the tight-knit group of alumni I was able to obtain an internship with an interactive marketing firm right out of college. With the experience gained, I’ve been able to accomplish some of my career goals. I wouldn’t have had this opportunity had I gone another route, and I wouldn’t have met my husband.
- I decided I would study abroad to Australia my junior year of college.
My mom wasn’t a fan of the idea, but I was determined. I learned that with hard work and determination I could do anything, including saving up enough money to buy a plane ticket to Australia (along with spending money for fun things).
- I decided to go through Recruitment and join a sorority.
Right as classes started, so did Recruitment. I explored the four sororities on campus and fell in love with Alpha Delta Pi. Going through Recruitment was one of the best decisions I made at the age of 18. I met many of my new classmates and grew closer with the ones I already knew. I joined a sisterhood that lasts a lifetime. I made some of my best friends. And I’m still involved with the chapter in an advisory position.
- I joined the Special Events Team for the Admissions Office.
Having enjoyed every event I attended as a high school senior, I knew I wanted to participate on the other side. I had so much enthusiasm for Mercer that I wanted to share my love with potential students. We hosted events throughout the school year to bring high school seniors to Macon and gave them a snapshot of what campus life was like. This led to me being a part of the Student Admissions Team my sophomore and senior year, a job that shaped my experience like none other. I learned how to interact with students and parents from all walks of life. It was the most professional position I’d been in and with great mentors, it shaped how I viewed jobs and how you should act as an employee.
I really could go on and on, but this has gotten pretty long. I guess I get sentimental in thinking back over the past. I still can’t believe it’s been 10 years…
I really enjoyed my college years, and while I don’t wish I were back in school, it was a carefree time. I know that I got the most out of my experience and I’m positive that had I gone to college somewhere else, things wouldn’t have turned out the same way. I may have college loans until I’m 35, but it was worth every penny and if I had to make the decision I again, I’d do it in a heartbeat. No questions asked.
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