Class of 2023 graduates offer this advice to incoming freshmen

hundreds of students in orange shirts on the macon campus
Each year, Mercer University freshmen participate in a weekend event called Bear Beginnings. Photo by Christopher Ian Smith

Welcome to the Mercer University family, Class of 2027! As you prepare to embark on your journey as a Bear, check out these words of wisdom from some of our most recent graduates to help you make the most of your college career. Here, they answer the question: What advice do you have for incoming students?

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Emma Gilliam

“Comparison is the thief of joy. Do not worry about being better than your peers — focus on yourself and doing what makes you happy. Everything else will fall into place.”

Emma Gilliam, Bachelor of Arts, English and law and public policy

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Sam Tupper

“Mercer is full of incredible opportunities to get involved with clubs, sports or even your major. Make sure to look into as many as you can, so you know what is out there. This is also a chance to step out of your comfort zone and pursue new ventures. These are great ways to meet new people and form friend groups. Spending time with my friend group provided some of the fondest memories I have of Mercer.”

Sam Tupper, Bachelor of Arts, psychology and journalism

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Chamoya Wong

“Never stop believing in yourself. Do that thing you want to do. Go to that place you want to go. Life is not going to get easier. You’ve got this. Take advantage of all the resources Mercer has to offer.”

Chamoya Wong, Bachelor of Science, human services

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Savannah Smith

“Seek balance. Even if you have been an academic overachiever your whole life, it is not sustainable to invest all your energy in your schoolwork. Find hobbies, extracurriculars, go to restaurants and events with your friends. Leave your dorm, and make sure you have as many opportunities to fulfill you as possible.”

Savannah Smith, Bachelor of Arts, English and economics

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Syr’Victor Rozier

“Be brave, courageous and bold during this journey.”

Syr’Victor Rozier, Bachelor of Arts, criminal justice

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Lydia Huthmaker

“Enjoy your time at Mercer. Don’t let yourself get so caught up in getting the perfect grade but allow yourself to experience life here. You won’t regret it.”

Lydia Huthmaker, Bachelor of Arts, history

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Krysten Wright

“Don’t be afraid of failure. These are the years to learn about yourself, grow and become the best person you can be. The only way you will fail is if you stop trying and give up on yourself.”

Krysten Wright, Bachelor of Science in Engineering, biomedical engineering

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Shaun Gaskin

“Get out of your shell! Whether you are typically talkative, shy, extroverted or introverted, force yourself out of your comfort zone. Start by talking to the people sitting around you in your classes who you have not yet met. Most people want friends and want to feel they are taking classes with people they know. However, it might take you getting uncomfortable to meet these people. This can also be done through you joining campus ministries, clubs, research groups or intramural teams. It may not always feel easy or even worth it, but it can allow you to meet lifelong friends.”

Shaun Gaskin, Bachelor of Business Administration, management

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Bella Doane

“Don’t be afraid to ask professors questions or for advice. They’re there to help, and we have a unique opportunity where professors know us as students and want the best for us.”

Bella Doane, Bachelor of Business Administration, marketing and management

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Tracy Rodriguez

“Build valuable relationships, both personally and professionally, most of which will last a lifetime. Learn how to manage your time to seek a balanced and healthy schedule. Lastly, explore the world and be open-minded to people and opportunities.”

Tracy Rodriguez, Bachelor of Business Administration, international business


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Jennifer Falk is the director of digital communications at Mercer University and editor-in-chief of The Den. She creates and supervises the development of written and multimedia content for primary University web pages and e-newsletters, including The Den and This Week @ Mercer. In addition, she collaborates with schools and offices to maintain web content and examines data and analytics to drive content creation decisions. She also serves as a member of the University's social media committee.