It’s the most frustrating time of the year: registering for classes. Whether you’re a freshman or graduating next semester, you have probably heard by now that registering for classes is like the Hunger Games. It’s a race against all to lock in the classes you so desperately need to graduate. To help you make it through, here are a few tips to get you ready for whatever registration day throws at you. Find a savior. No matter how prepared you will be for the big day, there’s only so much you have control over. Sometimes you’re just going to have to leave it to supernatural deities (or your academic advisor) to have a perfect registration period. Set a reminder on your phone. Chances are, your registration time will be earlier than your first class. Make multiple reminders on your phone to wake up at least 30 minutes early. That gives you time to bite on a light snack and head to your nearest computer. The Academic Resource Center (ARC) is offering breakfast and additional assistance with registration on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 6 a.m. Have a backup schedule. “It makes the process less stressful when you almost inevitably don't get your first pick of classes,” sophomore Stevie Watson said. You’ll notice in life that not everything goes your way. Classes may fill up before the screen even finishes loading. You may have signed up for a class with an evil professor and drop the class within the first thirty minutes. You might have accidentally only signed up for 12 credits and now you’re in big trouble. That’s why it’s essential to have back up classes. Register for your most important classes first. Elijah Henderson speaks for everyone when he advises us to sign up for the hard class with the best teacher. Classes like chemistry and biology are classes almost everyone takes at Mercer, and sometimes a teacher can make or break you. “You aren't the only one who wants into the best chem professor's lecture,” Henderson said. Register for these classes first and then go back to register for everything else that won’t be as competitive. Don’t worry too much. “It can be a high pressure situation, especially with Mercer's slow system, but staying calm really helps. It'll work out in the end!” Tisha Massey said. She can’t be any farther from the truth on the slow system. Everyone is going through the same struggle, so don’t stress yourself out too much. “Use your academic advisor and academic advising services for assistance” Tony Kemp said. You can also talk to academic advising in the Penfield annex (the side door near the library) for more help. You can visit their Facebook Page, Mercer University Academic and Advising Services, for more tips. Don’t be upset if none of your classes come up. It’s not that these classes don’t exist. It may be a spelling error or flaw in the search system. Make sure you type in the course number correctly. Remember to add the name for the school the class belongs to (e.g., CLA, ART, EGR, etc.), and try adding in the period after the section number. So if you want biology, try putting in CLA BIO 211.(section number) with a period at the end. If that doesn’t work, remove the period. Bring some snacks. Registration can take as little as 5 minutes to as much as 3 hours. While the server disappoints you, snack on some fruit or cereal bars to fuel your mind. Cry. Don’t cry because it happened. Cry because it’s over. You have survived one of the most nerve-wrecking days of college.
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Sometimes school gets in the way of everything important in life—especially eating. With demanding teachers and extracurricular, you may be too busy to sit down and replenish your brain and body with food. Luckily, you can temporarily feed yourself off of the nutrition bars Mercer’s P.O.D sells. These bars range from meal-replacement, to protein, to fiber fillers, to sugar-fests, so it’s best to know which one fits your needs the most. Although nothing beats nutrition like a nice plate of whole, cooked foods, but if you don’t have time to cook or swing by the Farmer’s Market, here are the best and worst nutrition bars Mercer offers. When looking at nutrition bars, stay away from too much sugar. Some of these bars have so much sugar that the nutrition bar is essentially a candy bar in disguise. An overconsumption of sugar leads to obesity and diabetes, according to Prevention.com. Not to mention, sugar can also cause premature wrinkling of the skin. Based on sugar, fiber, and protein, here are the best and worst nutrition bars. QuestBar: A latest edition to Mercer’s P.O.D products, Questbars have been ranked one of the best protein bars according to Bodybuilding.com. Each bar contains over 20 grams of protein and only 1 gram of sugar. To top it all off, Questbars are gluten free and have 14 grams of fiber. This bar ranks as one of the best bars. Clif bars: Clif bars are an energy/protein bar and are marketed as organic. However, it has more sugar than a Hershey bar. 9 grams of protein. With brown rice syrup as the first ingredient, Clif bars contain a non-negligible amount of sugar (around 23 grams at least). If you want a sweet treat and cavities, Clif bars are the best candidates. Appropriate so, Clif bars are ranked one of the worst bars. Nature Valley Protein Bars: These bars have about 10 grams of protein, 6 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of fiber. Although thinner, these bars offer more bang for your buck in terms of protein and fiber, as compared to Clif bars. And as a plus, these bars are also about 10 calories less. Luna Bars are a kind of Clif bar and are marketed for women as gluten-free, non-GMO, and organic energy bar. With only 5 grams of sugar, it fairs better in comparison to original Clif bars. Luna bars have around 7 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. It’s a lighter snack with a vegan protein blend as the first ingredient (however it is most likely not free of GMO’s according to Wellandgood.com) and works as a nice snack. However, this is definitely not a meal-replacement bar. Power Bars: Power Bars are mainly used for those involved in intense physical activity. These bars are marketed for energy bars, boasting around 230 calories. With 9 grams of protein, these bars are similar to Clif bars, and they also have around 20 grams sugar. Because of this, you’ll feel energized with the bars, but if you’re seeking nutrition, this isn’t the best way to go. Powerbars, as far as nutrition goes, rank as one of the worst bars. MET-RX Big Collosal Brownie: Ever seen this protein bar before? It’s huge. It has almost 400 calories, 18 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein, and 30 grams of protein. To top it all off, there is a glazing of sugar on the bar. Out of all these bars, the MET-RX is the only one marketed as an actual meal-replacement bar, which, from these nutrition facts, are completely justifiable. 30 grams of protein tops the charts on these bars, but at 18 grams of sugar, it’s not recommended to eat this every day, especially if you’re diet includes other sugary foods. This bar isn’t the best (due to sugar), but it isn’t the worst either (due to protein). Therefore, proceed with caution.
Everyone sneezes. We could be suffering from allergies, a cold, or a dislodged spec of dust or sand in our nostrils. Nonetheless, when we sneeze, we also expel thousands of our own bodily fluids. We are taught to sneeze covering our mouths with our arms for a good reason: to prevent the spread of illnesses. However, some Mercer students from freshman to seniors still often neglect this simple act of disease prevention. Here are four things that happen when you don’t cover your mouth, or sneeze into your hands. You’re still spreading germs into the air. According to Time magazine, “A typical sneeze can travel 100 m.p.h. and spew countless germs into the air.” A hand can halt a few of the germs in the bodily fluid. But when we sneeze, it’s not just liquid we are expelling. According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, there’s a gas of bacteria we leave behind, and as we’ve learned from physics, gases travel much farther and faster than liquids. Another reason using your hands to cover up a sneeze is discouraged is the force behind a sneeze drives some of the particles into the cracks of your fingers. In other words, the sneeze can slip through your fingers. If you go into the caf and sneeze into your hand, you’re doing a disservice to your fellow Mercerians. The best way to make sure you’re not spreading your illnesses to the rest of us is to cover your mouth with your elbow. You’re covering your hands in germs, too. Stopping the germs from polluting the air with your hand doesn’t mean you’ve stopped them from spreading. When you sneeze into your hands without washing afterwards, you are bound to spread the germs to other objects, such as doorknobs, borrowed pencils, computer lab keyboards and other people’s hands, according to the CDC. People lose respect for you. Sneezing into your elbow is not only a hygienic act, but it’s an act of kindness. It’s saying that you care about the safety and wellbeing of other people and do not want to make them sick. You can still get people sick — even if you just have allergies. You’ve probably sneezed mindlessly into the air due to an allergic reaction, thinking that your germs “aren’t valid” and you can’t get anyone sick. However, according to Healthline, while allergies themselves aren’t contagious, having an allergic reaction weakens your immune system. This in turn makes you more susceptible to other diseases you could be sharing with your sneezes. If you want to be a better Bear, cover your mouth — and NOT just with your hands. Simply place the crook of your elbow over the entirety of your nose and mouth and sneeze. Let’s be considerate of other people’s health and make Mercer clean again.
This year, Mercer University decided to further diversify its dining options by introducing Panda Express. While some were ecstatic to chow down on teriyaki chicken and fried rice, others who might have opted for a veggie burger at the old Burger Studio were disappointed. With fried rice and a generous helping of sodium, the freshman 15 creeps around the corner. But with these tips, you’ll be less likely to weigh as much as a panda. Ask for brown rice. Brown rice is rice that hasn’t been stripped of most of its nutritious contents. According to the National Institution of Health, brown rice is nutrient-dense in the sense that it contains protein, calcium, magnesium, and selenium, a mineral shown to help us fight diseases. And overall, since it’s a whole grain, it’s full of fiber, a key component to feeling full and eating less. Avoid fried anything. Another reason we advise you to choose brown rice is because this rice is boiled rather than fried. What makes fried foods so scrumptious is trans fat, the worst kind of fat you can feed your body. According to a study conducted at Wake Forest University, trans fat makes losing weight difficult because it accounts for the stubborn fat that just won’t go away . According to the Harvard School of Public Health and the National Institution of Health, trans fat can be linked to obesity. Wake Forest University conducted a study using a diet rich in trans-fat and another without. The participants on each diet ate the same amount of calories but the people who ate the trans-fat diet gained more weight — specifically in their abdomen area. In short, fried foods equals trans fat, and trans fat equals gut. Chicken is better than beef. When selecting meats, go for light meats such as chicken and turkey. Lighter meats tend to have a better protein-to-fat ratio (more protein, less fat), which is essential for building muscle and burning fat. Red meats like beef often have more saturated fats, which can increase your risk of obesity, not to mention heart disease. Take it easy on the soy sauce. A characteristic of East Asian dishes is the use of soy sauce. In moderation, soy sauce is okay, but it is high sodium. Do you sometimes feel fat from drinking a lot of water? Water weight happens when our bodies hold in every drop of water we drink. According to Medical News Today, Sodium greatly contributes to water weight since water “follows” wherever salt goes. In addition, soy sauce is often made with monosodium glutamate, otherwise known as MSG. This additive has been associated with migraines, nausea, weakness and chest pains, among other symptoms. The FDA has approved it as safe, but many people can be MSG-intolerant. Go to the gym. You know what’s right across from Panda Express? Of course you can’t out-train a bad diet, but going to the gym can help you maintain or lose weight, and it might even make you want to eat less junk.
Bibb County is home to thousands of people, from college students to neighboring communities. Unfortunately, with people comes heaps of trash. Service projects organized by Mercer’s volunteer organization MerServe have been conducted to beautify Macon. According to KeepGeorgiaBeautiful.org, in 2006, the Department of Transportation spent about $14 million in cleanup — $2 million more than in 2001. In order to see change, change must be made. Therefore, Mercer students should stop wasting time picking up after civilians, and instead should educate the community on how to pick up after themselves. Every year, MerServe hosts an event called “Be a Good NeighBear,” in which service opportunities vary from repainting houses to cleaning up streets. Students can spend hours cleaning different parts of Macon in exchange for community service hours. Then in the subsequent year, all the work is unraveled. The streets are once again filled with garbage, and another group of students is sent to repeat the beautification process. Cleaning the streets for Bibb County residents in an attempt to serve is futile. The residents, without proper education or resources, will continue to deface their environments. Additionally, the effects of littering not only impact the environment, but also the economy in Georgia. According to the Georgia Department of Transportation “more than $12 million was spent in 2001 for litter pickup in Georgia.” Such money could be allocated towards reducing the poverty rate in Georgia, since “more than one in four kids in Georgia is living in poverty” according to the 2015 Telegraph article “Bibb County Ranks near Bottom of State for Children Living in Poverty.” The article continues by drawing a relationship between poverty and education. Since more impoverished children lack education, allocating the resources to correct the poverty situation would indirectly make education more attainable for Bibb County residents. Therefore, teaching the residents how to clean up after themselves is tantamount to killing two birds with one stone. Instead of physically cleaning up downtown Macon, Mercer students should educate the community on the effects of litter. Without understanding that littering causes problems, Macon residents will most likely continue their behavior. Through seminars open to the community, MerServe can teach people how to make a change. For the seminars, student volunteers should research the population and figure out what is stopping the residents from picking up their own trash. Other information such as the number of available trashcans in the community, modes of transportation commonly used, and whether the audience knows what a seminar is should be retrieved. After researching, Mercer students can come in contact with community leaders to share ideas and agree on an accessible location for the majority of the community. Promotional flyers should be made keeping in mind the target audience, and they should then be delivered to families. Getting permission from school principals to mandate that the children show the flyers to their parents is a practical way to reach the target audience. The flyers can discuss the time, date and location of the seminar, as well as a parent’s signature as proof that the child showed their parents. This type of strategy requires much more planning and resources, but in order to change behavior, education is integral. However, because of the amount of time required, opponents to teaching may argue that intervening in individual lives requires too much time compared to cleaning after the civilians. If Mercer students volunteer to clean up the trash, the money saved on cleaning could be used for addressing the poverty and education issue, which, opponents believe, is enough impact. Volunteerism does help the state government allocate their time and funds towards other projects, but if the average American produces 107 tons of trash in a lifetime, Mercer students are greatly outnumbered. A fraction of the cost can be deducted by the efforts of the MerServe program, but if people refuse to change their ways, the trash will continue to accumulate and undermine the attempts of the service project. One of Mercer University’s slogans is, “everyone majors in changing the world.” Often times, the service-based projects and course at Mercer imply that in order to change the world, Mercer students have to act in a way that will make life easier. However, students should understand that changing the world can be as simple as teaching people how to take care of their environment.
Which Wich is the campus’ latest installment in the food business. Dubbed as awesome, delicious and “way better than Subway” by junior Anthony McMillan, this sandwich shop has stolen the hearts of many Mercer Bears in just a short period of time. If only waiting in line was that quick as well. The long lines of Which Wich have made it difficult for students to indulge in the wide variety of sandwiches offered. Despite its popularity, waiting in line isn’t for all of us, so here are 10 things you can do instead. 1. Fill out extra paper bags If you are racing against the clock and really want to limit as much waiting time as you can, have paper bags already pre-filled. That way, you won’t have to bump butts with anyone through the line with excessive “excuse me’s” just to make an order. Have about 5 or 6 pre-filled bags at a time and stuff them in your bookbag. Neatly, of course. 2. Go to the Caf and have someone call you when your order is ready The cafeteria workers will remark that you can’t walk out and walk back into the Caf, so make a friend that ordered later than you, and ask them to call or text you when your order is ready. In the meanwhile, go get lunch at the Caf (it’s not ALWAYS that bad). You can eat the sandwich for dinner. Two birds, one stone. 3. Go to the Caf and get a to-go box Alternatively, you can pay for a to-go box (which is completely refundable with receipt), and save food from the Caf as dinner. If you’re really feeling picky, you can travel to the Farmer’s Market to get your food. 4. Clean out your emails/organize your emails Pretty self-explanatory. An organized student is a successful student. 5. Make a to-do list for tomorrow This is based off of the famous quote “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Get productive. Get proactive. Make use of that waiting time. 6. Do your homework/review notes You say you’re going to review your notes right after class, but you never do. Now you have no choice but to! 7. Call your family back home Just because they got you grounded or ate your food doesn’t mean you can’t check in on them and right about now you’re probably thinking back fondly on your fridge at home. Say hello to remind them you still exist. 8. Budget your meal plan How will you eat for the rest of the week? How many meal swipes do you have? How many meals in general do you have? What are you eating for dinner? Are you eating healthy? 9. Learn military time—Because why not? You might as well calculate how long it will take to get your food anyway. 10. Meditate and appreciate life It’s a privilege to be waiting in line for food, you know.
Mercer’s very own dance charity organization, MU Miracle will be hosting its kickoff event Sept. 22 at Cruz Plaza from 6-8 p.m. There, representatives will inform students on how they can help save a life by dancing this year. MU Miracle is a young group but has already made a great impact. Executive Director Pornchai Chantha said that each year, the group is given a list of patients in need called Miracle children from the Children’s Hospital. These children have been diagnosed with a variety of diseases that require a monumental sum of money to undergo their needed procedure. Last year, MU Miracle was able to raise over $25,000 through their dance marathon and community donations. The money raised by MU Miracle last year was allocated towards renovating the toy room at the Children’s Hospital in addition to aiding several families in need. This month, MU Miracle will further discuss their plans and their impacts at the MU Miracle Kickoff. “It’s like a tailgate,” Chantha said. “It’s an opportunity for Mercer students that are interested to hang out and have a good time.” At the kickoff, MU Miracle will announce their fundraising goal for the year. The group will also provide more details about Bearathon, a pep rally for the Miracle children. “We are really trying to get our name out there this year. Last year we had a good turnout [for the dance marathon] but we are really trying for an even bigger turnout this year,” said Raegan Hudson, MU Miracle member. “We just want to raise awareness.”
Nearing the end of the semester, students are furiously planning out how long they’re going to be studying for their o-chem final or calculating what grade they need to get on their Spanish projects to finally bring that semester-long F to at least a D. No, what many Mercer Bears are looking forward to is the final-free day of finals week, also dubbed as Dead Day. On Dead Day, the tradition is to not have any finals or classes. You have one extra day to study, sleep in or goof off. As a result, students are planning to use their free day for a variety of different things. Biochemistry and molecular biology major Sekhar Kasan was sitting at a table in the library when he said that on Dead Day, he would be studying. At the Connell Student Center, senior Danny Wells was planning on doing the opposite. “I’m turning up!” he said. “The Mill is about to be lit.” Mary Marudas, a freshman, said that she is probably going to be “binge watching Netflix, feeling terrible, not getting work done and eating in preparation.” Mason Mishael, also a freshman, said that he would “probably [be] playing the ukulele.” Zach Smith answered that he would be “practicing the piano.” Jihan Jones said that “I’mma be dead.” What will you be doing on Dead Day? The Academic Resource Center will have kittens and cats from Kitty City Cat Rescue in the ARC from 10:00 a.m. on May 2 until 5:00 p.m. on May 3.
Mercer’s playwriting class will put on six 10-minute student-directed and student-written plays this month, collectively entitled “An Evening of Original Works.” The show runs from April 14-17 at 7:30 p.m. with a 2:30 matinee Sunday. Annie Fair, a theatre major who took the class last semester, is looking forward to the final production, although producing her play “Cookies” has taken a lot of work. “The most difficult part about producing the plays was finding a way to stage them without building a set,” Fair said. She further explained that it took a great deal of effort to make sure that the stage pieces used for the production weren’t too heavy or difficult to move. Long transitions between the short plays would have been distracting and could have taken away from the magic of the productions. Building the stage, however, accounted for only a fraction of Fair’s stress. In addition to being a playwright, Fair also held the title of assistant director, stage manager, flight director and co-lighting designer. “I’m very busy,” Fair said. “But I love what I do, so it’s worth it.” “Cookies” focuses on the importance of relationships: familial, romantic, good and bad. Fair’s play aims to allow the audience to experience different kinds of love and the requirements of love, such as sacrifice and acceptance. “It has some sad moments and funny parts,” Fair said, “and I think everyone will be able to find something or someone in it that they can relate to.” Kaitlin Faulk, Joseph Jackson, Chiyanne Wilson, Stevie Watson and Noelle Fancher will star in Fair’s play. While she is not working on her own play, Fair enjoys seeing the actors rehearse and unveil the stories in the work of the other five playwrights. “I don’t have a favorite play,” Fair said. “Since they were all written by different people, each play has a different style or sense of humor. They’re all so different and that makes it fun.” Fair’s passion and expertise have also been helpful to junior theatre and psychology major Katie Clay, whose work will also be featured in the showcase. Clay, who recently played Hedda in the Mercer Players’ production of “Hedda Gabbler,” serves as the director of the show. As an actress, Clay had little experience in directing and producing a play, but she credits Fair with “making the transition painless.” “Playwriting was a class and directing was a class,” Clay said, “but actually putting [those skills] to use is something completely different. And I'm really excited to have the opportunity to do both.” Clay’s play, which focuses on emotional abuse and its similarities to physical abuse, will serve as a transition piece linking the plays together. Though the audience won’t see Clay and Fair in action, their stories are sure to make viewers laugh, cry, and applaud them on a job well done. Tickets are $5. Each show will be performed at Tattnall Square Center for the Arts.
Students of Mercer’s Townsend School of Music are given opportunities throughout the year to hear musicians from around the world perform and attend master classes conducted by the visiting artists. This series, the Joan Stockstill Godsey Concert Series, is a result of one of many long-lasting monetary gifts from Mercer’s former president, Dr. R. Kirby Godsey, and his wife Joan Godsey. Dr. Carol Goff, Chair of Keyboard Studies at Mercer, emphasized how instrumental the Godseys were in bettering Mercer in all of its departments. “Ms. Godsey was a church musician, and [she and her husband] always wanted to be involved,” Goff said. Dr. Godsey was also heavily responsible for the Townsend School of Music coming to fruition. In its beginning, the music department was part of the College of Liberal Arts, but Godsey was a crucial part of the school of music’s separation. “The idea [of the Godsey series] is to fund concerts to bring in major artists for edification of the student body and public,” said Dr. Ian Altman, associate professor of piano at Mercer and the next performer in the series. Altman will perform selections from the masterful piano works of Debussy, Liszt, Beethoven, and Chopin. The concert will take place in Fickling Hall at 7:30 p.m. on March 29.
Every January, the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) hosts a conference for music educators statewide. Attendees are treated with fresh classroom ideas, camaraderie and special concerts from the state’s most prestigious ensembles. This time, the Mercer Singers have been invited to serve as an exhibition choir. The conference welcomes music teachers from every grade level that want to learn how to better their ensemble. Teachers can receive advice varying from how to tune properly to how to recruit more men into a choir. The selection process to sing for the GMEA concert was laborious for both the Mercer Singers and director Stanley Roberts. “We submitted our audition on tape,” Roberts said. “Then there was a blind audition process, and then we heard we were accepted to sing.” This is the seventh time one of Roberts’ choirs has participated in the conference, which does not allow back-to-back participation. While at the conference, the Mercer Singers and Roberts will have the opportunity to listen to a variety of choirs. Roberts said he felt that the performances at GMEA provide inspiration from the new, euphonic songs to the pure voices of the children’s choirs. Just as Roberts is inspired by younger voices, he hopes high school choirs will be equally inspired by the Mercer Singers. “I want high school choirs to (think), ‘Wow, that’s a good program,’” said Roberts. By participating in the concert, the Mercer Singers not only serve as entertainment, but they also work as recruiters, showcasing the quality of Mercer University’s Townsend School of Music. “The older I get, the less uptight I am about (preparation for GMEA),” Roberts said, even though the Mercer Singers are required to memorize seven songs and half the choir has been preparing for the Mercer University Opera’s performance of the musical “Oklahoma!” Nevertheless, Roberts is optimistic and confident about the performance. “Part of my job is to keep everyone on the same page, and there indeed have been challenges some years,” said Roberts. “Not this year.” In preparation, the Mercer Singers will join Riverwood High School on Jan. 26 to perform their respective pieces for a “prelude to the GMEA concert. “[Performing a prelude concert] really gets the monkey off your back since we won’t be as uptight,” Roberts said. The Mercer Singers will officially showcase the effects of their hard work and determination Saturday, Jan. 30 at 10:30 a.m. in Athens, Georgia.
Mistletoe, turkey, cupcakes, nail polish: Mercer’s international students have unique ways of celebrating the holiday season. We asked a few Bears about their plans for the holidays, and the potpourri of celebrations and traditions that exemplify Mercer’s diversity. Hetu Shah Hetu Shah, an active member of Mercer Masala, has already celebrated her version of New Year’s. Diwali is a Hindu celebration honoring a new year, and the phrase translates to the “festival of lights.” “It is a Hindu celebration signifying the triumph of darkness by bringing forth a new slate, a new year, a new beginning for the year to come,” Shah said. “There is a lot of traditional dancing accompanied with congratulatory sweets and family bonding time.” This year, Mercer’s newest South Asian organization, Mercer Masala, opened the celebration to all students . “I (couldn’t) wait to let other Mercer students become immersed in (my) culture,” said Shah. Katrina Lumban Biochemistry major Katrina Lumban also enjoys the traditions of her indigenous Asian culture during the holiday season. Her family does not normally celebrate Thanksgiving, but Christmas is a big deal to her Filipino-Catholic family. “The Phillippines is the largest Catholic country in Asia, so Christmas is very important,” Lumban said. Throughout her schooling in The Philippines, Lumban’s teachers would regale the students with Kris Kringle, the Filipino rendition of Secret Santa, every year. However, Lumban had never thought much about Christmas gifts until she came to America after her mother remarried. Nonetheless, the transition did not change the true meaning of Christmas to Lumban, which is family. “My earliest memory of meeting my 4th generation cousins is through Christmas!” Lumban said. For Lumban, the days before Christmas are a bonding time full of scary movies, face painting, doing her cousin’s nails and finally praying before digging into a traditional Filipino feast exactly at 12:00 a.m. on Christmas Day. Kelsey Duffey To Irish-Catholic student Kelsey Duffey, family is extremely important on Christmas and Thanksgiving Day. Because of her many relatives, Duffey’s family has to prepare two turkeys for two separate Thanksgiving celebrations. Every even-numbered year, members of Duffey’s mother’s family come over and bring dishes to add to the meal. On the odd years, her paternal relatives celebrate with her. On both Thanksgiving and Christmas, Duffey’s family adds a dessert party to the day’s festivities, and Duffey spends much of her time in the kitchen preparing cupcakes and adorning cakes for her family. The end of the semester may be a season of cramming, testing and anxiety, but many Mercer students are fixated on the reward for it all: a break from school to spend with friends and family. No matter what religions or cultures make up Mercer’s student body, we can all agree that we are well prepared to celebrate the season in our own way.
There is no age requirement for sharing one’s talent, and the Mercer University Children’s Choir is proof. Dr. Richard Kosowski, director of graduate studies and a professor of voice at Mercer’s Townsend School of Music, is currently leading the choir in preparation for their annual “Sing & Rejoice!” holiday concert. This December, the 60 artistically-motivated young members of the choir will use their voices to retell the story of Christmas in song, poetry and biblical readings. The members of the Mercer University Children’s Choir are chosen from a wide pool of applicants after three auditions. Only 60 children — dynamically ranging in age, education and cultural backgrounds — are selected to join the choir. This will be MUCC’s 11th season and the fifth time the choir has performed the “Sing and Rejoice!” concert. “Particularly exciting about this concert is that there will be a number of songs that feature our choristers accompanying the choir instrumentally on brass, woodwind and percussion instruments,” Kosowski said. The choir referred to here is MUCC’s Touring Choir, composed of older and more vocally developed choristers. At the “Sing & Rejoice!” concert, the musical selections will be as diverse as the musicians performing them. The songs originate from the 15th-21st centuries and are written in a variety of languages, including English, German, French, Latin and even the Native American dialect of the Huron-Wendat nation. The “Sing & Rejoice!” concert encourages families to come together and experience the talents of the choir while enjoying each other’s company this holiday season. “Sing & Rejoice!” will take place on Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m. or Dec. 13 at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person and $40 for an entire family, and all of the event’s proceeds will go toward the MUCC’s Scholarship fund.
One Mercer University student has introduced a new event to campus — one that she said she hopes will spread awareness of the diverse cultural background of students. Sophomore Jazmine Buckley organized the Flag Day parade, scheduled for Nov. 17 on Cruz Plaza. “I decided to do this because I think it's really important to highlight the diversity on Mercer’s campus,” Buckley, a political science and French major, said. Buckley is organizing the Flag Day parade, but she said the idea for such cultural recognition originally came from a member of International Bears Association who wanted more multi-cultural representation. As a correspondent for SGA’s Campus Engagement Committee, Buckley decided to turn this dream into a reality and advocate for the parade. But, “The details aren’t all ironed out just yet,” Buckley said. Flag Day proposes a festive atmosphere with holiday-inspired treats, indigenous music from several countries, and a potpourri of flags waved by the multicultural student body of Mercer University. “People should participate because it's a great way to support our international classmates as well as embrace all of our different backgrounds,” Buckley said. [pullquote speaker="Jazmine Buckley" photo="" align="right" background="on" border="all" shadow="on"]People should participate because it's a great way to support our international classmates as well as embrace all of our different backgrounds.[/pullquote] African Student Association (ASA) member Faith Etim intends to represent Nigeria in the upcoming event. The first year global health major expressed her zeal for learning about other cultures and said that it’s a shame how “we often forget, or are not conscious of, the breadth of cultures that Mercer has to offer.” “Mercer tends to idealize global community without actually engaging with them [on campus],” Etim said. She pointed out Mercer on Mission as an existing opportunity for Mercer to expand their cultural insights. “Mercer on Mission is a great program, but it is also important to remember that we have students right here on campus with so much to offer,” she said. “Hopefully Flag Day will bring greater awareness. I’m expecting to learn a lot,” Etim said. Bridget Boyd, who is majoring in civil engineering, said that she is interested in the Flag Day parade. Coming from a Trinidadian background, the sophomore said she holds her heritage close to her. “Trinidad is comprised of age-old cultures with traditional practices. We have carnivals with many colors and costumes. The steel pan originated in Trinidad.” Boyd said. She mentioned how being from Trinidad encourages her to work hard and follow suit of her mom and grandfather. Both worked the nightshift to move from the limited resources of Trinidad to the United States in an effort to better the lives and education of their future family. In fact, her grandfather, who slept most nights on cold floors, was one day promoted to being principal of the school he taught in Trinidad, she said. He earned so much recognition for his hard work that when he left his school for another, parents followed and enrolled their kids into that school. Boyd said she is anxious to represent the cultural background that helped her become a Mercer Bear and learn about others doing the same at the event. “I’m excited to hold our flags and sing our national anthems,” she said. For more information on Flag Day, contact Jazmine Buckley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Mercer Players will bring another delight to the stage with their production of Steven Dietz’s “Fiction.” Though neither of them had ever heard of “Fiction,” Scot Mann, who works as an associate professor and director of theater for Mercer, and Marian Zielinski, a professor of theater in the Department of Communication Studies and Theatre, became interested in the play due to their fondness of Dietz’s other works. “Fiction” contains only three characters. The plot centers around husband and wife Michael (Cohen Bickley) and Linda (Katie Clay) — two successful authors whose lives are turned around when Linda discovers she has terminal cancer. She grants permission for her husband to read her journal after she dies so long as she is able to read his as well. In doing so, it is revealed that an affair has occurred, and the rest of the play depicts the complications that ensue. Abby (Hannah Fancher), the head of a writer’s colony, becomes an integral part of the couple’s secrets. “It really speaks to how our writing relates to ourselves and how that legacy is something that you leave behind,” Mann said, “And when others read it, it becomes something else.” As the director of a play, Mann admitted that casting only three characters for “Fiction” wasn’t easy. “We have very good actors here,” he said. “It makes choosing difficult in a good way.” Lighting has also been one of the production’s significant challenges. The scenes will be set up — for the first time in a Mercer production — with ‘in the round’ seating. Audience members will sit around the characters in a circle, and lights have to be positioned in every angle to block out shadows. By creating only three characters, Mann said Dietz honed his talent into creating extensive, dynamic dialogue. “There is so much depth to the characters that every time we rehearse, we find something new,” he said. For the actors, learning the lines is of course an obstacle, but Mann said, “The real challenge is honoring the characters.” The characters’ understudies will have an opportunity to perform, too. This rendition will be presented exclusively for art majors and minors. Mann said that he wants to encourage a unification of the many art disciplines within the Mercer community. “The artistic experience is part of what makes the Mercer community unique,” he said. “People should take advantage of that while they’re in college.” “Fiction” will open Thursday, Nov. 12 in the Tattnall Square Center for the Arts.
Taking my first steps into the next four years of college life, feelings of invigoration and disgust overcame me. I was finally out of my parents’ jurisdiction and into a new world of friendships and brand new experiences, like being in debt. Moving to college is like a double-edge sword where you win some, you lose some. But initially, I was more interested in the bright side, as you’d expect most freshmen should be. Eventually, however, I learned that there really are more cons then pros when in college, and most of the cons deal with money. Everyone knows college is expensive, but do they even understand why? What exactly are Mercerians investing their life savings in? The traditional answer to the posed question would be education. Students who excelled in high school are often praised for their academic rigor, and thus, have been conditioned to correlate good grades with a well-known and profound university — or, like my mother says, “a name-brand school.” Yet, the cost of attending college skyrockets every year; is it really solely due to education? College is a marketplace with myriad of merchants: merchants for your textbooks, for your living conditions, for your food, and then the professors are introduced. Freshmen do not conceptualize this image because they’re blinded by school, at first. They have surpassed the first obstacle and got into the school of their dreams — a “honeymoon phase” if you will. But those that never really fell in love with Mercer are more aware of the similarities between a name-brand education and a fancy restaurant. Unfortunately, I learned that there are some things unaccounted for in that $2,000 bill I receive every month. After investing hours in the library on a personal narrative for class, I felt relieved to finally click the print button and walk out with the little bit of sanity I had left. Little did I know that printing would be yet another obstacle for me. “Why isn’t it printing?” I whined to a librarian. Her answer robbed me of my elation like how my mother’s bank account is robbed every month for my education. Printing isn’t free. You would think that a private school means a private education. That a private education means not only are you rewarded with small class sizes and professors that do more than read from a textbook, but you also have access to essential peripherals, such as printers. Why is the need for printing unaccounted for in our tuition? Actors or screenwriters who have to print novellas every few weeks; Bearitone singers who need to print out sheet music for each mash up; and eager writers who just want their papers reviewed at the ARC; all of us are slapped with yet another merchant, another expense, and another reason we are financially unstable because we are ironically “bettering our education.” I have found a solution in that problem: save up for a printer. Then I will have to deal with getting it connected, toner issues, expensive ink cartridges, but at least I will have something I can call my own after the classes end. However, if the answer to all my complaints was to just go out and buy a specific item, my dorm would be a laundromat. I would have to buy my own dryer and washing machine since the laundry service offered is yet another merchant, another “sold separately” necessity. When I learned that washing and drying my clothes are $1.25, I was appalled. Why then am I spending over $2,000 for room and board? What exactly am I paying for? I spoke with my resident assistant on the matter, and she answered with a list. Two thousand-plus dollars goes to pay for the room space, the electricity, the wifi, and the water. Then I compared my living conditions to those at the University of Georgia and Kennesaw State University — two public schools where utilizing the laundry services does not require students to find a job. My friends at UGA are also treated with 24-hour dining services, whereas I am smuggling food from the cafeteria before the weekend hits, and everything closes at the most inconvenient times. Is it because I go to a smaller school? Is it because Mercerians are investing their money more on educational matters than vanity? Are we compensating for our expensive education by sacrificing peripherals? What makes our education so special? Do employers really care which school their employees come from? Questions, questions, and more questions. What remains the same is that what normally acts as a right is actually a privilege. People have a right to education but before pursuing the required education for many careers, their education converts into a privilege. Essentially, it is survival of the wealthiest when it really shouldn’t be. We should not have to worry about how we can find jobs to wash our clothes or pay for printing on top of going to class. We should not have to sacrifice our sanity for being accepted to a “name-brand” school only to lack funds to afford the education. What are we paying for?
“People thought I was weird [in high school] because I made art. So, I made more.” Although Alex Harper’s high school classmates questioned his motives, nothing stopped him from committing to his passions: drawing, painting, sculpting, writing, graphic design, and practically every other form of art. As a fledgling artist, Harper gained an interest in photography and music from his parents and later learned how to play the drums and guitar. These, however, were only the first of his self-taught talents. Through a tumultuous childhood featuring two divorces, financial instability and bullies, Harper used art as an outlet whenever he could. He taught himself the principles of graphic design and interned at his school’s art department, where he developed his own uniquely eccentric t-shirt designs and posters. Harper’s high school peers were confused as to why someone would “waste” so much time making art and labeled him a “weirdo” because he did. Harper shrugged the insults off and instead used them as fuel for his artwork, which incorporates surreal touches in a similar style to Rene Magritte. Yet, his true inspiration lies in the enjoyment and adversity of life. “Life happens and art is a reaction to it,” Harper said. By selling his art and applying for scholarships, the freelance artist is paying his way through college. Though Harper has developed passion and skill as an artist, he does not plan to pursue a full-time career in this field. He said that due to the financial burdens of his childhood, he would rather invest time and money in a career with a stronger financial return, such as computer science. “We’re never not going to have technology,” he said. “We’re always going to be making technological advances.” Harper said that he doesn’t need a degree in art to confirm that he is an artist because he has worked with many mediums of art for years. If money wasn’t in question, Harper said he believes that he would not be limited by job prospects, but he affirmed that he will continue to pursue a degree in computer science. Because the field is so broad, Harper will be able to incorporate art in his work. “With a portfolio in graphic design and a degree in computer science, I can pretty much do anything,” he said. To view more of Harper’s work, visit his Facebook page or soundcloud.com/afrofolk.