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Saying Goodbye to Merrimack During a Pandemic

Megan Snow ‘20

Editor in Chief

I never pictured my undergraduate career would come g to an end in my childhood bedroom. As I submit my final papers, projects, and exams, I can’t help but feel like it’s anticlimactic. Am I supposed to be relieved that classes are over or upset that I will never take a class at Merrimack again? If I had known my last moment of senior year would be spent returning from spring break and packing a bag to quickly go back home, I would’ve packed a little bit slower.

In August of 2016 when it came time to drive down to Massachusetts and begin a new era of my life, I was anxious and nervous that it wouldn’t go well. I cried when I left my house and said goodbye to my dog and my sisters, and I cried even harder when my parents left me in the bleachers of Hamel court with my brand new roommates (which was embarrassing at the time but funny now that I look back on it). I felt homesick for a few weeks, but that feeling was eventually replaced by excitement for the rest of my college experience as I started making friends and getting involved on campus.

I’ve been involved with The Beacon since my freshman year. I attended my first meeting in the O’Brien classroom and awkwardly pitched an idea to the upperclassmen, which was as intimidating as you probably picture in your head. Thankfully, they trusted me enough to follow through with an article and published my piece that October. I continued to write for The Beacon here and there, and eventually applied for the Photo Editor position my junior year. Now, as Editor-in-Chief, I’m so glad I didn’t let those unfamiliar feelings of uncertainty intimidate me. The Beacon took me to California for the first time to attend the ACP journalism conference, and gave me friendships I never knew I needed. I have proudly written about politics and topics that people don’t want to talk about, because I know the importance of standing up for what you believe in, and The Beacon helped give me that voice. 

I also became involved with Active Minds, a mental health awareness group at Merrimack. Active Minds quickly became a safe space for me, where I could not only acknowledge my struggles but also talk about them openly. I’ve struggled with depression for many years and thought it would disappear as I transitioned into a new life at college, but low and behold, my depression actually became worse. In the summer of 2018, a friend of mine died by suicide, and I never thought I would mentally recover from that trauma. I applied for the President position of the club, and channeled as much energy as I could into educating students on mental health and creating a space where mental health can be talked about safely. Without having Active Minds, I wouldn’t have the confidence to tell my story and help others, and I am so grateful I took advantage of that opportunity.

I think it’s safe to say that Merrimack has given me the best four years of my life. I’ve had many ups and downs throughout my time as an undergrad, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’ve taken advantage of every opportunity that was given to me, and I can look back and say I have no regrets. As I say goodbye to the place that I’ve called my second home for four years, I can’t help but feel sad that I won’t be stepping into an O’Reilly classroom for a public health course again or that I won’t be grabbing a coffee at the Sanctuary before class everyday. It’s the little things that I will miss the most.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a lot of things into perspective for me and it’s made me realize that I took the time I had left at Merrimack for granted. As a senior experiencing graduation postponement, cancelled events, and my last weeks at Merrimack taken away, it feels like there’s a missing piece of my puzzle. I think I’ll always carry that feeling with me, but I’m so lucky to have no regrets. I have met the most incredible faculty, professors, and friends at Merrimack, and that is something you cannot put a price on.