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Time to listen up

November 4, 2022 at 4:00:00 PM

Jack Lewis ’25

What is the first thing that comes to mind in the typical Mercersburg student’s mind after hearing the words “required evening lecture”? They may be excited to learn something new, hear a different perspective, or meet an influential person, but oftentimes their reaction is the complete opposite. In the time leading up to a lecture, complaints and rants about the event are frequently expressed. 

This view towards the events from students is disrespectful to the speakers and the planners. Questions about the purpose of these events are repeated in the buildup to that Monday. But what is the true purpose of attending these events?

In the 2021-22 school year, Mercersburg hosted various lectures of significance that are still discussed today. One of the common favorites was NYU Professor Dr. Dan Lerner’s lecture regarding ways to find happiness and balance between school and hobbies. Hearing this created immediate and different ways in which many students manage their daily lives. 

Most recently, Mercersburg invited Diana Lora ’00 back onto campus. Lora’s hilarious personality and inspirational message made the lecture a night to remember, yet the behavior of many students was disrespectful and inconsiderate towards Lora’s message. Students could be seen talking among themselves during the lecture, which reflects a growing negative attitude towards lectures in our community. 

These speakers are often misunderstood by the student population. The effort put into the construction and performance of the lectures can go unnoticed. However, the students are not entirely to blame. Mercersburg’s academic rigor can make it frustrating to lose one of the small amounts of time that may be put to use studying or completing homework. Though, as a student population, there are many benefits to attending lectures. 

Lectures are a great way to learn and understand certain concepts that you may not be exposed to in everyday classes, like how to manage mental health problems or understanding that success comes in many different forms. What is more, these events are not available at most other schools. Mercersburg is fortunate enough to have talented and important figures come to campus to speak about various topics.

Lectures and speeches of various kinds have been a tradition at Mercersburg since its founding; they bring positive messages to the student population, and we need to appreciate them. Devaluing such events and seeing them as a waste of time is a stain on the reputation of our school and inhibits our learning. At a school where the education of the whole student is valued, we should always strive to be curious and respectful inside and outside the classroom. 

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