MERCER-GOLDEN: Becoming a patriot

October 17, 2012
A friend asked me this past week what my feelings about patriotism were. She caught me off guard. It had been a long time since I thought deeply about my relationship to my country. Since our conversation, I’ve continued to think about what it means to be a patriot and if I am one. I »

MERCER-GOLDEN: Identity talk

October 10, 2012
Two experiences in the past few weeks have set me thinking about identity, and how we talk about identity in our politically correct age and diverse community. Two weekends ago, one of my housemates made Chicken Tikka Masala. When I walked to the kitchen to put away my dishes, I cracked what seemed to me »

MERCER-GOLDEN: Read this twice

October 3, 2012
This past week, after a long night of writing, reading and generally feeling frustrated at and about my pile of work that seems never-ending, I got into bed with a book that I first read when I was ten. I’ve read the book maybe six or eight times over the past many years, and often »

MERCER-GOLDEN: Applying yourself

September 26, 2012
My last few weeks have been full of applications — mine and other people’s. As someone who is helping evaluate two sets of applications and writing many more than two sets of applications, I can say loudly and firmly that applications stink. Writing them stinks, but reading them may stink even more. I hate trying »

MERCER-GOLDEN: Making time for reflection

September 19, 2012
Every year during the Jewish High Holy Days, I am reminded of how terrible I am at sitting still. The prospect of being without my phone, reading or doing any immediate tasks for several hours is initially very appealing — thank you, God, that I have the perfect excuse to be unreachable — but 15 »

MERCER-GOLDEN: Committing to service

September 12, 2012
Tonight, the Service Bazaar will be held in Dwight Hall. Freshmen and upperclassmen will have the opportunity to choose causes they feel passionate about; they will pick the organizations they want to be involved with at Yale, at least for now. Since my first foray into the Bazaar — and service — at Yale, I »

MERCER-GOLDEN: Inevitable endings

September 5, 2012
My dog was diagnosed with cancer more than a year ago. Sasha, then a six-year-old golden retriever, was limping heavily on her daily walks and had stopped making the frenetic puppy runs she did whenever she was let off leash at the park. At the time, we assumed that she had pulled a muscle and »

MERCER-GOLDEN: Lessons from London

August 29, 2012
I watched four American women shatter a world record from a distance of only a few hundred yards. Dusk had settled over the Olympic Stadium, and a light haze from the sunset drifted across the manicured central lawn and the hard surface of the track. The tranquility of the scene was undercut by thousands of »

MERCER-GOLDEN: A grown-up summer

April 23, 2012
A few days ago, one of my campers visited me at school. He’ll be coming to Yale in the fall and was full of the joy I remember feeling the first time I stepped on the Yale campus after being accepted. We were drinking tea outside in the glorious sunshine and he asked me what »

MERCER-GOLDEN: Outing anxiety

April 13, 2012
A friend asked me a question the other day: “Do you think other people are as anxious as we are?” I almost laughed and then actually thought about the question. Are other people as anxious I am, and as my friend is, and as so many of my other friends at Yale are? I have »

MERCER-GOLDEN: Iron ladies

March 30, 2012
Over break, I visited the National Portrait Gallery in London, which is full of paintings of England’s most famous citizens, including many women. I was struck by how many strong female leaders England has produced, not least Elizabeth I. I had also recently seen The Iron Lady, about Margaret Thatcher, the powerful if problematic prime »

MERCER-GOLDEN: Remembering solitude

March 2, 2012
This past week, I stopped to read the inscriptions on the walls of Memorial Hall for the first time since I arrived at Yale. I was returning from a run at East Rock and was cold, sweaty and tired, though elated that I had taken an hour to be away from Yale and all the »