Merlynn Pierre '18


Name: Merlynn Pierre

Class Year: 2018

Major: French

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

Born In: Port-au-Prince, Haiti


Why did you choose Mount Holyoke?

I chose Mount Holyoke on a whim. I never planned on going to Mount Holyoke. The financial aid, however, was amazing. When I got here I asked myself, “what am I doing? I want to go home!” After a while though I realized that Mount Holyoke brought out a part of me I didn’t know and had repressed for so long in high school. People here don’t really care what you’re doing. You can explore parts of yourself without fear of judgement. That’s part of why I chose to stay at Mount Holyoke. I went back to my elementary school enthusiasm and I am willing to try new things and more willing to speak up because I know I’m not going to be ostracized for it.


What’s the biggest difference between the city of Chicago and South Hadley? Was the adjustment a difficult one for you?

Oh my gosh! I came here and was asking myself, “What the heck am I doing? Where’s the Starbucks? Why is there no stoplight? Where is everyone?” I think the hardest thing was the time adjustment. In the city nothing closes, everything’s open pretty much all day and all night. Even if it does close it’s very late. So not being able to get dinner for example past 10:00pm was very hard for me. I was so used to running on a schedule where I could eat and do things whenever I wanted. I was pretty set to that schedule so that was by far the hardest adjustment. I was trying to force my body to do things that I wouldn’t necessarily do at home. It’s also very quiet here, like deathly quiet. That was very weird for me because on Saturday nights it would be completely silent but I’m so used to hearing chattering or cars going by. It made me feel more isolated because it was more quiet and because some of the students here are very reserved. The adjustment was definitely a difficult one.


When did you move from Haiti? What do you miss most about it?

I moved from Haiti in the early 2000’s. I obviously miss my family because I haven’t been able to go back as often as I would like, and so I’m not as close to them as I was. Also, I haven’t spoken to any of my childhood friends since I left. I think I miss the warm weather and the food the most. I can try as hard as I can but the Haitian population in Chicago isn’t that big so it’s kind of hard to recreate that. In Miami or New York there are so many Haitians so you feel that sense of Haiti in the United States. Unfortunately it’s hard to recreate that in Chicago. It’s not the same, I can try to recreate the same foods or listen to the same music but it will never be the same.

(Beet and Potato Salad: Marilyn’s favorite dish!)


What are your plans for next semester?

Next semester I hope to go abroad to Montpelier, France and hope to do a bit of research about how France has been involved in Haitian affairs, especially after the recent earthquake. I want to find out what they are doing to ameliorate the situation that’s going on right now with the elections. I’m also very interested in the post slavery relation between the two countries.


What’s your favorite song to jam out to currently?

D.A.M.” by Fetty Wap

I don’t know, it just gets me in a good mood! It’s my walking to class song. It’s just like a feel good song. It makes me feel like I’m on top of the world, especially when I’m looking like a mess heading to class at 8:35am!


Which TV Show are you obsessing over right now?

“How to Get Away With Murder!” It draws you in. I have never really been into TV Shows, but the complexity of the characters, especially Annalise (played by Viola Davis), is the first TV show for me where I have seen a complex black woman as the lead character. You get to see all sides of her, like the vulnerable side, strong side, angry side, everything is contextualized. They’re not confining her to the best friend or the sassy black girl, so that’s what got me immediately drawn to it. Also the issues that they tackle, for example the corruption in the government, is so exhilarating! Even if you're not into the whole drama thing there's always something in it for you in that show.


If you would like to write for Her Campus Mount Holyoke, please email [email protected].