Being a Bear in Macon: WIM, Vol. 1

by Amanda Carls

The great Sarah Donnelly, current Mercer sophomore, said these wise words to me today:

“I want to help our students learn how to ‘Be the Bear’ in Macon.”

I love that. We spend time helping new students learn how to ‘Be the Bear’ at Mercer…. but when you take it one step further into Macon, you’re expanding your sphere of impact– and THAT is an EXCITING THING.

Remember the “Macon: Your Home” video? If not, long story short: more than 50,000 people watched it, shared it, and loved it as it launched for MGA, Wesleyan, and Mercer students this fall (SHOUT OUT to the College Hill Commission for believing in this project and funding it). It’s a video worth watching again>>— give it three minutes and you’ll see that Macon has a LOT to offer.

That said: welcome to the inaugural “Weekend in Macon” (WIM, for short, because we are clever like that) Orangeprint post. Make THIS the weekend you do more than homework! Side note: homework is important, but so is having a 2-3 hour adventure and study break.

Sky Over Macon at the Museum of Arts and Sciences: Friday, Feb 3

Explore space, the constellations, and planets visible from Central Georgia in “Sky Over Macon” in the Mark Smith Planetarium. Clear skies? View the real night sky through the telescope in the Observatory!

First Friday in downtown Macon: Friday, Feb 3

It’s the first Friday of the month, so there is an entire evening of “First Friday” activities happening downtown. Check out the “February First Friday Hot Spots” on the NewTown Macon Facebook Page>>.

Macon Mayhem: Friday, Feb 3 AND Saturday, Feb 4

Bundle up and support Macon’s own minor league hockey team either Friday OR Saturday night at the Macon Centreplex. See you on the ice!

Kool-Aid and Canvas at 567 Center: Saturday, Feb 4

Grab your $20 and possible sweetheart, pals, or person down the hall for a morning of painting and snacks. Register online>>.

Thrift Pop Up Shop 2017 at Deja Vous Consignment & Boutique: Saturday, Feb 4

On the hunt for flannel zebra jammies?  This pop up shop>> sounds like it’s a promising shopping experience on a budget– various sized name & designer brand shoes and clothing.

Corey Smith: Saturday, Feb 4

Break out your boots and head over to Cox Capital Theatre to see Corey Smith>> live in concert. Only $25 for tickets!


Go “OUT ON A WIM” and have a great weekend in Macon!


Namaste on Track This Semester

by Amanda Carls

I’m not a “yogi” by any means, but I have found that I really enjoy the practice of yoga.  My first yoga class was quite comical—I spent the majority of my time trying to figure out how to keep up with what the instructor was saying and look good while doing it.  I was approximately three movements behind the entire time and found myself frustrated that my downward dog wasn’t the best downward dog of them all.

Truth be told: Rome wasn’t built in a day (that’s what I’ve heard, anyway).  My yoga practice started messy.  I didn’t know what I was doing so I measured myself against everyone else, and then found myself upset when I wasn’t what I thought I needed to be.  But then, revelation: the moment of clarity.  While Vinyasa Flow, Restorative Yoga, and Warm Hatha classes are all structured differently, they all end the same way: with people on their mats, lights off, and focused on our breathing.  Slow, deep breaths in and slow, deep breaths out.  I’m no rocket scientist, but I would have never imagined that JUST BREATHING could be so insightful.  There’s something powerful when you’re called to “just be” for a while—to relax, listen, and be kind to yourself for a few minutes.  That is only maximized by sharing the room with 30 other people you don’t know very well, realizing that their silence is just as reflective and special as yours.  When we take time to silence our lives—quit talking long enough to listen to our own breaths and the breaths of those in our community—we become connected.  You’re no longer just a person, on a mat, practicing yoga.  Instead, you’re a part of something bigger than yourself—doing life with other people—even for just a short moment in time.

I went to a yoga class earlier this week and, to my surprise, shared the practice with two Mercer students and another Mercer colleague.  About halfway through the class, I began laughing to myself about how anti “picture-perfect” my practice had become.  I was sweating, had my foot in someone else’s face, and was pretty sure my hair looked like I’d been riding down the road with my head out the window.  And then it hit me: who says it has to be “picture-perfect?”  Why is perfection my standard of measuring a successful yoga class?  Isn’t it enough to show up—to be there, do my best, and offer myself a little grace in the process?  And to take it one step further, why can’t that same rationale be applied to this spring semester and to life in general?

“Isn’t it enough to show up—to be there, do my best, and offer myself a little grace in the process?”

I offer you a semester challenge (inspired by yoga, but not confined to those who practice yoga): embrace the anti “picture-perfect.”  Don’t expect yourself to do everything correctly.  That’s part of the joy of college—you won’t do everything perfectly.  In fact, that’s HOW you LEARN.  You may literally fall on your face walking up the stairs to the UC (happened to me) or you may figuratively fall on your face when your first quiz doesn’t go as smoothly as you’d like it to go.  Regardless of how you’ll fall, it’s important to pick yourself up.  Evaluate what you did well and what you want to keep working on.  It’s all about progress: being a little better than you were the day before.  Just like our Orangeprint suggests, it’s important to have a PLAN—create your own four-year academic plan for your major>> and use our Orangeprint, a four-year blueprint for success in college>>.  Treat your plan as your guide, not your “rule book.”  Be flexible (yoga pun intended) and adjust accordingly when things don’t work out exactly the way you’ve envisioned.

After my yoga class earlier this week, I pulled my friends aside and asked them to take a picture—not because we looked “perfect,” but because I wanted a reminder of how far we’ve come.  We were sweaty and tired, but we showed up and gave our practice our all.  And for that, I’m grateful.  The important things aren’t always the ones that turn out being the best Insta-pictures or the ones that get the most “likes” on Facebook, but they are the ones we want to remember.  Embrace when your plan doesn’t turn out to be “picture-perfect,” because in the in-between, life happens—and that can be a beautiful thing that helps you see your truest potential.  Namaste.