Emily Merritt

Emily Merritt

Class of 2012
Chinese Language Award

When I entered Mount Holyoke College as a first year student, I had no idea that by choosing first year Chinese as one of my classes, I had just chosen a path that would lead me to some of my greatest college experiences. For the past four years, Chinese class has been the venue for some of the most interesting and lively class discussions, the most thrilling linguistic and cultural discoveries, and the longest lasting friendships. When everything else in my life felt tumultuous and uncertain, Chinese class and the Asian Studies Department were always places I knew I could go to find kindhearted professors and a supportive environment.

Now that I am graduating this spring, I know that I will look back fondly on memories of robot-themed skits in the Language Theater Competition, singing with the class on China night, and giving speeches about Chinese basketball stars! I am so grateful to my professors and classmates for all of these memories.

I have not yet gotten the opportunity to go to China, but I look forward to a time when I do. As a linguistics major, I have learned how language functions and is structured, and also how it brings people together. Choosing to study Chinese in my first year was the beginning to a story about people being brought together. Graduating with a Chinese minor is now, hopefully, also the beginning of a new story, with even more characters, more joy, and more language.

I would like to thank the department and its wonderful, awesome professors for the honor of this award, and the honor of being your student for the past four years.