Nya Griffin, Staff
Header Image: Image courtesy of Shayna Mercier
Shayna Mercier, class of ‘22, studied full time in La Salle’s psychology program. After joining the nursing department during her sophomore year, she began to find another passion leading her towards psychology. This is her story of her life, obstacles she overcame and the path that La Salle University offered her to catapult her into the next chapter of her life.
Mercier was born in Miami, Florida, the middle child of eight siblings. After conflict between her parents arose, her father left when she was eight years old. When Mercier was around 11 years old, her mother then moved to Philadelphia taking her and two of her siblings with her. She was going through family dysfunction and began to deal with trauma and harassment from her mother. Mercier said her mom would tell her things like “Your dad left us because of you.” She said those moments caused her to shut down. “I didn’t have a voice, and even now in relationships with friends, significant partners etc. I still struggle with this,” said Mercier.
“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.”– Maya Angelou
La Salle University stood out to Mercier when applying to colleges because of her getting a scholarship, as well as the colorful, serene atmosphere on campus. Mercier shared that she was once a “troubled” kid that needed support and wants to be that support system for future and present children and adolescents who find their voices unheard and are getting into trouble because an environment of chaos and violence is all they know. Mercier has that experience with lashing out, and after shoplifting and getting arrested as a juvenile, she realized that’s not the path she wanted to go down. She wants to give back to those who are stuck in situations similar to her’s and help those in need using what she learned here at La Salle.
Now, a senior in psychology, she has surpassed multiple obstacles and has made a difference in her own life and is on a path to change others’. Her nieces and nephews are her inspiration for wanting to become a child psychologist or work in speech pathology. What also inspired her was negativity from outsiders, and her wanting to prove their narratives wrong.
Graduating will be one of many great accomplishments for Mercier and her family. It has shown her strength, willingness, tenacity and grace to continue on through life and overcome those trials and tribulations that she came across. “I want to be a speech pathologist to help those in need who can’t express themselves and feel that their voice is unheard,” Mercier added.
She has inspired her siblings and friends and hopes that one day her story will touch the children that she’ll work with and help to propel her legacy. “I want to be a boss lady who devotes her life to better other people’s lives, even those who have hurt me,” Mercier said. She ultimately overcame her family struggles, and communicating with her mother is more positive now.
Mercier is now excited to walk across the stage with her diploma on Saturday. “It would have been easy to give up, and to give in to everything around, but I knew I had to continue to go forward and now I made it,” Mercier said. Mercier is a doer, and she has shown people that through hard times comes motivation and that troubles don’t last always. She has truly been a light, and her strength and resilience have bolstered her into a world full of possibilities and her future endeavors will create more success in a world that has many rooms to fill.