Hitting far away from home

Kerry Herlihy warms up with her softball bat

As Iowans, many may wonder why someone from the warm, sunny beaches of California would move to the seasonally cold cornfields of Iowa.

Kerry Herlihy, a freshman elementary education major and member of the Mount Mercy University softball team, has many reasons for the change in scenery.

“I chose Mount Mercy mainly for softball and my education,” she said. “I had other options to be able to play softball and go to school in California, but I knew I’d be in school much longer there, as opposed to getting a degree in four years here. On top of that, a fresh start is always nice.”

Herlihy is originally from Chino, Calif. (near Anaheim). She admitted that one of the things she misses most about California is the weather. “It’s so cold here. I do not plan on going outdoors unless I absolutely have to. Thank God for the tunnels,” she said.

The hardest part about leaving home for Herlihy was leaving all her friends and family behind. “I felt that my family would always be there but my friends were irreplaceable in my heart,” she said.

“It was hard coming here and opening up to make new friends because I felt I had already had all the friends I needed back home.”

Herlihy is adjusting to life in Iowa and enjoying making new friends on campus. “I have met plenty of friends whom I love and adore here just as much as the ones I have back home. I enjoy the friendliness of most of the people here.”

With her elementary education major, Herlihy plans to focus on early childhood and special education.

Her mother works as a special education teacher back home and growing up in that environment is what gave Herlihy her inspiration.

“The respect I have for my mom and what she does is beyond belief. Growing up in that environment has touched my heart in so many ways.”

Herlihy added that she’s thankful for everything her parents do for her, especially since she’s on her own now. She has had to make many adjustments being on her own here in Iowa.

“I feel that the experience of coming this far from home for school and softball has not only proven to others, but proven to myself how strong of a person I am.”

And while Herlihy enjoys school, softball and her friends here, she admits that she is counting down the days until Christmas break. “I just can’t wait to be home.”

This Student Profile was written by Ryan Pleggenkuhle, Managing Editor, and was originally published in the Mount Mercy Times in the November 3, 2010, issue.