By Editorial Board | Echo
Q. What would you say to your freshman self?
Eric Andrews, Editor in Chief: Find something to get involved in. Don't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone. Joining The Echo was one of the best decisions I made in college, despite having zero journalism experience before Taylor. Now is the best time to try new things. Additionally, go on one of Taylor's missions trips. I did not get around to going on one until this spring break, and I wish I would have sooner.
Elyse Baron, Copy Chief: Don't be afraid. Don't be afraid to meet new people, to talk to strangers. If I hadn't done that I would not have some of my greatest friends today. I would tell myself to try new things: whether that be going to a different church every week, drinking that new specialty coffee at the Jumping Bean or travelling to a part of the world that I never once thought I would go to for a study abroad or mission trip. Taylor is all about the experiences, and if I hadn't taken those risks as a freshman I wouldn't have found the friends, or even the major, that I love.
Matt Csakai, Staff Writer: If I was talking to my freshman self, I would say not to get overwhelmed by everything that is going on at school, and everything that you can do. Spend time in the Word, and with God, and the rest will fall into place.
Andrew Hoff, Opinions Editor: I would not spoil anything, but I would tell my freshman self that these four years are going to be far different from what I had expected, and I would implore my freshman self to keep the friends I made freshman year close. I would tell my freshman self to let go of some of the activities I was continuing from high school, and to fill the gaps in my schedule with people and culture (more music, movies, etc.). I also might say that doubt is important, and encourage my freshman self to be more open.
Mary Helen Thompson, Copy Editor: There's no way you can possibly be friends with everyone or even connect with every girl on your wing. That's okay. Pick a few that you can learn to love and care for them. Some you haven't met at this point. Forget about the ring by spring, and focus on making friends with the men around you, not on finding the one. You'll find organizations that you care about and leaders with a heart for subordinate workers and quality work. Listen to and learn from them. These experiences will be important later on. Your grades matter, but they aren't the most important part of this season. You'll struggle, and your friends will help you heal when family is far away. People will challenge your views but that will help you grow.
Q. What will you miss most about this place? Least?
Andrews: I will definitely miss the people the most. The guys on my wing, Third West Wengatz, have been amazing friends to me. I am still in touch with many of the guys who have graduated over the last few years. I will not miss having early morning classes, especially if I had them on Friday mornings after The Echo's weekly production night on Thursday.
Baron: I think what I'll miss the most is the community. I know, it's the typical cliché - Taylor community. But living in the dorm for four years, being part of different groups on campus like Honors or Taylor World Outreach or even The Echo, I found a group of friends that are supportive about everything. If I needed to rant about how hard a school project was or celebrate when it was finally finished, I knew I had a community around me that was ready to do just that. You can't find the type of community where freshmen, seniors, MAHE and even at times professors can be counted as role models and friends - but at Taylor I have that. That's what I'm really going to miss.
Csakai: I will miss the people the most. I have been blessed to say that I have been able to be friends with so many amazing people, and that God has blessed my time here beyond my greatest expectations. I will miss least having to get up at 7 to make it to 8 a.m. classes, because I'm such a slug in the morning.
Hoff: I will miss living on a campus, where everything is in walking distance and where late-night walks are accessible. I guess most of all I will miss the people I've met and have to say goodbye to, but I know I'll see them again soon. I will not miss being in the classroom; I think I'm recognizing more and more it's time that I'm not a student for a while.
Q. What's something you're glad you did, and would encourage others to try?
Andrews: As I mentioned earlier, I am really happy I went on a Spring Break Missions trip this year. I had always wanted to go on a Taylor missions trip, but did not get around to it until spring break of my senior year. I would encourage everyone to go on one as soon as you can, because it's likely you will want to do more. I loved bonding with a group of people I had no reason for knowing otherwise and serving alongside them to further God's kingdom.
Csakai: Something I'm glad I've done while at Taylor is going to a lot of the programmatic events that are put on. Nostalgia Night, Mosaic Night, plays, recitals and everything in between has been such a blessing to be able to take in and enjoy.
Q. What was a memorable day on campus?
Andrews: One that immediately comes to mind is the day there were armed robbers near campus. I was on a field trip in Chicago that day, and we were en route back to campus when everything was happening, which was nerve wracking. We had to take a detour once getting close to Upland, as the normal route was blocked off by a brigade of police cars. We ended up getting back to campus around 10 p.m., and being the Editor in Chief of The Echo, I knew my night was just getting started. I spent the next five hours listening to police scanners, looking on social media for posts and searching the web for reports. Once things quieted down for the night, I got a few hours of sleep. I woke up pretty early the next morning to a text stating the police situation had escalated, and immediately jumped out of bed and got back to work, tracking down any and all information I could. The robbers were caught, and by late morning, we had our piece completed. It was an exhausting, but exhilarating day.
Baron: It is difficult to pick just one day, but one memorable experience is when during May 2017, I think it was dead week or finals week, one of my friends and I did a spontaneous photo shoot. We took photos on our phones all around campus, just talking and laughing. I don't really remember what we talked about, probably our plans for the summer, but it perfectly illustrates how important the simple moments are. Taylor isn't just about Airband or the Broomball pick-a-date my floor does, although those are pretty memorable too. To me, what is really Taylor are the quiet moments when I can just be myself and have fun with my friends.
Hoff: Twice (I think) in my four years I've experienced power outages lasting more than a few hours, and those stick out as memorable, interesting days. I really liked those days because they were different from the routine. Sure, they were inconvenient for some, and sure, a secondary advantage was getting out of things, but anything that broke the daily routine I felt was welcome and interesting. Those are the times that people's nature (and panic) kind of comes out, and that's fun.
Q. Do you feel ready to graduate? What are your feelings?
Andrews: Yes and no. I will not exactly miss going to class and having homework, papers and exams. I will greatly miss being around this place with these people, though. I'm not ready to leave that aspect. Not being able to be around my friends all day, every day will be a difficult change to get used to.
Baron: Honestly, I can't believe it has been four years already. Some of my friends who are juniors or even freshmen and sophomores, have jokingly asked if I could stay another year, and I think I would if I could. At least I would if I could stay without having to take any classes. But when I think about it, these four years have prepared me for so much. As much as I would love to stay at Taylor, I'm looking forward to saying I'm an alumna, to seeing where God is going to take me next.
Hoff: Yeah, I feel ready. Throughout this year, for me, that feeling has fluctuated, but I think I feel I've done all I can (or should) do here, for now, and that it's time to move on. I'll be sad saying goodbye to people; probably not as much to campus. I'm ready to accept the next thing, wherever or whatever that is.
The opinions expressed in Our View columns reflect the views of The Echo Editorial Board, and not necessarily those of Taylor University.