Compiled by Lauren Rink | Echo
I transferred to Taylor in September 2016, making my time at Taylor short and sweet. Before that, I was living at home and working full time at minimum wage jobs, just barely trying to pay my way through community college. Taylor wasn't even on my radar - I had no plan to finish my degree, no direction for a career or vocation, and even if I did, Taylor wasn't a financially feasible option. But during a significant period of suffering after a broken engagement in February 2016, God made it unbelievably clear that Taylor University was going to be a part of my healing. In all honesty, I doubted Him and His ability to get me here. I thought His faithfulness depended on mine.
But I am here now, graduating in a week, and if there is one thing I have learned through these past couple of years at Taylor, it is that even when I am rebelliously unfaithful, He doesn't walk away. He always keeps His word.Taylor is a group of people, not a place. And these people have shown me that my vulnerability is a gift, that lamenting is an equal part of the process. They've shown me that singleness is not empty, that I am full simply because I am His. They've taught me that creativity is vital to life, that art is an essential part of my worship. This community has listened with great intent, asked good questions, and prompted thoughtfulness that has led to some of the most intimate moments with Jesus.I am beyond grateful for these people - you people; you have played the most significant role in my life. I am so thrilled for all other misplaced transfers that didn't quite fit in to come to Taylor and be loved on by all of you.Plans after college: Go back home, wait on Jesus, drink some coffee and write a lot, go to a bunch of friend's weddings, and at some point, find a pretty cool job and being exactly where God needs me to be.
Major: Business Management Systems
How does one sum up their Taylor experience in a few short words? One simply can't. So much happens in so little time and as soon as you blink, it's gone. As sobering as that can be, I am very excited to graduate. Graduation is the commemoration of all the lives to be forever marked by this small Christian Liberal Arts University. I assume it's relatable to most graduating seniors when I say I entered college already "knowing" everything. That said, it's probably equally as relatable when I say I find myself leaving with more questions than I have answers. That is what I believe is the mark of a quality education. As I end my time here and go forward into what we call the "real world," I am challenged to seek and find truth. Is my opinion of truth really true? Or is my understanding truly rounded?
Beyond the foundation of the truth found in scripture, I am left challenged by the rest of my understandings and for that I am thankful. It has truly been a gift to leave questioning but charged to learn. I am reminded that the journey to understanding is never finished during this lifetime but that shouldn't limit my pursuit. With that, I know now it is now my responsibility to carry forward the mission of Taylor and I will do so proudly. Thank you Taylor for pushing me beyond my comfort and teaching me the importance of finding truth.
Plans after college: I plan to enter into a full time role in my father's company back home.
Throughout my time at Taylor, I have learned a little bit about what it looks like to love others well and to appreciate the power of words. Some of these lessons have come from chapel speakers, some from late night conversations with wing-mates, some from classroom lectures, and some from discussions over cups of coffee. This year, I've kept a little notebook floating around in my backpack in order to write down some of the words that have stuck out to me and have taught me more about love. Some of the words are thoughts of my own, and some are from the mouths of people much wiser than myself. Here are a few of the words that have seemed to hold a lot of weight in my own heart:
"God does not accept us as we are, He invites us as we are." - Nirup Alphonse
"Love is recognizing our own brokenness and placing our hurt and anger in the hands of God." - Tori Guilford
"There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us." - Martin Luther King Jr.
"Feelings of love and care are not enough. Speak truth. Call out beauty." - Tori Guilford
"Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes." - Annie Dillard
"Look at each other in awe. Life is rare. Life is worth fighting for, not fighting against. Life comes from seeing one another as valuable." - Tori Guilford
"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken." - C.S. Lewis
Hopefully these words will hold some weight in your own heart, too.
Plans after college: I plan on attending Baylor University for grad school to study higher education and student affairs after graduating.
I'm extremely grateful for my time at Taylor over the past four years. As I think back on everything that's happened, I see God's faithfulness in so many ways. The past years were filled with good conversations, hard conversations and everything in between. I learned so much about myself, others and God through the process that was my Taylor career. I was stretched and challenged in so many ways, but I was also encouraged and affirmed in countless ways too. I'm so thankful for all those who poured into me and loved me well during the years. Taylor offered me a unique space to lean into who God created me to be. During my time at Taylor, I truly realized just how much we - as created in the image of a Triune God - were created for community. I know we say that so often here, but don't take it for granted during this season. And give yourself grace - remember that you don't have to have your life figured out in these four years.
As I always like to say, "sometimes I'll start a sentence, and I don't even know where it's going. I just hope I find it along the way. Like an improv conversation. An improversation. - Michael Scott" - Rachel Dalland
Plans after college: I'll be working at a Public Relations and Marketing firm in Atlanta, Georgia.
Major: Corporate Communication
My experience at Taylor was filled with days that I wanted to hit the pause button on and others where the fast forward button was NOT fast enough. However, each day at Taylor was a new opportunity to experience Jesus in ways that high-school Sarah didn't think possible. Over the past four years, I learned that everyone receives and shows love differently. Sometimes, I had to learn that the hard way. I learned that patience and grace make the grandest companions. Being at Taylor taught me to pursue the things that I didn't think I was qualified to do. Proving yourself wrong is really, really fun.
Taylor reminded me that friendship is absolutely necessary and when you find the right ones, life gets much sweeter. I learned that making healthy choices for ourselves is more important than the "right people" liking us. I witnessed the love of Jesus on days when I felt so unworthy to even receive a glance from Him. I learned how to forgive myself and identify as a daughter of Christ, not by the mistakes that were inevitably made. I learned that loving people the way Jesus does is possible no matter where you go. Yes, that includes Disney World:) I learned to be unapologetically myself. Taylor helped me discover the kind of person I love being and the kind of person I want to continue to become. So, be brave, remember that it is ok to cry, trust yourself and remember that no choice you make in college defines your status with Jesus. You are a child of God and nothing will change that. Taylor University, you loved me well. I hope I did the same.
Plans after college: I am moving to Florida and working at Disney World!
Samuel Morris Hall
Major: Film and Media Production
My college career didn't start at Taylor University, it started at a small community college in Palatine, Illinois, called William Harper Rainey College (or Harper Community College). I attended Harper in the Fall of 2013 to the Spring of 2013 (two semesters). Then when the Fall of 2014 came I transferred to Taylor University. While at Harper I knew I wanted to go to college at Taylor so I kept in contact with my advisor so the credits I took there would transfer. While at Taylor, I learned so many incredibly valuable things I could go on and on.
Taylor University to me is a second home. It's where my relationship with the Lord strengthened, where I learned how to write a twelve page research paper for the first time, and it's where I met friends that I'll know for a lifetime. The community at Taylor is unlike any I have ever seen, it is so tightly knitted and connected, everyone knows everyone and I loved that. I am forever thankful for my years at this school, the education I received the friends I made, the late night conversations I had, and yes I'll even miss the (Hodson Dining Commons) Sunday afternoon meals.
One huge part of TU that I love and will miss is brother-sister floors. At my time at Taylor, I lived on SIIS (Sammy 2) my four years. A floor rich in culture and one that has a great history with cows. But our sister floor that I was with for three of those years was 2 Breu. Shoutout to 2 Breu.
One of the biggest accomplishments in my time at Taylor was the creation and success of my senior thesis film "Drop Dead Gorgeous" and the awards it has won. But our biggest nomination is from the Regional Emmy Organization for a Student Production Award, in the Long Form Category.
Lastly, super thankful for my time at Rupp and doing countless hours and late nights there trying to complete my BA in Film and Media Production. And more importantly, the professors: the Bruners, Steve Bailey, Josh Taylor, B.G. Moore. These were the core people that shaped me and helped me believe in myself. All in all Taylor University will always hold a special place in my heart. This past month I completed a four-month internship with OneWay Ministries in Aurora, Illinois to complete my degree in Film and Media Production. I worked as a video editor in their Prayercast division.
Plans after college: Still figuring that out, going to take some time off but plan to continue to work on my craft and begin job-hunting mid-summer.