Chrysa Keenon | Echo
I pulled my first and only all-nighter of college in a Wendy's.
It was the weekend of a retreat for our major. My best friend Sarah and I had just spent eight hours surrounded by people, which is a huge feat for us introverts. Sarah slept through dinner and she was hungry when we hung out later that evening. The suggestion of tacos got thrown out, and so we climbed into my car (and picked up another friend along the way after nearly hitting him on the road in true Taylor pedestrian fashion) we drove off around 11 p.m.
To our dismay, Taco Bell had just closed, so we were forced to go to our only other option for a late-night snack in the cornfields: Wendy's.
We stayed in that Wendy's until 6:30 a.m., when we drove back to the D.C. to eat breakfast at 7 a.m. with the church crowd.
Even though this happened sophomore year and I've done plenty of crazy stuff since then, this remains one of my favorite experiences at college. When I try to explain it to my friends or family who don't go to Taylor, they always made a funny face.
Generally, they ask: "How could you have fun in a 24-hour Wendy's?"
Those outside Taylor culture will never be able to fathom the extremes we have to go to in order to create our "wild college nights." And to me, that makes them even more special. Because that night, I got closer to my friends in a random (and weird) way that I wasn't anticipating, but has stuck with me ever since.
However, my Taylor career has not been all fun runs to fast food joints. I had to switch dorms because of how badly I was bullied. I've hurt people in my decisions when I thought I was doing the right thing. The head of my department was accused of sexual assault and abruptly resigned. I've recently had political conversations that have ruined friendships with people I may never see again after next week. In retrospect, it's a little ironic that my senior year started and ended with a storm, because both have tested my personhood and my leadership.
But the negative balances out with the positive, because such is life. Despite the mixed bags of feelings Taylor is leaving with me, this campus gifted me something I will be grateful for the rest of my life.
It gave me a family.
Four years ago, I could never have predicted how wonderfully those in the Professional Writing major have impacted me. Now, I can barely imagine my life without them. They have helped me become a better artist and human being.
I feel the same with this year's staff of The Echo. When I started out freshman year as the lowly subscription and distribution manager, being co-editor in chief was a far-off dream that I never thought I would fulfill. Not only did I accomplish this, but I also got to do it with the best staff and co-editor in the world. (I'm a little biased, sorry not sorry.)
Because this is the core of Taylor: the people. The humans we love, cherish, grow toward and grow apart from. Just like the body of Christ, what I found on campus does not occur in a building, but rather in the souls of those around me.
As this chapter of my life comes to a close, I hope the generations that come after me find joy in the way I did - in the people, and the fries.