Trying to sum up what I have learned at Taylor over the past 3.5 years is a tough task. I mean, come on, Thanksgiving with all my relatives was hard enough. But as I think about the many little things I’ve learned since being here, there are plenty of simple takeaways which I’d like to share with you.
One of the biggest things I’ve learned during my time at Taylor is “the grass is always greener,” but it’s greener where you choose to water it. As cliché as this sounds, I’ve never found peace and contentment when comparing my college experience to others.
Being a three-sport college athlete and student worker has made my time at Taylor full. I definitely had seasons where I struggled being grateful for my situation. As my time here at Taylor is ending, I look back at my choice to run collegiately and am thankful for all the tough moments.
Running seven days a week year-round has definitely had its challenges, but it’s also helped me develop a strong work ethic and learn perseverance, sacrifice, and — most importantly — thankfulness for the opportunity to run and appreciate the gift God gave me to do so! Regardless of your situation at Taylor, I encourage you to water the grass where you are because only then will you start to see everything around you as blessings instead of burdens.
Another important lesson I’ve learned many times over is that with every choice there is also sacrifice. When I choose to put people before my school work, I may be gaining a lot of great memories but may also sacrifice a better grade on an assignment. The same goes for putting school before relationships; when I have worked long and hard on an art project that I am proud of, I know that I probably missed out on some really great opportunities to hangout with friends or do something I wanted to do.
Relationships have been an important — if not the most important — part of my Taylor experience. They haven’t all been easy and to tell you the truth, there were a lot of times where they were difficult to maintain. Some of my friendships have failed and some have changed and faded.
Even though those transitions have been hard, I have come to appreciate the faithful friends who have loved me through all my good and bad (those are lifelong friends, I’m sure of it). But one of the coolest things God has taught me at Taylor is how to love people well. It’s easy to love people the way you know how to love, but it’s harder to love people the way they feel love.
For example, my best friend and roommate is a huge “gift giver” while I really am not. But one way I can love her is to buy her a cup of coffee on a day she’s feeling stressed or just because. If you want to know how to intentionally love your friends, spend some time learning how they show and feel love.
Lastly, I want to say that Taylor has been one of the most formative places for my faith, which I hope is true for anyone who makes Taylor their home. When I look back, I see the many ways that I’ve gotten to know and love God more and more. Chapels, Lighthouse trips, sports, friendships, dorm life, navigating family relationships from far away, college classes — the list goes on.
Taylor has been a great place to learn so much about God and choose Him through all the good and bad times. I think it would be hard to leave Taylor unaffected. I am thankful Taylor has cultivated so many opportunities for great conversations and experiences which have helped me question my faith and make it my own.
Going forward, I am definitely going to miss this place, but I think I am ready to move on. As a freshman I would have never thought I’d want to leave college, but after four years in this community, I feel ready to take on this next chapter of life with all these life lessons. Regardless of what your four years at Taylor look like, I hope you’re able to graduate knowing God better, connecting to people more and understanding yourself a little better than you entered.