I remember my freshman Welcome Weekend well.The daunting task of coming in without a single friend and maintaining a weekend full of activities seemed absolutely impossible.
I walked into the weekend absolutely terrified and stressed, yet ended with some of my dearest memories and the start of wonderful relationships.
How did this happen? The chaotic Welcome Weekend provided me with people who made my heart calm for the following weeks.
Taylor’s slogan of intentional community has never been so fully reflected in my eyes as the way I see it during Welcome Weekend.
Each of my last four years here, I’ve engaged with Welcome Weekend differently. Freshman year it was the route to survival; sophomore year it was the reuniting of friends; junior year it was the beginning of a battle through new rules; senior year it was a fond beginning to a series of lasts.
Senior year Welcome Weekend has also made me think back on how Welcome Weekend sculpted my time at Taylor in ways I had forgotten.
Welcome Weekend made me a home.
Welcome Weekend gave me my relationships for the next four years.
Welcome Weekend made space for me to be drawn in.
Welcome Weekend made sure no one was sitting on the outside.
Welcome Weekend showed me what Taylor was.
As I watched one of my roommates engage with her responsibilities as a preceptor this year, I realized the depth of the Welcome Weekend experience. There was not a moment of the weekend that was not intentionally planned.
The work done by countless hands of faculty and student development and leadership teams were woven into every experience.
Even in my own position as a Taylor World Outreach co-director, I saw the intentionality in the ins and outs of community plunge, the freshmen’s first experience engaging with and serving the people of Upland.
This year I came to respect Welcome Weekend.
I became thankful for all the things that had been done for my Welcome Weekend as well as all the years prior and since and soon to come.
I realized that what felt like a sort of absolute chaos which stopped me from pausing to take a breath was in fact all the reasons that Taylor felt like home so quickly. It was the organized chaos that drew me into all the reasons I chose Taylor.
I watched this year as freshmen came in, half of which were introverts like me and in total shock, the other half bouncing in through extroverted glee, and they became part of our community immediately.
Freshmen, welcome to Taylor.