Nowadays, the phrase “freshman frenzy” is almost synonymous with other Taylor University terms such as “Welcome Weekend” and “pick-a-date.”
Late night chats in English Hall suites talking about the boy from Penthouse and sunset “DTRs” between Wengatz and Olson become the regular sights and sounds of fall. And as the leaves change, so do the relationship statuses of students on campus.
There’s no fault in partaking in these time-honored Taylor traditions, but the motivations and anxiety that can be mixed in create drama and heartache every year. The frenzy isn’t just fun butterflies; it also involves expectations, miscommunication and frustration. And that takes its toll, especially during the transition into college.
In the worst of circumstances, once rock-solid friend groups find their dynamics changing, tension arises between brother and sister floor relationships or that boy nicknamed “Voldemort” enters the common dialogue. Times that are supposed to be the easiest, most fun part of college become marred by mistakes.
On the Echo Editorial Board, there’s a mix of experiences with freshman frenzy. Some dedicated whole portions of their freshman year to a failed relationship and some enjoyed the new dating pool (and even had some success), while others avoided it at all costs.
And, genuinely, we don’t see a reason to condemn freshman frenzy. Too often Taylor — and American Christian culture as a whole — see dating as a frivolous means to an end. If you know what you want out of marriage, you should only ever go on a date if you could see yourself marrying them, right?
Well, no. That’s far too one-dimensional and simple.
People aren’t just a can of soup on a shelf at Wal-Mart. You can’t just pick it up, check the ingredients and decide that’s what you want. That person, made in God’s image, is multi-faceted, complicated and beautiful — it does you and them a disservice to look at the surface qualities of an individual and start thinking about a lifelong commitment.
Subsequently, in the way that freshman frenzy allows students to meet new people, practice getting to know each other through dating and participate in fun campus events, we fully endorse casual frenzying. Use this time to make mistakes and learn from them.
However, for those pursuing it as an avenue to find a spouse, we respectfully encourage you to manage your expectations and check your heart.
Our campus is plagued by the ideology that you have to find someone to marry as soon as you can. In a survey conducted by The Echo Editorial Board this past spring, 82% of participants said they felt pressure to find a life partner during their college years.
Counterculturally, in God’s word we find an instruction that it is better to be single (1 Corinthians 7). But we do like to pick and choose Scripture sometimes. After all, 1 Corinthians 13 is much more fun to read at weddings.
Singleness at Taylor means pouring into deeper friendship, acting as a leader on your wing and making treasured memories of impromptu trips to Wendy’s. There is freedom in being uncommitted and there is joy in the friendship and service you’re able to give, both of which are blessings, just as marriage is a blessing.
Singleness at Taylor should never insinuate you’re not desirable or, for that matter, that you will always be single. Most of us on this campus are somewhere between 18–22 years old — it is far too nearsighted to believe that this is the only time to find a partner in your — God willing — long and happy life.
Whether you’re freshman frenzying — or senior scrambling for that matter — don’t waste your time searching high and low for a spouse. We promise you, if God wants you to marry someone, it will be apparent outside of a canoeing pick-a-date.
Instead, relish in this unique and wonderful phase of life we’re all in right now. Have carefree (and LTC-sanctioned) fun with the other fantastic freshmen around you. At the risk of sounding like out-of-touch upperclassmen, make this year a freshman friend-zy.
And, if God does show you that perfect someone, you have our deepest congratulations as you enter a new, exciting season of responsibilities and blessings. But until then, the grass is greener right where you’re standing.