I am nostalgic to my core.
I see it as both my greatest strength and my greatest weakness. It allows me to appreciate life for what it is and not live constantly in the future, but I also miss a moment before it's gone. Endings are hard for me and so is change, so as you can imagine, It was hard to decide how to write my last Echo article.
In hopes that you take away something from what I have learned, let me take you back to the beginning, and I pray you will be reminded of all that your time at Taylor has taught you.
It was May 2018, senior year of high school; the halls were filled with talking about graduation parties, prom and the inevitable end of school with the people you grew up with. It was college decision day, and everyone was sporting their future schools. The occasional tears would come when talking about moving away from home and your friends that live right down the street.
I wore my purple Taylor T-shirt that I got for free with my visit. I had decided a couple days before that I was going to Taylor, but when anyone brought it up, I pushed it to the side because I was terrified.
Simply put, I was scared of the unknown.
But it turns out the unknown was many things. At times, it was scary, but it was so much more.
This season in college has felt like an ending and beginning all at once, in a way it is an ending of childhood, the beginning of independence. Through these years, I have grown into who I am today. Here are six of the many things I am taking with me as I leave the cornfields of Upland behind.
You will find your people:
Here, community is right in your face from the moment you arrive. It can be discouraging to feel like you don’t have friends that are life-giving people to you. It takes time to find that. Give yourself grace in the time when you think you might never find your people, and know that God’s timing is better.
Be kind, be cool:
For all four years, I have had a sign in my room that says this phrase: “Be kind, be cool.” It's cool to be kind. Never be too cool to be kind to people. Be welcoming to everyone, not just the friends in your ‘group.’ Build people up, don't make others feel small about themselves. I learned the importance of asking people how they are and truly caring about their answer. Taylor’s community taught me that knowing people's names and what makes them special will make a huge impact. Making people feel known is an art that I hope to continue to grow in.
Take advantage of the educational opportunities here:
Some of my favorite classes were the extra classes I took outside of my major. Take classes that sound interesting to you. It sounds draining to add on an extra course, but this is such a unique time in life when there are immensely intelligent professors offering classes.
Life is exciting. Getting a good grade is exciting, your best friend going on a date is exciting, driving on the highway to Indy by yourself — exciting. Throw parties for the little things. Celebrate your friends and make people feel important. Surprise your friends with birthday parties or coffee in the morning. Life is what you make it, and life is more fun when you are excited about it.
It’s just life:
This was a phrase that I started using in college when I would overthink everything. In a way, it holds the same meaning as the French phrase “c'est la vie,” which translates to “that’s life” or “such is life.” When I found myself getting stressed about deadlines, not feeling smart enough, worrying what people thought of me or who to ask on a pick-a-date, I would take a step back and think about how crucial this problem is in the whole realm of life. It won't matter in five years (it probably won't matter in five months), so why did I let it consume my thinking? I learned that overthinking doesn’t make the problem go away, overthinking makes the problem bigger than it is. Being able to say, “it’s just life” took some pressure off and allowed me to free up time to invest in friendships, create lasting memories and seek the Lord for his guidance at every step.
Love your life:
In a Robert Frost poem he writes, “Nothing gold can stay,” meaning that all good things must come to an end. While I do believe this to be true, and that things, like college, must come to an end, the idealist in me believes to my core that gold can stay, and does, if you look for it. It may look different in each season, but I promise it will be there if you have the courage to love your life for what it is.
Suddenly before I knew it, it was May 2022, senior year of college.
You think you will have forever in college, but then … Blink. Four years. Blink. 3 a.m. laughing until you cry. Blink. Countless wing dinners. Blink. Movie nights with roommates. Blink. Sunday brunches at The Bridge. Blink. It’s your last chapel. Blink. You ordered your cap and gown.
I wish I could tell Leah in May 2018 that it isn't scary anymore. Campus won’t feel as daunting, and she will meet some of her favorite people and have some of the most fun moments of her life.
Taylor has been a big part of who I am and who I am becoming.
Transition is hard, change is sometimes painful and moving on from what you have grown to be comfortable with isn’t easy, but from what I have learned through my time at Taylor, God always provides more than we can ask or imagine. Thankfully, he is in control and he is with us through every stage. He is constant, and for that I am thankful.
After Taylor, I pray you will be able to say you have more people in your corner, I pray you are closer to Jesus and I pray you are ready to leave and be the light wherever you end up.