“I want someone to look at me and be like, he knows the Lord,” senior Brandon Smith said.
Smith is involved in many things on campus. He finds that staying rooted in his faith striving to be present in all that he does are essential to living a balanced life.
Film and football are two of the things Smith has balanced during his college career.
“A prayer of mine for the past few years has been that the joy of the Lord will shine through me,” Smith said.
Smith is currently finishing up a degree in film and media production and has been a wide receiver for Taylor’s football team for the past four years.
In both football and film, things change quickly without a lot of time to adapt and adjust.
He credits his ability to adapt to evolving circumstances that happen in everyday life to his experience playing football and being a film and media major at Taylor.
“There’s a saying in film that’s like, anything that can go wrong will go wrong,” Smith said.
Because of all the quick changes of schedule while he was playing football, Smith is calmer than most when there are disturbances with schedules.
“Probably if it wasn’t for football, I probably would be one of those people but since I’m so used to those quick changes of pace, it was not that big of a challenge for me,” Smith said.
With challenges also come successes. One of the things Smith considers a success is a worship night production at Urban Light Community Church that he and his friend, junior Marissa Williams, planned.
The original plan was to make a music video for the church’s worship team, but the idea spiraled into a full two-and-a-half-hour community event.
Unfortunately due to scheduling issues with the church and Smith and Williams not having time, the plan was pushed back almost a full year.
The concept originated when Smith randomly thought of the idea and proposed it to Williams. Smith was amazed to find out that she had the same idea as him.
“It was a total God moment when we both found out we we’re planning it separately, it was cool because we knew we would both want to work on it together,” Smith said.
Smith is passionate about music. He plays piano and is learning guitar and bass. Because of his fondness for music, Smith was a big fan of Urban Light’s worship team.
Through organizing this event, Smith hoped to highlight Urban Light’s worship team.
“One of the biggest reasons why I wanted to do that is because the worship team there is amazing, and I wanted to highlight and bring attention to what’s going on at that church,” Smith said.
The event was a success, with a full worship session drawing in a large and diverse group of people of all ages and races. It was also much needed for Smith himself.
“I would say the event was very rejuvenating,” Smith said. “Like it was something that I felt was much needed. A lot of the church congregation felt it was much needed for us all to come together and just worship together.”
This was the biggest project Smith has been a part of. He is thankful for all the help he received from various film and media majors and others who helped organize the event.
Along with being a film student and a football player, Smith has been involved in several other groups and jobs on campus.
Smith was a full-time student while playing football and was a personnel assistant (PA) for two years while also participating in the Gospel Choir.
He has realized that spending time having conversations with close friends and talking with God is what rejuvenates him to keep going.
“One thing I had to learn was that I had to be present in each of those aspects,” Smith said. “If I was at football practice, but I was thinking about PA or film stuff my performance would be hindered or vice versa. So it was one thing where I was like, I know I’m busy, but I have to try to be present in each of these situations.”
Smith has been able to get through many difficult times by having fruitful conversations with close friends.
Being able to be vulnerable around people is something he values and when he gets to have those conversations with people that are willing to care and listen to him is something he believes to be fruitful.
With all the stress from the many activities he was involved in, it was always reassuring that he had such close friends and mentors to sit and talk with.
One of his close friends was also a mentor for Smith, former Bergwall Hall Director Natalie Jorde.
“She was someone I could always count on, she taught me a lot,” Smith said. “She was very wise and challenged me a lot and would sit with me and talk through things a lot. So I’m very grateful for her.”
More recently, Smith has credited one of his football coaches, Coach Al Gordon, for being a mentor to him.
Gordon would teach Smith life lessons as they practiced drills. His coach pushed him a lot and Smith is grateful for that.
Smith is thankful for his time at Taylor. He has grown mentally as well as spiritually. He credits his senior capstone class for preparing him for the next step. He is also thankful for some of the classes he took such as Contemporary Christian Belief with Koert Verhagen, visiting assistant professor of philosophy and religion, for helping him spiritually.
“I’ve been blessed to be around some very vulnerable people, myself included, and being able to have these conversations, these fruitful conversations that feed my spirit,” Smith said. “I’m also thankful for people like Natalie and Coach Gordon that helped me push to continue spending time with Christ and taking care of that relationship.”
Smith is happy that he has been able to be around so many other believers. It is something that he believes has been very valuable in helping him grow and will miss it when he leaves.
As he gets ready to graduate and move on to the next phase of his life he likes to think of something a friend told him
“It’s a new chapter,” Smith said. “My friend says like there are going to be new characters about to enter your life, and it’s something I’m not (as) stressed about it as I feel like I should be because I know God’s going to provide for me, he’s going to take care of me if I listen to him.”