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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Echo

Continuing to cultivate community post-graduation

Seniors share plans for keeping connections

As graduating seniors finalize plans to move off campus and pursue new careers, many are planning to continue to enjoy connections with friends made over the years at Taylor University. 

After commencement, senior Elise Brandon will be living in the Indianapolis area with her husband, Zach Brandon. She is looking forward to working remotely or in the area. 

Because she will be living nearby, Brandon anticipates being able to come back to campus for events and to see people. However, figuring out the role Taylor plays in her life now will be a change. 

She and other Taylor friends have toyed with the idea of meeting for monthly dinners to continue investing in each other’s lives. 

Brandon reflected on friendships at Taylor as a “healing experience,” sharing that initially, she struggled with friendship dynamics, didn’t feel like she was a part of the group and didn’t want others to feel excluded. 

“Through the years, that group of friends that I’ve had since freshman year, we’ve continued to grow and learn together, to push each other spiritually and engage with each other,” Brandon said. “That has healed the hurt that I had and the confusion around friendship dynamics and relationships. We’ve been able to support each other, rejoice with each other, and grow with each other.”

Brandon will miss waving to the people who know her by name when she walks around campus and the hours spent with friends over lunches and other activities. 

Senior Jacob Jones lives farther away but is also making plans to keep in touch with friends. 

Currently, Jones keeps in touch with friends who have already graduated over texts in a group chat where they can send memes and maintain relationships. He plans to continue to do this with classmates and friends from his major by starting a Facebook group.

Jones shared that having friends on campus is a blessing as people are right down the hall, and doing something with those around him can be spontaneous and easy to coordinate. 

“Spend as much time with as many people as you can and try not to get too narrow,” Jones advised. “Try to invest in [friends] whether you’re single or in a relationship. Take advantage of [the proximity] and be okay with maybe not getting the homework done on the schedule that you thought. Still get it done, but sometimes it just means that you might stay up a little bit later or cut something else.”

Senior Molly Gould plans to move to the Chicago area with her fiancé, Hawkins Hoestedler, but they plan to come back to Indiana often, as they both have family in the area. 

Like Jones, Gould will also miss the convenience of getting to know people on her wing and spending time with friends. Though she will still get to see friends, it won’t be with the same regularity as campus life encouraged. 

“As amazing as it is to have friends that you live with, try to branch out and make friends across campus. It’s really refreshing to have a more diverse friend group and to be able to have familiar faces in lots of different situations,” Gould said.

Good times with friends will be missed, but the deep friendships formed over the last four years will remain strong. 

Graduating seniors are moving on to other exciting periods in their lives, but they remain thankful for the friendships they have formed. The Taylor community too, is blessed and thankful for the deep love and friendship that the class of 2024 has shown.