By Frances George
Time to choose a college. If you haven’t, here is one final and compelling reason to say “YES” to Baylor.
Catherine is our second daughter to attend Baylor, finishing her freshman year in a week. Our elder daughter graduated May 2016 with her first degree and will be returning to Baylor in just two weeks to begin classes at the Louise Herrington School of Nursing at Baylor to receive her second Baylor degree… but that’s another blog! In some ways my two Baylor daughters are very similar and in some ways they are quite different from one another. Both have had/are having amazing experiences at Baylor but for different reasons. Just last week, our second Baylor daughter sang in her Women’s Choir Spring Concert. During one particular piece in the concert, she said she cried tears of joy as she sang “How Great Thou Art,” thinking about aging grandparents and how much the family would have enjoyed the concert. “It was so good Mom. Made me realize how I blessed I am to be a part of it all!”
I texted back saying, “Your words are confirmation that Baylor is the perfect place for you. Your experience will look different from your big sister’s and yet in some ways, it will be richer. You are a light at Baylor and you’re a great blessing to me.” What she said next is why I have written this final blog before final decisions are being made for college. If you are wondering, “Will my child fit in at this major university? Will she be a ‘no one’ among 15,000, just a number? Or will she find her place? Will she grow and learn and become a strong, prepared and confident adult?” Wonder no more. Yes, she will. This is what Catherine texted back to me…
“It’s funny because when I first came to Baylor, I thought that my experience should be the same… I wanted my experience to be the same as Mary Scott’s. But lately, I’ve been realizing that my experience can and should be different from Mary Scott’s because she and I are not the same person and are created differently and think differently and influence others differently. Honestly, it’s a relief to know that my experience should be different from hers because if I continue to think that it should be the same I will start comparing myself to her, her life and her friends & think, (as I have in the past) that I need to have the same friends and share the exact same experiences. But God has something different for me, and like I said it’s a relief…It’s not “Mary Scott’s Baylor story 2.0”. It’s my story, 1.0.”
My story. Baylor 1.0. That’s it. In one sentence Catherine summed up my prayer for my second Baylor daughter. “Let it be her experience and let it be every bit as wonderful as Mary Scott’s but let it “look” like Catherine.” For a young woman to realize this her freshman year in college is an answer to a mother’s prayer. She gets it. And from where did she learn this? From Baylor. It is not learned in a specific course and not from a particular person but from being a student who, in the classroom and on campus, finds herself surrounded by peers and professors who exude true greatness of character and academic excellence and they encourage it among the students, from the youngest to the oldest. It is a call to embrace their own Baylor experience. And embrace it Catherine has.
Every Baylor experience is unique. The great transformation takes place a little at a time over the course of a year, from a professor with whom your daughter connects and is actually sad when the class ends, from realizing that friends are not all in one sorority and some not in a sorority at all, when your daughter takes a picture of her dorm room window with the sun streaming through and texts, “Mom, I’m going to miss this beautiful view next year,” it’s going to her church on Sunday morning after being at her home church over Easter break and saying, “Mom, it was so good being back in my church in Waco! My heart is full!” And for us as parents, it’s realizing that the blessing of Baylor resides in the lives of the 15,000 students, amazing individuals who walk the campus and intentionally interact with students in a positive way. And I have the privilege of sending my son or daughter here to experience it for four years.
Baylor 1.0 is getting ready to start for a whole new group of 3,000 incoming freshmen. Their stories will be unique. Their stories will inspire. Will your son or daughter be among them? Don’t settle on just any college experience. Join the best. It may sound cliché but it is anything but cliché at Baylor. See for yourself. Come and listen closely over the next year as your child begins to write his or her own Baylor 1.0. It will be a beautiful story, indeed.
And that, as I always say, is the Baylor difference.