By Frances George
A few weeks ago, I was in the Baylor Bookstore—the most beautiful bookstore in the nation, by the way—purchasing a few items to be given to our North Carolina Baylor Nation senior parents at our final care package dinner in late April. (Side Note: Class of 2023 parents, you are in for a big treat with the Parents Network and all that we do to support each other while your student is at Baylor. We celebrate students and parents!)
The items I purchased from the bookstore would not fit in my suitcase, and the items were glass, thus needing to be shipped and shipped carefully so as to arrive intact and ready for use. I approached the checkout and a senior member of the team behind the counter took my items and said he would make sure they would be carefully wrapped and shipped to our home in North Carolina.
When the box arrived to our North Carolina home a few days later and I opened the box, I noticed the items had been packaged as if they were the most expensive Waterford crystal, bubble wrapped, and on multiple sides of the box for all to see, the familiar red and white stickers reading “FRAGILE” had been attached.
However, the stickers were above and beyond the command to handle with care, above and beyond just the statement “Fragile.” These stickers added the words “Please and Thank You.” “This is no ordinary package” is what the box screamed! “This is no ordinary place,” is what I thought, “a place that goes to such lengths to insure safe and intact arrival (of coffee mugs)!”
I have used that box on several occasions this spring to transport items, as it is sturdy and deep and just the right size. Yesterday, as I went to put the box away in the “box closet” (I keep boxes in order to ship things to my Baylor daughter through the year), something about that box made me smile, and I realized once again, this is a picture of the Baylor difference.
And I hope the following will be a word of encouragement to you, parents, who have chosen to send your beloveds, your “fragile treasures” to Baylor, a place, like the box, which is sturdy and deep and is for our students, just the right size, a perfect fit.
As you think of your student leaving home, “Fragile” is the word that, in one sense or another, may come to your mind… new experience, new roommate, new professors, new opportunities, new life! “Oh, please handle with care! This one is so dear to me.”
May I assure you, the same care with which my items were wrapped in the Baylor Bookstore is the same care with which Baylor University will “handle” your student. That box is a picture of that to which you have to look forward. You have carefully prepared your student for eighteen years while they have been at home. And now they are ready to experience the next four years in preparation to launch into the world.
Your box is sturdy and deep and the right size, but it will soon be time for your student to be fitted for a new box. The next four years will be the time your student will grow in remarkable ways. And it begins in just a few weeks.
When your student arrives on campus, a most wonderful community of professors, administrators, new friends, and amazing opportunities await. People will literally line the streets on campus as you arrive, people who understand the care with which you have prepared your package, and yes, those people are the faculty and staff and our amazing President Linda Livingstone and the fabulous First Gent Brad Livingstone.
They are there to joyfully receive your boxes, and they will spend four years “preparing” your most precious package to be shipped out again, but this time to the world, as young adults perfectly poised to make a difference, prepared by this place called Baylor.
So, as your student prepares over the next few weeks to leave the safe and “bubble wrapped” life you have provided for them, know that Baylor is a great place to step out of their box and into a world that will challenge and broaden them, strengthen them, show them the world and introduce wonderfully new opportunities that heretofore they have only dreamed.
And in four years they will need a new box, one that has the ability to hold all of the new experiences they have encountered, the new academic prowess they possess, and the new confidence they exude!
Remember, however, the contents, once on campus in August and out of the bubble wrap from home, will be bumped around a little over four years, as they are challenged academically at a level they have not known. Yes, they will suffer a scratch or two along the way as they learn to navigate living with a roommate for the first time. And when they receive that first letter grade they’ve never seen, the contents may get a little wet with a few tears of disappointment.
But in the end, oh, in the end, that once “FRAGILE” treasure will walk across the platform at graduation strong and secure, better and brighter, prepared and possessing tools that make most anything possible for their future. I know. My first daughter did it not once, but twice at Baylor, earning two degrees in two different disciplines! And now my second daughter, a senior, is looking toward post-graduate work at Baylor with every intention of giving back to the University that has given her life beyond what she ever dreamed possible, encouraging and training students as she herself has been encouraged and taught.
So, don’t worry parents, as you begin to pack your boxes in the weeks to come—boxes of sheets and towels and pillows and pictures from home—and you prepare to deliver it all to Waco. Don’t worry as you place those final pieces of bubble wrap around that most FRAGILE item, speaking words of wisdom to your student.
Those words will not be lost at Baylor. They will be strengthened. They will be re- enforced. You see, even though you may not audibly voice it, everyone knows you are saying, “Please handle with care. FRAGILE TREASURE INSIDE!” Baylor understands that. Because Baylor wraps their own with the same care as you. Sturdy. Deep. The Perfect Fit.
Baylor is the next step of package preparation and delivery into adulthood. And you’ll see, when that once FRAGILE treasure dons cap and gown at graduation four years from now, the new box will say,
CONTENTS PREPARED FOR IMMEDIATE AND AMAZING USE!
WORLD AND CULTURE SHAPER INSIDE!
(“Thank you for sending your student to Baylor.”)
How can just an ordinary box sent from a university bookstore carry so much meaning? You’ll understand soon, as I have seen for years now, even the boxes shipped from the Baylor Bookstore represent, on full and beautiful display for all to see, The Baylor Difference!