In the Immortal Message given by late Samuel Palmer Brooks, the beloved seventh President of Baylor, he encouraged “Because of what Baylor has meant to you in the past, because of what she will mean to you in the future, oh, my students, have a care for her.” This is just one quote from an entire letter written to the Class of 1931, but it has stuck with me since the day I first heard it. I had always pondered what it might look like for me to “have a care” for the school I call my home, and what kind of impact I could make throughout my time in Waco.
“Because of what Baylor has meant to you in the past…“ — Thinking back to my first post on this site, it was all about my experience running the Baylor Line and how the journey leading up to that first home game made running all the more meaningful. I honestly didn’t feel like Baylor was the right place for me until I went to Line Camp and met some of the most incredible and encouraging people; many of whom I’m still friends with today! These close friends, along with my parents, helped remind me that the Lord has a specific reason for keeping me in this country, at Baylor, and pursuing a higher education. To the me of the past, Baylor has meant promise and patience, growth and faithfulness.
“… because of what she will mean to you in the future…” — During my second semester at Baylor, I did the one thing I never in a million years imagined I would ever do: I changed my major. I came in Health Science Studies, Pre-Med and thought for sure I was headed to medical school. This wouldn’t be a bad way to spend my life, by any means, but it wasn’t what I knew the Lord was telling me to do with my time. It’s funny though, when we tell our plans to God rather than listening to His plan for us, because how could us humans ever come up with something better than what the King of the Universe has for us? It took a long and emotional battle to ensue before I released my grip on the title of “future doctor”, one I dreamt of having for as long as I could remember. I switched my major to Religion in March, concentrating in International Ministry and Missions. To the me of the future, Baylor will mean a place of spiritual and academic formation, equipping me for the Kingdom calling placed on my life.
“… oh, my students, have a care for her.” — To have a care for Baylor means to have a care for her students, and that is exactly what I spent my entire summer doing. As an Orientation + Line Camp leader, it was my job to welcome new students to campus and get them excited about starting school in the fall. Never in a million years did I think this job would immensely grow me in my relationship with the Lord and with the other leaders, but it absolutely did. Words will never be good enough to describe my time working for New Student Programs, but if I had to try, they wouldn’t be coherent thoughts. They would be all over the place, and no one outside of the other leaders would understand an ounce of what I’m saying, but it would look something like this: morning worship with Sean, affirmation circle, m-i-l-k c-double o-k-i-e-s, SHOOTING STAR, waffle or not at all, what are the odds, aspen and smellytallie, sweet and sour chicken ahh, lobby sits, “I can’t do this Sam”, hydrate or DIEdrate, war week 1 should’ve placed, Baylor became my home when, I am MOANA, sloppies all around, we’re McFeastin’, softball card games, bridge sunrises, see a chug send a chug, #linecampszn, media room sleepovers, and so. much. more.
These past few months have been some of the most tiring yet rewarding days I have ever gone through. There’s just something so special about waking up each morning knowing you and your closest friends are ushering in the newest generation of Bears, giving them their first taste of the Christian community Baylor prides itself on. Whether we were dancing, worshiping, serving, laughing until we were crying, hyping each other up, we did it all together. We were a team. These people weren’t just my friends, we created a family unit, and I can’t begin to express how thankful I am for all 48 of the leaders I got to do life with this summer. They taught me an incredible amount about genuine love, unwavering support, patience, faithfulness, and true community. Leading with these people was an absolute honor, and I can’t imagine experiencing another community quite like the one we created here with each other. To my Line Camp family, every single one of you are world changers, and knowing each of you has made me a better person through and through. We’ve made memories to last a lifetime, and serving alongside y’all has truly been the opportunity of a lifetime.
To all 38 of my incredible campers, and to the sweet orphan campers I took in and loved as my own, y’all have no doubt changed my life. I accepted this job to have an impact on you, but you have had a deeper impact on me than you’ll ever understand. Each day, you filled my heart with joy and light and laughter, and in return my heart overflowed with love for y’all. Week by week, you each had different personalities and experiences and inside jokes that I will treasure forever (or at least as long as I can remember them all). The never ending sic ’ems, the moo offs, the ‘Mr. Brightside’ serenades (I’m looking at you, G), the awkward silences, the SING performances, the litty city celebrations at CG, the all-nighters, the sunrises – all of these were my favorite because I did them with y’all. Thank you for loving me so well, affirming me when I wasn’t sure what I was doing leading a bunch of freshman, making me laugh until I cry, and giving me a newfound confidence deeply rooted in Christ. I was supposed to be there teaching y’all something, but I’m certain I learned far more from each of you than anything I had to offer. To my Chappy Cheeks, my Clawed Squad, my UnBEARables, my Booty Squad, and all the stragglers that tagged along and joined my group at random times, thank you. Y’all would always ask how I was able to do this day in and day out and keep my energy at 110%, and here’s the secret: you guys. Y’all were the reason it was so easy to run on 0-2 hours of sleep each night and still lose my mind cheering you on during SING. From the bottom of my heart, know you are appreciated, you are loved, and Baylor is so lucky to have you!!!
I’m absolutely positive President Brooks would be proud of us today if he were to see the Kingdom work being done on this campus. He would be overjoyed at the school spirit Baylor Line Camp evokes within the students AND the leaders involved. I have faith that he would be greatly pleased with the Baylor University of today, just as I am. I may not be President of the University, but I know a good thing when I see it, and Baylor University is oh so good. Sic ‘Em!!