Bears in Love

Photo Courtesy of Andrew Avdeev

By McKenna Middleton | Opinion Editor, Kaitlyn Dehaven | Assistant Web and Social Media Editor

On Russell Stover S’mores

A lot of incoming Baylor freshmen dream about that moment — the one where they walk into their first day of Baylor Line Camp and see them — their soulmate. Now, while this might be semi-irrational because of the short amount of time they spend together, what about the Line Camp Leaders? The ones who spend all summer together?

Hanahan, S.C., junior Chase Pfaff and Corpus Christi sophomore Meghan Mandel found love during the summer of 2017. Pfaff was on the Student Leadership Team after having been a Line Camp Leader the previous year, and Mandel was a Line Camp Leader.

The two hadn’t met before they began working at Line Camp, but as the summer progressed, the two became fast friends.

After they received their last paycheck, Pfaff asked Mandel if he could take her out on a date, and the rest was history.

Mandel said there was a specific Line Camp tradition that kickstarted their relationship — Russell Stover S’mores. She said the first night of Line Camp, the leaders give the s’mores to their students during small group time, and said they are always a hit with both the campers and the leaders.

“Let me just say, they have been integral in our relationship,” Mandel said. “He was the first person to tell me to save an extra one and eat it on the bus ride back from Independence, so I’d always Snapchat him every week and be like ‘look what I’m doing!’”

But the love of the s’mores didn’t stop after Line Camp ended. Mandel said on their first date, Pfaff brought along a surprise that brought back fond memories of how their relationship first began.

“On our first date, he packed a little bag of things for us and said ‘I have a surprise for you.’ He opened the bag and it was a bunch of Russell Stover s’mores that he had kept for me,” Mandel said. “It was the greatest present I think I’ve ever received from him.”

Mandel and Pfaff said they still eat the s’mores sometimes, and are glad that Line Camp and s’mores brought them together.

“It’s just amazing to have him here — he’s incredible,” Mandel said. “It’s really nice that he lets me do life with him.”

On Move-in Day Encounters

Before coming to Baylor, Flower Mound senior Kayln Grider and Evergreen, Colo., senior Carter Barnett had never met. In fact, coming from Colorado, Barnett didn’t know anyone attending Baylor with him as a freshman in the fall of 2014.

However, his aunt, a Baylor alumna, told Barnett of a friend’s daughter that would be attending Baylor in the fall and suggested he get in contact with her during the summer so he would know at least one person at the university. A week before school started, the Barnett texted Grider and they talked about being pre-law students and attending Baylor.

“I was trying not to be flirty, but looking back, I definitely was,” Grider said.

On move in day, Barnett’s parents helped him move in to his Penland dorm before promptly heading back to Colorado to escape the central Texas heat. Alone in his new dorm, he decided to text the only other person he knew on campus: Grider.

As a future Baylor student barely on the cusp of being a freshman, Barnett made the journey to Grider’s Collins dorm in the most indirect way possible: going around Brookes, braving the smell of dumpsters and enduring the 110 degree weather.

“I was just profusely sweating by the time I found Collins,” Barnett said.

Thinking it would all be worth it when he finally be face-to-face with the charming, witty pre-law girl he had been texting, Barnett was surprised to be met with a different image since Grider’s father opened the door. He said he was able to catch a quick glimpse of Grider before her father invited him on a Whataburger errand to pick up lunch for Grider’s family and Barnett.

“So I basically got the dad interview before I even met Kayln,” Barnett said.

After hanging out all through Welcome Week, Barnett asked Grider to be his girlfriend.

“Here’s the cheesy part now: I took her to the echo spot in front of pat neff so that when i asked her to be my girlfriend, she’d hear it twice,” Barnett said.

Four years later, the two still laugh as they tell the story of their quintessential Baylor love, giggle as they consider the ways Barnett’s love of sports has merged with Grider’s girliness and smile as they think about how many small decisions they made as pre-freshmen led them to where they are now.

On Perfectly Planned Proposals

Romantic comedies and TV shows often set high standards for how a marriage proposal should be: full of all things romantic, special and certainly without any unexpected obstacles. But, sometimes those obstacles can make a moment even more memorable.

A few months before Pearland senior Kylie Black became Kylie Walker, she was visiting her then-boyfriend Jarrod Walker, who was active duty in the U.S. Army and stationed in Italy. During her five-week summer visit, the two took a trip to London to meet up with Kylie’s family for the weekend.

On Saturday, after a day of sightseeing, the group ended up at the iconic London Eye, a large ferris wheel that overlooks the River Thames. When they arrived, they were informed that the London Eye was no longer selling tickets for that day.

Jarrod was visibly upset, Kylie said, more disappointed than she would have expected.

“I was like, ‘It’s just a ferris wheel. We can go tomorrow, or we can just not go.’ I didn’t understand why everyone was so upset,” Kylie said.

The next morning, Kylie, Jarrod and Kylie’s family were the first people in line for the attraction. They boarded the ferris wheel, and the couple looked out across the city. At the top point of the London Eye, Jarrod proposed, and Kylie said yes.

Kylie’s father, the owner of a jewelry store, had coordinated with Jarrod on the ring’s design. Since Jarrod planned to proposed in July, the ring was shipped to Italy at the beginning of the summer.

The day before the couple left for London, the ring still hadn’t arrived.

Kylie said Jarrod later told her had been coordinating a back-up plan with her mom. Before leaving for the United Kingdom, Kylie’s mom had gone to Walmart to buy a 5-dollar ring that bore a striking resemblance to the one Jarrod had designed for his bride-to-be.

A few days before Kylie left Italy, the ring finally arrived, and Jarrod got down on one knee, presenting the new, non-Walmart engagement ring to his fiance.

Just as these little snags in Jarrod’s proposal plan made the moment even more unforgettable, their unconventional first few months of marriage, while Jarrod is still in Italy and Kylie finishes her last few courses at Baylor, have similarly added a unique element to their relationship, Kylie said.

“It’s going to make us living our day to day lives together, going to church together on a Sunday morning and going grocery shopping together — it’s going to make those little things that much sweeter for us because we haven’t been able to do them until eight months into our marriage,” Kylie said.

On shipping and Spring Break

Young love can spring up in the most unexpected places … even on the dance floor on your Spring Break cruise.

Chicago junior Nick Miller and Harding senior Emily Wheeless met in this way, just shaking their groove thangs when they suddenly ran into each other. When they began talking to each other, they realized they had more in common than just being two strangers on the same cruise.

Wheeless and Miller first connected over Baylor, because while Wheeless goes to Harding, both of Wheeless’ parents had gone to Baylor. As they continued talking, they realized that they also had the same favorite place to travel to — Budapest.

But the night didn’t end there. Wheeless and Miller continued talking on the sky deck of the cruise with their friends until they finally looked at the time and realized it was almost 3 a.m.

Miller said when they finally retreated into their respective rooms (which just happened to be about five doors apart from each other) he knew there was something special about their meeting.

“As soon as I walked into my room, I said to my roommate, ‘I’m going to date this girl,” Miller said.

Wheeless said she felt the exact same way.

“And as soon as I walked into my room, I said, “I would totally date that guy,’ Wheeless said. “I actually said that.”

As their time together on the cruise continued, the two kept running into each other by chance. They said one of the best things was that they didn’t even have to plan where they would see each other next, their running into each other seemed to happen naturally.

On the last day in port, they finally had the discussion where they decided they wanted to see if they could continue their relationship past the length of the cruise.

Since disembarking the ship, the pair has been Facetiming for an average of four hours a night just to keep up with what’s happening in the others life.

In addition, the pair said they plan to become pen pals.

Wheeless said she thinks that more people should take the time to write each other notes on paper.

“I just wrote him our first letter,” Wheeless said. “I think writing letters is a lost art.”