Graduates, embrace your final days at Baylor

By Thomas Moran | Arts and Life Editor

The first time I visited Baylor’s campus is seared into my memory. It was the morning of April 15, 2015. My mom and I had flown into Dallas and made the drive to Waco the night before. I didn’t sleep very well, partly because of anticipatory nerves and partly because of the uncomfortable hotel mattress.

In the morning, wearing my only Baylor shirt, I ate my fair share of chocolate chip cookies from the visitor center, and my mom and I joined a large group of eager prospective students on an on-foot campus tour (This was before the days of fancy golf cart tours.).

At one point, I fell behind the rest of the group and found myself standing alone in front of Moody Memorial Library, the name of which was unknown to me at the time. I stared across the sprawling grass of Fountain Mall, speckled with patches of green grass signifying spring, and with Pat Neff Hall in view, I thought to myself, “Yep, this is it.”

I’m not sharing this nice memory to glaze over all of the difficult or challenging memories I have of Baylor. Seared into my memory with equal vividness is the feeling of being duped by Waco’s moderate spring weather when I returned for Line Camp and thought I’d turn into a puddle in the late July heat. I’m sharing this memory because I think it’s important for members of the senior class to take time to pause and reflect intentionally on our time at Baylor and to be present for the rest of the semester, despite the excitement of graduation.

If it’s been said to me once, it’s been said one thousand times: Don’t blink. These four years go by so fast. It seems I may have blinked more than once, because sometimes I think I’ll wake up in Denver, hop in my beat up 1999 Ford Explorer and drive to Bishop Machebeuf High School.

The reality is, our days at Baylor are numbered. There are countless students, staff and faculty we see everyday who we’ll never see again after graduation. Those who leave Waco won’t be able to enjoy a leisurely walk across campus any day of the week. For those of us heading north, we won’t have the pleasure of indulging in a Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit from Whataburger or delicious Pink Tortellini from Baris.

It’s sad. But, if there is anything to learn from the fleeting nature of time, it’s that we should live each day with greater intentionality and appreciation than the day before, particularly those of us whose days at Baylor are coming to an end. We should take time to reflect on our time here — the good and the bad — and savor each day as the limited resource it is.

“Living intentionally while school comes to an end” and “reflecting on the past” sound like a fluffy commission, but there are concrete ways to implement these in our lives. Say hello to the people who you won’t see post graduation. Go on a walk and talk with people close to you who you’ll no longer live near. Enjoy a few solo trips to your favorite restaurants and a few more with company. Chat with professors who’ve formed you these four years. Swing on the green and yellow benches. Whoever said those are reserved for couples has never camped out with a good book on one of those bad boys.

If anyone is equipped to handle the closing of a chapter and the opening of a new one, it’s the Class of 2019. We’ve witnessed Baylor struggle through a huge scandal, embrace its first female President (rock on, Dr. Linda Livingstone), support a fluctuating football team, celebrate immense in growth in the surrounding community and morn the closing of Waco’s premier pancake supplier, IHOP (rest in sweet, sweet peace). Though we are fully capable to take the closing of this final chapter in stride, we should all work to be more intentional and reflective during the finals days of our Baylor undergraduate experience.