By Mallory Harris | Reporter
Although Baylor has a strong Texan identity, the school welcomes students from countries around the world. Out-of-state students share their experiences of coming to Baylor, finding new friends and making a second home in Waco.
Based on this year’s record-breaking enrollment numbers, almost 40% of the freshman class came from outside of Texas. This shows that despite COVID-19, the efforts made by the Baylor family were not unnoticed by students.
While it does come with its challenges, Ashburn, Va., junior Micaela Jones said there’s more to it than just missing family.
“I would probably say [the biggest struggle was] not really having a lot of commonality with others,” Jones said. “I feel like in Texas everyone knows where everything is, and everyone has at least one mutual friend and it was weird not being a part of that.”
Jones said she heard about Baylor from a close friend — her family was already planning to move to Texas and she knew that’s where she wanted to be. With Texas being almost six times as large as Virginia, Jones also mentioned how another big change was getting used to the hot days and long drives.
On the other hand, she said the supportive and kind attitude that is found in Texas is one of the best things about it.
For Waimea, Hawaii junior Sarah Houser, she said the idea of coming to Baylor came from her parents who also attended the university. Despite worrying about the weather change and being homesick, Houser said she was more focused on the actual part of moving.
“I didn’t get to bring as much of my personal stuff as everyone else did because I had to fly so far,” Houser said. “It felt like I was leaving a lot more behind than my family.”
Throughout her years at Baylor, Houser said she has learned how to make Waco feel more like home.
Castle Pines, Colo., sophomore Stu Simpson, said he was more excited than nervous to be going to college in a new place. Having family members who attended Baylor, Simpson knew it was the people that attracted him to the school.
“The people are the best part,” Simpson said. “All my friends and fraternity brothers here are like a second family to me and I thank God every day for them.”
Despite being far from home, these Baylor students have embraced the Texas culture. As students come from all over the world to Baylor, the university has provided resources and programs that allow students to feel welcomed.
“I absolutely love it. I have made so many new friends and have boots and say y’all and all that jazz. I feel like a native,” Houser said.