Coming home

My sister and I never planned to go to Baylor. It was not a school we grew up watching play sports and none of us owned a Baylor shirt. A series of fortunate events led my sister starting there the fall of 1995. A visit the following spring convinced me there was no other college I wanted to attend.

August of 1997, I moved into room 99 of North Russell. I had no clue others living on the hall would become lifelong friends. I also had no clue Baylor would be my home during the darkest days of my life.

The day after I moved back to campus my sophomore year, my mom died. After a few days away for planning and attending the funeral, I was right back at school starting classes. Many people have told me they couldn’t believe I went back to school that semester and particularly so fast. I often replied there was nothing else to do because I wasn’t going to sit home in a town I didn’t know (my parents had recently moved).

Looking back, I returned to Baylor so quickly because it was home when I felt like home no longer existed. The traditions of campus (homecoming, Christmas tree lightening, dia Del oso) were therapeutic at a time when our family struggled with the desire to maintain our own traditions with my mom gone. I was embraced by friends and faculty who genuinely cared about my well-being during tremendous loss. I was loved and allowed to grieve freely. I was accepted just as I was.

Baylor continues to feel more like home than any other place. Every time I go for a visit or even drive by the campus on I35 a place deep in my heart is touched. As I walk through campus I remember the times I not only grieved but also started to heal. I see swings where I hurt and cried because I missed my mom at a gut wrenching level. I see paths through campus where I started to find my identity and joy in new ways.

Baylor will always be home for me. Attending homecoming is a highlight each year because I return to a place that was home when I no longer felt like I had a home.

That Good old Baylor Line
That Good old Baylor Line
We’ll march forever down the years
As long as stars shall shine
We’ll fling our Green and Gold afar
To light the ways of time
And guide us as we onward go
That good old Baylor Line.

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