I was going to recap The Bachelorette on my blog today, but game 1 of the World Series happened to be on last night, so of course, I had to watch our Houston Astros! We will be cheering them on all this week. I never much considered myself a big baseball fan – until I moved to Houston ten years ago. I went to my first Astros game shortly after making the move, and I’ve been a fan ever since. The stadium. The energy – and the players. Pure magic.
We go as often as we can, and we were cheering them on from home last night. But, since no Bachelorette recap, I wanted to share a walk down memory lane with my days at Baylor University. We are headed to the Baylor/ UT game this weekend, and it’s got me feeling all the feels.
I started as a freshman at Baylor University when I was just 17. It was my first time to far away from home without my family, and I didn’t know a single soul in Texas. But, I knew it’s where I was meant to be. And, looking back, nearly two decades after my first year in the great state of Texas, it’s incredible to see the Lord at work in my life in some really tangible ways.
Now, I’ve got several family members who actually live in Texas, I’ve got a cousin attending Baylor, I’ve lived in three major Texas cities, I met my husband in Texas, and I have a whole life that I’ve created here. And friends, none of that would have been possible if I didn’t answer the call to the ways the Lord was working in my life back then (and it wouldn’t really work out if I didn’t listen to the Lord at work in my life today).
Baylor was the perfect choice for me. It’s a smaller school, so it wasn’t overwhelming in size, which made it a great place to meet new friends. In fact, I still keep in touch with several ladies who lived on my hall freshman year. I lived in Collins, which is an all-girls dorm, and we had the best times. It was like a constant slumber party. My roommate and I were great friends – and it was great to do life with her that first year.
I attended my first ever college football game in Baylor’s Floyd Casey stadium, and I’ve been hooked ever since. We have a new stadium now: McLane Stadium that would have been a dream to have when I was a student. But, Floyd Casey, as quaint as it was, will forever go down on a list of fond Baylor memories. We would drive there (because it was off campus), tailgate in a pretty small tailgating section – or go to George’s Tailgate (if you are from Waco, you know George’s) and not really spend a ton of time in the actual stadium.
My bestie and I attended the very last game in Floyd Casey stadium, which will go down as the coldest football game ever in the history of college football (at least for this California gal). Waco had a “frost fog” come through, and I’m a warm weather girl to begin with, but the frost fog and dropping temps meant for a freezing cold game.
So many great times spent at the football stadium. When we beat Texas A&M (possibly my senior year), the student rushed the field and took those goal posts down and carried them all the way to campus! It was an epic story back then, and I still remember it as an epic story today.
I majored in Spanish and Journalism (with an emphasis in public relations), and I met some of the best friends inside and outside the classroom. My professors were top notch, and I even had the opportunity to study abroad in Spain for a semester, which I’ll have to share about one of these days. Even as an adult, I still remember much of the Spanish I learned – I was fairly fluent at one point. But, because I don’t use it frequently, I get embarrassed when I am in a position where I have to fumble my way through the language. It’s a goal of mine to take some Spanish classes to refresh my memory. Learning a new language was one of the most challenging – outside of my comfort zone things I did in my academic career, but it was hands down the most rewarding.
Baylor’s mascot is a bear, and we have our Baylor Bears in a habitat on campus. One of the highlights of my Baylor days was befriending the group who took care of the Bears. They let a group of us in one day for a photo op with Lady and Joy (the two bears). I need to find that photo because it’s one of my most favorite memories.
The week before I graduated, me and two of my very best friends went around campus to take some photos at some iconic Baylor spots. This is us attempting a jumping photo in front of Baylor’s Pat Neff Hall. I remember one night during my freshman year, Kim and I decided to go exploring one evening. We went into some of the buildings that we didn’t have any classes in, and we explored some historic Baylor landmarks like Armstrong Browning library. Kim is in the middle, and she lived down the hall from me freshman year. She’s still one of my favorite friends to this day. Fun fact: we work right down the street from one another in the Med Center.
Baylor has one of the largest homecoming parades in the nation. Homecoming weekend is a huge deal. It all starts Friday night with a bonfire. The festivities carry on to Saturday morning when the parade rolls through campus. I was a Zeta in college, and all of the fraternities and sororities would build the floats for this parade. And when I say build, I really mean it. We would spend hours upon hours at float site in the months leading up to Homecoming. The judges would come through – and award the top prizes to the best floats. It was a badge of honor!
We also have a homecoming king and queen. I was nominated for Homecoming Queen my senior year, and it was such an honor to go through that process. My sorority nominated me, and you have to go through an entire round of interviews – and attend several events leading up to the big day. You also get to ride in the Homecoming parade. My dad flew out to drive me, and it was one of the highlights of my college days. While I didn’t win, I was so humbled by being asked to participate in such a time-honored tradition.
While I haven’t been back to Homecoming in the last couple of years, I have been back several times since I graduated. It’s always a blast to catch up with friends from my time at Baylor. I can’t wait to be back on campus this weekend to frequent some of my old haunts. It’s a place that will always hold a special place in my heart. While I so enjoyed my experience as a student, the Baylor network has proven to serve me well in my adult life. I am still very close with many of my Baylor friends, and they have served as mentors and confidantes in my professional life. Never underestimate the power of a network!
Thanks for letting me take a walk down memory lane today. I’ll come up with a Waco guide and share soon!!! What were your college experiences like? Do you ever go back? What are some of your favorite traditions?