Katie Gomez (’17)
Assistant Director of Development, Parent Engagement
Favorite Bible Verse: Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. (Psalm 31:24, NIV)
Favorite thing about Baylor: I will forever love the bells on campus. There’s something about those sweet melodies throughout the day that creates beautiful consistency and familiarity on campus. Hearing “That Good Old Baylor Line” while walking under the oak trees, surrounded by beautiful, red brick is something that truly encapsulates the feeling of the Baylor Family.
Favorite thing about Waco: Waco is the coolest! The people are so incredibly dedicated to the growth and community in the city, serving both natives and Waco students. Good food, good people, good fun. Waco is a unique place with a special soul!
My parents did an excellent job of preparing me for life on my own. I had my Social Security number memorized, I had my own insurance card in my wallet, I knew how to check my oil, and I knew that everything could be seen as a "life lesson" when you face a difficult situation. Choosing to go far away from Seattle for college was something I had always wanted. New adventure was what I craved, and I wanted it in a big state in a small town. But no matter how well my parents and private, classical education had prepped me for the academic rigors of a university, there were a few things I wish people had been more open about before I left.
- I was going to be homesick. Like really homesick. So homesick, in fact, that at any given time, I could tell you exactly how many days it would be until my next trip home. I would daydream about fall leaves and rainy days, and sitting by the fire with my family, and my mom's African peanut chicken soup she would make when the weather turned. I wanted to snuggle with my dog and SLEEP IN MY OWN BED. Home felt so idealized. I would crave the company of my family and friends back home, and often spend hours a week in tears about just that. During Homecoming of my sophomore year, I sat on a bench all alone, during the bonfire, and cried. Of course I called my mom and told her I couldn't understand why I felt like my heart was hurting. What was wrong with me? All she said was, "honey...I think you're homesick." I still can hear it clear as day. No one told me I was going to feel as though half my heart was still on the other side of the country, especially as a sophomore. Everyone had talked about the excitement of football, the intellectual challenge of college classes, and the freedom of new-found independence. But in all the college seminars and advice sessions, no one had mentioned that I might be miserable sometimes simply because I missed home. Had I had an honest conversation with my parents about homesickness, it might not have been such a traumatizing experience.
- Classes wouldn't be easy. I had attended a top private, classical, Christian school for my entire education previous to coming to Baylor, so this whole university thing was going to be a walk in the park. No. No it was not. My education was my job now. Professors would challenge me and present ideas I couldn't immediately grasp and ask more of me than I ever thought possible. I would have to engage in difficult conversations and lay down my pride to realize I, in fact, did not know everything there was to know about Christian Heritage, North African History, or Statistics. High school was challenging, but manageable, even with sports, student government, and drama club. College was a whole new level, but what I learned, I'll never forget. Except statistics. I'll never remember anything I learned in a math class.
- I wouldn't be best friends with my roommates. And that is so ok. My closest friends out of college were the people I least expected. I'm not marrying anyone I dated while in school (but I did marry a Baylor friend!), I don't keep up with the people who I'd swear I'd never lose touch with during school, but with others I made deep and lasting friendships, and I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything. My roommates and I lived our own lives and occasionally watched the Bachelor together on Monday nights, and that was just fine. A lot of students come to college thinking they are going to find their soul sister in a roommate, but that might not be the case. Sometimes it works out like that, and that's fantastic! But Gail always says, "the goal is just to co-exist," and I wish I would have heard that advice before each year of new roommates.
- College was going to prepare me for so much more. After some major life changes my senior year, by the time I graduated, I had little idea what I wanted to do career-wise, some idea of where I wanted to live, and the absolute idea that I needed to make money to be able to have any sort of a life. God was so faithful and led me to the world's best job at Baylor, where I get to use my experiences to support parents and students during their Baylor journey. Baylor prepared me to carry myself confidently in a workplace and through life, because I've become a strong, capable individual, who can face any challenge with appreciation for the support around me.
In the office, we always say that we want to help parents help their students, and a big part of that is equipping parents to have honest conversations with themselves, and then their students, that life isn't always going to be easy and unobstructed. Life is going to throw some crazy challenges at each and every student, and being prepared mentally for it will help them emerge a better person on the other side.
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