OBU Welcome Week…I have never experienced anything quite like it. I mean, I woke up on Saturday in Arkansas and before I knew it, my car was being shaken and my horn honked by dozens of college students! In fact, by the time I even had a chance to blink, all the stuff that was carefully packed in my car had vanished and was on its way up to my new home in WMU. Saturday went by in a flash. I quickly connected with my roommate, who could not be a better fit for me, and I was off and away to Raley Chapel where I experienced not just dozens, but hundreds of college students out of their minds excited about the school that THEY call home during the “Run-In.” You see, the thing I have noticed about OBU in my short time of being here is that every student passionately loves this place. I mean they love it so much that they will run around Raley Chapel for a very, very…very long time looking and acting like hooligans just to get a bunch of shy freshmen excited to finally be in their community. And that is what OBU is: a community. Or more so, a family.
Saturday night, I got next to no sleep…I even woke up at one point to my roommate talking in her sleep saying, “this is so weird!” and weird it was. Everything from turning off the lights at night, a few feet from someone I met just a few hours before, to waking up to a hall full of girls I had never even seen. But it is beautifully weird and I love it. I love how my very large freshman class became small in our sub-group sessions. I love screaming gibberish to my 500 and something classmates during KaRip Wars. I love watching the Class of 2019 become unified by lighting each other’s candles at the Unity Gathering. I love the sounds of our voices lifted up in worship. I love everyone’s name I remember and everyone’s name I don’t. And I love that I was asked “what is your major?” by a hundred people who don’t even remember it. Because that is what you do at OBU. You see someone and you talk to them because we are all in the same boat, and you never know who will become a big part of your life. I have never been in a place where people are so willing to let total strangers into their lives. And at the end of the week, you get to see each of the faces you met and the names you heard as you walk from the oval to Raley Chapel together as Baby Bison. It is so comforting and I love it.
I think I can speak for all of the freshmen by saying thank you, Class of 2019, for being so willing to meet me with opened arms. Thank you, Tri-W’s, for giving up your time to make this Welcome Week experience special for me. And thank you, OBU, for being a school that loves God and loves every student that walks onto this campus. That is community, that is family, and that is Oklahoma Baptist University.