I grew up in a very small town just outside of Fort Wayne, the second largest city in Indiana after Indianapolis. My town, however endearing, does not have a single stop light. Its down town only consists of a few old, worn down buildings, including a video store, which has been owned by the same family for many years. If I were to revisit, I am sure I would discover video fines dating back to my sophomore year of high school.
I describe this to you with a smile. I have many fond memories growing up in such a conservative, close-knit community. It is however, ironic that I decided to attend a university that is situated in a town even smaller than my own. You would think that I would have chosen to indulge in the city life. Instead, I found myself at Taylor University, a Christian liberal arts college stationed amidst the corn fields of the beautiful midwest.
I consider Taylor to be a very conservative university, with a respective balance of academics and Christian service. Students and staff are required to follow strict, behavioral guidelines described as the Life Together Covenant. Among other things, the covenant includes the prohibition of smoking, drinking, gambling and social dancing.
More specifically, Taylor University has a strict policy on dorm visitation hours. Unlike other neighboring Christian schools, open house hours are restricted to weekends only. Male students are allowed to visit women dormitories on Friday evenings; likewise, the same rules apply for women on Saturdays. On Sunday afternoons, open house hours apply for both males and females.
This may be shocking for some of you. It is something I have grown accustomed to, although the first few months of my freshmen year of college, I admit, were painful. These past few weeks in Washington, D.C. have been, in many ways, a culture shock. Ah, the sheltered girl from Indiana finally faces the terrifying reality that both males and females are living in one apartment complex. What ever will she do?
For starters, I am learning how to keep my cool when I see a male sitting on a couch in my apartment drinking a soda during the day. Additionally, I use to have the luxury of walking around in my matching, floral pajamas and now, they’ll be collecting dust in my dresser drawer, alongside my colorfully striped slippers. I am also discovering just how great it is to watch a television series such as 24 with a roomful of males who also appreciate the way Jack Bauer continually saves our country week after week.
I have found myself in a state of continual adjustment these past few weeks. Change has never been easy, but I believe it to be a crucial aspect of life that will follow me wherever I choose to go. As scary as it may be for a sheltered, small town girl, I welcome a new city, developing friendships and a few new rules with open arms.
“Lets not forget: beauty is hardly safe, truth is never tame, goodness is anything but trite.”