My first year at Texas Baptist College

by Rylee Riggins

“The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life.” – Plato

As I finish my freshman year at Texas Baptist College, I find myself reflecting on Plato’s statement, assessing the direction in which my first year at TBC has “started” me. I can honestly attest that these two semesters have renewed my desire to learn, strengthened my eagerness to serve, and grown my longing to love the LORD. At a time in history when higher education often hinders Christian students’ faith, TBC has deepened my desire to follow Christ through community, classwork, and caring professors.

At Texas Baptist College, I am surrounded by a loving community through the student life on campus. It is a blessing to live in the dorms surrounded by “my girls” who are running the same race. Often, I would come back to my room after a long day of classes welcomed by encouraging notes and Bible verses on my door. My hall focused on encouragement by committing to pray for one another, worshipping the LORD together, and serving each other. Not only was the dorm community a special environment but also the overall campus life. Whether in the cafeteria, library, or Student Center, the joy that comes from being on campus is one of a kind. It is evident that the students at TBC are living out Matthew 22:37-39, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Loving the Lord and loving their neighbors is an accurate way to describe student life at TBC. This is a community of which I am proud to be a part.

Another way that TBC impacts students’ future life is in the classroom. Christ is the focus of every class meeting. Class begins in prayer, often with professors taking the time to check in with students and asking how to pray for one another. Scripture is the base textbook for every class. Whether it is an English, Philosophy, or a Great Books course, the Bible is the main source. During class time, students are encouraged to ask questions and welcome to share their excitement about what they are learning. I was even excited for my 8:30 a.m. classes (and that’s saying a lot coming from me) because I knew I would grow in my knowledge of who God is and how I can be a better follower of His. The classes at TBC prepare students to build everything on Christ by developing a worldview that is kingdom focused.

Lastly, TBC students are blessed to have such caring professors. During the first week of my freshman year, I was so overwhelmed with how much my life had changed. The transition from high school to college can be both intimidating and confusing. I visited one of my professor’s offices and shared my frazzled feelings. He was quick to encourage me that although change is hard, I would make it. He helped me map out a weekly schedule to follow my first semester. This type of support and guidance is available to all students. When students need help with an assignment, professors are willing to stay after class or meet in their office, ensuring the students the best education possible. However, professors are not only concerned with the class material, they have an even greater care for students’ hearts. Professors are enthusiastic to discuss our wandering questions, wrestle through our daily struggles, and walk us through the stress of preparing for our uncertain futures. Every time I walked into a professor’s office, they greeted me with a genuine smile, listened to my heart, and concluded every meeting with prayer. This is what growing disciples looks like: being willing to listen to the hearts, the tears, and the blessings that God places in students’ lives. I do not know how I would have made it through my first year without the investment all my professors made in my life.

A student’s choice of college truly matters as their future self will be shaped by the community, the professors, and the instructional materials chosen at the institution. I am so thankful that I chose TBC for my freshman year. I will be entering my sophomore year in the fall, thankful to be a part of this school that cares so deeply for its students. Texas Baptist College is a unique institution because it provides an education and a community that is solely focused on Christ alone. I can confidently conclude that “the direction in which [TBC] starts a [student] will determine his future life,” a life focused on loving God and making Him known.

Rylee Riggins, a native of Lantana, Texas, is a rising sophomore at Texas Baptist College. She was the 2022 presidential scholarship recipient of the TBC Scholarship Essay Contest.