"I originally went to [another Christian university], and I got pregnant at the beginning of my sophomore year. So I dropped out of school completely, decided to just do the mom thing. Never ever thought I would go back to school, because I wasn't a good student before I had kids. I was like, there's no way. There's no way that I'd be able to balance that.
"I applied on a Monday to go to community college. By the end of the week, I had decided that I would go to Baylor. Both my parents were Baylor grads, and my little brother was actually at Baylor at the time.
"I went to Line Camp. At that point I was 25. So it was like ... I was definitely older, but just met some really dear friends. My Line Camp leader is actually one of my good friends still. She'll be coming to my wedding. I had this moment where I was like, ‘I can pretend that I don't have this life outside of Baylor, or I could just be open, who I am.’ And so our first night as a Line Camp group, everyone was going around about how they got to Baylor and what their plans were. And I was just like, ‘I'm a single mom and this is what I'm doing!’
"I think in my life I've grown to the point where I'm like, 'This is who I am, this is my story.' Things have happened to me for a reason, and if I don't share it and I'm not authentic with who I am, then what's the point of everything bad that I've been through? That's my theory on it. And never once have I ever felt judged by professors or students here at Baylor.
"When I started, my oldest was in kindergarten, my youngest was at home with my mom. We were commuting from my parents' house and there was a week halfway through my first semester when my parents were going to be out of town, and I just could not find anyone to watch my daughter. I think I just had Chinese that day. I went to my Chinese professor, Shi Jiaoshou, and I was like, 'I'm so sorry... I'm a mom and my daughter doesn't have anyone to be with. Can I bring her?’ And she was like, ‘Oh my gosh, yeah, totally bring her.’ And she just loved her.
"I think some of the things I've benefited from going back to school and going to Baylor is confidence in who I am. I have no problem telling anyone who I am. I've learned that ... like I said earlier, there's a reason. There's a reason you go through things. It could be just for you to grow, or it could be for you to be an example to other people. I think it's both. I grew through everything I've gone through, but if I don't share how I've grown then how is anyone else gonna grow?"
Hannah Beth Midkiff
-- Senior apparel merchandising major
-- Grandview, TX
-- One of thousands of #BaylorLights