My W&L: Josy Tarantini ’15
“Over the past four years, Lexington has begun to feel more and more like my home.”
I remember the first time I called Lexington “home.” I sat in a booth at Olive Garden with friends from my high school in West Virginia and commented that, in just a week, I would be going back “home.” Surprised to hear me refer to W&L as my home, my friends teased me for already moving on and forgetting about my life Morgantown. Although that wasn’t entirely true, I can’t deny that, over the past four years, Lexington has begun to feel more and more like my home, at least for this season of my life.
There are many reasons for these feelings that go far deeper than the pretty campus and rigorous academics. After all, it’s not those things that make a home. For me, it’s been largely the people in the Lexington community that have welcomed me in and made me a part of their lives.
Through the Teacher Ed program, I get to laugh and learn with K-5th graders as we sing Spanish songs and play Simon Dice (Simon Says), helping me hold onto my inner child and reminding me that life doesn’t have to stop being fun. As a Wyldlife leader, I get to surround myself with girls from Maury River Middle School who obsess over Mountain Dew and Minecraft but who are as awkward and quirky as I am and never expect me to be someone I’m not. Thanks to ESOL, I also get the privilege of working with a Spanish-speaking family in the community. Each time I meet with them, I’m confident that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, especially as we work on learning sign language and I see them finally able to communicate with their sixteen-year-old deaf daughter.
But even though each of these groups and people have wrapped me up in their lives and helped me feel loved and accepted, there is one place on campus that, more than any other, feels like home. You wouldn’t expect it when you walk into the room. It’s a damp, chilly basement with white walls and an occasional giant cricket lurking in the corner. Yet it’s also a place where I have spent hundreds of hours over the past four years. The W&L House of Prayer, in the basement of R.E. Lee Episcopal Church, comes to life every night at 9 p.m., when students gather to worship and pray for each other and for the larger W&L community. Dark the other 23 hours of the day, 9-10 p.m. is a special time where the room is full of singing and heartfelt prayers for friends, classmates and professors. We seek to love the Lord and the people around us, and there is nowhere else where I feel quite so comfortable and accepted. In the Prayer Room, I forget about my mountain of homework, my many meetings, and my momentary worries and am able to focus on the things that really matter. As we pray for people on campus that we sometimes don’t even know, I feel my heart growing more connected to this community. I see the value in each person, and I see the value in myself. When I graduate in a few months, I don’t expect to miss the homework. Or the meetings. Or the stress. But I will miss this new home of mine. And I will especially miss the W&L House of Prayer.