College is likely the only time in life where you will get the chance to live with thirty other people, the same age, on the same floor. During my freshman year, I was placed on the fourth floor of Traber dorm, or in Wheaton dialect, T4. I had the chance to meet, as well as hang out with guys I might not have otherwise known had I attended a commuter campus near my home.
I was randomly placed with a roommate, and I can honestly say that within minutes I was so thankful for the random placement. My roommate has become one of my closest friends and we are rooming together again for our sophomore year. Coming from a family with only sisters, living with another guy was a change for me but an awesome experience. By sharing a room we quickly learned about each other, our interests, life stories, and we also grew together in our Christian faith through our involvement in a Discipleship Small Group (DSG). It was comforting to know that I was not alone in this new transition in life and that all these guys I was living next to were in the same situation. It was so much fun having a constant influx of guys coming into my room to talk to my roommate and me. Instead of texting friends to ask how life was going we could simply walk into their room and ask them in person.
Another highlight of my freshman dorm experience was the Bro-Sis activities that are created throughout the year. Beginning in the middle of welcome week, brother and sister floors are paired up. This gives you an easy opportunity to meet girls or vice versa and allows you to form quick friendships with one another. Many of these activities are also what become highlights during freshman year including raids (one floor having a party in the middle of the night for another floor), meals together, movie nights, etc.
We all chose Wheaton for various reasons important to us, including family history, Christian influence, academic reputation and the hope of lifelong relationships. But the opportunity to live and become brothers and sisters with those who only a year ago were perfect strangers is a gift that only comes from living in community together. Regardless of what initially attracted us to Wheaton, the benefits of experiencing life together refines us into individuals that God will use to influence the world.
In order to give students the opportunity to confront human needs issues throughout the world, Wheaton founded the Human Needs and Global Resources (HNGR) program. By partnering with organizations worldwide, this program integrates classroom study with service-learning internships. I contacted current HNGR intern, Heather Kaufmann and asked her to share the experiences she is encountering in Bolivia:
As a HNGR intern these past 6 months, I have been living and working in Cochabamba, Bolivia with a non-profit called Mosoj Yan. My main project here has been teaching photography at a safe house for young women who have suffered abuse. I’ve also had the opportunity to do some qualitative research interviewing artists and art teachers in Cochabamba, and quantitative research on what life looks like for the ex-beneficiaries of the safe house.
A significant portion of my time here was spent learning how best to teach art therapy to teens—I have learned that empowerment, healing, and self-expression, at least in this specific case, are best achieved outside the classroom and that perhaps the best way for these objectives to be reached is for me to give my students as much freedom as possible. The photography class culminates this coming weekend in an exhibition of the girls’ best work, which I hope will bring home to them the message that their artwork has worth, and that by extension they do as well.
HNGR for me has been a time filled with personal and spiritual growth, language learning, relationship-building, and lots of heaping plates of Bolivian food. But more importantly, my time here has given me a deeper understanding of issues related to poverty and injustice, and furthermore my role in relation to them. Working and living with these issues gives them a different face—one that is more personal but also more realistic and complex. They are not easy issues to solve, but I think I am learning to rejoice in the small achievements and successes just as much as the big ones.
This past week I joined visitors for a student-led tour of campus.Of all the places we visited, I narrowed it down to five must-see stops for anyone visiting the campus.
At the top of my list is the Beamer Center, the hub of student activities featuring Sam’s Café, The Stupe, the Student Activities Office, Office of Multicultural Development, and the College Post Office (CPO). The Beamer Center is a great place to study, connect with friends, work on group projects, or even just grab a bowl of ice cream for a late night snack at Sam’s.
Neighboring the Beamer Center is the Meyer Science Center; a state of the art science building completed in 2010 that includes an astronomical observatory, a greenhouse, and an interactive museum of Perry Mastodon. With its impressive labs, as well as different types of science instruments on display, looking around the science center is an exciting tour on its own.
A third place that I would highly recommend seeing is the freshman dorms, Fischer Hall and Smith-Traber Hall. Not only is it a great opportunity to get an inside look at what it is like to be living in the Wheaton community, it is entertaining to see the themes of each floor as well as the varieties of room décor in both the boys and girls rooms.
My next suggested stop would definitely be Blanchard Hall. This building is unlike anything else on campus, a modern day castle, towering above campus. Originally built in 1851 and completed in 1927, Blanchard was the first building on campus and now houses the Humanities and Social Science departments as well as the Office of the President. With its amazing views of campus and cool corridors to walk throughout the building, having classes in Blanchard is always a treat.
Last, but not least, is the Sports and Recreation Complex (SRC). Featuring an 8,000 square foot weight room, three gymnasiums, an elevated jogging track, and climbing wall, the SRC is an on-campus fitness center, free for all students. After a day of classes, running on the treadmill, lifting weights, or playing intramural soccer in the multi-purpose gym is a great way to end the day.
These five places are only a snapshot of the spots visited throughout the tour. With numerous things to see and learn throughout the tour, I would highly recommend experiencing the Wheaton campus to get a better understanding of life at Wheaton. Plan a campus visit and #mywheaton with your favorite spots!
Five fun facts that I learned on the campus tour:
- Blanchard Hall was a stop on the Underground Railroad.
- Adams Hall, now the Art building, was originally the college gymnasium. In order to run a mile in the gym it required 33 laps.
- The Wade Center includes movie props from the set of Disney’s The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.
- Williston Hall was the first residence hall on campus.
- Before being moved into the Beamer Center, The Stupe was originally located in the Memorial Student Center.
To better understand the different programs at Wheaton, I recently interviewed two students, Elizabeth Schriver and Lauren Carini about their experiences within the Pre-Law program.
Alex: Do you have to major in a specific subject in order to be Pre Law?
Lauren: Not at all. For one thing, you can be part of the Pre-Law unofficial group without completing the Pre-law certificate. As far as law school applications, most majors are acceptable. If you have any idea what kind of law you want to practice, you might angle yourself according to those interests, but generally speaking, I would suggest doing something that you are interested in and passionate about right now.
Elizabeth: That is a great thing about Pre-Law. I am a Sociology major, but other Pre-Law students are Political Science, Philosophy, Business/Econ, English, etc.
Alex: Are you participating in any extra-curricular activities within the Pre-Law program?
Elizabeth: Currently I am working as a research assistant and a teaching assistant. I have had two internships with attorneys in previous semesters and was a member of Wheaton's Mock Trial team last year.
Lauren: I am participating in Mock Trial, which I have been a part of for my junior and senior years.
Alex: What is one of your favorite classes you have taken within your Pre-Law program?
Lauren: Honestly, I think that one of the most valuable components to the Pre-Law certificate was the opportunity to do a legal internship. As a Spanish major, that experience was some of the most practical exposure I got and really helped me to apply the basics that I was learning in class and get a real-world understanding of what I said I wanted to do.
Alex: Do you recommend taking any specific classes in high school that would help within your program?
Elizabeth: The skills that have been most helpful to me in the Pre-Law program have been the abilities to read critically and write clearly. Taking the time to develop logical reasoning and writing skills while in high school is a wise investment!
Alex: Do you have any advice to prospective students looking to be a part of this program?
Elizabeth: I would advise prospective students to take Professor Bretsen's Introduction to Law course as soon as they can. It is truly an excellent introductory course that will provide students with a taste of what other law related courses will be like. Further, it provides students with a chance to get to know Professor Bretsen, Wheaton's Pre-Law advisor.
Lauren: Take advantage of the opportunities offered to you. Professor Bretsen works hard at trying to make the program effective and engaging presence on campus. Avail yourself of the resources you find there. There are plenty of Wheaton alumni in the legal profession and many of them are only too happy to help you out where they can. Make those connections as often as possible.
Welcome to the new blog, #MyWheaton. I’m just the first voice on this blog, but I’m excited to share lots of stories of Wheaton students, both current and alumni, through it.
Why the name? Because it’s also a way to share your Wheaton story. By using #mywheaton we can give people an inside look at experiences throughout the Wheaton community worldwide. And this blog is a great place to feature those stories.
Tweeting about your campus tour as a prospective student? Share your experience with us simply by using #mywheaton. Maybe you are creating your next Instagram masterpiece of the Wheaton campus, dorm life, or Thunder sporting event. All it takes is one hashtag to share your picture with the rest of the Wheaton community. For alumni working throughout the world, we would love to hear about your new endeavors, research projects, and mission work. It’s as simple as writing #mywheaton at the end of your post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social media.
With this one hashtag we have the opportunity to bring all the experiences of Wheaton worldwide to one place, allowing everyone to experience your ventures with you. So start using #mywheaton. And check the #MyWheaton blog often for all the highlights.
To see what Wheaton's doing on Social Media, check out the Social Media Hub