My Wheaton

The Best of Both Worlds: My Experience as a Conservatory of Music Student-Athlete

Posted March 24, 2017 by Alice Zhang '18

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My experience as a Conservatory of Music student-athlete has been a challenging and rewarding one. As a member of the swim team and as a double major participating in two Conservatory ensembles, I am fortunate to be a part of so many dynamic communities. 

Being a member of the Wheaton College swim team is one of the best decisions I have made. In my experience, the swim team is the most tight-knit and crazy community on campus, sewn together by numerous team activities, idiosyncratic inside jokes and pranks, and our fearless coaches. A highlight of mine as a Wheaton swimmer is competing in the CCIW Conference Championship in February. After months of relentless training, the team unites one last time and delights in each other’s athletic successes in a whirlwind of emotions. This experience is by far the best example of how the body of Christ is greater than the sum of the individuals. 

Managing these commitments requires a great deal of flexibility from my ensemble directors and coaches, and I have had to establish a balance between rehearsals, swim meets, and concerts early on. My teammates and fellow musicians have been very supportive of my endeavors, often filling me in after missed team meetings and rehearsals. I find that enlarging my perspective during the busy days is especially advantageous because it gives me a moment to see how God has blessed me with versatility and an ability to adapt in such distinct communities. 

For those interested in the athletics or Conservatory of Music programs at Wheaton College, I would encourage you to try one of these groups because I believe that participation in these groups is essential for a liberal arts education. I have discovered that the skills I have fostered in the pool, like discipline and mental toughness, are also integral parts of being a thriving student and musician, and vice versa. You will find that joining an extracurricular group—or multiple groups—will greatly enhance your Wheaton experience.

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Alice Zhang '18 is a Music and Economics double major and is also taking elective studies in business. She is an active member of both the Symphonic Band and Symphony Orchestra at Wheaton, and the 2016-2017 academic year marked her third as a member of the Varsity Women's Swimming Team. Photo captions (top to bottom): a Symphony Orchestra performance; Alice and fellow swim team members.

To learn more about Wheaton, connect with Wheaton College Undergraduate Admissions. Set up a visit, or apply now

Spring Break at HoneyRock: African Music Immersion Week

Posted March 16, 2017 by Kathryn Jancaus '18

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aiw-honeyrockMy spring break at HoneyRock for African Music Immersion Week was a time of both refreshment and challenge. Physical and relational refreshment came from camp activities like tubing, canoeing, ice skating and taking walks with new friends. It was also refreshing to learn through doing as we constructed Xhosa musical bows and sang South African church songs in workshops led by ethnomusicologist Dr. Dave Dargie. We learned that body movement is viewed as a way of expressing sincerity in African music, and we practiced worshiping with our bodies in dance as we sang church songs. All together, a highlight of the week for me was physical refreshment and reconnecting with my body’s God-given capabilities for play, creativity, and worship. 

I decided to participate in African Music Immersion Week because I’m interested in world music, but I wasn’t sure what to expect. Looking back, I was surprised by both the joys and challenges of the experience. Our workshops challenged me to venture outside my comfort zone and to abandon self-consciousness about dancing, leading songs, and practicing clicks in the Xhosa language. Entering into study of South African history was also very challenging: as we watched films and heard stories from our professors about the oppression of Black South Africans during apartheid, my classmates and I felt the heavy weight of injustice. Dr. Johann Buis, the leader of our trip, opened discussion on the question: Why study past injustice when it is so depressing? Along with this, we discussed a more general question: Why study the history and culture of others? 

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Our response to the first question was: we study human wrongdoing on the societal level not only to lament for past events, but so that we become more sensitive and so we will care about promoting justice. Learning about South Africa’s past helps us to care about justice in this country and the world. And, to the second question we said: cross-cultural learning can be a way of showing Christ-like love. In his love for us, Jesus took on our humanity with all its struggles, joys, and suffering. We can imitate Christ’s incarnational love by showing that we value what is deeply important to other people, like the way Dr. Dargie has shown respect for the Xhosa people by learning and preserving their traditions. 

For me, African Music Immersion Week helped to affirm the value of studying arts, culture, and history as Christians. As I remember this week of learning, I hope that it will continue to help me explore how my studies at Wheaton can reflect God’s love for the world. 

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Kathryn Jancaus ’18 is majoring in Music History and Literature and minoring in Mandarin Chinese. Photo captions (top to bottom): The view from Kathryn's canoe during African Music Immersion Week at HoneyRock; Dr. Dave Dargie and Dr. Johann Buis talk with drummers Henry Williams, Joel Campau, and Hope Ross between songs; Kathryn enjoying the sunny weather with her custom-made bow during spring break at HoneyRock. Photos credit Savannah Norton ’19. 

To learn more about Wheaton, connect with Wheaton College Undergraduate Admissions. Set up a visit, or apply now. To learn more about HoneyRock and their gap year program, Vanguard, visit their website

Embracing Sisterhood in Willie-O

Posted March 3, 2017 by Danae Brooks '18

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sisterhood-1My experience through Sisterhood is something that is hard to sum up in just a few paragraphs. 

I truly enjoy every bit of it. If it wasn’t for these women I don’t know if I would still be at Wheaton. This is my second year serving as Sisterhood Coordinator through the William Osborne Society. This position has pushed me outside my boundaries and has made me a better person. 

One of the things (that may be a shocker to most) is that I don’t like being up in front of crowds, AT ALL. Sisterhood has given me the confidence to speak up, embrace who I am and accept that I am not perfect. These beautiful black women are the best part of my day and I couldn’t—I wouldn’t—want to imagine my days here at Wheaton without them. 

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The highlight of this year? I can’t even to begin to tell you. So many wonderful things have happened that saying one is the highlight is just not possible. However, this semester, Sisterhood threw a baby shower for the amazing Emma Schuchardt, president of Willie-O. I guess this one takes the cake for this semester. Though honestly, anytime we get together is one to be treasured.  These women are truly Queens in my eyes. 

Danae Brooks ’18 is an Applied Health Science and Spanish double major. She is also captain of the cheerleading squad at Wheaton and Sisterhood Coordinator for Willie-O through the Office of Multicultural Development

To learn more about Wheaton, connect with Wheaton College Undergraduate Admissions. Set up a visit, or apply now.

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The Shalom Community: Gospel and Praxis

Posted February 24, 2017 by Caleb Luk '17

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How is the Gospel lived out in all areas of life? This has been the core question I have had throughout my time in the Shalom Community. A hope I had entering this community was to learn the narratives of others in the body of Christ and the forces that have shaped our journeys thus far. The Shalom Community is a group of juniors and seniors who have committed to a year of living and learning together about cross-cultural narratives and the history of race relations, both as individuals and a society as a whole. 

In addition to weekly meetings and a semester-long class in the fall, discussions on campus events and meals have provided the community with avenues to learn the diverse interests of each other through a common vocabulary.

Is that Parks and Rec. I hear?

Hey, I’m making crêpes, you want some? 

The answer to the last question is yes, always yes.  

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At our retreat in the fall, we were huddling around a campfire with the starry sky above when it was mentioned that Doritos served as great tinder for a fire. 

Doritos?! That junk food? A few pieces were tossed into the flame and a great blaze erupted above the place where the chips had landed.

Is that us? We are labeled as lesser by society and ourselves, yet in passing through the fire, we realize the truth placed in us all. 

The more narratives I hear of great sorrow and injustice, the more I realize the great need for the Gospel. From a deep acknowledgement of being the Beloved rather than gaining acceptance through works, we are free to learn from others and are given the strength to be partakers in the Kingdom. 

The truth of the Gospel is satisfying, yet it leads to more questions:How do the cultures of theologians and scholars contribute to the expression of the Gospel? Is our faith in Christ guiding our ways of pursuing justice, or are we having our ideas of justice guide our faith? Are we merely drawing on Bible verses that support our viewpoints, or are we living in the greater narrative? 

My thoughts are but one of many perspectives in this year’s Shalom Community. Through our common faith in Christ, each of us has the ability to honor other bearers of the Imago Dei and share each other’s narratives in our spheres of influence.

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Caleb Luk ’17 is a senior majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry and Biblical and Theological Studies. Visit this link to learn more about the Shalom Community at Wheaton. Photo captions (top to bottom): Caleb (second from right) and fellow Shalom Community members; dinner preparations for a weekly dinner meeting; Shalom Community members enjoying a weekly dinner together.

To learn more about Wheaton, connect with Wheaton College Undergraduate Admissions. Set up a visit, or apply now.

The Study of Creation

Posted February 16, 2017 by Natalie Flemming '18

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Natalie Flemming ’18 is the embodiment of the liberal arts. A biology and art major, she thrives in both the lab and the studio as she seeks a thorough understanding of creation.

Natalie hopes to become a medical or scientific illustrator — to produce accurate and visually appealing sketches for textbooks and other publications. 

"I think that inevitably studying both biology and art leads to a study of creation," she says. "And as we are able to study creation we can understand a little bit more about who God is by understanding the world he has made around us."

Natalie is also a member of the women’s club ultimate frisbee team and serves as a youth group leader at Wheaton Bible Church. Some of her works can be seen across campus, including a creative nail-and-string depiction of a monk displayed in the Smith-Traber residence hall.

Watch the video above to learn more about how Wheaton has allowed Natalie to combine her passions of science and art. 

Natalie Flemming ’18 is a junior studying biology and art. Learn more about Wheaton’s academic programs here. Video filmed, produced, and edited by Andrew Suk.

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