Student Activities

Top 5 #MyWheaton Posts From 2016-17

Posted April 28, 2017 by Kelsey Plankeel '18

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It is Friday, April 28: the last day of classes for the 2016-17 academic year. Looking back, this year has been full of excitement and unique experiences for individual students and the campus as a whole, many of which have been featured in this very blog. Continue reading below to discover the “Top 5” student posts from the 2016-17 #MyWheaton blog, ranked according to readership.

1. My Wheaton Experience as the First-Ever Undergraduate Student from Estonia

Simona Andreas ’18 fulfilled her 6-year-old self’s dream of coming to America in 2014, when she became the first ever student from Estonia to enroll at Wheaton College. Though it is often challenging being the only student from her home country, Simona says her favorite part about Wheaton is “the people” and she is excited to have paved the way for future students from Estonia to come to Wheaton.

2. Why I Came to Wheaton

Wheaton College wasn’t even on Rebecca Carlson’s ’20 radar in her early college searches. However, when Wheaton began to frequently “pop up” through interactions with a church intern and various alumni, she decided to visit. Now wrapping up her freshman year at Wheaton, Rebecca says, says, “As a public high school graduate, I am still constantly amazed that, through the liberal arts curriculum, I am discussing how biology, elementary education, Spanish, and many other topics are ‘For Christ and His Kingdom’.”

3. The Study of Creation

What could Biology and Art possibly have to do with each other? Just about everything, according to Natalie Flemming ’18. A junior biology and art major at Wheaton, Natalie hopes to enter into a career in medical illustration after graduation. Watch this video to learn more about her liberal arts approach to the study of creation. 

4. Spreading a Message of Love

Graduate student Steve Gaskin M.A. ’18 worked as a traveling hip hop artist with The Impact Movement prior to coming to Wheaton. In his post, Steve recalls how one professor reminded him of God’s purpose for him at Wheaton, despite initial discouragement as a racial minority. Watch this video to learn more about Steve and his work for Christ and his kingdom. 

5. My First Semester With Christ at the Core

The 2016-17 academic year marked the first of the new Christ at the Core curriculum, a liberal arts curriculum designed to foster a distinctly Christian understanding of the liberal arts. Freshman Class Vice President Octavia Powell ’20 was among the first students to study under the curriculum, and she says her First-Year Seminar class, Relationship to Creation, spoke directly to her passion for environmental issues. Describing her Wheaton experience as “attractive, beautiful, and graceful,” Octavia is happy to report that Wheaton has been “insurmountably better” than she ever could have imagined.

Stay tuned for a series of summer 2017 #MyWheaton posts dedicated to showcasing Wheaton students' study abroad, internship, and curricular opportunities, and share your summer experiences on social media using the hashtag #MyWheaton.

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

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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My First Semester With Christ At The Core

Posted February 3, 2017 by Octavia Powell '20

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powell-1After my first few months at college, I can safely say that no amount of anticipation about Wheaton could ever compare to me actually being here. And here is such a lovely place to be. I use the word lovely not out of habit or in an attempt to adhere to clichés, but because when I think of my first semester on campus the word "lovely"—defined by Webster’s dictionary as “attractive or beautiful especially in a graceful way—immediately comes to mind. 

What attracted me to Wheaton, and what continues to help me fall in love with this school more and more, is just how much people care about something—or more specifically, someone—other than themselves. "For Christ and His Kingdom" isn’t just the mantra here, I see it applied everywhere. The students’ and faculty’s love for Christ is what shapes them into the caring and mindful people that they are. The friendships I’ve made here aren't just friendships based on proximity. My friends are people that I care about deeply and I know that they feel the same way. The relationships I’ve established with people here have been priceless and it’s only been about 6 months.

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It’s beautiful to me how Wheaton’s academics transcend the typical secular scope of education and integrate faith with learning so effortlessly. My professors never fail to truly astound me with with their passion for their field and how they help me to see that my faith isn’t something to just be applied in a Bible and theology class. My CORE class—Relationship to Creation—was something I really valued because it directly related to a passion of mine. In high school I volunteered at my local zoo and raised awareness for environmental issues but I’d never looked at how we should be caring for the world around us from a Christian perspective. This class, along with others, have truly helped me to gain a respect for the Christian liberal arts. The Christ at the Core curriculum may be new but it’s goal of keeping Christ at the center of every academic pursuit is something I admire, especially when the rest of the world tells me that my faith has to be separate from the rest of my life.

The leadership staff here lead through constant acts of service and grace. Other than the friends I’ve made and the classes I attend, my Wheaton experience so far has been primarily defined by my time serving on Student Government as freshman class vice president. Through being appointed to this position I have met so many wonderful student leaders and faculty members that serve with the perfect combination of strength and dignity. The Christian leaders here daily inspire me and I strive to gain knowledge from them to better learn how to serve my class and later, the world.

I don’t know what I thought college would be like, but the experiences I’ve had here are insurmountably better than I ever could have imagined.

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Octavia Powell ’20 is the freshman class vice president at Wheaton and is considering a major in international relations. The Class of 2020 is the first to study under the new general education curriculum, Christ at the Core. Photo captions (top to bottom): Octavia (right) and friends at a Christmas banquet hosted by the Office of Multicultural Development; 2016-17 Student Government leaders; Octavia (right) and friends enjoying one of the first snowfalls of the season.

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

Confronting Identity Through Traditional Dance

Posted November 18, 2016 by Serena Suh '18

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serena-suhIt is the night of the talent show. Over the past three months, I had probably practiced every second of my dance more times than the hours I’d slept this semester. The emcees call my name. I walk out and take my place on stage. With the audience, I watch a short clip of a young girl and her father in traditional Korean dress prancing merrily down a dirt path. It is a scene from Spirit’s Homecoming (귀향), a film dedicated to comfort women during the Japanese occupation in Korea. Although I am two generations removed from the colonial experience, the memory of terror and injustice still remains in painfully striking ways. I am a 1.5 generation Korean American (meaning I was born in Korea but moved to the states at a very young age), and therefore face the dilemma of belonging to Korea or the United States, yet I still feel a strange sense of familiarity to this history. 

This—Korea’s story of pain and resilience, my story as a Korean American—is the story that I wanted to convey at the talent show. 

However, it was not always so rosy for the few months preceding the show. There were multiple times when I doubted my performance. You see, Asian Americans have a history of being seen as an “other” in the United States. It has been manifested in so many ways throughout history. Especially as a person who has called the States my home, this is hurtful. The question arose: am I just perpetuating the othering experienced by so many Asian immigrants? Will my dance be received well by the audience? While talent show was a very fun experience, it also forced me to confront the questions of identity that I never really had before. In the end, I was able to perform that night with a calm heart. However, it was only through the conversations with different students, staff, and faculty that I confidently walked onto stage. Fellow students encouraged me to be confident and cheered me on as I spent hours in the dance studio; faculty and staff were affirming and comforting, reminding me that what I believe and who I am should be embraced. 

Although sometimes stressful, this experience has reminded me why I am still excited to be at Wheaton College. There are so many people here that encourage, stretch, and grow me in ways that I cannot imagine happening anywhere else. And so, inspired not only by the video of the Korean father and daughter, but also by the amazing support of my friends at Wheaton, I danced. 

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Serena Suh ’18 is a philosophy (integrated anthropology) and international relations double major at Wheaton. Photo captions (top to bottom): Serena performing a traditional fan dance at the 2016 Wheaton Talent Show; Serena and fellow Mac 4 floormates at the 2016 President's Ball.

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

My Wheaton Experience as the First-Ever Undergraduate Student from Estonia

Posted October 28, 2016 by Simona Andreas '18

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My decision to come to the United States for the first time as a 19-year-old was prompted by my dream as a 6-year-old kid. My dad told me that I was six when I first declared that I would one day move to America. When asked if I knew where or what it was, I simply shouted: “No, but I’m going!” 

I found Wheaton College when Google-searching colleges in the U.S., and I was surprised as I read about Christian colleges for the first time in my life. In Estonia, where I was born and raised, we have 1.3 million people, out of which less than 2 percent are Christian. This reality doesn’t generate many Christian educational institutions. It became clear to me that a Christian college was everything I didn’t know I was looking for. I knew Wheaton was the place for me because the vision and the mission of the school catered to my ambitions and hopes. 

When I stepped off the bus after spending a week in the Passage program at HoneyRock, I was disoriented, scared, thrilled, and very confused. The word spread quickly that I was the first Estonian to ever come to Wheaton and study in the undergraduate program. All of my classmates seemed very enthusiastic about the fact, even though most had no idea where the tiny country was located

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While I enjoy bragging rights both in Estonia and at Wheaton, it is at times challenging to be the first and only student from Estonia. For me, this means that I get to set the scene for the next Estonians to come after me. Even though it’s hard to find people around me who can relate to my background, I love bringing a new culture and a new perspective to my classrooms and relationships. For Wheaton, this means that their vision is reaching new countries and the student body is growing in geographical diversity. 

The best part about my Wheaton experience has been the people that I’ve met here. Coming from another culture, I wasn’t accustomed to spending time with my professors and getting to know them on a personal level. I definitely experienced some culture shock as a freshman when Dr. Milliner invited me to join his family for Thanksgiving at his house. Ever since then, I’ve tried to get to know all of my professors through meals or office hours. Every one of them has been very welcoming and highly influential in my life. It’s been fun to be immersed in the American culture and meet people from all across the globe. The friends I’ve made here have made my Wheaton experience truly amazing. 

Wheaton is unique in the way all parts of its community are connected and long for each other’s well-being. I am privileged to be a part of the family and I’m glad to say that I feel at home here. 

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Simona Andreas ’18 is a psychology and biblical and theological studies double major from Tallinn, Estonia. She is actively involved in Student Government at Wheaton as the EVP of Global EngagementTo learn more about Wheaton, connect with Wheaton College Undergraduate Admissions. Set up a visit, or apply now. Photo captions (top to bottom): Simona frequently visits downtown Chicago; Simona's hometown of Tallinn, Estonia; Simona taking photos at the Skydeck at Willis Tower.

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