April 26 2018

FRANCESCA TSO, English + Spanish double major

In what ways do you think your time at Wheaton has changed you as a person?

Wheaton has changed me in so many ways. One is that I’ve refined my definition of community and discovered how passionate I am about it. Two is my horizons have been broadened in every possible way — emotionally, mentally, spiritually, academically. I have learned about so many topics, issues and ideas that have expanded my brain, heart and soul. I’ve learned how to talk about things like cultural appropriation and racial identity, the doctrine surrounding the Eucharist, what Christian feminism means and what on earth post-structuralism and post-modernism mean in regards to literature. There’s much more of course. Three is totally the people. I won’t be the first or last Wheaton student to say that, I’m sure. The people here have changed me for the better whether it was my freshman year RA who mentored me in deeply needed ways, profs who have let me cry in their offices, late night conversations with friends, venting to my roommates or a million other interactions and experiences that have shaped me in the past four years.

What are your plans for after graduation?

My current plan for right after graduation is to live at home for the summer and work a summer job, keep applying for jobs in the Chicagoland area and hopefully come back in the fall to live and work. Long term, I want to become a children’s librarian either in a public library or possibly in an elementary school. So I need to go to grad school for a master’s in library science eventually.

Do you feel that Wheaton has prepared you for this?

Yes, I think so. The liberal arts is probably the biggest thing when I think about being a librarian since they are a kind of Renaissance person, jack of all trades. The intersection of various ideas, spaces and people is what the liberal arts is about and that’s what libraries do as well. Wheaton has showed me how to interact and converse with people from everywhere, given me the opportunity to lead and understand my own leadership skills and let me work with kids in different situations whether it’s been tutoring or being a camp counselor at HoneyRock.

CHARLES NYSTROM, Biology major, pre-vet

In what ways do you think Wheaton as an institution has changed since you first came?

Woah. I might say it’s gotten more consumed with worldly problems, more divided by identity politics and less united by Christ. But I feel like that is just the current age seeping in and a few inflammatory personalities on campus that make themselves known. In reality, Wheaton has gotten in the habit of identifying mistakes and trying to right wrongs, and I feel more confident in the leadership now than when I first arrived.

What are your plans for after graduation?

My plans are to attend Cornell Vet School, live in a Christian house there with my twin brother, get a DVM and keep in touch with my friends from Wheaton.

Do you feel that Wheaton has prepared you for this?

Yes. The Bio department is top notch. I couldn’t imagine being better prepared academically. And I’m definitely looking forward to continuing hard discussions that started here with fresh minds at my new school.

Any comments or advice for current students?

My parting wish for Wheaton is that the students here would make an effort to stop fitting into the negative stereotypes of secular culture that don’t have to exist inside the body of Christ if we let him change us. Many people here are self-righteous and have never listened carefully to criticism or sought it out. You can’t change other people; you can change yourself. Shouting louder won’t change hearts. Stay humble by focusing on the strangers on campus you walk past every day. Let God put you in the right place at the right time, and then do that loving, uncomfortable action that spontaneously pops into your head. He can do awesome things.

FALECIA SANCHEZ, Spanish major

In what ways do you think your time at Wheaton has changed you as a person?

Wheaton lingo for sure. For example, posing questions such as “What would it look like to live intentionally after Wheaton?”

What experiences were most significant for you doing your time at Wheaton?

Friendships with classmates and professors in the Spanish and Philosophy departments, studying abroad in Spain (three times LOL), Honduras Project, CrossFit group with Dr. Walters [and] working the best job on campus as an Event Tech for AIT (spot me working center aisle chapel cam!).

What are your plans for after graduation?

Still up in the air, but at this moment considering doing a master’s in theology while serving as a missionary for two years in Granada, Spain, or doing a master’s in Spanish at Baylor.

HAYLEY ROST, Elementary Education, ESL concentration

In what ways do you think Wheaton as an institution has changed since you first came?

I came to Wheaton thinking that this was the perfect campus, where everyone enjoyed worshipping God and learning together. Over my four years here, I have slowly come to see that Wheaton is not perfect, but God is still at work in the lives of individuals here and in the campus community as a whole. There have been many very heavy events at Wheaton the past four years: Students who were arrested, Dr. Hawkins being asked to leave, the apple-throwing, Ethan Roser passing away, etc. Wheaton College has been under heavy scrutiny by the media and by the students and faculty themselves, especially regarding racial policies and campus-wide communication. I hear many senior students talk about their frustrations that these same conversations about race and gender are going on year after year with no visible changes, and I wonder if Wheaton will ever really change. And yet, I am thankful for the diversity that I have seen at Wheaton, and for the people who continue pushing agendas to make Wheaton more fully reflect the Kingdom of God.

What experiences were most significant for you doing your time at Wheaton?

HNGR was the most significant event for me at Wheaton, but it is not just the six months abroad that shaped my experience. It was the applications that happened sophomore year, the classes of preparation my junior year, the actual internship during senior year and then the final semester of returning and sharing a piece of my story. This experience was also shaped by the friends and faculty who encouraged me along the way with prayers and sweet CPO notes or emails. I’ve been blessed by my wonderful friends at Wheaton, who continued to reach out and stay friends with me before, during and after my time abroad. I am so grateful for the people at Wheaton College!

KATIE WHITESIDE, Chemistry major

In what ways do you think your time at Wheaton has changed you as a person?

During my four years here I have grown immensely, mostly because of the relationships I have formed. I have made the best friends of my entire life, friends that know everything about me, friends that know what I keep hidden from the rest of the world…. Through these relationships I have been able to talk about and share past struggles, to think through and debate finer points of theology and my personal Christian journey and to figure out how to live well with other people…. I am immensely grateful for the friends I made here, the roommates, the classmates and the professors in the chemistry department that have helped me heal, taught me and helped shape me these last four years.

In what ways do you think Wheaton as an institution has changed since you first came?

Wheaton College has been through a few things during my time here, an unfortunate number of crucibles, but I am honestly really glad that they happened because it forced the institution and all of the people in it to deal with very serious societal issues. Of course, change is painfully slow when it is on an institutional scale, and I think that Wheaton College has more work to do on several fronts, but it has progressed since my mom was here in the mid-80’s. So there is hope, we just need to keep pushing and be patient.

What are your plans for after graduation?

After graduation I am getting married, moving to Fort Worth, Texas and starting the doctorate program in Chemistry at Texas Christian University.

DANAE BROOKS, Applied Health Science major, Spanish minor

What experiences were most significant for you doing your time at Wheaton?

I don’t think the greater Wheaton College [community] understands how much the Office of Multicultural Development (OMD) means to minorities. Any time spent in this wonderful office is very significant to my time here at Wheaton… From the amazing Rodney Sisco and Billye Kee to the sweet graduate student assistant Tuwa Karnley to the greatest student-led organizations like 1-2-1, William Osborne Society, Koinonia, Unidad, OPT and Shalom.  

Other than the OMD, my time on the cheer team and gospel ensemble were very memorable and I don’t think I could be the person I am today without being part of these incredible teams. But my favorite memory in cheer was when we met up with our designated football players and ate meals with them. It was really cool to see the cheerleaders and the football players interact more than just us making them treats for football chapel. I also really loved football chapel. Fridays were the highlight of my week because of football chapels.

What are your plans for after graduation?

I am going back to Maryland. Once home, I will be interning at a private practice until I finish my hours to apply to PA school. Hopefully this path will take me to Latin America, whatever country that may be, [so I can] join a practice to help in whatever way I can!

REBECCA CARSWELL, BITH major, CE minor

In what ways do you think your time at Wheaton has changed you as a person?

I think the biggest shift for me since coming to Wheaton is that I have fallen in love with Christ’s Church. I am enthralled by God’s loving willingness to make himself known in the liturgy, the sacraments and the Tradition. I no longer try to follow Jesus alone, but I join with saints past and present to love God and to be the bodily presence of Jesus in the world today.

What experiences were most significant for you doing your time at Wheaton?

Being a part of the local church is definitely what sticks out the most about my time at Wheaton. Apart from that, Wheaton Passage (canoeing track!) was huge for me. To this day, I met all my best friends through Passage, and they have radically shifted my involvements during my time at Wheaton and beyond.

What are your plans for after graduation?

After graduation, I am going with Wycliffe Bible Translators to teach Bible and math at a school for MKs in Yaoundé, Cameroon. By serving as a teacher for the children of Wycliffe and other missionaries, I will help allow their parents to continue in their overseas ministries with confidence that their children are being both well-educated and cared for.

Do you feel that Wheaton has prepared you for those?

I still have a lot to learn, but studying under such incredible professors at Wheaton has given me insight on how to best teach my students. Wheaton has definitely given me tools to continue learning and growing. I think that God has used my time at Wheaton to shape me into a more effective servant of Jesus.