From Live at the Loft events to Open Mic Nights at the Den, Wheaton makes sure to display brilliant and diverse talent, both on and off campus. Not only does the number of events and clubs on campus provide evidence for Wheaton’s thriving appreciation of the arts, the reception of many of these events is even more of an indication that Wheaton does not only provide opportunities to explore subjects outside of traditional academia, it encourages its students to fully support it as well.
The seriousness Wheaton perpetrates when it comes to art affects the whole of the campus’s aura and values. From my experience of visiting liberal arts schools, there tends to be two extreme sides on a spectrum that a school can places itself in the middle of: a focus on scholarly advances, or the recognition of art on campus. A more direct focus on academics is usually more prevalent on campuses with very low acceptance rates (below 40%), while other liberal arts schools with higher acceptance rates are more prone to academia that is drawn to artistic integrity. Wheaton, from what I have observed, falls more on the artsy side of the spectrum.
Although the focus on academia is surely alive and present on campus and is spouted from several sources within the institution, many powerhouses that create the most buzz are those that are artistically or musically inclined. We value art in the most distinctive yet subjective ways, and its presence slips its ways through the most minute, subtle cracks within Wheaton’s institutional structure.
The art on campus gives a profound and peculiar life to the community, maintaining a certain expectancy of brilliance that reverberates throughout the student body. Whether or not we notice it or not, Wheaton challenges us to become better artists and scholars through both the brilliance of others and in discovering our own personal endeavors.
I have also noticed that the application of our education has a very high standard of seriousness at Wheaton. The stunning amount of resources given by both professors and academic advising and career services amounts to something that I did not expect on campus. Focusing on study abroad and internship opportunities, as well as personal interactions with professors and staff has created an environment to immerse myself in that I didn’t quite wrap my head around when I arrived at Wheaton last year.
Although administrations will always act as administrations, there have been opportunities on campus that don’t quite make me feel at home, but also don’t quite remind me of the rigor of school either. There is an odd in between about being on campus, and the more I become involved during my stay here, the more and more I am realizing how important it is to embrace this feeling of growth and in becoming an actual person on campus.
This may sound a tad bit absurd, but bear with me on this one. College has presented itself as a pivot moment in both allowing our childhood to become branded within our past as a state of mind to abandon as we age, and to embrace adulthood by means of raising our consciousness and becoming sharp-minded and acute individuals within our society.