Caroline Dirks

Bloomington, Illinois
The first time I ever heard about Wheaton College was through my older sister. Wheaton was her number one choice all through high school, so when she was accepted, my parents dragged me along for the tour. Wheaton was the first college I visited on my “college search.” I ended up coming somewhat willingly because I heard Wheaton was ranked #1 in food service, so I was interested in checking that out. To be honest, after that first visit, I didn’t really know what to think about Wheaton. My sister absolutely loved the school but my sister and I have very different interests and personalities. It seemed impossible for one school to be a good fit both of us.

After that initial visit I continued on with my college search to schools that I thought were more “my style.” I very quickly realized that these other schools paled in comparison to Wheaton and Wheaton rose to my top choice for college.

When I was accepted to Wheaton my senior year, I was so happy to finally know what my plans were for the last year. I could finally answer the question, “So where are you going next year?” with a definite answer. But my first year at Wheaton College was quickly approaching and I become more and more nervous. My fear that I wouldn’t fit in kept creeping up on me. To me Wheaton was a place for super smart kids who had their lives figured out and never did anything wrong. I felt so inadequate, as if I couldn’t measure up to the Wheaton standard of “perfection.”

Now that I am in my fourth year at Wheaton College, I have learned that these self-imposed standards are not the standards of Wheaton. Yes, some students are absolute geniuses, some do have specific passions and know what they are called to do, but we are all sinners searching to grow in our relationships with Christ. The friends that I have made here have been with me through the ups and downs. I cannot imagine my life without every single one of them. Their support and love has helped me grow into a better version of myself. Even though I only have a few more months here, this place will always hold an extra special place in my heart for the way it has transformed and influenced my life.