Michael Rau

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Michael

Hometown: Taichung, Taiwan

Graduation Year: 2015

Involvement at Wheaton: Club Volleyball, Summer Leadership School (SLS), Student Government Community Diversity Committee, Wheaton in the Holy Lands, RA in Fischer Dorm, ARD in Fischer (next year) 

Why your major? I picked my major(s) by looking at a list of Wheaton's offered majors, crossed out all the ones I was definitely not interested in, left the maybes, and circled the ones that stood out: Philosophy, BITH, Anthropology, and Sociology. Now, I'm double majoring in Philosophy and Biblical and Theological Studies and am taking anthro/soc courses on the side. Though it seemed somewhat flippant at the beginning, I've increasingly realized the value of learning how to think, read, and write with the rigor that philosophy offers. Through my BITH major, I've been exposed to the complexity of the biblical world and the theologies that stem from this thing that we call the Bible.

Favorite class and what you liked about it: Yikes, this is hard. Three way tie for first: 1) "Suffering" with Dr. Talbot, 2) "Biculturalism" with Dr. Folch, and 3) "Asians in America" with Dr. Kim. I've enjoyed Dr. Talbot's class for the invaluable skills I have learned (reading, writing, analytical thinking) sprinkled with his incessant humor and gut-wrenching laughs. Dr. Folch is one of the most pastoral people I have ever met; she has given me the necessary space and prodding to point me in fruitful directions in fleshing out my ethnic identity. And Dr. Kim's refusal to pull punches and to call things as they are has been remarkably refreshing. Ask me again another time and I'll tell you about all my other professors too.

Favorite place on campus: Other than my room, which I consider my safe haven, I would have to say the Office of Multicultural Development. It's practically my second home; I sleep, eat, do homework, and hang out in there. It's been incredible to have it in such a central location on campus.

Free time activities: Reading for fun, trying to get out of Wheaton more (and into Chicago), I live a pretty predictable life.

One thing you wish you knew about college before you got here: I wish I knew how to give myself lots of grace before I got here. Being in a tough, competitive academic environment has forced me to learn this skill. I think having this awareness is crucial to one not taking oneself too seriously and to recognize that failures are part and parcel of the path towards higher goals.

Michael

Wheaton in three words: Liminal, intense, unexpected

Most memorable experience at Wheaton: While I was on the Wheaton in the Holy Lands trip, I remember sitting in the desolate wilderness, soaking in the silence. An eerie calm pervaded over the whole landscape and served as a unifying metaphor summarizing my trip: wilderness. I began seeing the periods of struggle and hardship I had experienced at Wheaton as times of wandering in the wilderness. I was comforted by the fact that our Lord has always brought his servants into the wilderness to prepare them for greater ministry. From Moses to Elijah to John the Baptist to Jesus, many of God's servants had to experience their utter dependency on our Lord in the desolation in order to better love and serve Him elsewhere. But the wilderness is not merely a means to an end either. While it strips away our earthly delusions of security, God promises to meet us there. What comfort that summer was for me.

What person at Wheaton has had the greatest impact on you and why? Even though I barely knew him, Dr. Talbot convinced me to stay at Wheaton after my freshman year. He, along with another professor, also mentored me as I walked in much doubt my sophomore year, empowering me to live in the uncertainty even while striving for assurance. This year, I have learned under him all year, struggling through many questions relating to suffering and personhood that I would not have otherwise had to wrestle with so early on in my life, if ever.

About me: I was born to two wonderful parents who crossed vast cultural and geographic divides to create the wonderful family I grew up in. Living with three older siblings on the beautiful island of Taiwan that I call home, I thoroughly enjoyed my upbringing. Moving to the U.S. in high school was a major transition, one that I still mine for meaning and shapes who I am today. College has been a time of deepening my understanding of the grace of our Lord on my life and mining the meaning of both my Chinese and English names (you can ask me about these in person).

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