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Three Practices I'm Learning at Wheaton

June 12, 2018

Wheaton has been a dynamic, beautiful, and challenging adventure for me, and as I reflect, there are three practices I'm learning that stand out: (1) leaning into community, (2) remaining open to learning, (3) abiding in God.

MyWheaton Student Emily Barbosa and Friends

Leaning into Community

When you ask Wheaton students what our favorite part of attending the College is, one of the most consistent responses is “the community.”

Author Barbara Kingsolver, in her 2008 commencement address at Duke University, said the “community is our native state…The happiest people are the ones with the most community.” God has blessed me so much through the community here at Wheaton. My friends, professors, and advisors have each in turn shown me glimpses of the image God through their love.

Remaining Open to Learning

I am continuing to realize how little I know in comparison to the breadth and depth of things that there are to learn.

Each summer of college, I have had a different internship. I worked as an account representative intern at Lochness Medical, Inc., a sales/marketing intern at The Bank Consulting Group, Inc., and a business intern in the United States’ Securities and Exchange Commission’s Broker-Dealer Examination division.

In my current internship, each of my supervisors has diverse backgrounds and specialties. I notice them continually bouncing ideas and learning from one another with humbleness and patience. They have taught me so much about the financial industry, but even more importantly, they have reinforced the value of unabashedly recognizing what I do not know, learning what I can on my own, and asking good questions.

Each of these internships has taught me a lot about myself and about finding value in my work. I have learned that I love working in teams and that I distinctly enjoy knowing that there is a higher purpose driving my work. I have learned more about what it looks like to motivate myself when projects aren’t inherently exciting, and I have learned that it is important to reach out and find ways to connect with people in the office that I might not get to work with regularly.

Abiding in God

I find it too easy to seek fulfillment from the things I do, as opposed to deriving my worth from who I am in Christ. There is no achievement great enough to rival or replace the work that God does in and through me when I surrender my weakness to God's strength. There is no comfort greater than that which can be found in the arms of Jesus.

Part of learning about abiding in God has included learning more about true humility. Two summers ago, a good friend sent me a copy of his favorite book, The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness by Tim Keller. In the book, Keller references C. S. Lewis’ description of humility: “the essence of gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it is thinking of myself less.” I have found this definition to be especially helpful as a Young Life leader at a local high school—the less I focus on myself, the more I am able to see the ways I can build better relationships with my team and the girls that I lead.

These themes are among many that God has been teaching me throughout my college years. As I prepare to enter my final year here, I pray that my peers and I savor our time here and that we abide, lean, and remain open.

Emily Barbosa '19 is a business/economics and international relations major from Phoenix, Arizona.

The #MyWheaton blog shares first-person stories from Wheaton students and alumni.