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Friendship and Family in Residence Life

August 20, 2019

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

Friendship and Family in Residence Life

Rachel Rockholm '21 is from Honolulu, Hawaii, and studying nursing and Spanish. In this MyWheaton blog post, Rachel shares about her experience cultivating strong friendships while serving on the Community Life Council (CLC) team in Fischer Hall.

“Sophomore year is the hardest year,” so many upperclassmen warned me. Still, I could never have been prepared for what lay ahead. Amidst all the drama of shifting friend groups, challenging courses and the dreaded “sophomore slump,” the unexpectedly blessed constant that God gave me this year was my Community Life Council (CLC) team in Fischer Hall.

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Our team is definitely one of the motliest groups I know. When our ragtag group met for the first time, none of us really expected to become friends. But thankfully, we quickly bonded through our event-planning meetings and every other random thing we did, like naming every single plant in Graduate Resident Assistant Peter Yeung’s apartment, playing “Body, Body” in an empty church, eating obscene amounts of pizookie, doing the mating dance from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in the middle of Saga and competing in Air Jam with Dean of Residence Life Justin Heth playing Thanos. Some of the randomest things I’ve done at Wheaton happened with the randomest people, and this team quickly became my quirky Wheaton family.

While our main goal was to support and serve the Fischer residents and our RA’s, the CLC team loved and served each other so unbelievably well. We joke about “intentional community” and sing the Resident (Res) Life vision statement of creating a physically and emotionally supportive environment, but these people truly embodied all of that for me. After I injured my knee halfway through the fall semester, I quickly learned that I had a problem asking others for help. But thankfully, I had the CLC team, who loved me in exactly the ways that I needed.

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I had Peter, who would give me rides even when I stubbornly insisted on trying to make it by myself on crutches (after chiding me for not asking for help in the first place). I had Grace, who would drag me to Saga to force me to eat vegetables when I was stressed and only eating ramen. I had all of the women on the team who would instantly bring me homemade cookies or make me a mug cake if I simply needed sugar. If I was struggling and needed to process, I knew I could cry on somebody’s couch while they offered me tea, zero judgment and all the grace in the world.

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I don’t know if sophomore year is the hardest year in college, but it certainly was a beast. All I know for sure is that the Fischer CLC team was a godsend and exactly what I needed to tackle the year’s challenges. Going from apprehensively surveying a crowd and questioning if we would be friends to stubbornly delaying leaving campus for as long as possible so that I could watch Queer Eye while cuddling with these people just a little bit longer was a twist I did not expect. I’m so, so thankful for these lovely new friends and I’m so excited to go into junior year as an RA with six of them. And in the future, I know this team will reunite to eat some pizookie, watch Harry Potter and analyze each other’s enneagram types.

1, 2, 3, CLC!

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