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Freshmen Student Profile - Arabela Escareño

Arabela EscareñoMeet Ari

Hometown: Wheaton, IL

Major: International Relations and Communications with a minor in Business

What’s been the best part of the first semester of your freshmen year at Wheaton?

The best part of my first semester was Passage and Orientation Week. My week at Passage was the moment in which I realized how excited I was to start this next part of my life and step out on my own. I had a great time making new friends and hearing their stories of how the Lord brought them to Wheaton. The adventures I encountered and the leaders I met heightened my anticipation for arriving on campus. Then during Orientation Week, I saw God at work during Rec Night, Freshman Worship, the Academic Fair, and many more events. When I arrived on campus everyone was so welcoming and the Wheaton community opened its doors wide.

What were your top highlights from your first semester?

A highlight of the first semester for me was the friendships I found. I made friends who truly care for me and will walk next to me in every moment of life. I found people with whom I can pray and converse about our faith. Furthermore, I found friends who will stay up late and make spontaneous food runs. Friends who will make gingerbread houses at one in the morning and take late-night drives through the town. I am so blessed to be a part of the Wheaton community and have really seen the Lord at work in every relationship.

What was your favorite class you took this Fall and why?

My favorite class this semester was my International Relations class with Dr. McKoy. In this class, we studied various political structures around the world and covered a variety of topics from strategic rationale for war to human rights and global responsibilities. I appreciated how Dr. McKoy explained both the facts of the topic and also the different ways that Christians approach the topic of politics. I think that is one of the special aspects of Wheaton: the approach to each subject with a Christian perspective. The Christian faith is present in each classroom and often teachers will pray before class and over the students.

What’s your favorite restaurant/shop in Downtown Wheaton and why?

I have two special places in Downtown Wheaton. The first is My Half of the Sky, a social justice coffee shop that supports women around the world. It sells handmade product from women in Africa and all the proceeds go directly back to them. It is a great place to go with friends or have a meeting! My second favorite place is Shane’s Deli. I grew up in the city of Wheaton and this lunch place has been around forever. It has a variety of sandwiches and soups and great prices. It’s a great place to meet with friends or grab and go. These two are my favorite, but there are many other great spots to eat and shop downtown.

What’s your favorite menu item at Anderson Commons?

My favorite day to eat at Anderson Commons is Salad Tuesdays. Every Tuesday at lunch the dining commons offers a unique salad with chicken or bacon. The lines for lunch go out the door and it is a great time to see friends and relax over a meal before the next class.

What is your favorite study spot on campus and why?

My favorite study spot on campus is Billy Graham Hall on the fifth floor. There are various window seats that offer a beautiful of campus or the sunset at night. Furthermore, it is quiet and calming, a great place to focus and study. However, if you’re like me and also like to study with friends the Lower Beamer is the place to go. You are guaranteed to find a friend there to study with over a cup of coffee from Sam’s.

If you could go back and tell yourself one piece of advice during the college search process, what would it be?

I would tell myself to spend more time connecting with people from that college. Talk to the advisors, connect with students to learn more about their time on campus. I think that hearing about the experiences of others is so important in the decision process. So, I would tell myself to reach out and connect, to learn about the various programs and opportunities offered at that college. 

Share some words of encouragement for admitted students.

I remember when I was admitted to Wheaton, but I was not sure if it was the place for me. I had applied to various other schools and was scared to choose as it would decide the next four years of my life. However, the first thing I did was pray. I asked my family and friends to pray for me during this time of uncertainty and doubt. Slowly the doors to other colleges began to close and Wheaton’s doors opened more and more. It is a big moment in your life, but the Lord is with you and will guide you. So, visit the college, read about it, and talk to students and professors. But most importantly pray. Pray that God will show you the way and will prepare the path for the next four years.