Friday, November 16, 2007

Reflections on Friendship

It's been a very full week here at Wheaton College. I had three substantial tests (all of which went reasonably well), lots of evening activities, and the cold weather is finaly here to stay. I'm particularly excited for what's happening tonight: the Artist Series is presenting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra! An upperclassman friend told me that this is the first time in something like 20 years that the CSO has come to Wheaton. Two of my favorite institutions will be joined tonight. I can't wait.

All three chapels this week were connected under the series title, "The Making of Friendship." Last month, a sociology professor and a CFM professor sent out a survey via e-mail to the whole campus community, asking for objective information on our friend situations and also some subjective thoughts on the same. I took the survey with mild curiosity as to what the results would be.

On Monday, these two professors presented the survey results with some commentary based on their professional expertise. Most of the statistics were about what I expected, and I was also interested to learn that the faculty, staff, and administration had been included in the survey (I hadn't known that when I first took it myself).

For Wednesday's chapel, the student body was divided by gender. At men's chapel, two graduate students spoke about their same-gender friendship and two faculty members spoke about their opposite-gender friendship.

Then today, the student body was divided by class. At freshman chapel, a psychology professor spoke about "The Theology of Friendship" and a panel of freshmen spoke about their experiences making friends at Wheaton.

I really enjoyed this chapel series. I have had very little trouble making friends here at Wheaton, but it was really encouraging to here the institution acknowledging and encouraging the cultivation of friendships within the Wheaton community. On Monday and Friday, the topic of balancing friends with all our other responsibilities as students. The professors who spoke acknowledged that the school does put a fair amount of pressure on the students to achieve high standards academically, but by no means recommended that we ignore the people around us in the interest of our grades. We were encouraged to invest time into our friendships, because at the end of the day, when the books are closed, it's the people in our lives that make life worth living.

Wheaton College isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination. We are quite skilled at getting results academically and professionally, but sometimes we forget the One who blessed us with those skills. But then there are times when we do remember, and we see the people around us the He loves so much, and it suddenly feels natural to choose them over our homework.

I've said it before, and I will say it again as long as I have breath: I firmly believe that God wants me at Wheaton College. He has brought so many amazing people into my life in the last two and a half months, and He has allowed me to maintain a lot of the relationships I developed during my high school years, and He has blessed me with the ability to stay in touch with my family. It's my relationship with those people, the men and women who love me and care about me, that God is using to show just how much He loves me more than any other experience I could have.

This is Rubio, over and out.

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