I first met Robin in my Gospel, Church, and Culture class at Wheaton College. The one thing about him that I remember from that class is that he talked and that I didn’t. How much could we possibly have in common?
One thing we did have in common was that we were both Asian (granted, he’s Korean while I’m Chinese), and we were both members of a 1-2-1 group through the Office of Multicultural Development. Coincidentally, we were placed into the same group. During one fateful 1-2-1 meeting, I heard Robin singing choir songs with a friend and, being a choir nerd myself, I ventured over to ask them about their choir experience.
The series of events that followed pleasantly surprised me. I learned in quick succession that Robin was an avid acappella geek like myself, was also in an acappella group on campus, and had recorded countless acappella covers of songs before coming to Wheaton. It was this last fact that piqued my interest. Within two weeks, we had already cranked out a completed acappella cover of the theme song to the TV show, Psych (listen here). I was incredibly proud of our work.
Since that day, we’ve become close friends. Whenever we walk anywhere together, we sing songs acappella style – one of us sings the solo and one of us creates the nonsense background syllables or beatboxes. It’s interesting and refreshing to have a friendship in which we only talk to each other half of the time we’re together.
But what surprises me the most about our friendship is that acappella music is almost the only thing that we have in common. Our majors are different, our home countries are different, and most of our cultural experience in and outside of America has been different. We live in different dormitories and we’re in different school choirs. Therefore, I find myself thankful for those required general education classes like BITH 111.
Had it not been for that class, it’d be quite possible that Robin and I might never have met. But I also find myself thanking Wheaton College for being such a diverse community and trying intentionally to reach out to people of different cultures, for creating groups in which minority students can meet each other, and for, perhaps unintentionally, bringing friends together who might not have been friends otherwise.
Robin’s not the only person who I’ve met and formed tight bonds with while being immersed in the diverse student body here at Wheaton. Since one of the College’s more recent and highly prioritized goals is to appreciate diversity, they’ve gone many lengths to make minority students comfortable and make them feel integrated into a community reflective of the Kingdom of God. Meeting Robin made me much more appreciative of the opportunity we’re granted as a students at Wheaton College.
And judging from the demographic of my freshman class, I not only hope for, but expect an incoming class full of totally different but incredibly similar students, ready to collaborate and achieve.
Kirkland An also blogs at Tumblr at http://therealkirkan.tumblr.com
Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/therealkirkan
Listen to Robin’s other work here: https://soundcloud.com/robinhsk