¡Bienvenido a un día en la vida de [Welcome to a day in the life of] Emily Wikner! Emily Wikner is a sophomore Spanish major at Northwestern, which is no small feat. Her day consist of learning new things in both Spanish and English, lots of homework, participating in several extracurricular activities and jamming out to the “Beauty and the Beast” soundtrack in Spanish.
Wikner starts out her day with running. She is training for a half marathon and likes to knock out her long runs in the mornings.
“Training for a half marathon is a lot, but I can eat whatever I want because I’m burning it off,” Wikner said.
After her run, she tries to eat breakfast in the caf around three times a week: “I don’t use all my meals on the weekends so I can have breakfast sometimes during the week. I am a sucker for pancakes — I love them way too much.”
Using her pancakes as fuel, Wikner is ready to head to her classes. To fulfill her Spanish credits, she is in an Advanced Conversation class as well as Introduction to Spanish Literature (her personal favorite). On Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, she has Introduction to Christian Missions followed by a work-study shift at the DeWitt Learning Commons. The rest of her afternoon is packed — she goes from Introduction to Narrative and Verse to Christian Witness/Community Development to A capella Choir.
As a discipleship group leader, Wikner has meetings Monday nights and then leads her D-Group on Tuesday nights. Tuesdays and Thursdays are a little less busy with only her Spanish literature class, followed by Spanish tutoring on Thursday nights.
Wikner greets almost everyone she encounters during the day with her favorite Spanish phrase, “La paz sea contigo,” which means “May the peace be with you.” When she’s not sitting in class, running, singing in choir or working, she is busy with homework.
Being a Spanish major has been in the back of Emily’s mind since she was in high school.
“In high school I was thinking of going for a Spanish minor, but then I realized I couldn’t imagine life without seriously studying another language,” Wikner said. “I also realized that God had been placing interests for community development, missions and working with diverse people since I was about 12, and Spanish fits in perfectly with those interests.”
Wikner loves the Spanish program at NW, especially her fellow Spanish majors.
“We will tip each other off on Spanish resources, like Spanish bands on Spotify and movie soundtracks in Spanish. I love watching Disney movies in Spanish—some of the literal translations are so beautiful. Anything we can get our hands on in Spanish we will share with each other to help us learn the language,” Wikner said.
Looking ahead to the future, Wikner is glad she chose to study Spanish.
“I think the ability to speak another language is powerful. Knowing another language is important with the growing diversity in America,” Wikner said.