Hey guys!

It’s April! Summer is almost upon us. We are officially in the home stretch. Let’s all keep persevering! For some of you guys, your high school careers are wrapping up in a matter of weeks. Moving to Southern California to go to Biola is only a few short months away for a lot of you.

Time flies! It seems like yesterday I was on my flight to Los Angeles with three bags stuffed with clothes. It is hard to believe that will be a lot of you guys in such a short time. So where do you go from here? You’ve made your decision, put your deposit down, and turned in your housing application. Now you have job… wait. I want to give you all practical advice on how to tackle your freshman year because this was my reality for the past year.

Today, I want to talk about what your first week should like. You've just arrived on campus. You've gone through the first couple days of SOS week (orientation week), and your parents have abruptly said a goodbye. It’s just you with a bunch of strangers. Game on.

But, what do you do?

Socially, my first advice is too go beyond small talk as quickly as possible. The amount of people you will talk to asking for their name, where they are from, their major, and dorm will get so ridiculous. I still walk around campus, see people and think, “I know that dude’s name and major,” despite never talking to them for more than a few moments. I loved Biola from the first day I got here, but the first month was difficult from the standpoint of having to build relationships from the ground up. Seek community. Get real with people as quick as possible (But don’t get weird with it. Don’t add "biggest trial" into your intro questions lol). The quicker you have relationships with depth, the quicker you will feel at home.

Secondly, I would advise you to look for friends in the convenient places. Your SOS group, your floor, and your dorm is a great place to start. My best guy friends pretty much all live in the same dorm as me. Yes, I have (and would recommend) expanding your horizons, but having that foundational friend group is so key. It’s a tough feeling sometimes going into the caf and not having anywhere to sit. Go with your roomie at first. Go with your floor or SOS group. There are so many communities to get involved with immediately. Sign up for as many events as possible during SOS week. Beach day and Splash (the community waterpark) are not required, but provide a fun and relaxed setting to get to know people in your class. What an opportunity to meet people!

Finally, I recommend getting involved in some activity where you're not just friends with freshman. For me, I've gotten involved as a student ambassador. I'm on a team with 29 other students. I also joined Missions Conference staff, which includes a wide variety of people from all across campus. Whether it's Mock Rock, intramurals or Student Missionary Union, there are so many opportunities.

To sum it all up, Biola is an easy place to get involved and to feel at home very quickly. These are some tips to accelerate that process, but take a breath. You are going to do great. I cannot wait to see you all thrive in a few short months.

Chris Middleton