Wanna know a secret? Friendship is hard in college. And simultaneously, the best thing ever. I can wholeheartedly say and believe that the community of Christ following individuals that I have found while at Biola has been one of the greatest examples of the Lord’s faithfulness to me and of how good He is. While at Biola, I see Him so evidently living in and working through those that I am surrounded with, and it is BEAUTIFUL. I think one of the things that makes this community such a blessing is that I have never experienced one like this before. High school was hard, and the community I had there was not one that exudes Christ, nor were they life-giving and truth-giving. I doubted that I would ever find a group of people who would ever truly accept me for me and not just who they thought I should be. I doubted that I would ever find that Christian community that I so desperately longed for. The fact that I had that pain from my past allows me to see so tangibly the ways that God has redeemed that due to the community and friendships I have found here. Give it up for God. Woop woop.
Friendships in college look different than friendships in high school. First of all, you all live together and basically see each other non-stop every day. Furthermore, there are SO MANY NEW PEOPLE, and who you want to be friends with is kind of up to you. One thing that is so special about Biola is the importance they place on intentional community wherever you go. The floor you live on, the dorm you reside in, the classes you are in, the ministries and clubs and teams and extra curriculars you are apart of all have an emphasis on building community rooted in Christ, which is awesome because wherever you go and whatever you choose to be involved in, you have the opportunity to meet new people and invest in them. For me, I have found a significant amount of my friends and community from the floor that I live on named Jedidiah, the overall Horton community, the Biola Dance Team, my Torrey Honors Cohort, my Men of Honor Mock Rock team, and honestly just meeting people through mutual friends and in classes and just by talking with others. All of it has been a blessing to me.
My freshman year, my floor was the most immediate form of community I felt as though I belonged to. What makes Biola so unique is the intentionality that the Resident Advisors have in investing and pouring into their residents and to developing their community to being one that is Christlike. There are so many events planned to have you feel comfortable and allow you to meet others. The ability to live in community, like sleep and eat and actually live in and with your community, allows you to have the deepest and closest relationships that I have ever had in my life. All of the late nights talking with people in your dorm room and all of the day to day moments you spend with those you live with develop the most special of communities. Due to the fact that I was so blessed by this community in the beginning of my freshman year, I have lived on the same floor, Jedidiah, for the past three years with a majority of the same people and I have LOVED it.
I have also found a significant amount of my friends through the different things at Biola that I am involved it. Being a part of the Biola Dance Team, the Men of Honor Mock Rock Team, and an Ambassador, has allowed me to meet so many people who are all variants of each other, all have different passions, yet all come together to do what they love. Being involved in so many different things has allowed me to become friends with people I do not know if I would have been had we met any other way. Working towards a common goal and being involved together allow for bonding and the formation of a genuine community. I have been so blessed to be involved in so many things while at Biola, and it has all allowed to make new friends and find so many different communities. If I could encourage you, and I’m sure I am not the first or the last to encourage you with this, but GET INVOLVED once you get to Biola. You will meet people you would not have met any other way, and there is so much beauty in the community found as you all work together to pursue a common goal.
The friendships that I have found here at Biola have been my closest ever, which has allowed me to travel with friends, something that I have never done before! This past year during spring break, my friends and I spent a snowy week in Big Bear, California where we went sledding and participated in many snowball fights, drank loads of hot chocolate, watched lots of movies, and play multiple rounds of games. It was a blast. And this past summer, a couple of my friends and I spent a week in Maui, Hawaii, where I was able to show them where I grew up! We spent the week lying on the beach everyday, hiking and exploring all over the island, eating the BEST shave ice after practically every meal, and reconnecting with people I grew up with. The community you find at Biola is so special that it makes you want to bring them everywhere and experience all things with you, from the beach to the snowy mountains. And that type of community is absolutely beautiful.
One thing that I have found really important to try and balance at Biola has been the balance of large group hang outs, and also spending that intentional one on one time with others. Both have been absolute blessings at Biola. Hanging out with the large groups of friends allow for the pure fun and enjoyment of community and you can experience tangibly the fact that God intended us to live life and have community with one another. Yet there is also having the one on one time with others where you can be vulnerable with them and they can be vulnerable with you. This time allows you to have a moment of life- and truth-giving intentionality with another. There are so many AMAZING people I have met at Biola and I know I would severely be missing out on the fullness of community and friendship while at Biola if I did not spend intentional, one on one time with people routinely. When life gets crazy and stressful, I have always found that spending that intentional time with people has always brought me joy. God is good like that. So go out and spend intentional and quality time with someone. You do not have to wait for college for that.
If you have not gathered it by what I said before, the community I have found at Biola has been one of the biggest blessings I have ever experienced in my life. Yet, it was not instant. Community and friendship takes time just like anything else, and in order for it to work, you need to invest. I have so many friends here and am involved in so many communities that I never thought I would be involved in, yet I have been absolutely blessed by it. Who you were in high school, who you wanted to be in high school, and who others thought you were in high school does not determine who you can and cannot be friends in college. All of those external qualities that we think matter and hold on so closely to do not hold in comparison to the fact that at Biola, the community you have is rooted in the fact that Christ died to save you. That bonds a community closer than any other similarity could. For a while, I let who I thought I was apart from Christ determine who I could and could not be friends with, yet that places a limit on our belief in the power and grace of God. There is a whole community for you to discover. Go meet someone new, go be involved in something, go talk to someone who you never would have spoken to before. You will be so surprised to see what happens! I am praying for you from over here that whatever friendship and community means to you right now, that the community at Biola can also bless you and be a tangible example of God’s goodness and faithfulness.
Also if you come to Biola please be my friend. Thanks.