Whether this is the first Becoming Biola blog post you’re reading, or you have been faithfully keeping up for months...welcome! I’m here to share my heart on a topic that plays a huge role in the college decision process and life in general: moving out of state.
As you might guess, many students from Biola are SoCal locals, but I am one of about 25% of the student body that is from out of state!
I was born in Columbus, Ohio but I have lived in Charlotte, North Carolina for almost my entire life. Charlotte is absolutely beautiful, from the city’s rolling hills and forests to skyscrapers, museums and cafes. In Charlotte I couldn’t go anywhere without seeing somebody I knew. My community was very tight knit, whether through church, mutual friends or my high school. I graduated from a private Christian school in a class of 17 other seniors. We were all so close that we would take trips to the lake with all 17 of us in one lakehouse. My best friends’ families and my family were also tight, so we would vacation together as well. All this to say, when I committed to Biola, I knew that moving away from my community would be extremely hard. Most of my friends were staying in North Carolina or moving only a few hours away. It took my parents a few months to warm up to the idea of me living so far away and ultimately it was the Lord who changed their hearts. (Read more about my Journey to Biola in my other blog post!)
When I announced that I was moving to California, many people asked me why I wanted to move so far from home. I had to explain to them that I felt that my heart was being pulled to Biola -- no matter where in the country the school was, I knew that’s where I was meant to be. I knew I had to follow God’s call and I decided I would rather be at the right school far away, than the wrong school close to home.
My friends all moved into college two weeks before I did, so I went through some major FOMO (fear of missing out) while at home. I remember going on Instagram and seeing all my friends having fun during their first weeks of college while I was back home working my summer job. That is something very hard for me as someone who wanted to be part of the fun. I sometimes get so distracted with what is happening around me or what my friends are doing without me that I forget to live in the present. If you are a senior in high school reading this: don’t wish away high school, your last summer home or your last week with your family. Those are some of the most precious moments that you can never get back. Put your phone down, go snuggle with your mom on the couch and watch High School Musical (that’s what I did on my last night in Charlotte) or talk to your dad instead of watching your friends’ Snapchat stories. After you leave, everything changes. Especially for me.
On August 28th, I boarded a plane to Los Angeles with three suitcases, my backpack and my longboard. My parents came with me to help me move in to college, but after a day of shopping for desk lamps, pillows and command strips, I said bye to my parents. Our goodbyes were short and anticlimactic because I knew that I would see them again in a few short months. In the moment, saying bye to my parents was not hard, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get homesick. Sometimes I just miss sitting at the dinner table with my family over a nice home-cooked meal. I still get to talk to my parents almost everyday over text, Snapchat and Facetime -- thank you Lord for technology!
California is pretty different from North Carolina. Everything is more expensive, but it’s worth it. I can go to the beach on a Monday evening after class and I am only a few hours away from some of the most beautiful places in the country. I could write an entire blog post about all the fun things to do near Biola, but I’ll save that one for another day. :) The biggest change from moving out of state is making new friends, but Biola has some of the most Jesus loving, adventurous, genuine people in the world…(and we CAN’T wait to meet you!)
There are still moments when I miss the familiarity of walking into a coffee shop in Charlotte and knowing four people who were there already, or when I would come home and all my friends would be sitting around my kitchen table with my parents. Sometimes being in a new place with new people can be exhausting. Change is hard! Something that has helped me in the moments of homesickness or sadness is that I am seen, known and loved by a God who is constant. No matter my time zone, no matter where I lay down to sleep and no matter who I am with, he is ever present. A verse that I clung to in moments of doubt was Deuteronomy 31:8 (MSG), “God is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t worry.”
If you are moving out of state, I want to tell you that I am proud of you. You are brave! I moved to California only knowing maybe two people in the entire state and I can speak to the fact that it is terrifying. Don’t be afraid -- life is all about growing, and you never grow while stagnant. The Lord has your friendships chosen for you, and he will bring you into a place of fruitfulness if you wholeheartedly trust Him. You and I serve a God who wants good things for us. If you are contemplating whether or not Biola is worth the move, I can promise you...it’s one of the best decisions I have ever made. I now find myself in a community that is starting to feel like home. I’ve met so many friends, and some girls that I already know will be lifelong friends. I encourage you to get out of your comfort zone, go immerse yourself in a brand new environment, and make some memories. You won’t regret it!
If you have ANY questions at all about what it’s like to move out of the state, I will be happy to answer them. I’m still learning so much through this transition, but the Lord is so faithful through it all.
Till next time! Peace out.