Lately I’ve been thinking about how different my social life is now that I’m at Biola — compared to how it was at community college. There are a few things I loved about my community college experience, but trying to make friends there was not one of them. I’m a very social girl, but developing healthy friendships there was just not easy.
Thinking back on my time in a public school setting, I remember that it was harder to find people who shared the same worldview or morals as me. Finding other Christians wasn’t easy. Based on people’s behaviors and opinions shared in classes, I often felt like I was the only Christian in the room.
The one positive to this was that it pushed me to be more open about my faith with strangers! When I started to connect with someone in a class, I would try to not hide my faith from them. In a few instances, this sparked great conversations about why I believe what I believe. I was able to share the gospel with a few people, which was awesome! School was kind of like my “mission field.
I’m so glad I was challenged to be unashamed of my faith, to be friendly to everyone, and to share the gospel! Enduring some discomfort to be a witness to my faith was a priceless opportunity! However, I didn’t end up with very many close friendships there. I made a lot of acquaintances and shallow connections, but these lacked the depth of a good friendship.
It’s easier for me to become good friends with someone who shares some of the same core beliefs and values as me. I think this is why I only made three good friends during my two whole years at my old school. But I think this is also why I’ve been loving my time at Biola!
Now, I’m surrounded by so many like-minded people!
Everyone at Biola has signed a “statement of faith,” proclaiming that they share the same beliefs about Jesus that the school holds to be important. Because of this, it’s much more likely that I’ll run into someone who has the same foundational beliefs as me. Making friends is easier when we share this common ground.
Making friends here has also been easier because of the close proximity of our living spaces. Living in a dorm is something I didn’t do at my previous school. I think this closeness causes quick, natural bonding. This, coupled with our shared faith, has brought about such a unique situation! My roommate and “next-door neighbors” are not only my friends, but they’ve also become the people I study the Bible and pray with. We have chosen to fellowship and grow spiritually together. The friends I’ve met in my dorm have quickly become the people who know me best.
I’ve also made some wonderful connections outside the dorm. Some of my new friendships have developed through incredibly random circumstances! But again, I think we were able to relate to one-one-another and bond more quickly because of our mutual love for Jesus and the fact that we’re each pursuing what we believe to be the Lord’s calling on our lives. “Hanging out” often looks like having meaningful conversations in a coffee shop, going to chapel and worshipping together, or dreaming about how we can turn our future careers into something that will honor God. These are the kind of friendships my soul loves!
Needless to say, I’m enjoying this season of friendships I’m in. I love meeting people with different passions and from different backgrounds, all united by a shared love for Jesus.
The funny thing is, I spent two years in a community college and felt a severe lack of real community…But anyone who steps on Biola’s campus will probably tell you that they could just feel a sense of community in the air.