Something that has made my college season extremely daunting was the fact that I had gone to school in pretty much the same environment—and around the same people—for twelve years! I knew the ins and outs of where I had gone to school for so long, and then it finally came time for me to step into something completely new. Although it was a little bit intimidating stepping into such a new environment, it was also so much fun. It’s exciting being able to explore new territory!
As you prospective students are approaching a new season of looking into possibilities for higher education, I wanted to write a little insight, a “guide”, if you will, all about the inside scoop on Biola University! My hope is that you’ll be able to get a peek at experiences and that you’d normally only learn about if you were a current student here! Hopefully after reading this you can feel a little more familiar with the unfamiliar that is Biola.
So, during my three years of being a student at Biola, here are a few things that I have picked up on:
Pop-up Food Pantry! We have a pop-up food pantry every Tuesday for students! The idea behind the food pantry is that Biola students would have another resource for—and increased access to—food. Some staff at the university realized that it can sometimes be challenging for students to feed themselves because of lack of income/not enough meals on their meal plans. As a result, they wanted to create this food pantry so that, in moments where students don’t have the funds or resources to get a meal, they have some ingredients to make their own!
Lending Library! Biola’s Student Enrichment and Intercultural Development (SEID) center offers a resource called the “Lending Library”--here, students can donate their textbooks at the end of the semester so that they can be borrowed by others! The lending library is located in the Mosaic Cultural Center on campus.
Hammocking! There are poles on campus that were specifically designed so that students could put up their hammocks and hang for a while! If you don’t have a hammock, you can check one out at the SGA office.
Pastoral Care! At Biola’s Spiritual Development offices, you can meet up with a member of our Pastoral Care team; they are incredible resources if you ever need a safe place to process, vent, or just talk about life. You can book anyone from our Pastoral Care team online.
Spiritual Direction! This is a little bit different than Pastoral Care. Biola’s Institute for Spiritual Formation offers a service called “Spiritual Direction”. In it, students are matched with a spiritual director who meets with them on a monthly basis. It’s a space that cultivates growth and exploration within your spiritual life and walk with the Lord. Pastoral care is intended for more immediate council, wherase spiritual direction is intended to last at least a semester—but often students choose to continue attending longer! The Institute for Spiritual Formation offices are located next to the Grove—an area at the southernmost part of Biola’s campus, right next to lower campus. It is there that you can pick up a form to sign up!
Affinity Groups! Biola’s center for Student Enrichment and Intercultural Development fosters communities that open up spaces for conversations on culture, ethnic/racial identity, and more. These communities are called “Affinity Groups”! There are 8 different groups that cater to all students, staff, and faculty. You can get plugged in via their Facebook/Instagram pages and find a list of the different groups online here: https://www.biola.edu/seid/affinitygroups
Student Programming and Activities! Also known as SPA, this branch of campus life works to provide recreational and educational opportunities for the student body. They coordinate things such as campus trips (typically offered at low costs) that students can partake in, as well as host popular events on campus! One of my favorite things planned by SPA is Mock Rock: Biola’s annual lip sync and dance competition. For Mock Rock, students are invited to join or form dance teams which work together over the course of a few months to prepare a lip sync/dance piece which is performed on stage in the spring semester! All of the Mock Rock teams join in some friendly competition to see who can win the title of Mock Rock champion. Those who aren’t on a team are invited to watch--in past years, students have camped out overnight just so they can get good seats!