Biola is essentially a household name in my family. I grew up always hearing about the place that my parents met and where almost all of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and adults from my church went to college. Our dinner conversations consisted of hearing when my dad was the proud beholder of the coveted Biola Egg, when my parents met, when my mom worked as an RA in Sigma, and what college life looked like “back in the day.” All throughout my growing up and throughout high school, all of my cousins and people from church told me about what Biola professors they loved, what Mock Rock teams they were on, what color they wore at Nationball, and how many times they went to Disneyland. Everyone I knew joked that I would end up at Biola and that I really had no other choice. My parents absolutely adored Biola. When I was young I used to say “I want to go to Biola because my family went there.” As I grew up and I was a defiant fourteen year old who wanted to forge her way into pretty much everything, my new phrase became “I DO NOT want to go to Biola because my family went there.” Times have changed.
Though my parents have Biola coursing through their blood, they did make it very clear that choosing a college was my choice, yet they did ask that I at least humor them and tour Biola. I reluctantly said yes, and toured Biola my junior year simply to appease them. Everything changed that day. It was truly the first college I could actually picture myself at and the first place I felt like was my home. Everything made sense then, and I could see why literally everyone I knew went to Biola. After touring Biola, my admissions counselor asked me how long I had been considering Biola, to which I laughingly said “oh about twenty minutes now.” I could not name that feeling I had when I first toured Biola, but I know it is from the Holy Spirit and I know I have that feeling every time I come onto campus. It is a feeling of comfort, familiarity, home, peace, and acceptance. It is the feeling of the assurance and fruition of the plan that God has for my life during this time. Thank you to my parents for forcing me to tour Biola, you knew what I needed.
For me, it seems as though my coming to Biola was part of a story that has been in writing for years and years. The first Gustafson came through Biola in the 70s, and my parents met at Biola on the first day of school in Sutherland in 1985. Every time they come to campus, they recount the story of how they met, where they used to hang out, where they lived, and where their first kiss was. In fact, their first kiss was in this gazebo outside of Bardwell and this year Biola was remodeling Bardwell to create a new art building, which meant that the beloved gazebo was being torn down. I knew my parents would be sad about the gazebo being torn down, and so one day when I saw the gazebo already torn down to pieces, I climbed up over the construction barrier and yelled to a construction worker “EXCUSE ME, CAN I HAVE A PIECE OF THE GAZEBO?” He stopped the jackhammering, and I proceeded to tell him the story of my parents meeting and how their first kiss happened here and how I really needed a piece of the gazebo. Simultaneous to this happening, I had a group of at least sixty Biola students watching this encounter and I gave the group a thumbs up when my gazebo piece was acquired. Yes, there is now a six inch part of the gazebo where my parents had their first kiss in our living room. Stories like this are one of the many reasons that I love being a Biola Legacy child.
For me, coming to Biola felt as though I was stepping into a story that I knew the Lord had already been writing for me. There is great pride in being someone who has come from a family who all went to Biola and I love that I now get to share that with my family and community. Even though there were a lot of people who wanted me to go to Biola, that decision was completely on my own and I made the choice. Yet, the fact that my family and community have deep roots here makes me appreciate it more. Every time I cheer on our basketball team, I think about the fact that my parents sat in these very bleachers and watched the same coach, Coach Holmquist, carry the team. Every time I go to Mock Rock practice, I reminisce on the stories my cousins would tell me about their Mock Rocks from years ago. I feel connected to Biola and I know it plays a crucial role in my family.
I have a deep love for past Biolans and future Biolans, even though I do not know them. Because I love Biola so much, I love those who have gone before me because they have paved the way for me to be here, and I love those who will come after because I know of the great ways that they will be blessed by this school. Whether you are like me and Biola has been in your mind since you were a child, or you are the first individual you know to venture out to La Mirada and go to Biola, know that you are already walking into a legacy. Biolans love Biola, and this includes those who go before and after. Whether you know it or not, whether you feel it or not, there is a large community of individuals who love you and are praying for you. You are walking into a community that truly knows the power of togetherness and lives that out. We are truly all in this together.
I love that my parents went to Biola and that I get to continue in that, and I am thrilled to see the way that you get to carry on the Biola legacy of those who came before you and to pave the way for those who came after. You are already loved and prayed for, for we are truly all in this together.