Unlike many other high-school students, I never really embarked on the cliché “college search.” I never toured colleges with my parents. I never sat in the stress of the college decision making process. I didn’t even fill out more than one college application.
I simply always knew it would be and had to be Biola.
Since the age of eight I’ve taken violin lessons. Every Wednesday afternoon during my 45-minute session of squeaking strings and frustrated fingers, Miss Sonja would tell me about the best four years of her life, the ones she spent at Biola University. To my young ears these stories didn’t mean much, but as I began to near middle-school, I paid more attention. She would talk about the incredible relationships she built, the engaging classes she took, and the beauty of the Southern Californian campus. But the stories that gripped my middle school heart the most were the ones of her spiritual growth, the chapels, the mentorship she received from professors and faculty, the things the Lord taught her and the ways that He sanctified her.
The seed that she planted in me grew and blossomed over the years. I began pursuing the thought of attending Biola more seriously in the ninth grade. My parents and I began to have realistic financial conversations. I started to look at my everyday schoolwork as the thing that would someday help me get into Biola. I prayed almost daily that this could someday be a possibility. I even bought a big red hoodie with five white letters stitched across it to aid in my motivation for this future goal :)
Today, instead of sitting in my dorm room in Horton Hall, I am sitting at my kitchen counter in my home with the realization that my middle school dreams will look so much different than I had hoped and planned. I have been meeting my professors through an online platform. I have been doing my coursework in the quiet of my own home. I have gotten to know my roommate over FaceTime. I have participated in campus community events through Zoom calls.
The reason I have chosen Biola obviously has to do with the excitement of moving away from home, the desire to fulfill a life-long dream, and the much-warmer-than-Canada location... but it more so has to do with the hunger for growth, learning, sanctification, and richly edifying community. This is Biola.
The beauty of this school, even though it looks drastically different for the Fall of 2020, is that I will still learn. I will still grow. I will still be sanctified. And I will still be involved in a rich and edifying community that will refine me and encourage me.
And this is why I have chosen Biola. Whether in Canada or California, I have no doubt that the Lord will use my time as a Biola student to shape me, prune me, and mold me more into the image of His Son, Jesus.
If you’re reading this and you’re still on the fence about choosing Biola, hop off that fence ;) I would encourage you to talk to other current students. Ask them why they chose Biola. I can almost guarantee you that their answers will be similar to mine. The edifying community, value of education, and passion for the genuine spiritual formation of students is so worth it, and I’m only a couple months in! Biola has already invested in me so much as a scholar, as an individual, and as a follower of Jesus. So hop off that fence, finish your application, and trust me! It is oh so worth it.