New Students Integegrate through SOS


Photo by Courtesy of SOS

The new Biolans join SOS leader in a tour of campus. Though there are significantly fewer new students in the spring than there are in the fall, SOS still puts forth the same efforts to welcome new students.

Despite the rainy weather, incoming freshmen and transfer students survived Student Orientation Service (SOS) and their first week of classes with a refreshing perspective of the Biola community.

From Jan. 22-27, new students attended SOS events to help them adjust to everything at Biola from academics to student life. Student Directors junior Rob Andrews and sophomore Emily Berger enjoyed bonding with the smaller number of incoming students compared to the high number of new students at the start of the fall semester.

According to Andrews, approximately 16 freshmen and 61 transfers were admitted for the spring semester. The SOS Orientation Kick-Off also had an especially low turnout because of the poor weather conditions last week. The small number of students, however, allowed for a relaxed and welcoming environment.

“We’re able to do a lot more because we have such a small group,” Berger said. A group of about 15 to 20 students attended most of the hang-out events and got to know each other and the SOS leaders well. Some of the events included a Friday night in L.A., a Target run and the Biola vs. Vanguard basketball game.

Andrews, who enjoyed bonding with the new students, had some interesting stories to tell. On the Target run, he and three new students rolled the top down of his Chevy Camaro and turned up the speakers. “It was kind of like a ‘Zoolander’ moment,” said Andrews jokingly.

On the way back, one girl in his car squeezed a wicker laundry basket into the backseat.
Katie Rosetrent, a sophomore transfer, said that some of the students and leaders continued to hang out in the dorm lobbies and played games after the SOS activities.

Freshman Alain Datcher had only positive remarks about his SOS leader and the activities. His leader, sophomore Michelle Thune, made him feel welcome and kept a friendly and supportive attitude. He also had an easy time getting to know people and enjoyed meeting new students.

“I feel like the Spirit was really at work within the group. All the students seem like they felt really connected … I see some of them still hanging out,” said Andrews. “I feel like a lot of strong friendships were built.”

Perhaps more important than the hang-out events were the mandatory information sessions on registration, transferring academic credit and campus safety.

Paul Lee, a freshman transfer from Cal Poly Pomona, said he had a lot of questions, like how Biola transfers units from the quarter to the semester system, that were answered through the sessions. He also appreciated the assistance and advice he received from the Biola faculty and staff.

Starting the first week of classes was a whole other challenge in itself. Most students noticed major differences between their former schools and Biola University.

“It’s been up and down, especially getting used to the [lack of] diversity,” Datcher said. “Biola, please work on that diversity.”

Lee also noticed variations. “It’s my first time in a Christian university, and just the whole Christian environment is different,” Lee admitted.

Lee observed that no one on campus smoked, that teachers offered to help their students, and that the food was much better in comparison to Cal Poly Pomona’s. For him, it also seemed to confirm that he made the right decision to come to Biola.

“Right now, it’s really great. Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t come here earlier,” Lee said. “I want to recommend Biola to some of my senior friends in high school.”

Rosetrent shared Lee’s enthusiasm.
“People are so excited here. The teachers are excited to teach. The students are excited to learn,” Rosetrent said.

Rosetrent, who transferred from a community college in Arizona, has been encouraged by the strong influence of Christian ideals in her classes.

“Even though I’m trying to get into the swing of school, I can tell it’s going to be a big year of growth for me,” Rosetrent said.

Dr. Joanne Jung, who teaches Rosetrent’s Biblical Interpretations and Spiritual Formation class, started class with prayer and asked her students about their spiritual walks. Rosetrent was impressed.

“It was more than a class,” Rosetrent said. “It was personal.”

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