First Things First: students share first impressions, advice

New and returning students discuss first impressions of the caf, DBC, floor community and more.


Heather Leith and Heather Leith

Emily Arnold/THE CHIMES

We have all said it dozens of times by this point in the year: who we are, summarized into the four categories of name, year, major and hometown. With the start of the year, it is an important but expected rundown of the basics in which we all have to participate. We might as well write it on an index card and hold it out when meeting someone new to streamline the process.

Not only are we meeting new people left and right, but we’re also forming impressions on the programs, classes and people that surround us. Here’s what some students, new and old, have been thinking this week as they settle into the Biola routine.

Freshmen’s first impressions of …


“I love the weather here, because I’m from Oregon. I love the people, everyone is just in love with Jesus and you just can tell, I love it.” Hannah Romick

“I was shocked at how friendly everybody was and how I started feeling like family right away in my dorm.” Sam Brannon

The Caf

“They have a ton of food and it’s really hard to not go for desserts.” Natalie Kato

“I love the food. So much better than any other college.” Kirsten Haley


“I love how everybody here respects him so much, because at all the schools I’ve been to … nobody was a big fan of the president. But he’s pretty awesome.” Sam Brannon

“[He’s] really intriguing; it’s so fun to listen to him.” Kayla Gin

“He seems so young to be the president, but he’s really cool.” Hannah Romick


“I’ve been enjoying them a lot. They do give a little bit of a challenge and do seem a little bit harder than a lot of high school classes. But I know that with God’s help and determination … I can do well.” Caleb Allen

“It’s going to be different than high school, like it’s a little overwhelming how much you have to do on your own.” Hannah Romick

“I was kind of nervous at first, transitioning from high school. But my teachers are really great and I’m so excited for my classes.” Kirsten Haley

Seasoned Biolans’ first impressions of …

Floor community

“Peaceful and cute and quirky. I’m planning to get everyone’s numbers so I can get meals with them.” Randi Fox, junior, Sanctuary in Stewart

“We have a lot of returners. … The other half is all freshman and transfers and they all just seem really excited to get involved and be a part of the community. It’s cool seeing the returners mix in with the freshman and really encourage them.” Zachary Myers, sophomore, resident assistant of Theo in Emerson

“Everyone on this floor is a leader of something and I gotta step up because this is a big legacy floor.” Cody Laliberte, sophomore, GUS in Emerson


“This year I am only taking 12 units, which is amazing, I usually take 18 every semester. I actually get to socialize and do nothing and just stand in one place and talk to people. As a music major, it’s so hard to do that because you’re in the practice room 24/7.” Erin Bretthauer, senior

“This is probably my favorite semester so far [after the] first week. [I have] professors that are right on and just want people to learn and be informed rather than meet requirements.” Jesse Lai, junior


“I feel really, really good about this year. I am really proud of how they’re handling … the lawsuit and the conversations about homosexuality. DBC is pursuing this and being really responsible. It feels like they’re being more intentional, so I’m excited.” Anna Kietzman, sophomore

“I feel like I need it. It provides what my spiritual life needs, it guides me to initiate the spiritual things going on in my life.” Randi Fox, junior

New students are often inundated with advice from parents, teachers, pastors and others in authority positions, but advice from peers is a little harder to come by. Freshmen and transfers, we’re going to make it easy on you by sharing some words of wisdom from those who have been there, done that.

Advice for freshmen from upperclassmen

“Get involved on campus in a ministry or in some kind of leadership position, because it will
make your years at college that much better.” Jace Paine, senior

“View schoolwork as an act of worship.” Mackenzie Burns, senior

“Don’t look for your husband, look for your bridesmaids.” Grace Kim, junior

“Don’t get too settled into your plans because God can and probably will change them.” Spencer Posey, senior

Advice for new transfers from upperclassmen

“Take advantage of chapel; it’s one of the best things about this school. Also, you’re going to be getting a lot of theological background discussion, but don’t let it go to your head.” Jesse Lai, junior, transfer from Modesto Junior College

“Make sure that you get plugged into community. It can be daunting to be the new person on the block because everyone knows each other, but give it time and put yourself out there. You’ll find a group of people that will help you grow and learn to love Biola.” Zach Rose, senior, transfer from University of California Irvine

“Be a part of floor activities, even if you feel like you’re too old. Getting involved in that way can make a huge difference.” Amber Smith, junior, transfer from Diablo Valley College

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