Get the ball rolling on your first year

So you are finally at school and it’s starting to hit you that you’re free. Your room is starting to look lived in, and your I.D. card is beginning to make a dent in your hand. Good. You are off to the right start. When I was a freshman, I wished there was someone beside staff and faculty to help me out with things like my social life and general navigation around the campus — something that appealed to me more than my academic life.

Have you thought about what you want to do this year or maybe even over the next four years? Do you want to explore Southern California? You should! Take a day trip to San Clemente to get those legendary Rainbow Sandals. But then remember, you are a student who goes to school five days a week, so getting comfortable with your new home is a huge deal as well. How do we students balance our academic and social lives while keeping our sanity in this hot, cement jungle?

Getting out of your comfort zone and experiencing different cultures, events, and even foods that surround you is a great way to get your year started off right. When I first moved here, I thought that boba — an amazing tapioca addition to any beverage you choose — was a religion from the jungles of a distant continent. I soon became obsessed with it and quickly found that most study-style coffee shops around here provide it. Simply adopting something like boba and a new off-campus place to study is an example of how Biola and its surrounding areas can begin to become home to you. My point is: make your new surroundings your own.

As for being on Biola’s campus, there are some simple things that are the “need to knows” in order to brush off that feeling of being somewhere new and unfamiliar.

The cafeteria, for example.

I was at Biola during the “cafernacle” stage. Think of a huge tent located in the pool/track parking lot. But this was no Bon Appétit — this food consisted of hot dogs and variations of mac and cheese. Anyway, a semester later I learned how to navigate the new café because, well, I had to, just like you.

As a new student, the “cafernacle” was the first impression I had of Biola. I was completely out of my element in the tent as I tried to find my new friends while selecting the best looking tater tots.

Here are a few tips I learned:

  1. Finding a table before completing your food rounds keeps your food hot for longer because you can sit down right away.
  2. Ditch the trays – things only slide off of them. Trays mean you drop things. If you drop things, people are going to stare at you and clap. No, I am not speaking from experience.
  3. Consider buying a set of your own Tupperware, because 50 cents is a lot of money to be spending on a piece of cardboard otherwise known as a “to go box.”

As far as social life on campus, one thing I would really recommend is being involved. Signing up for intramurals is a great and easy way to start.

They tend to not only be an amazing time of sports, but also an opportunity to meet even more amazing people. Even though they can get a bit competitive at times, intramurals are great because players are just in it for the fun. I can remember some ultimate Frisbee games where we didn’t even keep score. Even after the season was over I played glow ultimate Frisbee until three in the morning with my intramural teammates.

The initial weeks of your college life are pretty intimidating when you look at them from a broad perspective. But if you realize that simple things such as learning to navigate the café, signing up for intramurals or even visiting the areas surrounding Biola can make your experience a little bit easier, you will become much more comfortable in all you do at college.

Enjoy being new student. You have four years – don’t waste them. Make them as enriched as possible. Do not be afraid to try new things. If you don’t like them, what did it hurt? You just found something out about yourself, so then move on and find out something else. Discovering your passions can not only be one of the best ways to get the ball of your college life rolling, rolling but it can also stir up something inside of you that you never expected. Have fun!

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