Myths of being a Torrey student

Christina Bryson explains some common myths applied to Torrey students.



Torrey students discuss a book during class in Sutherland Hall. Christina Bryson, senior Torrey student, displaces the myths of being a Torrey student. | Aaron Fooks/THE CHIMES

Christina Bryson, Writer

Torrey students discuss a book during class in Sutherland Hall. Christina Bryson, senior Torrey student, displaces the myths of being a Torrey student. | Aaron Fooks/THE CHIMES


Before I came to Biola I told my friend that I was deciding whether or not to apply to the Torrey Honors Program.

After he warned me not to apply he went on to explain that Torrey students were known to ride around campus on their Razor scooters with red and blue wheels decked out in floor-length capes.


I ignored my friend’s warnings and decided to apply to the program anyway. As a “gag” graduation present my mom made me a red velvet cape with gold letters stitched onto the back spelling “Torrey.” When I got to Biola and began Torrientation — orientation for Torrey kids — I was pleasantly surprised to find that my friend’s conceptions of Torrey students were completely exaggerated.

I am now in my senior year, and I want to address three common “myths” that people have about being a Torrey student.

One thing I have heard a lot of my non-Torrey friends say to me is they wish they would’ve joined Torrey but they didn’t think they were smart enough. First off, I don’t really know what that means. To be a Torrey student doesn’t take “smarts;” it more consists of learning how to express your own ideas and to listen to others in your group. I think people say that because they don’t understand the Socratic dialogue style of the program. The Torrey program strays away from the lecture class format and rather focuses on having a class conversation or “dialogue.” This discussion based learning creates an environment where students are being challeneged to express their opinions, ideas or beliefs. I totally agree that the Torrey learning style  is not for everyone, but if the reason you don’t apply to the program is because you don’t believe you’re smart enough, that is misguided.

Another common myth about Torrey students is that they do nothing but read and talk about books. I would be an example of the exception to this rule. Of course I love discussing great books, but I wouldn’t say that’s all I talk about. And I have interacted with many Torrey students who enjoy other things besides just discussing literature.


I have heard on multiple occasions my friend’s say the phrase, “I could never do Torrey because I can’t read quickly.” Now, I do understand this concern because I had the same thought. But here is the cool thing about being in Torrey: You get better at reading throughout the years. My ability to read books on a deadline and also to comprehend what I read in a short period of time has improved incredibly since my first year.

I say these things as someone who has dangled between the Torrey community and the rest of Biola. I never felt truly immersed in either, but I think that has helped me to bridge the gap between the Torrey and non-Torrey. I have embraced the quirks of being in a Torrey student and I appreciate them. Before deciding to believe these “myths” of being a Torrey student, I would encourage you not to judge a book by its cover.


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