Biola is not a privilege

Jocelyn Meza shares her personal journey in coming to Biola, and urges fellow students to not take their opportunities for granted.

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| Anna Warner/THE CHIMES

Jocelyn Meza, Writer

Born and raised in a bankrupt city, higher education was a commodity that was not realistically within my reach. However, I still chose to attend a customarily caucasian, private Christian university, fully aware of the social and financial expenses I would have to pay.

A great deal of people that I attended high school with ended up going to the nearest California State University and even more went to the closest community college. The idea of attending a University of California, or any other school outside of my city was unexpected and basically rejected because of the price tag.

Classmates that stayed in my hometown did not have to “start over” because they already knew the city and its people. I, on the other hand, was introduced to a new environment and its unfamiliar people. Caucasians are the minority where I am from but, according to Biola’s demographics, I am now the minority.

I had mentally prepared myself to feel like a minority, but I did not prepare for the drastic culture change. Rainbow sandals provide a perfect example of this cultural transition. It seems like everyone at Biola has a pair, but I did not know they existed. I actually watched a short documentary video on Rainbow sandals’ official website because of my curiosity. Minor cultural differences, like clothing, make up a large part of a person’s identity.

In this same way, many people I have met at this school come from Protestant homes. I was raised Roman Catholic for most of my life. I actually did not become a Christian until I was 16 years old. Hearing several students talk about going on mission trips to other countries or having parents that are pastors seems remarkable. These people often have experiences that seem to create a better understanding of their faith. In comparison, I feel like a spiritual baby.

So when it came to making my final decision to attend Biola, a lack of money and my young faith were the central dilemmas. It felt difficult for me to truly believe that God would provide the money for Biola. Relying on my mother’s income created an even heavier burden. I kept remembering the challenge of making all my finances work out. I wanted to believe I would have the money, but I had doubts.

The book of Matthew says birds survive because God feeds them. If a bird can live off of him, then I had to believe I could too. Yes, money still sits heavily on my mind to this day. But I have begun to believe that money is not the only factor which determines my future. My mother’s income does not even match one year’s worth of tuition, and yet I am here as an undergraduate at Biola.

I praise God every day for letting me live and study here at Biola. Now that I have reached this goal I do not take it for granted. My mother and I have both worked very hard to come to this point and we still continue to fight. It is good for us to remember that all parents can not pay for their child’s tuition. The sacrifices my family and I have made lead me to value my Biola education because it cost me something. I cannot take my education for granted because it is the result of hard work. This work continues every semester and allows me to afford and attend this wonderful place.

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