Transfer students discover community

Sometimes learning to live in a new campus culture can educate you more than class.


Photo courtesy of Rebekah Diller

Samantha Gassaway, Writer

Biola exists on a middle-ground of influence. From ultra-conservative morals to party schools that so easily entangle, transfer students can have trouble adjusting to Biola’s balancing act.

A Different Atmosphere

Transfer students at Biola often move into a dorm atmosphere where they are surrounded with students from all walks of life. For transfers who come to Biola several years after starting their university education, witnessing those close to them make the same mistakes they once did can prove difficult. However, there is no better place to make mistakes than the incredibly kind atmosphere that transfers notice upon enrollment.

Caris Ferguson, sophomore public relations major, transferred to Biola from Montana State, a public school of more than 15 thousand students. She found the transition to the smaller student body at Biola interesting, and the new floor culture in Alpha was even stranger than she anticipated.

“I had a co-ed floor, so girls and guys on the same floor even. It was very open, there weren’t really open hours, it’s a lot more conservative here. So for me it was a little bit different, but not in a bad way. It’s more structured, you could say,” Ferguson said. “For me, it wasn’t really hard adjusting. People are really open, really kind. They really made it easy to transition. People are super friendly.”


Ferguson made quick friends with undeclared freshman Rebekah Diller during the spring 2016 semester SOS week. Diller came from Westmont College in Santa Barbara. The two friends admitted to having a certain preference to making friends with other transfers who came to Biola this semester. Getting used to the school at the same pace as someone else brought a sense of companionship to the duo. Ferguson shared a story about her first week at Biola, where she was confused and searching for classes last minute.

“I actually couldn’t find my classroom and this guy genuinely was like ‘Oh it’s here!’ And I was like, ‘Where is that?’ And he was like, ‘Oh I’ll just come with you.’ And he ran with me to my class, I had two minutes to get there and he ran with me,” Ferguson said. “No one would ever have done that for me at my school, they would have been like, ‘Find it yourself, go on the interactive map and figure it out.’ People really go above and beyond to make you feel comfortable here.”

Culture of Kindness

The kindness of the Biola community did not go unnoticed to sophomore intercultural studies major Faith Cho either. Cho explained how welcoming the atmosphere at Biola seemed to someone who had experienced dorm life elsewhere. Her former college, Cedarville University in Ohio, was considerably more conservative on open hour restrictions.

“[Biola] is more open compared to my previous school, everyone’s willing to just share everything, be more social for sure,” Cho said. “We only had open dorms once every three weeks…Compared to my other school, they were more conservative, so they had their traditional values they held.”

Earning Respect

Cho also explained how her former school’s professors seemed to demand respect as opposed to earning it. She compared Biola’s professors in a light and understanding way, describing instructors as open and younger, as well as more willing to get to know their students.

“[Professors there] needed the respect a professor would get.There was some kind of barrier always preventing you from getting too close,” Cho said. “Like you could, but it would take a little bit more effort.”

Friendly Atmosphere

Transfer students coming to Biola can expect an open and friendly atmosphere. In addition, the possibility of running to class with a stranger in an attempt to get to the first day on time is not out of the question.

This story is part two of a series called Growth is Pain. Read the first installment

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