Nothing is harder for first-time college students than to find a school where they feel comfortable enough to call it their home. For some however, a strong Christian background, a family history, and an appreciation for the simple things can turn any experience into a great one.Those were the key ingredients behind Downey High School class of 2009 graduate Joey Hocking and his successful first year at Biola University, a private Christian school right on the border of Los Angeles and Orange counties. While he understands private schools are generally on the expensive side of the tuition spectrum when it comes to choosing a school, every bit of it was worth it for Hocking's freshman year. "Private schools are more expensive, but it's an irreplaceable life experience. Each year is a unique, dynamic adventure and I didn't want to miss out of any of it. Biola is also a heavily Christian campus, which is a big part of my life and something I would've missed out on if I would've gone to a UC or Cal State," said Hocking. In addition to facilitating his Christian background, Biola provided a professor-to-student ratio that many schools with high enrollment numbers cannot achieve. With the smaller class sizes available to the students, it was easy for the professors to become involved and apart of their student's lives, something Hocking greatly appreciated. Not only has becoming friendly with professors helped Joey ease into life at Biola, having a family history at the school hasn't been so bad for him either. "My Mom works as the on campus physician, both of my brothers attended Biola, and a few members of my extended family have written books for the school, or are involved through various other outlets. Needless to say, I've had few professors who haven't recognized my name," said Hocking. "People don't judge you on your background, they evaluate you for you. I am not my mother, my uncle, my brothers; College is my chance to show the world that I am my own, unique person." Dorming the first year of college can be hard for anyone. Being away from your home and transferring into a small space with someone you hardly know can be a lot to handle that first year of school. Luckily for Joey, that was never an issue. "It's terrifying for about... six minutes. Then you get over it and you start to enjoy the start of a new phase of your life," said Hocking. While Joey's first year at a private school went exceptionally well for him, not every student is the same and cautions future attendees to make smart moves fast. "Don't expect things to happen for you. Be assertive, know what you want out of your 4 years, then go get it. All the clichés about college are true. Advice like 'do everything in moderation', 'try new things', 'appreciate the small things' sound so dumb, but when you live it, it becomes invaluable."
********** Published: August 19, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 18