PUC. The Holy Hill. Home.

By Juan Hidalgo 3rd

On Sept 18, 2010, I left my sunny SoCal home and began the 8-hour trek to Pacific Union College. On June 18, 2017, I will be walking across the stage as an official graduate of this college! My time at PUC has been a compilation of the best and most challenging years of my life. As I complete my undergraduate career, here is some advice I would like to leave you as a student, prospective student, interested person, or the fourth person reading this, my mom.

Be a “Yes” Man/Woman
In my time at PUC I have had the great opportunity of getting to know a variety of different people as well as hold a variety of different student leadership positions. This school presented me with an abundance of opportunities to get involved with student life and develop my leadership skills. When I first came here, I didn’t know how to get involved or if I really wanted to. Little by little, professors and fellow students began to ask me if I wanted to help with different events and/or hold different leadership positions. Hesitantly, I said yes and have never looked back. Each opportunity pushed me to get out of my introvert shell to the point where anyone reading this who has come to know me in my time at PUC will be surprised to know I classify myself as an introvert. Say “Yes.” Go and get involved. Whether becoming an officer for one of the many clubs we have on campus, getting a job in a department, or even running for an elected position in Student Association or Senate, you will thank yourself later.

Break Bread with Friends
The fact we are located in one of the culinary capitals of the world means there are plenty of great places, besides the Dining Commons, to ease your “hAngriness” or your “hAttitude”. You can build your own sandwich at Guigni’s Deli, slurp a delicious milk shake from Gott’s Roadside, or share a bomb.com margherita pizza from Tra Vigne. BUT, being that most of us are on a college student budget, this means you also get to make trips to Safeway and cook your own meals with friends once in awhile. Sometimes this means ramen in your room at 3 a.m., on the floor, while your roommate is up playing WOW (World of Warcraft) and sometimes you channel your inner Gordon Ramsey and make a whole potluck for your friends on Sabbath afternoon. Whatever it may be, I know some of the best memories I have at PUC are mixing ingredients, over a stove and around a table, sharing a meal with my friends.

Family is the Most Important Thing
If college is your first time away from home, you may experience one of two things. First, this may be the happiest time of your life as you are now a full-fledged adult and have finally realized you never needed your mom and dad anyway and they were only holding you back from your true potential as an independent, self-sufficient human being. OR, and this is the category I fell into, you may feel a little sad, maybe even a little alone. This is probably not due to the fact you are actually alone, but more so that you miss your parents or whomever you left back home. Let me assure you, there is nothing wrong with this, and yes, you can still be an adult and be homesick.

Hands down my favorite part of my experience here at PUC has been what I discovered when I felt most alone on this hill. You see, up here we have something I can’t fully explain to you, you simply have to experience it on your own. We call it “The PUC Family.” This family took me from Grainger Hall 209, crying on my first birthday away from home, to countless occasions of laughing until I cried. During my time here, the family has been through a lot of great times and a few very difficult times. We have laughed together, struggled through finals together, and mourned the loss of dear family members together. People often say we are kind of “stuck” up here on this hill, but let me tell you, being “stuck” has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. At PUC I have made family members who will last me a lifetime. I have met people who I can be real with, people I can cry with, people whom I love. So if you are nervous about leaving home, don’t worry, you’re coming to another one.

Juan will be graduating with degrees in psychology, Spanish, and nursing.

Trust God’s Timing and His Plan
There are times in your academic career, and in life in general, when you are going to be unsure. You are going to doubt yourself, you are going to stress, and you might want to switch your major from biology and pre-med to basket weaving with an emphasis in Ultimate Frisbee. That’s OK. You probably also will experience some form of failure. That’s OK too. I have found PUC has given me a good balance of success and “gut checks.” What I mean by that is, for all the good times I have had, there were less desirable times I also thank God for. I thank God because though things didn’t always go my way, though I didn’t always get the grade I wanted, and though I doubted myself and Him many times, I am stronger because of it.

There you have it, my “two cents” on a world-class experience at Pacific Union College. If you are a current student, enjoy it while it lasts, the end comes faster than expected. If you are a potential student, get ready for a life-changing experience academically and to be part of a new family. If you are neither, but simply an interested reader, I say “cheerio” and I hope you enjoyed. If you are my mom and are crying while reading this, I say “I love you and thank you and Dad for giving me the experience of a lifetime.”

Juan Hidalgo 3rd  
At-Large Senator     
Chief Student Ambassador
Senior Class President

It’s tradition at PUC for seniors to ring the historic Healdsburg Bell when they’ve finished their last final. Congratulations Juan!

My Experience Applying to Law School

By Andrew Mahinay

Editor’s note: This fall, Andrew is headed to the University of the Pacific to study law. We asked him to share how applying to law school was for him to provide insight for any student considering attending law school or another graduate school.

The application process starts the day you step foot, as a student, on your college campus. Obtaining a high GPA and participating in activities differentiating you from other applicants is the first step to a successful application.

The most important time for me was the summer of my junior year. I had to study for the LSAT, the admissions test for law school. After hours of preparation for months, I took the test, and to my excitement, received the score I needed. With the biggest component of the application out of the way, I began working on other parts of the application that took a lot of time and persistence.

Prospective law school students are typically required to obtain two recommendation letters from professors or employers. Thank God I went to PUC because the professors are easily accessible. I had the privilege of asking one of my English professors, from whom I had taken several classes, as well as my current boss at Newton Hall, to write my letters of recommendation. Whether you are applying to a grad program or a future job, make sure you ask your recommenders early on in the application process because they are busy working individuals with responsibilities of their own, and it may take some time for them to write their letter, and you don’t want to cut it too close or miss the deadline.

Other then studying for the LSAT, writing my personal statement for my application took up most of my time. Writing a response to each different law school prompt was tedious. However, I stayed focused and completed this task with the help of fellow students, professors, and the staff at PUC’s Teaching Learning Center, who helped me by peer reviewing grammatical errors and made my personal statement more compelling.

Creating a resume was another requirement I needed to fulfill. In college, get involved early on so you have activities to put on your resume. Keep in mind, your high school experiences are irrelevant. Graduate schools want to see your college experiences, not your high school ones. My resume was composed of years of activities from my first job, to managing and leading out in my first campus club.

The last item on the list I needed to obtain was my most recent transcript. PUC makes this process simple. Simply go on the Record’s Office page of the PUC website and fill out the Transcript Request Form. The process is straightforward and the college does all the work for you, sending your transcript straight to the graduate program you are applying for. PUC doesn’t charge any transcript fees for the first 25 copies of your transcript.

Once I had all the requirements completed (LSAT score, personal statement, resume, letters of recommendation, transcripts), I began to submit online applications to each school I was considering attending. After that, the real fun beganwaiting. Waiting can be stressful, but take it easy. At this point, you have done everything in your power. Patience is key! After a month of waiting, I received notification I had been accepted into one of my top law school choices.

During a special visitation day for admitted students to UoP, I had the opportunity to experience a day in the life of a law student at the school I decided to attend. I had the privilege of sitting in on a mock class taught by the honorable dean of the law school, which gave me firsthand experience of what to expect for law school. The feelings were so real as I sat and listened while taking notes. I left that day even more excited to begin!

The application process for law school, or any graduate program, is no joke. It takes time, persistence, and planning to get it done. However, the rewards are well worth it. It’s your future! Getting an acceptance letter from one of your top schools is one of the best feelings you will ever experience in your life. It’s also important to remember you aren’t alone through this process. Professors, your family, and friends will be there along the way to support you. For those of you who will be applying to law school or other graduate schools in the future, best of luck to you!

Find Where You Belong

By Andrew Mahinay

PUC is an environment where friendly faces can be found. A majority of the student body come from Adventist academies and have likely met each other countless times over their four years in high school. However, there are also many students who come from public schools or even different states and might not know anyone, which can be intimidating. Don’t worry, if you are one of those studentsPUC has created effective solutions to this.

PUC is an amazing place and the social life is lively. Student Association officers planned events where students can interact with each other on a weekly basis, such as the Poor Man’s banquet and movie nights. You can find many groups with diverse interests here on campus: Rock climbers, moviegoers, lovers of food, worship bands, intramural competitors, and the list goes on.

From the start of their PUC experience, freshmen go on the Fusion Retreat, where they spend several days at a camp together. It’s an excellent place to build relationships. Students get to zip line, swim, worship together, and act in talent shows.

Even with all this, you may find a new best friend in a place you least expect.

The funny thing is, I did not meet my best friends at any of these events. My first day on campus, I met one of my best friends in a Newton Hall community bathroom, an awkward place to meet someone. Later that day, we talked and realized we had the same appreciation for things like sports, fitness, and Southern California, where both of us are originally from. He told me he attended a public school near Long Beach, Calif., and he was the only student from his school to attend PUC, meaning he knew absolutely no one.

We talked some more and he told me about his plans of working as a firefighter, then later in life as a fire chief. I told him about my goals of attending law school and practicing the law. We were both eager and motivated to succeed in college. I truly believe our similar mindsets of wanting to achieve great things was the significant factor that established such a strong friendship between us.

In no way are college responsibilities easy. Of course, you are going to have your high points in life, like going on your first date, exploring hiking trails, and (hopefully) getting accepted into a graduate program. But you will experience low points, and stressful and mind numbing times. It is important you choose friends who will be there for you during your highs and your lows, who will support and encourage you to be a better person, push you to exceed your expectations, and inspire you to reach your full potential.

PUC can be one of the best experiences of your life as long as you have the right friends alongside you every step of the way. It is my hope you find long-lasting friendships here.

Reflecting on My College Years at PUC

By Andrew Mahinay

College could be described as a roller coaster of emotions.

On one hand, looking at college in the perspective of a freshman can feel daunting like the hundred foot drop of Goliath: A gigantic 720 school days until graduation.

On the other hand, Looking at life in the perspective of a senior can feel exhilarating like the butterflies you feel after a speedy drop: Just around 180 days until graduation.

Currently, I am a senior. As I sit in a small room with yellow painted walls, I think of things I wish I had done more of in my earlier years of college. There are three specific activities I wish I had participated in more often.

  1. Intramurals – I wish I had done more intramurals because this is likely to be the last chance to strike a volleyball or shoot a basketball with my best of friends. Although I could still manage to participate in this these sports after college, it is the college atmosphere and playing with your closest of friends makes these experiences so amusing. One’s smile seems to never fade away when playing with friends.
  2. Dinner dates with friends – Notice I say friends? Dinner dates are not restricted to someone you have a crush on. Dinner dates refers to asking a friend to dinner to converse and catch up, to talk about events happening in each other’s lives. Grabbing dinner is a great way to strengthen the bond you have with your friends.
  3. Involvement in Student Senate – You ever want to make a change in your dormitory or even on campus as a whole? Senate gives you the opportunity to make your vision of change come to life. Having a say in what goes on in your dorm is amazing. Not only does it give you a voice, it gives you a chance to represent and advocate for your fellow residents, to hear their concerns, and make their needs known.

While there are opportunities I wish I had taken advantage of, I am extremely glad I did the following:

  1. Candidate for SA – During my junior year in college, I ran for president of the Student Association. This process was not easy. During the campaign process, I found myself wishing I had more time to study. Looking back now, I am glad I decided to run for SA President because the experience taught me how to campaign but also balance academics with extracurricular activities.
  2. Seeking out job opportunities – Earning your own money is such a great feeling. I still remember the time I received my first check. I feel independent and more responsible knowing I no longer have to ask my parents for money. Getting a job and making your own money also allows you to experience the tasty food Napa Valley has to offer!  
  3. Service projectsBerkeley Homeless Ministry, a student ran service project, has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. Joy and meaning arise from helping others who have limited opportunities or cannot help themselves. I have met some of the most genuine people through this ministry. Service project opportunities are something you’re not going to want to miss out on when you’re at PUC.

Overall, college has been a collage of memories and great times. The likelihood of enjoying or dreading college all depends on what you choose to do with your time. Are you going to look for ways to connect with others? Or are you going to sit in your room? The choice is yours. Just like a roller coaster, you never know what direction college life will take you. Be proactive and participate in different activities. I can wholeheartedly call PUC my second home and I am forever thankful for everything this institution has provided me. Best of luck as you explore the different opportunities college has to offer!  

andrew-mahinay

Here’s Andrew hard at work at the public relations office at PUC!

What is PUC College Days and Why Should You Go?

By Leanna Arredondo

Trying to choose a college can be fun, but also extremely stressful. The truth of the matter is, the memories from college are ones you will remember forever, so making a conscious decision for where you attend is crucial. College Days at PUC makes this not only easier, but a whole lot more exciting. As a recent graduate, and now a PUC enrollment counselor, I am excited to share more about this experience with you!

What Should You Expect?

PUC is located just minutes from one of the most well-known destination spots in the country, Napa Valley. Surrounded by picturesque views, our “campus on the hill” is where it all takes place. Whether you are traveling by plane, car, bus, or train (who knows), PUC does their best to accommodate you. Upon arriving, you will make your way to Winning Hall, our main residence hall, where you will check in with our enrollment team and receive your rooming assignment and schedule for your stay.

Depending on the dates of your specific College Days experience, the activities will differ. However, this April, you will take a tour of the campus, eat dinner with current PUC students, play some fun games, and end the night with an ice cream social! Think you’re finished? Not quite! You can also look forward to attending a couple classes of your choice, a financial aid workshop, spending time in our storybook town of St. Helena, and touring the beautiful city of San Francisco!

What Should You Bring?

If you are anything like me, you feel the need to pack your entire life into a suitcase for whatever trip you’re embarking on. However, lucky for you, I am going to give you a list of essentials:

  • A sleeping bag, travel mattress pad, pillow, and towel.
  • A comfortable pair of shoes is KEY for this trip. We do live on a mountain, so tennies or flats would work perfectly. This is especially important for those of you checking out our hiking trails!
  • Personal toiletries are important; however, we do have the College Market where you can purchase items from, as well.
  • Extra cash isn’t a requirement, but who doesn’t want some chocolate directly from the Ghirardelli Factory in San Francisco? Let’s be honest.
  • Athletic gear for our open gym is optional.

Why Is This Important?

Before attending PUC, I remember how stressed out I was about choosing a college that would not only offer great academics, but a spiritual and welcoming atmosphere, as well. When I found PUC, I was nervous about a few things. I wasn’t Adventist, I really loved the city, and I had never lived so far from my parents. This is why visiting is so crucial. During my visit to PUC, I was able to talk to my enrollment counselor, get my financial aid questions answered, talk with an advisor for my major, meet several current students, worship with the community, visit some of the surrounding cities, and get a feel of what the campus was all about. College Days will change everything folks. Don’t second guess an opportunity to experience what could potentially be your home away from home.

Where Can You Get More Information?

Ready to visit? All you need to do is go to our Visit page on the Admissions website, scroll down to the College Days section, and click on the “Sign Up for April 2017” button. Here, you’ll be able to choose what classes fit your interest, and if you know any of our current PUC students, request to dorm with them during your stay. It is as easy as that! I look forward to meeting you!

Your last chance for a College Days experience this year is coming up April 9-11. Don’t miss out!

Five Reasons You Need the PUC Mobile App

unknownDid you know PUC has its own mobile app? It’s true!

The PUC mobile app is available on both iOs and Android.

While there are many great things about the app, such as quick links to the college’s social media accounts, blog, videos, and more, here are just five reasons why you should download the PUC mobile app to help make student life easier at PUC.

1. Stay up-to-date with PUC news articles. If you find yourself not knowing what’s happening on campus, look no further than the news section of the PUC mobile app. Here you can quickly browse through news articles as well as search the archives (as far back as 1996).

2. Use the PUC calendar to know what’s happening on campus. While certainly not a comprehensive list, the PUC calendar is a great place to look to see what events are planned on campus. You can even add events to your iPhone calendar and be alerted when they are coming up. If you’re planning an event at PUC and would like it to be added to the calendar, email calendar@puc.edu.

3. Check out the PUC cafe menu to see what’s for lunch. I will readily admit this is the section I click to the most on the app: the daily menu for what’s being served at the Dining Commons.

4. Search the PUC directory for faculty and staff contact information. Need to reach someone on campus, but aren’t sure how to contact them? Search the people directory on the PUC mobile app, which includes both faculty and staff. You can call or email them from the app as well.

5. Browse the PUC Library catalog. Whether you’re looking for a book to use as a source for that term paper or simply something for fun, you can browse through the college library catalog directly from the app.

Need help? The PUC mobile app also has a contact section where you can submit a question for a PUC representative to get back to you.

Study Tips for Graduate School Admissions Tests

By Andrew Mahinay

Studying for graduate school admissions test is no walk in the park.

If you are interested in graduate programs such as medical, dental, or law, you are eventually going to have to take an admissions test. Medical school requires students take the MCAT. Dental school requires the DAT. Law school requires the LSAT. These admissions test differ in subject, but they all have one common factor: you MUST study for them if you want to be accepted into graduate school.

As mentioned, the LSAT differs from the MCAT and DAT in various ways. The LSAT is composed of logical reasoning, which tests the applicant’s ability to critically analyze long and short passages, while the MCAT/DAT are more subject driven.

Although these tests differ in subject matter, studying for them is quite similar.

I spent last summer studying for the LSAT. Before opening the study materials, I knew the LSAT score would weigh heavily on my chances of being accepted into law school. It was crucial for me to get a competitive score. The highest score for the LSAT is 180 and a 165 is extremely competitive. Knowing this, I sacrificed my entire summer to study almost everyday for prolonged periods of time.  

In the future, whether you study for the MCAT, DAT, or LSAT, it is imperative you know the following:

First, dedication and motivation are key to overcoming any test. Make sure you create a game plan. Make sure you dedicate hours of your day to focus on your studies. Implement a study schedule that fits your studying personality, so you don’t get burned out. I would study from 12-4 p.m., take a break from 4-5 p.m., and then finish off the day studying from 5-9 p.m. In addition to dedicating time, remind yourself of why you are studying for the test. Is it to help cure people of cancer? Is it to repair broken jaws? Is it to protect people from injustice? Make your motivation known.

Second, living a balanced lifestyle is of utter importance. After studying from Sunday to Friday, I would take Sabbath off to relax and recharge. You want to make sure you take plenty of breaks. When on break, I strongly recommend you do some sort of exercise to boosts confidence levels, which has a direct effect on test performance. Other options include watching a movie with family, getting a coffee with a friend, exploring a city close by. Whatever the activity, make sure it has nothing to do with the test.

Lastly, and the most important of all these tips, is to trust in God. As a student, there is only so much you can do. There are only so many practice questions you can go over. There are only so many hours in a day you can dedicate to study.

However, as students, what we can do is apply ourselves through dedication, to find motivation to wake up every morning to study, and to live a well-rounded lifestyle. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to do your part and to rely on God that He will do his.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6