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!

A Farewell to PUC

After four years of living in one of America’s most beautiful locations, I am leaving with a college degree, great memories, and lifelong friends. PUC has done wonders to my life. From the scrawny, neon-color wearing freshman that showed up in late 2011, I now finish up my time as a scrawnier student leader and pleased PUC student.

There are four areas regarding PUC that I want to attribute my enjoyable undergraduate career towards:

1) Location
If being able to jog from your dorm room to a lush forest in less than five minutes is ideal, then PUC is the place for you. Whenever academic stress peaked, I could always grab a friend and go for a quick trail run, mountain bike ride or an afternoon of reading in a field. PUC’s famous “Back 40” provided me with countless hours of thinking-filled solitude and helped solidify who I am today.

David O'Hair 1

2)  Opportunities
The only factor that limits your opportunities at PUC is there only being 24-hours in a day. PUC is the place for proactive people. Over the past two years, PUC has allowed me to serve on the following teams and roles: Student Senate, Student Association, multiple department teaching assistants, pre-law club president and TLC tutor. That is just me; you can do much more. The amount that PUC enables involvement, you will be graduating with only one problem — how do I fit all of this on my résumé?

3)  Professors
Being away from family and trusted council is tough. However, the professors at PUC showed me countless times they care about you as a person, not just a student. When I tell my friends from other universities I go to breakfast with my professors on weekends or that professors host dinner and movie nights, I am always met with a blank stare. That is what the stare of envy looks like. The professors care, plain and simple. They care about you, your ambitions and even your personal life, as “Mama Douglas” reminds me she is a required guest at my future wedding.

David O'Hair 2

Lynne Thew, David O’Hair, Brittnie Sigamoney, Mark Soderblom, and Milbert Mariano celebrate the College Media Association awards in New York City.

4)  The “Fail Factor”
Most importantly, PUC allows for self-exploration. The supportive environment lets you try things, fail at them and then move on with your life. Don’t believe me? Remember my month as an art major? Neither does the history department faculty. It’s that simple, PUC lets you take chances and then helps you recover from the less fortunate ones. The support network I have found at PUC through faculty, friends and mentors is absolutely unprecedented.

Those are four aspects of PUC I will cherish my entire life. While the college experience is different for everyone, I can promise if you give PUC a shot, you will not regret it.

David O'Hair 3

It’s PUC tradition to ring the Healdsburg Bell after your last final. It’s been great to hear seniors like David ring the bell all week long!

Have a good summer!

David O’Hair
Editor-in-chief
Campus Chronicle