It’s Okay To Feel Homesick

Even though college is an exciting time to embrace your independence and take on new adventures, being homesick is very common. No matter how far or close you are to home, there will be times you’ll feel homesick, so we’ve put together tips on how to cope with missing home.

Bring Pieces of Home With You 

One way to get more comfortable in your dorm room is bringing pieces of home with you. Bring your favorite pillow, blanket, or mug. Develop photos with your family and friends to keep around your room or in your planner. Things you’re able to pack that remind you of home, take it with you. 

Make Your Room Homey

Your dorm room will be your room away from home, so make it as homey as possible for yourself. Bring your personality into life from the little things like decor, to the big things like your bedding, towels, and 

Hangout With School Friends 

Plan outings with your friends- and take advantage of our beautiful campus and town, or have a movie or game night and cook food together. There are many things you and your friends can do on and off-campus.   

Keep Yourself Busy

Keep yourself busy by getting more involved with school. Join clubs, intramurals, music or ministry groups, or attend campus activities, events, or volunteer opportunities- Schedule time to do things you enjoy and when to have downtown. College will give you a structured schedule, so create a balance that will benefit you. 

Go Outside

It can be tempting to stay in your room, cozied up in bed watching your favorite shows, but don’t be cooped inside all the time! Don’t pressure yourself to socialize if you’re not in the mood but go outside for a walk, take a drive around the Napa Valley, and have a day for yourself. 

Treat Yourself 

Speaking of going outside, go out and treat yourself! There are things from home we just can’t get anywhere else, but you can try to find something that’s close. College will be like your second home, so find places that you enjoy and bring you happiness. 

Keep In Touch With Home 

Whenever you miss home, call or message your family or friends. It might make you miss home more, but being able to talk and see them virtually can make your homesickness more manageable. Home is always a phone call away. 

Make The Most of Time At Home

Always make the most of your time at home. Eat your favorite home-cooked meals, go to your favorite places, and spend time with your friends and family. Whatever you love doing at home, do it, because there is no place like home.  

Remember, it’s okay to feel homesick! Everyone at PUC knows what it feels like, so talk about it with your friends, advisor, counselor, and even your professors because we are all here to care and support one another. 

Faces of PUC: Andrea Maidan  

Andrea Maidan chose to attend PUC because it allowed her to be in nature and was highly recommended to her by friends and family. “The educational aspects and the fact that it is centered around God – this was another reason I wanted to attend,” said Andrea. She is majoring in biology, and pre-dentistry, and will be entering her sophomore year this month.

What is your dream job?   

My dream job is something to do with dentistry. General, Orthodontics, Maxillofacial, or Periodontics – I’m not settled on a specific specialty, but I know that I’ll be happy no matter what specialty I go into.  

How does that compare to what you wanted to be when you were young?  

I’ve always wanted to go into dentistry since I was young. Biannual dentist visits was where this passion started. I didn’t have any bad experiences with dentists, as some do, so I want to share this good experience with others. The methodical, hands on system that goes on in this field was a big plus since I knew I wanted a job with these aspects.   

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the Pioneers family?  

My favorite thing about being part of the Pioneers family is the welcoming nature of everyone here. There’s always a smiling face that welcomes you. The inclusivity I’ve witnessed here is a special feature of this school.  

Where is your favorite place in the world? 

Anywhere out in nature! I love being out and about hiking, walking around, and exploring.  

What movie would you want to be trapped in for a day?

Fantastic Mr. Fox by Wes Anderson. 

What is something you’re passionate about?  

Making food for other people! Cooking and baking – say less. I love learning new recipes and just making food for people I care about.  

Recommend a place to go in the Bay Area on a weekend  

Not sure if this counts as the ‘Bay Area’, but Fern Canyon is an A+ hiking spot. It’s also where Jurassic Park was filmed! 🦕 

Sorting Out Priorities in College

The older you get, the more responsibilities you have. In college, responsibilities come at you from every direction. From school life to your personal life, countless things need your attention. Here are five tips to help you figure out how to sort out your priorities. 

Ask Yourself What Your Goals Are 

Think about what you need to accomplish and what direction in life you want to take. What kind of degree do you want? What steps are you taking to learning more about your career choice? Do you want to get involved in school or within the community? You don’t need to know all the answers right now, but at least have a goal you want to reach. 

Identify Your Priorities 

After knowing what your goals are, it’ll help you see what your priorities are. Obviously, school is one of them. Outside of that, you might have priorities from extracurricular activities. A job or your personal could also be things that need your attention. 

Know What’s Not So Important 

There’s going to be times where your friends want to hangout or people asking you for a favor, but you might be too busy already. When your schedule gets too packed and you’re feeling stressed, you have to let go of the things that aren’t a top priority. Knowing what’s not so important will allow you to put your time and effort into the actually important things.

Be Flexible 

We can control what we do, but we can’t control what life throws at us. When the unexpected happens, learn how to be flexible. Workaround the issue and focus on what you can control, rather than what you cannot control. Reorganize your priorities and see what you can do. 

Find A Balance

With everything that you need to do, find a balance on how to finish it all. This goes from eating, studying, and completing assignments, to making sure you take a break. Set goal times for when you want to finish each priority and to also make time for yourself. 

There aren’t enough hours to do everything, which is why sorting out your priorities is very important. No matter how many priorities you have, remember to make yourself a priority. 

Ways To Manage Your Classes 

The start of the school year can be a challenge. Especially being back to in-person learning, the struggle is real to get back into a routine. You’ll have to wake up much earlier to get to class and your energy may not be the same as it once was staying on top of schoolwork. As you adjust to this coming school year, here are six ways to manage your classes. 

Keep Your Syllabi

Your syllabi are a huge help in managing your classes. That is your cheat sheet to know what chapters to read, when assignments are due, when to expect a quiz, and prepare for an exam. Your syllabi will also have your teachers’ contact information, descriptions of readings and assignments, and other important things you need to know. Even if your syllabi are online, still keep your printed syllabi in your binder or folder. 

Stay Organized 

Stay organized by using a planner, calendar, or task app. Write down when your classes are, assignments are due, exams dates, meeting times, and anything else that’s a priority. At the start of each week or the night before, write down what you have to accomplish, and throughout the week cross them off. It’ll feel satisfying knowing you finished it. Whatever helps you remember things and stay organized, continue to do that. 

Establish A Study Strategy 

Find what study strategy is most effective for you. If you haven’t established a study strategy yet, consider experimenting with making study sheets, color coding lecture notes, or reading important chapters. For some students, handwriting notes, formulas, or diagrams help them remember important information. Everyone studies differently, so find what works for you. 

Get Help From Your Teachers 

If you start to get confused or need extra assistance in a class, get help from your teacher. You won’t be able to manage your classes if you have unanswered questions, so don’t be shy to reach out to them. They are there to help you and want you to succeed. 

Take Breaks 

You can’t manage your classes if you don’t take breaks. When you’re constantly studying without taking breaks, your brain will start to fry up, and you’ll get burnt out. Remember, to take breaks and write it down on your to-do list or planner- if you need to. You’ll feel refreshed and more focused after taking breaks. 

Keep God Close 

It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of school and life but never stray away from God. Stay close to God because he will give you the motivation, perseverance, and strength you’ll need. When you start feeling stressed and overwhelmed, spend time with him. Read a devotional or your favorite verses to remind yourself of God’s love and promises. With God on your side, you can get through anything, and that includes managing your classes. 

Your Backpack Essentials 

As a student, you are always on the go. From going to classes, meetings, after school activities- some days you have to bring everything with you because you won’t have time to go back home or to your dorm room. To save you time and help you get through a school day, here are backpack essentials to keep in mind.

School Supplies 

Of course, you can’t forget school supplies such as your laptop, notebook, pens, books, etc. If you tend to forget certain things in your bag, have your bag packed and ready the night before. 


Before you run out the door, don’t forget your keys. We seem to forget or misplace our keys often, so make sure you have them in your backpack or pocket before leaving. 


Just like keys, your wallet can easily be misplaced or forgotten. Never leave without your wallet, especially if you commute to school or keep your school ID there. 

Water Bottle

Keep yourself hydrated! It’s always good to have water with you in class, walking around campus, after meals, and a workout. There are water stations throughout PUC for you to refill your reusable bottle. If you forgot to bring water, don’t worry because the dining commons has you covered. 

Hand Sanitizer 

When you don’t have the chance to wash your hands, you’ll be glad you have hand sanitizer in your bag. Get some disinfecting hand wipes too if you want. Stay safe and clean.


With washing your hands a lot and putting sanitizer on, your hands can get very dry. It’s nice to have a small bottle of lotion with you, so your hands stay moisturized and don’t peel or crack.


We use our phones quite a lot, so it’s nice to have a phone charger or external battery with you. Especially if you forget to charge your phone the night before, your external battery will come in handy.

Headphones are one of the things most students never leave their room without. Listening to music or a podcast while walking to class helps ease students, keeps them in the zone, and can help calm their nerves before an exam. 

Mini First-Aid Kid

You never know when you’ll need a band aid or Tylenol. If you have allergies or tend to get headaches easily, keep some medicine in your bag.

Gum or Mint

It’s nice to keep your breath fresh, so keep gum or mint in your bag. There will be days where you’ll have back-to-back classes or won’t be in your room till the end of the day, so having gum or mint on you will help keep your breath minty fresh.


It’s not a bad idea to keep snacks in your bag in case you get hungry during class or need a pick-me-up. If you didn’t have a big breakfast or a filling lunch, that snack can help you get through the day until your next meal. 


Chapstick may be something you never thought is essential, but it is. Some people can’t stand their lips dry and flakey, especially during winter, so having chapstick is useful. 

Hair Ties or Clips

If your hair tends to get in your face or it’s just a hot day, have some hair ties or clips in your bag. 

Everyone’s essentials are different, but these are some popular items we’ve seen students keep in their bags and backpacks. Hopefully, you find some of these things essential for you. 

PUC Climbs U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges List

By Laura Gang

Pacific Union College was again lauded for its excellence in higher education, ranking high among the region’s top institutions in the U.S. News & World Report 2023-24 Best College list released today.

U.S. News & World Report heralded PUC as the No. 2 Best Value School among colleges in the larger Western region, a jump from No. 6 last year. In California alone, PUC is first.

A Best Value School, according to the publication, is an institution credited with excellent academic programs and affordability due to low tuition costs and financial aid assistance. 

“I believe the best value that comes with a PUC degree is that our students are connected to a community of faith and well-prepared for a lifetime of service,” said Lindsay Hayasaka, PUC’s vice president of academic administration and academic dean. “Being equipped to create positive change in the world and live out kingdom values is truly invaluable—and this is what we are most proud of at PUC.” 

PUC President Ralph Trecartin agrees.

“These rankings have once again confirmed that Pacific Union College is a leader in higher education, not just for its quality academics but for its affordability,” Trecartin said. “We have consciously provided merit scholarships for students who demonstrate high academic qualities, but we also strive to make a college education at PUC possible for a range of students. Being a best-value college to me also means we are committed to practicing our eternal values.”

In the overall ranking, PUC ranks No. 13 out of 48 Regional Colleges West, up from No. 19 in 2022.

PUC maintained its status as a top performer in Social Mobility, ranking No. 12 out of 48 colleges in the Western region. Colleges in this category are compared based on the graduation rates of Pell Grant recipients to non-recipients.

Hayaska said these rankings show that PUC is fulfilling its mission to deliver Christ-centered education to students and prepare them for service.

“Our students are amazing—they are bright, curious, and ambitious for positive change in the world,” she said. “As professors, staff, and administrators, our job is to support, equip, teach, and inspire students to achieve their goals. We have been doing this for over 140 years—and plan to continue fulfilling the mission for many more.”

Trecartin said this is a reflection of the change and progress that’s been happening on campus. “These rankings are a testament to the hard work of our leadership, faculty, and staff. God has truly blessed our college,” he said.

The 2023-2024 Best Colleges rankings evaluate colleges and universities on a host of measures of academic quality. Areas include retention and graduation rates, class size, faculty, per-student spending, peer universities’ assessments, and graduates’ average federal loan debt.

For more information about the 2023-2024 rankings, visit

Never Say Never – A Mission Trip to Neiva, Colombia

by Vivian Geow (PUC accreditation specialist & MBA program advisor)

Between July 26 – August 8 of 2023, I participated in a mission trip conducted by ShareHim ministries to Colombia. Participants with ShareHim are tasked to preach – something I said I would never, ever do. Yet, I was to deliver 11 prepared sermons to a Spanish-speaking audience in Colombia. The assigned location was Neiva, a bustling city of 365,000 people, 200 miles south of the capital city of Bogota. Our group consisted of 12 people- five from northern California (Yountville SDA church) and seven from North Carolina. Within the two subgroups were four to five young adults led by their respective home church pastors.

Once we arrived in Neiva, we were paired with our interpreters and assigned to our churches in an orientation session at the South Andean Mission of the Seventh-day Adventist church. Over the next nine days, we settled into a routine of sermon preparation, gathering for mealtimes, and preaching in the evenings. With each passing day, I came to understand what it meant to trust God. Neiva was a completely foreign place where I had no control over the environment. How will our sermons be received? Can the interpreters deliver the messages effectively? We had to trust God that things will work out according to His will.

By the third day, the nervousness on my first day gradually transformed into excitement for the messages I was to share at Sion Rivera SDA church, my assigned church. I began to recognize visitors among the regular church members who faithfully showed up every evening. Among the topics I presented were the origin of sin, prophecy, and Jesus’ second coming. One topic I was eager to present was regarding the state of the dead, as it was the basis of my conversion to the Adventist faith. How’s that for saying I would never preach? 

Preaching my first sermon “How You Can Know The Future!”

Our days were interspersed with fun activities – a walking tour of Neiva city center and Tatacoa desert, where we hiked among rock formations and cooled off in natural spring-fed pools. We played basketball and volleyball with high school students at the Adventist K-12 school in Neiva. Throughout the week, we were treated to local fruits, Colombian food, and snacks. We learned that maraschino cherries on pizza were delicacies – this was tough for me to accept. On my last Sabbath, I witnessed the baptism of a young lady from my church, Sion Rivera – a wonderful finale to a hugely memorable time in Colombia. 

Participants from Northern CA at Tatacoa Desert with Pastor George Hilton

Perhaps, most importantly, this experience gave me a chance to focus and ponder the reasons for my conviction in the Adventist faith. 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV) says, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” This trip has stretched my comfort zone in so many beautiful ways. I met wonderful people, walked into their culture, and learned how God can use me to further His kingdom. My only regret is not having joined one sooner, and thus, I strongly recommend that other young adults undertake a similar trip if the opportunity comes along for them. As Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” Go! 

Meet Garrison Chaffee: Youth & Associate Pastor 

Pastor Garrison Chaffee has been working at PUC for three months but is no stranger to the campus. He graduated from PUC in 1999 with a bachelor’s in fitness management and a religion minor. Afterwards, he received his masters in pastoral studies and earned his teaching credential. Pastor Garrison loves PUC and the chance to show Jesus’s love to students. 

What made you decide to work at PUC? 

I love PUC! It is an incredibly beautiful place to live, and the community is amazing. Kids can ride bikes around town, we have the back 40 available to enjoy anytime, and most importantly, I love the real-life, real Jesus vibe that is PUC.

What hopes and goals do you have for the PUC church and community? 

To follow God’s lead in building closer relationships across the students, faculty, staff, and community and to grow closer to God as we serve Him.

What makes pastoring a campus special to you? 

I love the energy the high school and college students bring throughout the year! I love their deep thoughts and questions, they have their whole lives ahead of them and we have a chance to show them the love of Jesus and have the opportunity, by God’s grace to have a part in guiding and influencing them into hope and by faith into a saving relationship with Jesus!

How do you stay connected with young people and be a mentor through their spiritual lives? 

I love investing in relationships. I am honored at the opportunity to speak into another person’s life, just as my teachers, pastors, youth leaders, and youth parents influenced and made a difference in my life. I am in the church today and in a relationship with Jesus today because of those that loved me into faith!

What is your favorite thing about PUC? 

I love so much about PUC! The beauty, the nature all around this place! Not just the back 40- trails to hike and mountain bike, but also the airport, the community, the church and college family and student body, the community of Prep and PUCE, and the community at large! Community swim and pizza nights! Lake Berryessa! So much!

How can your PUC family serve and support you and your family as you minister to us? 

I think it is such a gift to enter into a relationship together. To know and be known, to share the good and the bad, and the ups and downs of life together. What a gift from God to walk the road together towards God with brothers and sisters in Christ, and how amazing that Jesus walks with us too!

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?  

I love mountain biking, road biking, wakeboarding, wake surfing, surfing, snowboarding, and volleyball. I am grateful to God for health and love for all the ways we can enjoy God’s beautiful creation together!

Faces of PUC: Bethanee Tabura 

Bethanee Tabura is studying health sciences and fine arts. From hearing how strong her respective majors are at the college, receiving scholarships from high school, and her mother and sister being PUC alumnas, the decision process on where to attend school was simple. 

What is your dream job?  

When it comes to my dream job, it honestly keeps on changing. Typically, it ranges anywhere from a famous architect in Chicago to an at-home artist on the west coast to maybe designing/building sets for sitcoms or just a hairdresser- publishing a few memoirs would be incredible too. Literally, anything that allows me to waste my time creating and getting paid for it. 

How does that compare to what you wanted to be when you were young?  

As far as how my current dream job differs from my childhood dream job- it’s not much different. I don’t remember really growing up dreaming about working one day. I was mostly worried about being awesome and getting good grades, but I did consider being a hairdresser more than once. 

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the Pioneers family?  

Call me crazy, but one of my, if not my most favorite thing about being a part of PUC is the family legacies within it. It’s such a tight-knit community that you can’t help but be secretly related to a few of your fellow students who were, at first glance, presumably strangers. For example, when my roommate (Leila Beltran) and her parents saw my parents while we were moving into our new dorm room, they instantly knew each other. Turns out her mom attended the same summer camp that my parents worked at/”fell in love” at and remembered my parents. A few short years later, both of our parents were beneath the same roof again. Leila and I were both born during the same month at Loma Linda hospital, and now we’re roommates by sheer coincidence! 

Where is your favorite place in the world?  

The beach

If you had to be trapped in a movie for a day, what movie would you choose? Why?  

Any of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. It would be like the Star Wars universe (which is a close second) because you could explore an entire fictional galaxy’s worth of stuff, but you would be constantly entertained by a witty cast and bomb soundtrack. I’m glad I would be limited to one day because I would get very motion sick. 

What is something you’re passionate about?  

People! I am quite passionate about people. The fact that entire groups of people are seemingly so boring but individuals are so complex just completely amazes me, and I love to just wait and see how each person defies their own stereotype. I think people are so interesting and as painstakingly predictable as they can be sometimes- I just love it when they surprise you with that one obscure hobby like collecting crayons. 

Recommend a place to go in the Bay Area on a weekend  

EASY. I would suggest that you visit that little park/trail by the Golden Gate Bridge–I think it’s called Lands End–but you have to have your own car, so you can just park and open up the trunk and sit there and watch romcoms alone on your laptop all afternoon while eating a giant burrito, strawberries with Nutella, and a kombucha. If you have the pleasure of staying for the weekend, get another burrito to-go so you can bike across the golden gate bridge, grab lunch at a small café on the other side, take the ferry back to Pier 39, and reward yourself with the honey-roasted almonds at the little canopy/stand on the pier- you can thank me later. 

Checklist Before Arriving To PUC

With a month until school starts, make sure you have school business completed. Here is a checklist of things to get done before arriving at PUC. It’s good to take care of these things now rather than on campus, so you have less to worry about and have more time for other things. 

Complete Financial Aid

In order to register for classes and start dorm plans, you must pay the $200 enrollment fee. You can pay online or by calling our finance office at 707-965-7200. From there, you’ll discuss your financial aid with your financial counselor and complete any forms needed. To contact your financial counselor, call them at (707) 965-7200 or email Make sure you have your financial plan completed before leaving for school.

Register for Classes

Once you have paid the enrollment fee, register for classes. Don’t wait until September to register! Secure your spot in those classes and register as soon as possible. If you need assistance on which classes to register for, contact your academic advisor or have your admissions counselor connect you to them. 

You can also check your program course online. If you’re undecided, don’t worry! With over 70 programs and degrees at PUC, you will find the right one for you.

Reserve Textbooks

If you’re ready to get your textbooks, you can reserve and pre-order them at PUC’s bookstore. When you pick them up, they’ll be ready for you and you won’t have to take time looking for them or being on a waitlist. 

Submit Housing Form 

Submit the housing form to reserve a dorm room. If you are planning to live off-campus, you still have to fill out a form depending on your housing situation. 

Contact Your Roommate 

After you have a room set, contact your roommate. Check-in to see what room essentials they’re bringing, so you don’t have doubles or if there’s anything you two should split. If you haven’t met your roommate, get to know them and see if you’ll be compatible to live together. 

Send Medical Forms 

Make sure to send your physical and TB forms from the last year to our health services. If you haven’t seen your doctor, make an appointment and ask them to send or print your examination forms. To contact the health services, call (707) 965-6339 or email Make sure they receive everything needed so you don’t have to worry about it when you’re on campus.

Register Your Vehicle 

If you are planning to bring a car on campus, you have to register it since all cars require a parking permit. The public safety office will need your information, such as your driver’s license, and your vehicle registration and insurance. Once this is completed, all you’ll have to do is pick up your parking sticker at their office and you’re good to go. 

Remember Your Orientation Date 

If you will be a new student this fall, orientation is September 22-25. You will begin your PUC experience by learning the ins and outs of campus, meeting people, and settling into your dorm room. Our orientation team will assist you with anything you need help with and have activities planned. You’re going to have a lot of fun! 

Come With An Open Mind 

If you’re nervous about starting college, that’s totally normal! You will soon begin this next chapter in your life, and college is filled with possibilities. There are so many things to do, see, and learn at PUC, so come with an open mind. 

Enjoy the rest of your summer and we can’t wait to see you at PUC!