Staring down the February Blues like….

By Michaela Stock ’20

View from my dorm room in Gilmore Hall.

As you Michiganders may have noticed, it was fifty degrees in February two weekends ago. Seeing the sun alone was a Michigan miracle in itself. However, to be sprawled out on Hope College’s Pine Grove with The Beach Boys blaring in the middle of winter was the best, most unexpected surprise during this midterm season. My name is Michaela Stock, and I am a freshman here at Hope studying Art History, Management, and Music. Although the warmth and fun didn’t do much to assist my studies (did I mention it’s midterm season?), it was a joy to see campus come alive with outdoor action again. During this time of year, when winter is swampy and classes intensify, it can be tough to keep one’s head up as a full-time student. Hope kids have a reputation for being overcommitted, and although I swore I wouldn’t be like the rest, I’m currently nodding off to sleep with the blink of my curser as I write this post.

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Writing in Manistee National Forest over Mid-Winter Break.

All of that to say, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else while the February blues are in full swing. As I emerge into March and look back on the semester, I cannot believe the incredible things that have swarmed through the hours and days of the past two months. As you may remember, I work for Hope College’s Concert Series. A mere two days ago, we finished up our show season for the semester. HCCS hosted Hiss Golden Messenger, a classic rock influenced folk band, The Japanese House, an ambient alternative group, and a double headlining show with Christian artists John Mark McMillan and Josh Garrels, just to name a few. A highlight for the team and artists was selling out a few shows. Seeing the Hope and Holland community come together under the strobing stage lights and art of music never, ever gets old.

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Getting ready for the Folk Ensemble Performance!

Continuing on with news in music, the Hope College Folk Ensembles had a showcase this past Sunday. We did a tribute to Bob Dylan. Dylan’s poetic lyrics and rambling melodies were a blast to work with, and I had a great time finding ways to twist my voice into his songs and create something new out of his music with the rest of the ensembles. One of the best parts about being a music student is the amount of “jam sessions” that occur after class hours. Despite days that drag in the sterile, white-walled practice rooms, we still find ourselves slumped on the glossy, black piano benches belting out our favorite songs with one another. I’m finding that long hours are the name of the game when your creative outlet is also your area of study, and I’m grateful to be in an environment that allows me to study my passions. The tears on my fingers from steel guitar strings and cramps in my shoulders from slinging my instrument over my back for hours at a time are all very worth it.

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Staring down the February Blues like . . .

Despite the copious amount of time I spend making music and running shows, I’m still working in Hope College’s Alumni Office. It has been a little slower around here this semester. The office has recently been rearranged, though. This event may sound minuscule, but it’s actually quite exciting. The student desk has been moved to the center of the lobby area, and our seating arrangement is much more inviting and cozy now. I have loved seeing everyone’s reaction to the new look as well as the office environment change ever so slightly because of it. As people, we often look for the big, life-changing events to catch us off guard and transform our lives. However, it’s the little things that accumulate daily and morph us into who we are. It is a personal mission of mine to be as observant as possible and not let the little things go unnoticed, because it is the small stuff that shapes us. Alright, I’ll hop off my soap box now.

All in all, second semester is off to a great start. Although my brain is fuzzy with the mist of Lake Michigan that coats campus and the information overload caused by midterms, my heart is so full. Hope College is unique as it has a support system built into its atmosphere. The February blues may put up a fight, but they won’t win here. As the year closes in quickly, I’m cannot wait to make the most of my last little bit on campus until summer sweeps me out of Holland until August.

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