Get Involved! Host a Hope Student Through DiscoverWork

Are you an alum that has been discerning ways to give back to Hope College? Have you ever thought your job would be an interesting to shadow? Do you feel called to help current undergrads explore their major? We have the program for you!

The DiscoverWork program run by the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career connects students with alumni, friends or employer partners of Hope College who share their career experiences, lessons learned and professional tips for landing a job or internship in their industries. Different from an internship, DiscoverWork opportunities are short-term, unpaid opportunities to meet with or shadow a professional and gain a first-hand perspective of his or her day-to-day work life.

Alumni will have an opportunity to…
• Make a positive and lasting impact on the career exploration process for an undergraduate student
• Aid in informing students about the helpful and required skills needed to enter the workforce
• Develop personal connections with current students in a coaching/mentoring capacity
• Meet potential new talent for future summer interns and full-time employees and increase the exposure of your company and career field/industry.

Host registration is open for the 2019-2020 cycle and we want you! 

Need more information or ideas for hosting a shadow? Check out our Host Guide.

Ready to register? Click here for the registration form.

*Not ready to host but willing to have a student stay in your home if they are shadowing in your area? We want you! Click the registration from above and indicate that you would like to be a “Housing Host”

We hope you will consider being a host this year and look forward to connecting you with our awesome students this Fall! Have questions? Please contact Megan Scheldt, Networking Coach & Program Manager at

Make the Most of Your Summer Job

Maybe you’re stepping into a common summer job, camp counselor position, or your first ever internship. Whatever your summer job may be, you want to get the most out of it to continue to build your experience and understanding. There’s a lot of ways to make the most of your summer job, but here are a few tips and tricks to consider.

Practice the art of saving money and budgeting

It’s likely you’ll be making some money from your summer job. It may be a lot or a little, but the summer can be a great time to practice what it looks like to set aside money for different purposes and map out a budget. There are plenty of resources you can find online to help you get started.

Treat it like an interview

Especially for those of you in an internship, treat the opportunity like an interview. Employers will be watching to see how you interact with others and how well you are able to execute certain tasks. This is a great chance to show your potential and the skills you already have. Always come with a good attitude and be willing to adapt to whatever the job may throw your way.

Make connections

Your summer job is a great place to start networking. Whatever company you’re working for, find ways to connect with various people within the company and give yourself more opportunities. You may meet someone who has a random connection somewhere outside of the company that interests you and could help launch you into the next thing. Don’t be afraid to strike up conversations and connect.

Think about Transferable skills

You may not have the ideal summer job or one that has anything to do with your future studies, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a lot out of the opportunity. Think about the day-to-day skills you use such as communication, customer service, adaptability, or whatever else it may be. These are great skills to have that you should include in your résumé as results of your work.

write a blog

Some of you may find value in documenting your experiences or writing about different things you’re learning or interested in within your field. You may not be a writer, but learning and gaining skills in writing can be incredibly beneficial. Consider taking the time to write your experiences to share with others.

Whatever you do this summer, make the most of it. Whether it’s a minimum wage summer job or big city internship, there are skills and valuable experiences you can take from your job. Consider how you can make the most of your time, and enjoy every moment of summer.

So Long, Farewell…The Seniors Give Their Last Remarks

College goes by in the blink of an eye, and with that, some of our beloved Career Advisors will be leaving us. Several CA’s are leaving our staff this year. Though we are sad to see them go, we wanted to give them one last chance to reflect on what the Career Development Center, now, The Boerigter Center has meant to them during their college career. Some have been here for many moons, others are new this year. Either way, grab your tissues and popcorn and hear what they have to say!

Rachel Gillespie:

Hey, friends! My name is Rachel, and I am finishing up my time as a Career Advisor for the Boerigter Center. My journey with this office began nearly four years ago in August of 2015, when I nervously (but excitedly) walked into the doors of the Career Development Center in Anderson Workmen for my first day. The people of this office have been some of the most important voices and strongest cheerleaders of my college career. They have taught me about life, discernment, calling, and what it means to give your whole heart to something. My time here has taught me about the working and professional world, how to connect with people at a deep level, and the art of meeting people right where they’re at. If I took the Boerigter Center out of my time at Hope College, something would be sorely lacking. I am so thankful that career work was a part of my story! This has been an incredible ride, and one that has changed my life. To this staff team: from the bottom of my heart, thank you for cheering for me so well. Friends, if you’ve never experienced what the place has to offer, I hope you’ll try it out. It might just be the best decision you’ll ever make.

Caitlin Lindman:

When I transferred here as a freshman, one of the first appointments I made was to meet with Amy Freehafer. I  wanted to set up my four year plan and had all these ideas about how I was going to start a bakery after college. During that appointment Amy told me about the Center for Leadership and helped me visualize all the possibilities for what my four years here would look like. She also encouraged me to fill out an application (that was closing in 2 days) for a CA position. I went home that afternoon and filled out the application and was scheduled for an interview…flash-forward three years later, and I’ve been working as a CA ever since. Honestly, I can’t talk about my time at Hope without talking about this position. Over the years, I’ve written several blogs, honed my marketing abilities, learned more about cover letters and resumes than I thought was possible, built lasting relationships with the Boerigter Center team, and loved every moment of working here. Megan Scheldt (and Amy) pours into each of us CAs and gives so much of her time to seeing us thrive. She’s given me the freedom to try new campaigns for the school, work on different projects, pushed me to grow outside my comfort zone, and cheered me on in all of my endeavors. I can’t say thank you enough to Megan, Amy, Shannon, Jena, Dale for how much you have helped me over the years. And to other students,  I can’t stress enough how much each person here wants to help you and see you succeed. Please don’t leave Hope without stopping into the office at least once– you never know if it might just change your life like it did mine.


Throughout my first three years at Hope, I utilized the Career Development Center on a semester basis. These visits were limited to resume reviews and internship searching. Each staff member I met and every piece of insight I was presented with were immensely helpful. Leaving appointments, I felt reassured, confident, and empowered.

When the Career Development Center upgraded to the Boerigter Center, I was offered employment. As an emerging senior, I accepted this opportunity eager to more closely join this phenomenal community. Soon into the job, I began to better understand the resources readily available to students. The Boerigter Center offers so much more than resume reviews! With little time, I found myself sharing these opportunities with my classmates and friends. Working at the Boerigter has allowed me to fully utilize and share the resources available at the hands of Hope students and alumni. I am beyond thankful for this experience and the professional development it has provided me.

Isabel Bustamante

The Career Development Center was a frequent stop for me in my first few semesters at Hope. I was constantly trying to use all the resources I could to get a direction for my studies, and I am so thankful I utilized what is now the Boerigter Center. I was so grateful for how well-equipped I felt that I decided to apply to be a Career Advisor for my final year at Hope. I have learned so much from the full-time staff here whether it was through appointments or conversations in the office. They are passionate people who have so much great advice, and I would highly recommend using this irreplaceable resource. I am so excited for the next chapter in my life despite how unknown it feels. However, thanks to the Boerigter, I feel ready to take on this new and thrilling chapter.


As a freshman and sophomore, I utilized the Career Development Center a few
times each semester to get help with interviews and editing my resume. I spent my junior year and the summer going into my senior year as a student receptionist, and I learned all of the ins and outs of the office! I got to know each of the staff members very well as well as their areas of expertise. I learned more than I ever thought I could about resumes, cover letters, StrengthsQuest, and Handshake, but I am grateful for all of it!

My college career was heavily influenced by the wonderful students and staff members in the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career. The skills they taught me impacted the rest of my career at Hope. I was confident in my own abilities to navigate life after college; I developed new connections to offices around campus; I had opportunities to advance my own resume (ex: campus-wide presentations, leading major exploration groups, and creating a new organizational system for StrengthsQuest), and most importantly I developed a sense of mutual trust with some pretty amazing mentors.

I could not be more thankful for the opportunities this office gave me because not only are they are meaningful in a professional setting, but I learned some great life lessons along the way too! My advice is to take advantage of the BCCC early and often! This a very unique resource that Hope offers, so don’t wait until the last minute to get some guidance in your calling and career.

Christina Armbrester

My journey as a CA began at the end of my sophomore year when I was talking to Rachel Gillespie (who was currently a CA). I was telling her how I wanted an on-campus job that would help me make connections and learn while I was working. She told me about the Boerigter Center. I began working at Boerigter Center during the Fall semester of my junior year and I fell in love! I loved learning about how to create an exceptional resume, I loved the projects I worked on and I loved the people who I interacted with in the office, specifically Megan, Amy, Shannon, Jena and Dale. I am so thankful for the professional development that the Boerigter Center taught me and all the memories that were made at this phenomenal office!

Anna Gibbs

I began working as an Office Receptionist in the Alumni Office when I was a freshman at Hope College and was promoted to Career Advisor at the Boerigter Center during my senior year when the two offices merged and began working together more closely. The Alumni Office staff in particular has played an important role in shaping my time at Hope. These people anchored and supported me during moments of uncertainty, stress or homesickness, and built me up by reminding me of my talents and capabilities.

On Valentine’s Day I would find sweetly decorated cookies on the student desk with a handwritten note wishing me a Happy Valentine’s Day. On my Birthday, a vase with colorful flowers would await me. Regardless of the occasion or gesture, the staff always managed to put a smile on my face. Some of my fondest memories include watching the Tulip Time Parade from the balcony of the Plaza with Jenna and her parents, serving Kate and her precious family German potato salad at the International Food Festival, and spending time with all staff members at events such as Homecoming and Alumni weekend.

Not only did these staff members provide me with the skills necessary to succeed in a professional setting, but they also prepared me for a life of constant interactions and relationship building with other people. The Boerigter Center staff continued to foster my personal and professional development. Like the Alumni Office staff, these amazing coworkers and mentors demonstrated to me the importance of listening to others and treating them with empathy and respect. I will forever be grateful for the enriching and rewarding experience of being part of the Alumni Office and Boerigter Center team.

Nicole N mutua

One of the best decisions I made at the end of my freshman year was applying for the CA job that was posted on Handshake. Prior to becoming a Career Advisor, I had never made use of any of the great services that the Boerigter Center offers. Starting out as a sophomore I was able to learn a considerable amount of new skills and got the chance to work alongside an awesome team that included CAs, receptionists, and the Boerigter staff. Megan and Amy throughout the years have been some of my biggest cheerleaders. They have made me believe I can do anything. Megan gave me the freedom to try different tasks at the Boerigter, which immensely helped in my growth here at Hope College. Furthermore, using the resources at the Boerigter have helped tremendously on my journey to my future career, giving me the necessary steps I need to take to get there. Everyone should use the Boerigter Center, and it is never too late to use their resources. I have loved my time at the Boerigter Center, I am very grateful and thankful that I got the opportunity to work here and meet such astounding people.

Addison Huss

Working with the Boerigter team has been such a joy this year! I started out my time as a student employee in the Alumni Office as a freshman and have been with them ever since. I have been given experiences and opportunities I never could have imagined. From working at the front desk, answering emails and phone calls, to planning and working events and everything in between, this job has given me deeply valued work experience. When the Boerigter Center was first starting up, I had the opportunity to join the student receptionist team for one semester and then was offered a position as a Career Advisor. As a CA I get to work in the Alumni Office again and work on special projects as needed. I have been so blessed to create relationships with the entire Boerigter and Alumni team staff and cannot thank everyone enough for their support over the last four years. To the Boerigter staff- thank you for the work you do, we all appreciate you. To the Alumni staff- thank you for being there for me through the ups and downs of college and always teaching, supporting and loving me through it all, Hope would not be the same without you all!


During my time at the Boerigter Center, I have seen amazing opportunities come to fruition due to hard work, dedication, and courage exemplified by my fellow Hope College students. I have been able to work with and assist some truly amazing students as they chase their ambitions, dreams, and aspirations. Ranging from helping with resumes and cover letters, to setting up events like the Summer Camp Fair, the Boerigter Center has left a lasting impact on my career, and given me a deep appreciation for encouraging students to chase their dreams. One thing that I have learned during my four short years here at Hope, has been to dream big and to not be scared to jump in. At the Boerigter Center, I see Hope students do this every day. There are no boundaries within the dreams of the magnificent students of Hope and I am confident that they will bring limitless hope to this world in a variety of careers and opportunities. Dreams are beautiful, and guidance along the way is crucial. The fruit stemming from the combination of new and creative dreams of Hope students and Boerigter staff is limitless. My advice to any current or future student reading this is to not be afraid to jump deep into passions. This picture takes place moments after I bungee jumped in Tibet and I include it as a reminder to myself that without jumping in and taking risks, I would just be watching others jump without a unique and memorable experience of my own. Dream Big. Work Hard. Seek Guidance. Sometimes the only thing stopping us is ourselves.

To all our CA’s…we thank you for all your time, effort, and passion for the work  we do. Our office would not be the same without you. Best of luck on your journey.


Another Great Year of DiscoverWork

In 2014 when the DiscoverWork Program (then called Externships) first started we sent 14 students out into the greater Hope community to shadow our alumni. Did you know that this year we had 56 students participate, 28 of which traveled outside the state of Michigan reaching our alumni afar?

The DiscoverWork Program is designed for students to explore fields and careers that they are interested in. Read on to here a few students take-aways!

Kate Kay, Junior, Geology Major

Host: JP Buckingham: COO | Principal Geologist | Triterra

Kate onsite with her host JP

“Seeing all the maps of sites that Triterra is working on currently really put things into perspective for me. I realized that I enjoyed interpreting historical maps and creating a risk assessment of potential contaminants that could be in the area. In fact, I briefly learned about this particular topic in one of my classes so I was excited to be able to understand the order of necessary data collection in Phase 1.

The reason I want to pursue a Geology degree is because of my passion for protecting the environment and being involved in the solution and not being part of the problem. During my time at Triterra I was able to connect with many employees. One in particular has never questioned what she does as a career because to her she was protecting the environment every day she came into work and that sealed the deal for me!”

Murphy Stadelmaier, Senior, Biology Major

Host: Heather Brake |Associate Director of Communication for the National Center for Environmental Health and the Agency of Toxic Substances and Disease Registry | Center for Disease Control & Prevention

Murphy outside the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia

“It was great to see concepts I am learning in Public Relations applied in the workplace. I could see myself someday working in a field like what I observed at the CDC. I enjoy the link between science and communication. It is very important to inform the public about the sciences in ways that are applicable and understandable. The collaboration in this department between the individuals in different positions was great to see. People with all different backgrounds and skills came together to work toward common goals. I really enjoyed my DiscoverWork opportunity at the CDC in the NCEH/ATSDR. I got a taste of the organization and the field and I know I will remember this experience forever.”

Marketea Abbott, Freshman, Undeclared

Host: Lindsay Allward-Theimer |Director of Volunteer Partnerships | Junior Achievement of Georgia

Marketea (left) with her host Lindsay (right) in Atlanta.

“My host, Lindsay, her husband, and their dog Nika welcomed me with open arms. My shadowing days were filled with new networking connections and helpful insight into the nonprofit world. My DiscoverWork opportunity was one of a lifetime, especially as freshman at Hope who arrived and was still adjusting to culture shock and being away from home. Lindsay and I had a ton of conversation regarding my options as far as deciding on a major.  This experience made me much more open and excited to start my journey. I now understand the value of having a background in business if I wish to start my own nonprofit one day. I was allowed to really plan out my future and make my dreams more realistic.”

Sam Click, Senior, Engineering Major

Host: Rachel Romero | Energy Engineer & Project Leader | National Renewable Energy Laboratory 

“This opportunity has been invaluable to me. I gained knowledge of my field, saw how departments promote confluence, made a handful of professional contacts, increased my confidence in the workplace and in my elevator pitch, and came out with a better sense of where I want to direct my career. All this I owe to the Discoverwork Program for making this possible and to Rachel Romero for hosting me and providing me with ample opportunity to develop my career.”

Tsega Tefera, Freshman, Undeclared & Grace McConaghie, Sophomore, Undeclared

Host: Tom Becker | EFCA ReachGlobal | Missionary-Church Mobilizer 

Tsega (second from left) next to Grace (third from right) with their hosts.

“Throughout my stay, I saw how God was working through the Becker’s.
I was able to recognize the importance of working together and the empathy required to understand the hurt experienced by the populations missionaries serve. I learned that it is a big commitment to leave everything and go to a different country to help the marginalized.  I also came away knowing that whatever major I choose it does not decide my future. God can use anything I have for the benefit of others. I came away encouraged to learn more and pursue this field.”

Want to learn more about the DiscoverWork program or volunteer to be a host? Get in touch with us at to join our next cycle launching this fall! 

Utilizing the Boerigter Before Summer

With only a few weeks from the end of the spring semester, there may be a thing or two you should get in place before the long-awaited summer. Here at the Boerigter Center, we want you to feel confident launching into whatever is next. Some of you may be applying to summer internships, camp counseling positions, or on the full-time job hunt, but, wherever you’re headed, the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career wants to help you.

Come get your Résumé Reviewed

We say it a lot, but it’s because this is so important. No matter what you’re applying to, you should always have a nice-looking résumé to give employers more insight on who you are and what you’ve done. Drop-in hours are M-F 3:00-4:30 P.M. Stop by any day to have a Career Advisor help you out.

Major Discernment

Maybe you’re still on-the-fence with your major. Set-up an appointment before the year ends to talk about your options or debrief an assessment to help steer you in the right direction before heading into the summer.

Next Steps

Still trying to figure out what’s next? Come make an appointment and we’ll set you up with someone who can help. We want you to feel comfortable going into an interview, aware of how to look for a job that’s the right fit, or whatever other job-related thing you can think of. The full-time staff here have tons of expertise, and they’re eager to share some of it with you.

Come stop by the Boerigter Center to schedule an appointment before the school year ends. You’ll feel much more confident going into the summer with things in order. No matter what your next move is, be sure to equip yourself for whatever may come about.

Miss out on an opportunity to visit us before the school year ends? Have no fear, we are open 8:00am-4:00pm in the summer months!

Parent to Parent: How do we help our students in the summer?

Written By: Amy Freehafer, Senior Academic and Career Advisor

Hard to believe the 2018-2019 school year is coming to a close! If you are like me, you have mixed feelings about your student returning home for the summer. In my own experience, as much as I looked forward to this time it was not without its challenges. For me, it was that my child did not come home because she was busy taking on internships each summer. Because she wanted to gain experience in her field (engineering) it also meant she never really had down time over the five years she was in undergrad. I write this post to help both students and their parents make the summer time a positive experience!

In my work with students, I find they have considerable anxiety about the summer months. Worried they will not be making the best use of their time, getting behind in their preparation for career path, and even scared to tell family and friends they do not yet know what they want to do with their lives. Here are some things I found helpful as a parent and use in my work with students here at Hope:

  • Ask open ended questions: “How was your first year at Hope?” “What were the highs and lows?” “What are you excited for this coming year?” “What are you most interested in learning about” When we ask questions vs. making statements it helps our students critically think and keeps us open to extended conversation and ways to connect.
  • Students feel a lot of pressure to live up to high expectations they believe we have as parents. Help lighten that for them by expressing how proud you are of them getting through this year (maybe first year) of college. Ask how you can be more supportive in the process of being a student.
  • Connect your student to your friends and family and suggest they shadow a few people over the summer. You want to choose those who will give your student a good experience and be honest with them about the ins and outs of their work. This will also help them begin their own professional network and see what is out there.
  • Suggest they consider working on a resume, see the handout on our website, begin working on their LinkedIn profile, or work on their Handshake account and explore opportunities for internships and jobs in the future.
  • Not everyone needs to do an internship this summer! Some students are not there yet. Help your student understand that any work experience is professional experience and support what they decide to do. Help them see the skills they are building no matter what the experience is. If they are interning, help them reflect on the experience.
  • I learned that my daughter often took on too much and felt the need to perform at a high level in everything. Many Hope students feel that way too. I found it helpful to start conversations with “What can I take off your plate or give you permission to remove?” Followed up by “What can you give yourself permission to let go of?” This helped her learn how to move from relying on me to relying on herself.

Use this time to understand your student, appreciate the connection you are making, and help them see the major/career discernment process is just that, a process. We did not have it all figured out at 18 or 20. Let them see that and it will help them relax and head down their path with support!

The Boerigter Center Goes to Washington!

Written By: Shonn Colbrunn, Executive Director, Boerigter Center for Calling and Career

This week I had the opportunity to visit Washington D.C. along with fellow Boerigter Center team members Matt Adkins and Chanda Slenk. We joined Dr. Scott VanderStoep, Dean of Social Sciences, and Dr. Tom Smith, the Dr. Leon A. Bosch ’29 Professor of Management, for two days of meetings and events related to Hope’s Washington Honors Semester.

Currently in its 44th year, the Washington Honors Semester draws around 25 students every spring to live, work, and learn in our nation’s capital. This year’s students are led by Dr. David Ryden, the Peter C. and Emajean Cook Professor of Political Science.

I was very excited to get a first-hand look at this program and see why it has been so successful for so long. In addition, I was very interested to learn more about the internship and job opportunities available to our students.

Members of the Boerigter Center team with Congressman Bill Huizenga

On Tuesday, we visited three internship sites: the office of Michigan Senator Gary Peters, the Heritage Foundation, and the office of Congressman Bill Huizenga. At each visit, we spoke with our students and their supervisors about their internship experience. As we talked with Bill Huizenga, he shared his appreciation for Hope interns – which says something coming from a Calvin grad!

On Wednesday, we participated with the students in their regular weekly public policy group interviews, where they get a chance to visit various organizations in D.C. and learn first-hand from their expertise. Finally, we attended an evening reception with alumni, parents, prospective families, and friends of the college. It was a great chance for our students to meet our alumni who have built their careers in the D.C. area. One special guest was our president elect, Matt Scogin, who shared words of welcome and excitement for things to come.

There are three main things I took away from this trip:

  • Our students are getting an AMAZING learning experiences. I was so impressed by the level of work our students get to do as interns. Their supervisors entrust them with important responsibilities, and they had many positive things to say about their job performance. The first thing I think about is the quality of the bullet points they will be able to add to their resumes! When you add in the exposure of living in a major city and their invigorating class discussions with Dr. Ryden, it is clear that students are having a rich learning and growing experience.
  • We have the potential to expand internship opportunities. During our visit, we wanted to get a feel for what internship opportunities would be relevant for students studying in fields other than political science. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that many of the opportunities are applicable to students studying business, economics, communications, history, and other subjects. Beyond those opportunities, I learned about even more from our local alumni.

Which leads me to my next point…

  • Our alumni base is strong – and energized! Washington D.C. is a city that attracts alumni of all ages, and I enjoyed meeting many of them on Wednesday evening. Abby Reeg from the Hope College Development Office has done an excellent job of staying connected with our alumni in the area. Also, in our internship site visits, I was happy to hear how strong of a reputation Hope has in the city. Clearly, our students and alumni have represented the college well over the years!

I’m looking forward to more students participating in the Washington Honors Semester in the years to come. It is truly a special program that brings Hope’s mission to life – preparing students for lives of leadership and service.

An Alumni Perspective: Working with City Year, Marissa Jackson (’11)

Throughout her time at Hope, Marissa Jackson (’11) performed with the pom-pom dance squad, socialized with the Sigma Sigma sorority, moraled for Odd Year Pull, worked at Phelps dining hall, and participated in the Phelps Scholars program. After four years, Marissa departed Hope with her Bachelor of Arts in Social Work and endless valuable experiences.

Odd Year Pull — Marissa Jackson pictured far right.

When asked about her most memorable experience, Marissa talked about a May term trip to the Rosebud Indian Reservation where the disciplines of social work and education came together in an immersive experience. This trip was influential in supporting her original plan to become a school social worker. As her senior year approached and the expectations of graduation intensified, Marissa started the search for a career post-graduation. In the fall of her senior year, she was able to land a job with City Year, which is a member of AmeriCorps. City Year strives to support students and schools in achieving growth and achievement. Upon reading the job description, she knew this is what she wanted to do. She was compelled by the service-oriented work environment and moved west to Los Angeles to begin her journey after graduation.

Marissa now works as the senior program manager with City Year. In this position, she works in partnership with a K-8 school and ensures that the program and services are running well. She said that the most exciting part of her job is getting the opportunity to interact with students in a wide range of grades within a variety of settings. Throughout her day, Marissa can be found forming relationships in the mornings, in the classrooms, and after school. Additionally, she oversees a small group of AmeriCorps members who are between ages 17 and 25. As they venture to a transitional point in their lives, Marissa provides guidance and mentorship.

Marissa (left) with one of best friends from Hope College and CityYear.

To graduates looking to carve their own path, Marissa advises “to be open to opportunities you wouldn’t originally consider. Say yes if it feels right. Stand your ground and be confident.”

Marissa’s expansive campus involvement while at Hope helped her develop transferable skills such as time management and networking. These experiences  and tools helped her stand strong in her passion of serving and helping others. With time, her perseverance led to a desirable and meaningful career with City Year.

Journey to Finding a Major – Addison Huss (’19)

The path of deciding a major is a stressful and confusing one for many, myself included. When I first came to Hope, I felt the weight of the decision in front of me. Although I knew from a fairly young age what I wanted to do when I grew up, I didn’t know what major, classes, or experiences I would need to be able to successfully reach the point of my dream job.

In high school I discovered my passion for helping others through mission trips, volunteering, and coaching. As time went on I found myself specifically interested in the public school system in our country and knew from that point on that I wanted to be a high school guidance counselor when I grew up. Because of this, I enrolled in a few education classes during my first year at Hope, assuming that I would love teaching and hoped to pursue my career in that way. After my first course was over I knew in my heart that teaching was not my calling. Through conversations with my parents, sister, advisor, and other important people in my life, I signed up to take the introduction to social work course. Within days I knew that this was what I was supposed to be doing. I loved the social work professors, the information I was learning, and I recognized the importance of what social workers do. As time went on, I did an abundance of research on what I could do with a social work degree. I learned that there are hundreds of opportunities and areas I could specialize in. Although this was exciting, I still knew that I wanted to be a school counselor, so I did more research on what steps I would have to take next to reach that goal.

As I near the end of my senior year and look back at my time at Hope College, I am so thankful for the people that encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone, guided me through the decision-making process, and led to me to the place I am at today. I currently have the opportunity to intern at Hudsonville High School with both the social worker and one of the counselors. This has been the most impactful part of my education because it is giving me hands-on experience. It also has helped me discern that counseling is the route I want to continue to pursue. I am confident in my ability to be successful in my career because of my experience interning and through the education and life experiences I have received from the faculty and staff at Hope.

Although the process of picking a major is daunting, I hope others recognize the goodness found in the journey because it is an opportunity to learn about yourself and the world around you. To those struggling with this process, I encourage you to reach out to advisors, professors, friends, family members, and others and to take the time you need. This is a big decision, but I hope you find peace in knowing that you are not meant to make it on your own.

If you’re struggling with deciding a major, here are 5 steps that might be helpful to you:

  1. Enroll in introductory classes to all of the majors that sound of interest to you just so you can learn a little bit about each!
  2. Reach out to your people (parents, friends, siblings, etc.) and have serious conversations about what excites and interests you.
  3. Set up a meeting with your advisor. They can be SO helpful and knowledgeable about all that Hope has to offer.
  4. Be honest with yourself and trust your gut. You know yourself better than you may think.
  5. PRAY about it!

At the end of the day, every major offers many opportunities. Don’t be afraid to seek out different majors that interest you and take classes you aren’t sure about. The benefit of a liberal arts college is that you get a chance to take classes in various fields of study. You may find you love a subject you never even considered studying. Ask the hard questions and don’t be scared of trying something new.

Still Unsure, But Well Guided Maddy Shupe ’19

Story Written By Guest Blogger: Maddy Shupe ’19

There is only so much to be learned in a classroom. Throughout my Hope experience the most fulfilling and guiding moments have been outside of the classroom and in internships within my area of interest.

In the spring of 2018, I participated in the Washington Honors Semester through the Hope College Political Science Department. The program prepares students for careers within and outside of political science through classes, interviews with Hope grads in the D.C. area, and an internship of the students’ choosing. With an interest in law and human rights, I was blessed to intern with International Justice Mission (IJM). IJM is the largest anti-slavery organization in the world. I got to work and learn alongside people who are passionately making a difference in the world, while supporting them everyday and hearing their stories.

The most beneficial part of this experience was not the work I did daily–it was the people I did it with. My specific role within IJM was nowhere near where I could see myself working in the next 5-10 years. I almost didn’t take the position because I knew that there were other options within and outside of IJM that would be more narrowly tailored to my skills and goals. But I am so glad that I said yes. The key thing I’ve learned about internships and entry level positions is that my specific job title and tasks are insignificant compared to who I am working for and who I am working with.

My internship with IJM allowed me to grab coffee and chat with people that I want to be like in 5-10 years. I was mentored and given advice as to next steps now and after graduation. In large group interviews (similar to the ones I sat in with my Hope College peers) I got to learn about the different roles and positions that make up a large international non-profit. I learned that even though my heart is pulled toward non-profit work, I should go into corporate or government first to get well trained and gain more experience. I learned that I can have a career in law and have a family, and a social life! I learned that I can wake up and be excited to go to work as long as I enjoy the people I work with and who I am working for (i.e. firm matters, position doesn’t).

Since working at IJM, I have started an internship at a firm in Zeeland, as well as shadowed a District Court Judge in Kalamazoo through the DiscoverWork Program. Both experiences have cemented my view–in very different ways–that people matter when it comes to career discernment. The most fruitful times have been when my supervisor and I are chatting while shredding paper, or sitting in Judge Hemingway’s office talking about how she prepares to sit on the bench. I have been blessed with so many mentors that have given me advice and listen to me process next steps, and it is because of them that I am where I stand today:

Still unsure of what’s next, but well guided.