Bringing Joy, One Cup of Coffee at a Time

How do you find your calling? What is your purpose – the thing that you just know you were created to do?

Mark Dykema ’07

I recently sat down with Mark Dykema, a local business owner and 2007 Hope College grad. As a student, he had opportunities to reflect on his strengths through classes and conversations with his mentor, professor Steve Vanderveen. He recognized that from a young age, he developed a sense of drive and determination to work hard, and he wasn’t afraid to take risks. He worked as an intern at an insurance agency, and continued in that profession after graduation. But his entrepreneurial spirit continued to be strong, and he decided to take a leap of faith and become the Biggby Coffee franchise owner in the Holland/Zeeland area.
Mark’s business got off to a strong start, thanks to his grit and resolve to make it successful. Then, through a series of unexpected events, Mark found himself in a position to re-evaluate his life’s purpose. Take a few minutes to hear the rest of the story: 

Whether you are a student, family member, or one of our many alumni, I hope Mark’s story shows that it’s OK if you don’t have your life’s calling figured out while you are still in college. As you journey through your career, take time to reflect on your gifts and the path God has put you on. Take a step back and recognize how your calling is bigger than a certain profession. Mark discovered his calling to bring perpetual joy to others. How about you?

Want to connect with other alums like Mark? Check out The Hope College Connection at

We’re here for you! COVID-19 Employer Update and Resources

To protect the well-being of our staff, students, and employer partners, Hope College has moved to online operations through April 13, 2020. Please note that this date may be subject to change as the college continues to monitor the situation and follows guidelines from Michigan’s governor. All on-campus recruitment events (interviews, tabling, employer visits, etc.) have been cancelled. We, however, will continue to provide virtual services to all of our students and employer partners. Students have been directed to use Handshake and other remote services to continue active job/internship searches and we encourage you to do the same.

Handshake Reminders

Please continue to post your opportunities on Handshake. If you are interested in conducting virtual interviews or events please contact our office (

Current Internships

We are encouraging students to pursue internships to the extent they are comfortable doing so at this time. We expect interns to follow the lead of employers in terms of social distancing and remote work.

For more information on how our campus is monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, visit

For any questions, please contact our office ( Additionally, while we are not onsite monitoring our phone system, should you call, please a voicemail and it will be returned as soon as possible.

Best wishes,

The Boerigter Center for Calling and Career Team

What Pre-Health Students Wish Their Parents Knew

Person Wearing Academic Dress

Parents are understandably invested in their students’ education in more ways than just one, but sometimes the questions and added pressure from parents can get overwhelming. To answer some of these questions for students and parents, I surveyed Hope College pre-health students on what they wish their parents knew about college, the pre-health tracks, or the health profession itself, as well as questions that they commonly are asked. Most of the topics were centered around the application process and what it takes to be admitted to medical school, including extracurriculars, classes and grades. Some students also responded with how their parents’ can support or have supported them through the process. 

The Application Process: 

Related questions: When do you apply to graduate school and how? How long does the application process take? What makes a good applicant? What does and what doesn’t matter? When should you take the MCAT? What is a gap year? Why are you taking a gap year and how are you going to afford it? How do medical schools look at gap years? When do you choose a specialty?

One of the most common topics that pre-health students said their parents asked them about was the application process. The first thing to know about the application process for medical school (or any post-graduate health program) is that it is different than it was 20 years ago; getting into graduate school, especially medical school, is harder than it used to be. Graduate schools now consider students holistically rather than from academic performance alone, so it is much more competitive to get in and extracurriculars have much more importance than they used to. While good grades get your foot in the door, valuable experiences and reflective essays are what secure your spot. The acceptance rate for medical school applicants with GPAs of 3.79 or higher and Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores in the 95th percentile or higher for the 2017-2018 and 2019-2020 cycles was 87.8%—that means 12.2% of applicants with the best scores and grades are still not accepted despite their academic achievements. The overall acceptance rate of all applicants to medical school was 41.9%. This demonstrates that grades are not everything when applying to medical school (or graduate school) and it is very difficult to get in. 

As for the “when?” of the application process, it depends on the preferences of the student and whether they choose to take a gap year or not. If students do not want to take a gap year, they have to complete all MCAT prerequisites by the end of their junior year and take the MCAT in April or May in order to begin applying during the summer before their senior year. However, gap years are becoming more and more common and many students use the extra year to gain additional valuable experiences in order to be more competitive applicants. The average age of matriculants to the MSU College of Human Medicine for the 2017-2018 and 2019-2020 cycles was 25 years old and to the WMU Homer Stryker School of Medicine was 24.7 years, demonstrating that many successful medical school applicants take a gap year. For students who are planning on taking the MCAT at the end of their senior year, a gap year will be necessary during the following year while they apply. Many students work with organizations such as Teach for America or the Peace Corps following graduation. It is very important for students to evaluate their candidacy prior to applying to medical school (or graduate school) because the process is very expensive between application fees, secondary application fees, and travelling to interviews. Since there is no way to know what the applicant pool with look like in a given year, it is important that students put their best foot forward when applying, which can sometimes mean taking a gap year. 

Some students reported that their parents commonly ask them when they choose a specialty, and the answer is—not until the third or fourth year of medical school. While students may have some idea of their specialty interests prior to applying to medical school, this has no impact on the application process unless they are specifically planning on working in an under served area of medicine which could influence where they apply. 

Blue and Silver Stetoscope


Related questions: Should you be doing extracurriculars? Shouldn’t you be focusing on your classes? Are you doing a lot of shadowing? 

As mentioned before, extracurriculars are very important for pre-health students. Extracurriculars are how potential medical students prove that they meet the competencies that medical schools are looking for through actions rather than words alone. Students could probably write a solid essay about working with diverse people, but experiences can demonstrate that the applicant actually has a history of working with diverse people along with a commitment to serving. Experiences provide the students with real-life examples to strengthen their essays for demonstration rather than explanation. Good experiences also tend to help students grow as people, so more, and higher quality, experiences help make students more well-rounded individuals who will be more equipped to care for a wider variety of people in medicine. Applicants are required to write short activity essays, usually for around 15 activities, in addition to choosing their top three activities to write more about. This does not include secondary, or school specific, applications which target different competencies that medical schools are looking for, and demonstration through examples, when applicable, is always better than descriptions with no evidence. These experience essays are also an opportunity for applicants to demonstrate how they fit with the mission of the schools that they are applying to. 

Aside from extracurriculars, job shadowing is also important to the application process. Dental schools as well as occupational and physical therapy programs require a certain number of shadowing hours prior to applying. While medical schools do not require specific numbers of hours, shadowing is still considered during the application process. Shadowing is important because it demonstrates that the applicant has some idea of what it will actually be like in the profession so that they know what they are getting themselves into prior to going through medical school. 

Academic Life: 

Related questions: What GPA do you need to get into medical school? What order should you take classes in? Why can’t you graduate early? Are you keeping up with your classes? Will the courses you are taking really help you get into medical school? What happens if you do not do well on an exam or in a class? Didn’t you say you had a challenging semester last semester? Why do you have to put so much time into your labs, aren’t they the same as your regular courses? Aren’t you a pre-med major? 

On the topic of academics, as I touched on before, GPA and MCAT scores are the first step to getting at least an interview during the application process. Applicants must prove that they will be able to handle the rigorous curriculum of medical school successfully. However, not all of the MCAT and medical school requirements are physical science courses. There is a section on the MCAT titled “Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior” which requires knowledge in psychology and sociology. Other than the prerequisites, major and minor classes do not necessarily matter. Some can be helpful towards building other skills that will be valuable for medical school such as cultural competency and building an ethical framework for decision making. 

On the subject of major, there is no such thing as a pre-med major at Hope College. As mentioned above, there are prerequisite courses that are required for the MCAT and medical schools that pre-med students must take, but these are alongside a chosen major. Many pre-med students choose to major in sciences such as chemistry or biology due to the large amount of overlap between the major requirements and prerequisites, but it is not required to major in a physical science to apply to medical school. Many successful applicants to major in other fields such as psychology, a foreign language, economics, or history. 

As far as grades go, getting one bad grade on an exam or in a class is not the end of the world for your student. Although maintaining a good GPA is important, this does not mean that the occasional B or C will completely ruin a student’s chances of getting into medical school. And individual exam grades do not matter as long as the student does well in the class overall. However, the pressure to maintain good grades can be intense, which may be why your medical student always tells you that they are having a challenging semester. 

Apart from this topic, science labs are separate from lecture courses at Hope, although they are usually co-requisites. This means that labs have their own assignments and time commitments completely separate from the lecture portion even though it seems like they should go together. In addition, labs are three hours long and lab reports are normally not quick to write which ends up being a large time commitment for pre-health students while taking prerequisite science courses. 

Person Writing on the Notebook

Supporting Your Pre-Health Student: 
Related questions: Why don’t you take some time for yourself? Why don’t you go out more? Why are you ignoring me? How can we help you?

Many students responded to the survey saying that they wish their parents knew just how much support they need and want. Pre-health tracks are difficult because of the rigor of the prerequisite curriculum and the pressure to perform well in classes on top of the time commitment of required extracurriculars. Supporting your student is different for every student but some ways include listening, encouraging, and reassuring your student through difficult times. One student who responded to the survey wrote about how grateful they are for their parents’ support—specifically for listening without trying to “fix” and reminding them that there is more to life than classes and grades through updates from home. They added that knowing that their parents’ were always there with a listening ear is encouraging. Another student responded saying that students most need their parents’ support in times of doubt; if your student tells you that they do not want to be pre-health anymore, it is up to you to decide whether they are serious or not, but reminding them of what brought them to this career path in the first place can be the push they need to make it through a difficult time. Although each student is different, these are ways that you could try to help encourage your student through difficult times. Other ways that you might be able to support your student could be doing research on your own to learn about the application process and meeting them where they are at. Many pre-med students are very focused and driven and likely feel like they cannot take time for themselves lest their grades drop or due to the pressures of extracurriculars. Asking about a (non-existent) social life or lack of self-care can feel like criticism if presented in certain ways, so listening to your student with empathy can go a long way. Encouraging them through the busyness and trying to understand their situation can help to make them feel more supported. On top of this, students may not have very much time to chat on the phone or respond with more than a quick text message—as one student said: we are not ignoring you, we are just really busy sometimes (or all the time). 

As far as supporting your student through the actual process, connections for shadowing opportunities often come from friends of the family or people the student already knows, so parents can be instrumental in making these connections for their students. Do not do the work of setting the shadowing up for them, but connecting them with the right people is a way that you can help.

Getting into graduate school for any health profession is extremely competitive and supporting your child through the process can be instrumental to their success, even if that just means lending a listening ear. 

Sources: The Association of American Medical Colleges –

Our New Platforms: Electronic Resources for Your Journey

There are so many new platforms that The Boerigter Center for Calling and Career has been rolling out in the past year! Which one should you use?

When searching for an internship or career after college, there are so many different places to begin looking. It can be overwhelming, especially if you do not know where to start. Hope College has three platforms that are easy to navigate, compliment one another, and are customizable for each student. Those platforms are PathwayU, Handshake, and The Hope College Connection. Each of these are unique in the resources they provide but each equally as valuable and helpful to students.

You might not know about: PathwayU

When starting your journey here at Hope, we recommend you begin with PathwayU. PathwayU is a platform that will make recommendations based on your specific strengths as it relates to a certain major or career path. This resource will be replacing two of the existing assessments we offer (MBTI & Strong Interest Inventory). When you first make an account, it will have you take a 15-20 minute quiz that asks various questions about yourself, from how you handle stressful situations to how you prefer your work environment. As with any personality assessment, it is important to be honest when answering the questions so you get the most accurate response. Once you have completed the various assessments, PathwayU will tell you all the jobs that you matched with and it will rate the match from “very strong” to “weak.” This feature can be helpful because it informs you of the wide variety of jobs that you may have not considered before. PathwayU also syncs up with Handshake.

You might be familiar with: Handshake 

Handshake is a platform similar to Indeed in that it is a centralized resource for jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities. Something that makes Handshake unique is that it is specific to Hope College students. If you login with your Hope email address, all the jobs and internships posted are listings that only Hope students can see. You can (and should) customize your profile to make it your own by uploading your resume, inputting the type of position(s) you are looking for, and including other personal information (like grad year and major). Handshake is also the one stop shop for a bunch of other resources. Most importantly, Handshake is where you can schedule an appointment with our team as well as RSVP for a variety of events The Boerigter Center is hosting. 

You might just have learned about: The Hope College Connection

The third platform is another one that is exclusive to the Hope College community. It was just launched and it’s called The Hope College Connection. The Hope College Connection is an online resource to connect Hope alumni, families, friends, and current students for networking and mentoring opportunities. Similar to LinkedIn, the site allows users to request to connect with each other, request meetings or send a message. 

Your step nexts

Now that you have some background on each of these platforms, how do you get started using them? 

  • If you are interested in PathwayU email and you will get a link to make an account and take the assessments.
  • Hope students can make an account on Handshake using their Hope email address. Once you are signed in, complete your profile and then start exploring or make an appointment.
  • To get started with Hope College Connections, head over to and follow the prompts to sign up. Once you are approved, you can complete your profile (you can use LinkedIn or your resume). After your profile is complete head to the “Make a Connection” tab and start connecting! 

As always, we are here to answer any questions you might have. Please call us at 616-395-7950 or email us at You can always stop by our office or come to drop-in hours from 3-4:30 pm Monday through Friday when school is in session. 

We hope you find a platform to serve you on your journey!

College to Career: Figuring Out the World After Hope

Are you feeling confused about what life after college looks like? Do you wonder about how to manage your finances, understand benefits, 401ks, or know how to find a job that is right for you? You can have all these questions answered and more at our College to Career event being held on February 25th from 6 – 7:30pm.

This event is a “meet and greet” style that will allow students to learn from a variety of professionals and alum. There will be introductions from each of our speakers and stations to rotate around to each one of them. Below is a little glimpse into each of our speakers and the area they will be advising on.

Andrew Schut is attending the event to speak about personal finance. He is the Assistant Professor of Accounting here at Hope.

Lori Mulder is returning to this event to talk about human resources (benefits, contracts, etc.). She is the Director of Human Resources here at Hope.

Stephanie Forest is a returner to the event and will speak about financial aid (aka paying off those student loans). She is the Associate Director of Financial Aid here at Hope.

Dale Austin is attending this event to speak into all the steps to be taking when seeking employment. He works in the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career. 

Garret Gormley is joining us to speak about life after college. He graduated Hope in 2018 and now works as an Inside Sales Representative at Gordon Food Service.

We hope to see you there at our College to Career event. Head to Handshake to register. This is a great opportunity to prepare yourself for what life holds beyond Hope in your career.

Speed Dating to Career Fair: Finding Transferable Skills in Unusual Places This Valentine’s Day Career Fair 101

With Valentine’s Day tomorrow, you may have some plans; maybe you are going out on a date, hanging out with friends, or chilling in your room with some nice chocolate, some tea, and a good movie. Whatever you are doing this weekend, I hope that you are looking forward to the Career and Internship Fair on February 19! Regardless of where you are in the process of preparing to go job hunting, take a little time and read through the five steps below to help you have a strong performance at the fair. And in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, reflect on the transferable skills you can bring in from speed dating!

Step One: Do Your Research!

When first preparing to go to the Career Fair, be sure to pull up the list of companies that will be attending and work on identifying which companies you think are interesting. Think about someone who catches your eye. You may look them up on social media to see if you can discover more about them. The same concept applies to a career fair! Check out attending employer’s websites and job descriptions to start identifying companies that may be a good fit for you. It’s best to go into a career fair knowing at least a little about who is there and what you are looking for, otherwise, it can be a touch overwhelming. For our fair, you can check out the Handshake event to see a list of employers who are attending.

Step Two: Build Your Resume!

When you are preparing to go to a speed dating event or a blind date one of the first things you may do is put together a list of stories and information about yourself that you can share with those you meet to give them a well-rounded idea of who you are. You should spend time doing the professional version of this before a career fair and build a resume! A resume should be a one-page document that has three main sections: a header, an education section, and an experience section. Alongside this, there are other sections you can add to expand on those three sections such as an objective section, college leadership, awards, and skills depending on what would be most helpful to showcase to a potential employer. If you are struggling to put together the perfect resume for the Career Fair, check out the guides that are on the Boerigter Center’s website or stop in for a resume review during drop-in hours. Drop-ins are available from 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm Monday through Friday and if you cannot make any of those times, do not worry, we also have individual appointments available!

Step Three: Prepare Your Elevator Pitch!

What are a few things about you that you try to tell someone you are interested in as soon as possible? How do you get their attention? How do you make sure they remember you and don’t look confused when you say hello to them? These are things you may think about with Valentine’s Day tomorrow or with speed dating, but have you ever thought about how to make yourself stand out during a career fair? That is what your elevator pitch should do at a fair! An elevator pitch is a quick 30-60 second pitch that you give to the recruiter at the fair. It should essentially consist of three parts: your key strengths, why you are interested in the industry, and what would make your contributions unique. It’s important that you take the time to think about what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. While what you say is important, how you say it sends a message as well! Make sure you make eye contact, give a good handshake, smile, and know enough about the company you are speaking to so as to be able to comfortably carry on a conversation.

Step Four: Dress For Success!

If you have ever been interested in someone before or have prepared to go to an event where you think you may meet someone attractive, you have probably spent some time thinking about what you will wear to look and feel your best. Appearance is also a focus at a career fair because first impressions matter even in a professional relationship. The dress code for the upcoming Career Fair is business casual. When in doubt about what to wear, it is better to err on the side of dressing too formally rather than too casually. But where’s the line? Check out the Boerigter Center’s how-to guide on the website. It’s important to be remembered by potential employers for your poise, professionalism, and experience… not what you wore.

Step Five: Follow Up!

Who was that engaging, nice, funny person you connected with while you were speed dating? Surely you got their number and are planning to connect with them soon, because once you made that connection you wouldn’t want to let it fall apart! If that is a concern when romance is involved, you can be sure the same idea applies to a job fair. Make sure that you get the contact information for and follow up with the connections that you made during the event. Sending a short, to the point email within twenty-four hours after the event to the recruiter mentioning where you met, what you talked about, and how excited you are is a great starting point. Don’t make your follow up emails too long though! You don’t want to scare away your contact but you still want to keep yourself fresh in their memory.

Relax, prepare, and we look forward to seeing you there!

We hope to see you at the Career and Internship Fair on February 19 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm in the Great Room in the Bultman Student Center!

Make Connections! Boerigter Center Events and Programs Spring 2020

Hey students – Two words that summarize everything going on at the Boerigter Center this semester: Make Connections!

Years ago, I was living and working in the Detroit area, keeping an eye out for an opportunity to move to West Michigan to be closer to family. I applied online for various jobs with little success. I had heard that most jobs are found through people that can help you make connections. So I decided to give it a try. I reached out to a fellow Hope grad whom I had never met before and asked her if she would be willing to meet and give me some advice. She quickly agreed, and we had a great conversation. It turns out she knew the CEO of a start-up company I was looking at, and she encouraged me to pursue an opportunity with them. Thanks to her, I landed the role and have lived happily in West Michigan ever since.

Whether you are in your first year at Hope, or your last year, or anywhere in between, the Boerigter Center is creating opportunities for YOU to make connections! If you are wanting to learn more about certain professions or metro areas, sign up for one of our Hope College Connection Live! events to connect with alumni who can talk about their experience. If you are looking for a summer internship or a job after graduation, come connect with recruiters at the Spring Career and Internship Fair on Feb. 19. Those events and others are listed below.

Watch your email for another big deal coming this March – The Hope College Connection – a brand new system allowing you to connect directly with alumni and parents who are eager to share career advice and support you in your journey.

If you have any questions, come stop by our office anytime. We can work with you to come up with a personalized plan to make connections for everything from career discernment to jobs and grad school decisions. We hope to connect with you soon!

  • Tues Jan 28: Internship Planning Workshop
    • Join us to learn the planning steps for securing a future internship! This workshop is best suited for students in the beginning stages of internship planning. Although, all students in any major are welcome to join. 
  • Tues Jan 28: Hope College Connection Live! Lansing (Bus, Gov, Law)
    • Hope College Connection Live! provides an opportunity for current students to meet alumni and receive advice for navigating careers, finding and internship, job searching and so much more! While alumni from all industries have been invited to this event, the Lansing program will have a government and business.
  • Tues Feb 18: Hope College Connection Live! Royal Oak (Healthcare)
    • This opportunity allows students to connect with alumni and receive advice about further schooling, possible career paths and much more. The Royal Oak  program will have a health professions emphasis (DO, MD, PT, OT, Speech Path, DDS, Optometry, Pharmacy, Medical Social Work, Podiatry, Nursing).
  • Wed Feb 19: Spring Career & Internship Fair 
    • Calling all students seeking an internship or full-time job. The Spring Career and Internship Fair will enable you to make connections with possible future employers and learn about prospective job opportunities. 
  • Thurs Feb 20: Liberal Arts & Careers in Healthcare
    • Join local private liberal arts colleges and universities for the “Beyond the Bedside: Your Opportunity in Healthcare” event. Hear from local practitioners and alumni working in the field in roles other than patient care. Enjoy refreshments and a chance to learn about healthcare jobs in Grand Rapids. 
  • Tues Feb 25: Summer Camp & Ministry Fair
    • This event is for any students seeking a Summer Camp job opportunity. Approximately two dozen camps will be attending to find future employees for a summer or full-time position. 
  • Wed Feb 26: GVSU Winter 2020 Career and Internship Fair
    • The Career and Internship Fair at Grand Valley is a great opportunity to meet potential employers, learn about internships in the area, and build your professional network. This event is expected to have over 230 employers with thousands of immediate job openings!
  • Tues Mar 3: Hope College Connection Live! Grand Rapids (All fields)
    • Want to stay in the greater Grand Rapids area after graduation? If so, this event is for you! This networking event is a great way to make connections with possible employers in the Grand Rapids area. It is also an opportunity to learn about employers hiring processes and find potential pathways to take in your field of study.
  • Tues Apr 7: Hope College Connection Live! Chicago (All fields) 
    • Interested in living and working in the Chicago area? This networking event is a great way to make connections with possible employers, learn about their hiring processes, and learn about potential jobs in your field.

So you want to be a Graduate Assistant?

When weighing graduate school options one opportunity students should look to consider is a graduate assistantship in athletics. It is a great way to earn money while in school and also gain invaluable experiences in your field. 

Graduate assistants are very important to a collegiate sports team, and because of that the NCAA has bylaws that GA’s and universities must follow. You will be compensated for work as a graduate assistant, which will depend on the university, they are not allowed to arrange an additional job on campus during the academic year. Being a GA also will cover at least 50% of your tuition. The NCAA limits terms on GA’s to 2 years, this fits well into the timeline for most graduate programs. To be a graduate assistant you must be admitted to a graduate program at the school you wish to be a GA. You also must be within 7 years of receiving an undergraduate degree or have exhausted all of your athletic eligibility. 

A GA position with a sports team is an excellent way to gain coaching skills as you will be working with experienced coaches. Many of the top coaches in the country got their start as a grad assistant after they finished competing as a student-athlete. Jacob Pardonnet ’18 currently works as a graduate assistant for Bryant University’s football program. He is pursuing his MBA with a specialization in business analytics. Pardonnet was able to use his athletic experience playing football for Hope College to coach the outside linebackers at Bryant. 

“I’ve got a journal with every single job I applied for over the course of a year. The number sits at 86, give or take a few. On top of that I went to the NFL Combine and the Coaches Convention to try and make something happen through face-to-face networking. Those trips included some terrifying interactions with Bill Belichick, Tom Coughlin, and Les Snead…but that’s a different story. When it was all said and done I was able to get five phone calls about the possibility of a position. You can never grow complacent and think you’re doing enough if you’re truly passionate about getting a job in this industry. I was choice number 6 for the school I’m currently at, the first 5 were either unable to get into grad school or they moved on to bigger opportunities”

During the season Pardonnet has many jobs that he is tasked with and he typically works from 8am to 10pm. His duties typically include: breaking down game and practice film, analyzing opponent film one week in advance while also putting together the scouting report and recruiting. He also does some of the logistical things for the team, such as: reserving and setting up meeting rooms, setting up game equipment. He also does all of this on top of coaching the outside linebackers and graduate school. As a GA you will have many commitments and a large part of the job is managing those commitments the best way you can.  

“Things are constantly in flux and you could get a new assignment at any given moment. When you’re a student athlete, the biggest skill you learn is time management. As a GA, it’s prioritization. There’s no free time to begin with so you’d better knock out the important stuff as soon as possible and hit the rest in pieces when you can”

Pardonnet also had some advice for students that are pursuing a graduate assistantship.

jacob coaching
Jacob in action on the football field.

“Stay hungry! You can’t think of this as a job, it has to be your life. If you have the clock in/clock out mentality, it will crush you. Don’t forget why you got into this in the first place, and keep pushing and pushing and pushing. Also, don’t think you’re in it alone. It will definitely seem like it at times, but there’s always someone who’s got your back”

Another great opportunity as a GA is working as an athletic trainer. Another Hope graduate Bryanna Howard ‘18 is currently a GA at the University of Utah where she is working on her Masters of Science in Sports Medicine. She was given her placement at a local high school where she works with around 700 athletes across 15 sports. 

Bryanna (center) with her colleagues.

“I cover all on-campus practices and games as well as facilitate in-house rehabilitation for a variety of orthopedic and musculoskeletal injuries.  We also facilitate and provide care for any emergencies during athletic play and coordinate with local hospitals and EMS agencies for game coverage and referrals for athletes”

Being a GA is a large time commitment and as Pardonnet said that prioritization is key to success in a GA position. 

 “Workload is high as a GA, it can get frustrating to have so many commitments, but not get paid as much as you would like to.  But it facilitates an incredible learning environment where you can soak up knowledge from the full-time staff you are working with.” 

Howard was able to use some of the resources at Boerigter Center to help her gain her GA position. 

“I used the (Boerigter) Center A LOT.  I had 3, if not 4 mock interviews and I requested that they throw any question at me. Practice for an interview is your best friend. I also had staff there read my resume and cover letter and provide feedback”. 

Howard also had some advice to offer someone applying for a GA position.    

“Apply early and apply often. I applied to 9 graduate schools and heard back from 5 and interviewed at a few places less than that. I encourage people to not be discouraged, but to discern what makes them different. Participate in events at Hope, get involved. Get involved in things that make you happy, not only what will boost your resume. Don’t be fearful.  Put yourself out there.  Never in a million years did I think I would move 2,000 miles away from home to do this thing called graduate school and work my butt off as a GA.  But the experience is worth it , despite the fears that may stand in your way”

Finding a GA position will be a difficult process that will require a lot of time but the payoff in gaining invaluable experience is unparalleled. The experience gained will set you up well for the future career goals that you want to pursue. 

Bryanna with her colleagues onsite at Nitro World games.

Senior Christmas Break Checklist

The holiday break is almost upon us. For some of you, this may be the first time you’re experiencing the joys of the long-awaited Christmas and New Year’s break from the busy schoolwork and extracurricular meetings. For others, this may be the final time you’ll be getting time off before launching into the next season of life. If you’re one of the people in the latter category, there’s a few things to keep on your radar for over the break. Although it’s a break from classes, this time is precious and can be used to help get some things in order as you prep for the next phase.

  1. Résumé. Brush off the dust and update it if necessary. If you haven’t created a résumé yet, you should begin. Click here to see a good template to get you started. If you’ve already done so, update your résumé to make it more current, make several versions catered to different jobs if you have a lot of various experiences, and give it a thorough proofread.
  2. LinkedIn. Start or update your LinkedIn portfolio. There’s a whole series of blogs on how-to use LinkedIn. The first one is catered towards the basics of your LinkedIn portfolio. Basically, you want your LinkedIn to be your professional Facebook. Have activity on your account and make sure that you’ve filled out your profile page.
  3. Job Applications. Once we all return back from break, the months will fly by. If you haven’t started applying and locking-down a job for post-grad, it’s a great time to start seeking out and applying for different opportunities. Keep your options open and apply to plenty to give yourself the best chances and choices.
  4. Portfolio. Some majors may benefit from having a solid portfolio. Art, writing, and education majors are some examples of people who may want to exemplify their work via a different platform. It’s always a good idea to have another way to showcase your hard work, and sites like Wix and Weebly are highly beneficial to helping you get started.
  5. Cover Letter. You’re going to want to have a solid cover letter to go along with a résumé and application. It’s always a nice idea to have a letter on file that can be edited and tweaked for various jobs. You can have a couple of samples that range from more professional and direct to more creative. Here you can find a basis for writing a cover letter.
  6. Interview Prep. Take common interview questions and write out answers. When you’re thinking about answering questions keep in mind the S.T.A.R. method. This acronym stands for situation, task, action, and result. Keep in mind how your experiences can showcase how you’ve handled situations, specifies your skills, shows the ways in which you’ve demonstrated those things tangibly, and what were the overall results and takeaways.
  7. Get the Garb. Dressing the part is an essential aspect of the interview process. You may already have interview and job-appropriate clothing options, but, if not, the holiday season is a great time to invest in some new garb. For ideas of what is appropriate, check out our Pinterest page. Your garb is a great way to display your professionalism as well as to showcase your unique style and personality.
  8. Know Your Options. You have plenty of resources to utilize here at Hope to help make the next stage of life feel a bit easier. The Boerigter Center for Calling and Career offers plenty of choices for various sessions and appointments. Be sure to check out our offerings on our website. To schedule an appointment, feel free to log into your Handshake account.
  9. Do Your Research. When interviewing with a company, it’s essential to have a basic grasp on who the company is. Be sure to check out their website and also look into the benefits and other perks of the company. Things like pay structures, stock options, travel allowances, and especially benefits like insurance and retirement can end up being big factors in what makes you choose one job over another.

Whatever you spend your break doing, make sure to take some time to rest and rejuvenate. With graduation coming in a few short months, it’s important to refocus and re-energize to prepare yourself for the next steps in life. If you want to learn more about practices in self-care, this article is one that will hopefully challenge you to grow as you prepare for another busy season of life.

Giving Tuesday: Ways to give back through your career

Giving Tuesday takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, following Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This day was established in 2012 by New York’s 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation with the simple idea of a day for people to do good. Over the last seven years the idea of Giving Tuesday has grown into a global movement for people to practice giving and celebrating generosity. Everyone has something to give, and this day reminds us to do so. Visit to learn more about Giving Tuesday.

Alumni can give back throughout their career!

A great, easy way to give back is to send or accept an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. This simple act allows students to find new connections in their intended field and maybe even the right connection to a new job! If you’re feeling extra generous, you can send the student helpful tips and tricks for interviewing or networking in your industry.

Hope has networking events coming up in Holland, Lansing, Royal Oak, Grand Rapids and Chicago. Find one near you, and register to attend by heading over to This is a great way to meet Hope students and create personal connections…maybe turn into someone’s mentor! This also allows students to create contacts with alums in their intended field that are attuned to the work ethic Hope students are known for.

Another way to give back to Hope students is to offer to host a student through our DiscoverWork Program. This opportunity allows you to connect with students to explore your career path through job shadowing. The DiscoverWork Program also provides a chance to meet potential interns or full-time employees. For more information on the DiscoverWork program please visit or reach out to to get on the invite list.

There are so many ways you can give back on Giving Tuesday and we hope you find the right fit for you!