Parent to Parent: Helping Your Student Navigate Their Vocation and Calling

So your son or daughter returned home for the holidays! You are so excited to see them only to have that dampened by mounds of dirty laundry, late night comings and goings, and an expressed lack of direction toward a major and career path. The laundry is a long but simple fix. Reminders about expectations while under your roof also easy to navigate. How to help them find direction and discern their vocation and calling… WOAH! Millions of fears and questions race through your head. What if your child ends up wandering aimlessly through life? Maybe even live in your basement while doing it? How do you help your young adults find direction to prevent this as they head back to campus?


We are here to help them and would love your partnership. Your student is anxious about figuring out what to do with their life, especially as it relates to career. We can help both of you!

As parents we do our best to help our kids. What can sometimes happen though is we add pressure in addition to support. Here are some frequent things I hear from students:

  • “I’m afraid I will let my family down because I don’t have things figured out yet”
  • “People keep telling me I would be good at this but it just doesn’t feel like me, so should I do it anyway? Don’t they know best?”
  • “I feel like I’m the only one in the world who does not have things figured out!”

These are just a few examples. Your student may have a lot of anxiety over not knowing what major to choose and/or what career path to follow. We want to help them and you through this time. Every family is different and I don’t claim to be an expert with every situation, but as a mom to three adult children, a trained counselor, and career professional, I like to think I can offer some helpful techniques to try.

First, when I said encourage them to come to the BCCC, what I meant is ask them if they have come to meet with one of our staff. Tell them you know we help students with the discernment/figuring out process. Ask them if they think it might be helpful to talk to someone. Help them take that first step knowing we will take it from there.

Whenever possible ask questions! Open ended questions that do not allow for a simple yes or no are best. Be careful with your tone and affirm that you want them to be a happy and find a good fit. Maybe even share your own story and be sure to include how you struggled to figure things out and how your path has possibly taken you places you didn’t expect.

Share the people in your life who helped you then and help you now with your decision making process. It takes a village right? Help them understand who is in their village and how to add others who will be supportive.
One of the hardest things I had to do as a parent of a college student was to recommend they talk to someone in the Career Office on their college campus. How do I trust she will get good advice from someone else who doesn’t know her like I do? It was one of the best things I did for her as a student! She received good advice and found another person for her village. I trusted them and I’m asking you to trust us. We want to help your son and/or daughter find their calling and prepare for life after Hope and we want to partner with you to do that!

A Note to Senior Public Accounting Majors

Dear future CPAs,

Fall recruiting is booming, and with it the stress of the future. Many of you may be in the midst of interviews and applications, while others are still riding the emotional high of accepting your first full-time position for after graduation. For those of us that have accepted a position, it is important to stay focused on school, and finish strong. As Prof. Geddes would say, “Rise up!”

Despite securing a position, staying on top of our industry specific courses is still important, and this is true for a variety of reasons. The first of which is that our testing is not over. The dreaded CPA exams still await after graduation, and what we learn in Advanced, Tax, Audit, GNP, and so on will be on there! Relearning something in a review course is sure to be easier than learning it all together. Pay attention in class and try and grasp all the concepts we are going through.

Another reason to take classes seriously is for professional development. We will be tasked with long, grueling, and difficult projects, audits, or tax returns in the future. Finishing out classes will assist us in forming stronger professional skills. We will have a job to do, and finishing out college strong is important in gleaning the mentality of completing our work, and finishing strong. Staying focused on classes will also further our routine of work, and hopefully prevent a culture shock when we begin our full-time positions.

Lastly, we’ve put so much work into school, why let it all go to waste with a poor final year? If you fail a course, you may have to take another semester, and get pushed back from starting, and even possibly lose the job offer you have! Let’s finish out college strong, continue the standards we have set for ourselves thus far, and get ready for what life after college will be like!

What is Second Seminar? Major Decisions, Without Major Stress

When I tell people I am a Teacher’s Assistant for Second Seminar (IDS 295: Second Seminar, Designing a Life That Matters) people almost always want to know more about what the class is all about. In response, I usually try and sum up everything Second Sem is within two to three sentences and what I have found is that is something extremely hard to do. Sure, it’s easy to tell people it’s a 2 credit class and that it counts toward your GLD requirement, but it gets more complicated when I try and dig in to what it really meant for me last semester when I was in the class myself.  

For me personally, Second Sem may well be the most meaningful class I have ever taken and will ever take in my life. The time spent in the class taught me how to look inward and find what I was truly meant to do; what God has called me to do, not what I thought I should do or what other people told me I needed to do. I learned I have a purpose, that I am significant, and that what I will do with my life will make an impact. I learned that it is not so much what you do as how you do it. For example, I feel that my purpose in life is to bring people joy and exemplify the love of Jesus for all. This is my vocation; this is my calling. What major I choose, what job I end up in is of less importance than how I choose to live in to my calling. Exemplifying joy and love are things I will be able to do no matter what profession I call mine. While I do have a dream job as most people do, because of this class, I now worry less about my major, my career, and “the rest of my life” and focus more on living out my calling every day. 

Second Sem has taught me that not only is it okay not to have my entire life planned out, but, in fact, that it is wonderful not to. It has taught me that there is not one right major for me, not one right job for me, not one right life for me, but there are hundreds, maybe even thousands of good options. I get the freedom of choosing my path step by step, enabling me to fully enjoy every moment I am given instead of worrying about the next.  

Finally, Second Seminar has taught me that my life is so much more than the classes I take now, the major I choose now, and the job(s) I choose later. This class exposes the myth that my major will decide the rest of my life. You do not choose your life when you choose your major or a job/career. You are so much more than your career, and if you follow your vocation, your calling, you will realize this because it will extend to every part of your life. You can live out your calling within your friendships and the way you greet strangers on the street, and the beautiful thing about Second Sem is that it teaches you how to do this. Through this class, one will learn to search within oneself, seeking out even the scary parts, to find who they are and what they are meant to do, and will learn how to live in true harmony with these findings, improving both themselves and the community in which they live. 

If you’re stressed, if you’re unsure of what you’re meant to do or be, or if you just want to have a place where thinking about these big life questions is encouraged, I recommend taking this course. For me, taking Second Seminar helped me find who I was truly meant to be. 

Course Information:

IDS 295 Second Seminar; Designing A Life That Matters
Spring CRN 11919
2CR, TH 1:30pm-2:50pm
Instructor: Shannon Schans
GLD Flagged Course 

Where Will You Go?: The Philadelphia Semester

We have many outstanding off-campus study programs at Hope College.  Getting a new experience in another part of the country – or the world – is a rich learning opportunity.  Some of my best memories as a Hope student were from my time at the Vienna Summer School.  Students – as you plan out your college path, I encourage you to talk to the staff at the Center for Global Engagement and learn more about programs that are a good fit with your future plans.

If you have been around me for any amount of time, you know that I am also passionate about getting hands-on work experience through research, clinical rotations, or internships.  The good news is that some of these off-campus programs will allow you to do it all – you can live and learn in a different city AND complete an internship at the same time!  

I would like to highlight one such opportunity available to all Hope students – the Philadelphia Center program.  This past spring, I spent a day in Philadelphia learning about this program.  It has been running for over 50 years and includes students from colleges across the country.  I toured the city and visited multiple internship sites.  I talked to some of the program’s professors and got to hear from some students about their experiences.

One of my key takeaways was that a big city can provide big opportunities for internships.  As a major hub for culture, history, and sports, Philadelphia has options that are not as easy to find elsewhere.  I was particularly impressed by the number of organizations with internships available in the arts, neuroscience, sports management, exercise science, and women’s and gender studies.

One thing I hear at times is that some students feel like they will miss out on happenings at Hope if they go off-campus for a semester.  Scott Travis, Executive Director of Alumni and Family Engagement, studied in Philadelphia as a student.  Scott reflects on this question: “The Philadelphia Center, or any off-campus program, can be life changing.

There is something special about leaving the familiar behind, having new adventures and expanding your worldview through off-campus study. Growing up in a rural area, I learned a lot just by living in the city. I also learned through an internship that helped prepare me for my career and seminars that helped me to make new friendships. It’s cliche, but the opportunity you have to do something like this in college won’t necessarily be there for the rest of your life.”  

If you are interested, or just simply curious, we have a special opportunity coming up to meet directly with Morgan Mahdavi, recruiter for the Philadelphia Center.  She will be on campus on Monday, Oct. 21st, with drop-in hours from 3:00-5:00pm in MMC 123.  Please take some time to check it out. Morgan is also available by appointment (students should contact the Center for Global Engagement to set up a time).You may just find that it is a perfect fit for your future!

Survival Guide: The Job You Hate

If you drag yourself to work with a feeling of dread every day, this is for you.

No one likes every task they undertake throughout the course of their job, but that is quite different from considering quitting before every shift. I know I did this most days when I worked at a movie theater over the summer. It’s truly awful to feel that way on a regular basis.

Since not everyone has the luxury of just up and quitting, here are some tips that I’ve used to turn a bad experience around.

  • Identify what’s making you feel so discontent.

Maybe you can barely stand your coworkers, or you feel your manager is incompetent. For me, I found it unrewarding and exhausting to deal with unruly customers and sweep up popcorn messes. Whatever it is, figure out what’s making you dread the job.

  • Try to find the silver lining.

As trite as it sounds, thinking positive can make you feel better. If you do it enough, it becomes habit.

If I didn’t want to go to my shift at concessions because I knew it would be so busy I’d hardly have time to breathe, I thought “At least time will fly while I’m busy, and I get to be social with my coworkers.” If I was dreading the disgruntled customers I would have to handle working in the box office, I was perked up a bit knowing that I would have some down time where I could read a bit of my book.

At the very least, looking for the good in things will prevent you from being caught up in negativity.

  • Vent to someone if you need to.

There is someone in your life who will let you give voice to your dissatisfaction and sympathize with you. Perhaps it’s a parent or a sibling or a friend. Just try not to complain too much. Excessive negative talk can make you, and the person you’re speaking to, feel worse.

Another way to potentially improve your work experience would be to talk to your manager professionally about how you are feeling and how they can help you make some changes. In all likelihood, your manager does not know that you are unhappy and will appreciate you bringing the issue to their attention. You could even come up with a professional development plan together. Setting goals (and achieving them) can drastically improve your work experience.

Finally, and most importantly, …

  • Don’t let your frustration or exhaustion affect your job performance.

Discontent in your work can breed apathy, but don’t let it get the best of you! Tempting though it may be to slack off, keep your work above reproach. This way you will know that you are doing your best and you can feel good about how you handled yourself looking back on the experience.

Hopefully, something here speaks to you and will ease some of the strain you may be feeling.

If all else fails, maybe it is time to move on from this job. However, it never hurts to give it your all.

Know that you are by no means alone. Here are just a few articles to check out for more tips and commiseration:

3 Things You’ll Only Understand if You’re in the “I Hate My Job” Club

3 Reasons Why Your Employees Hate Coming to Work–and What to Do About Them

What to do when you hate your job but can’t quit

5 Last Minute Tips for the Recruiting Fair

  • Get Your Resume Ready

Take some time to update your resume. Additionally, be sure to read through your resume to look for any inconsistencies or grammatical mistakes. Print off plenty of copies to hand out to companies/recruiters, it never hurts to have extras left over, but you’re not helping yourself if you run out! The Boerigter Center is hosting a Career Carnival on Sept 30th and an all day drop in time on Tuesday Oct 1st if you want to have your resume reviewed.

  • Have Your Attire Ready To Go

Lay out your clothes the night before to ensure you are looking business professional. This will help get your mind in recruiting mode, ensure your attire is appropriate, and help you look more put together for the real world! The Fashion Club will be will displaying some great ideas during the Career Carnival on September 30th.

  • Practice Your Elevator Pitch

Be ready to talk about yourself! When you get to the front of the line you’ve been waiting in, be prepared to talk to the employer/recruiter, and not just drop off your resume. Want to practice with our staff? Head to the Career Carnival between 3-6pm on September 30th.

  • Research Companies

Head to Handshake to take a look at the listing of companies that will be in attendance, and figure out which ones you are most interested in. Then, go one step further and look more into that company. Take a look at their website and see what they are all about! This is a little homework, but can be very beneficial at the event.

  • Stay Calm

It is very common to get nervous at events such as this. Be yourself, take a breath, and relax! The professionals attending the fair are interested in Hope College students…and that includes you!

PT vs. OT: No, They’re Not The Same Thing

If you are thinking about pursuing a career in healthcare, the many different options may seem overwhelming at first. From medicine or dentistry to physical therapy or occupational therapy, among others, it can be difficult to discern which one is right for you. When it comes to choosing a career, it is important to learn about the differences between each field so you can determine which is the best fit. Physical therapy and occupational therapy often get paired as essentially the same field, however there are key differences that make them unique career paths and it is important to take these into account before choosing a track. 

What is the difference between physical therapy and occupational therapy?

The main difference between physical therapy and occupational therapy is that a physical therapist’s focus is on improving strength and mobility in specific areas of the body, while an occupational therapist’s focus is on improving patients’ abilities to perform everyday tasks in the home and workplace in order to improve quality of daily life. 

Both PTs and OTs help patients who are recovering from injuries, surgeries, illnesses, or other events that have an effect on a patient’s ability to move a part of their body or do basic daily tasks, as well as patients who have cognitive or physical disabilities that affect their movement or daily life. Oftentimes, the patients of physical therapists and occupational therapists overlap, especially in rehabilitation facilities focusing on helping patients post-stroke, injury, or surgery. 

Physical Therapy

Physical therapists focus on helping people be more physically healthy by walking patients through strengthening exercises to improve mobility. A large part of a physical therapist’s role can also include helping patients prevent future injuries. Physical therapists work in both inpatient and outpatient settings, including visiting patients in their homes, and with all ages and ability ranges of patients. 

Physical therapists get a Bachelor’s degree and then go on to get a three-year doctoral degree in physical therapy. Requirements for entrance into physical therapy schools include prerequisite courses, passing the GRE exam, and knowledge or ability to perform the Essential Functions of Physical Therapy, among others. Some schools require a minimum number of volunteer/work/job shadow hours in physical therapy (e.g. GVSU requires a minimum of 50 hours). Our Health Professions Advisor Mary Kay Dobbins emphasizes shadowing experiences and recommends that students double the number of required shadowing hours for a given school.

Possible Areas of Focus: 

  • Treating and preventing injuries for professional, college, or high school athletes
  • Working with hospital patients post-surgery or post-injury
  • Treating patients in rehabilitation facilities post-injury
  • Working with special needs patients to improve coordination and movement
  • Working in or running a clinic for all types of patients

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists focus on helping patients perform daily tasks at their occupations more effectively, as well as in their daily lives, such as getting dressed, cooking, brushing their teeth, and other activities. There are five activities of daily living (ADLs) that directly affect the quality of a patient’s life if they are unable to perform them: (1) feeding one’s self, (2) bathing one’s self, (3) dressing one’s self, (4) being able to use the bathroom without assistance, and (5) being able to transfer one’s self without assistance (e.g. from a bed to a chair). Occupational therapists work with patients to restore ADLs that they can no longer perform or create plans and adaptations to work around any ADLs that cannot be restored. Occupational therapists work in both inpatient and outpatient settings, including visiting patients in their homes and workplaces. Since occupational therapists consider a patient’s well-being from both a physical and mental standpoint, they work in a wide variety of fields and work with patients to help them become happy with their daily life alongside more physically able. 

Occupational therapists typically get a Bachelor’s degree and then go on to complete a two-year master’s degree. There are also schools that offer a doctoral degree in occupational therapy in three years (although none in Michigan). In the near future, occupational therapy is anticipated to move to a doctoral degree only. Requirements for entrance into occupational therapy schools include prerequisite courses and passing the GRE exam, among others. Similar to the requirements for physical therapist candidates, some OT schools require a minimum number of work/volunteer/job-shadow hours in the field.

Possible Areas of Focus: 

  • Working with patients in rehabilitation facilities post-injury or stroke to help patients “re-learn” how to perform ADLs
  • Working with patients in homes and workplaces in order to help them adapt to their physical limitations
  • Working with children in schools to teach academic, play, self-care, and transitional/work-related skills
  • Working with elderly patients to increase ability to perform ADLs or adapt to their inability to perform these skills

Which one is right for you?

Both physical therapists and occupational therapists see patients long-term or short-term depending on the area that they work in. Both types of therapists are able to individualize care-plans according to individual patients’ needs. Physical therapy might be better for you if you are passionate about helping patients recover from injuries or surgeries by helping them improve mobility and strength. Occupational therapy might be better for you if you are passionate about improving the daily quality of your patients’ lives and helping people adapt to different injuries or disabilities. If you are still on the fence about whether you want to pursue a career in physical therapy or occupational therapy, job shadowing and/or talking with physical and occupational therapists can be a really good avenue to explore what it is really like to work in these fields. 

Other Resources:

For pre-health professions prerequisites and organization websites:


HANDSHAKE: Finding a Job and More

As a Senior, something always on my mind, which I am sure many seniors could agree on is: What will I do after I graduate?

The answers to this question will vary, some will choose to continue learning and attend graduate school, medical school, but many will join the workforce.

If you are planning to join the workforce; Handshake, which many of you hopefully have heard about is the perfect way to get started. 

So what is Handshake

Handshake is a career-service platform. Essentially, Handshake is an engine that was founded in 2014, with the purpose to connect students to potential employers. This is a platform created for you and me, to help us find jobs across America. As a Hope College student and even alumni, if you do not already have a Handshake account it is super easy to get started. The sign-in page will ask you to choose your school which would be Hope College. This will redirect you to enter your school’s username and password, this is your Hope College email username and password. 

The awesome thing about Handshake is that it allows the user to be really specific in the position that is desired. When creating the account it will ask for your area of interest and what kind of job you would like to look for. For example, if you are a senior wishing to find a full-time job in public relations in Boston, MA it is possible to filter some job opportunities right off the bat. 

On the Handshake home screen, Handshake presents different positions that might interest you, are popular based on your major, upcoming events, etc. Going on to the job search, you still have the ability to search based on job titles, employers, city, state, etc. The jobs posted will have details in order to know if it is a position you would like to apply too and if you match well with the requirements of a position Handshake will let you know. It is super easy to apply if there is a quick apply, however, there usually is also a link to apply through their website directly which would be recommended to do. 

There are a lot more perks to using Handshake, which include finding out about events that are happening around campus that are related to career. For example, under the Events page, you are able to view the details for all the events happening during the Boerigter Center’s Career Week. In addition to this, all appointments for Boerigter staff are scheduled through Handshake. Networking is also something that Handshake helps with, this allows you to know what jobs individuals who have similar interests or majors are doing after college. 

In conclusion, these are a few reasons why Handshake is an amazing tool to have and use:

  1. Makes job searching fast and convenient
  2. Schedule appointments at the Boerigter
  3. Find about career events that may interest you
  4. Network with individuals in your same major or interest

A Successful Summer of Opportunities

This past summer was one full of learning and growth for many Hope College students and alumni. From Discoverwork opportunities to jobs, internships and even clinical experiences, many students and alumni were hard at work in career fields they enjoy. Keep reading to find out what some of them were up to this summer! 

Natalie Brown ‘17

Natalie is a published author of the book 52 Cups of Coffee and was on a media tour this summer! 

Kate Kooiker ‘17

Kate Kooiker has her dream job at Magnolia in Waco, Texas as a Senior Display Assistant where she “Creates decorative displays and art installations according to the Magnolia brand to enhance the guest experience at Magnolia Market, Silos Baking Co., Magnolia Table, and events hosted by Magnolia.” This is the Magnolia of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ fame!

Eric Smith ‘19

This summer Eric created a productivity reporting model for our insurance authorization team at Spectrum Health. This tool gives leadership the ability to build a more lean and effective team and positively impact patient experience.

David Wang ‘20

David Wang enjoyed his Product Development internship at Comfort Research, a bean bag design company, in Grand Rapids this summer!

Molly Hidalgo ‘22

Molly worked as a Special Events Intern at National Heritage Academies. She assisted in planning and hosting various events such as new teacher trainings and luncheons! “It was such a fun and educational summer and I’m so thankful I have had this experience!” – Molly Hidalgo

Abby Brummel ‘20

Abby Brummel is a Studio Art and Communications double major. She interned this summer with the Holland Museum as their Communications and Development Intern, running their social media accounts, taking photos, and developing strategies for gaining membership for the Museum.

Addison Huss ‘19

Addison recently graduated from Hope with a degree in Social Work. In May, she started her job as a Foster Care Case Manager at Wellspring Lutheran Services in Kentwood, MI. “I love my job! So far my favorite part has been interacting with the families on my caseload and forming a relationship with them.” – Addison Huss 

Sam Gaby ‘22

This summer Sam worked as a sales intern at Amway Japan in Tokyo. “The picture is a Q&A session I did with one of the leaders in the company. The experience was more incredible than I could have possibly imagined.” – Sam Gaby

Johnny DeMaggd ‘19

Johnny DeMaagd opened a coffee shop, named Left Field, in Middleville, Michigan after graduating.

If you are interested in sharing your summer experiences with us, send us a picture of you at your DiscoverWork, job, internship, or clinical experience with us to display during our Career Week!

Fall 2019 | What You Need to Know

Handshake logoDid you know that all appointments are now made through Handshake? Learn more at or read our blog post!

Join us September 23 through October 2 for Career Week!

Please click on each event for a full description including registration information.

September 23
Decision Making | BCCC | 11am – 12pm
Decision Making | BCCC | 12 – 1pm
Choosing A Major | Herrick Room | 11am – 12pm
Choosing A Major | Herrick Room | 12 – 1pm
Boerigter 1 Year Celebration Open House | BCCC | 1 – 3pm
Headshots | BCCC | 1 – 3pm

September 24
Internship Planning Workshop | BSC Schaap Aud. | 11am – 12pm
Mentoring 101: Meet Your People! | Herrick Room | 3 – 4pm
Strengths Workshop | BCCC | 5 – 6pm

September 25
Handshake 101 | Herrick Room | 12 – 1pm
Résumé Review | BCCC | 3 – 6pm

September 26
Where Will You Go? Speaker Austin Asamoa-Tutu Jr. | BSC Schaap Aud. | 11 – 12pm
Pursuing Graduate School, Speaker: Jung Koral, U of M Graduate Studies | Herrick Room | 11am – 12pm
Living and Working: On The Lakeshore | Brew Merchant | 5 – 8pm

September 27
LinkedIn 101 | BSC Schaap Aud. | 12 – 1pm
Healthcare and You: Getting Involved | BSC Schaap Aud. 3 – 4pm

September 30
Career Carnival | BCCC | 3 – 6pm

October 1
Open Fair Prep Drop-in Day | BCCC | 8am – 6pm
Balance with Boerigter | BSC Great Room | 11am – 12pm

October 2
Fall Recruitment Fair | DeVos Fieldhouse | 5:30 – 7:30pm

Mentoring 101: Meet Your People! Go to Handshake to sign up for a workshop or one-on-one session to learn about how you can meet people to mentor you in all aspects of your life. Create a Mentor Map too! Openings are available now.


Apply for a DiscoverWork job shadow today! DiscoverWork connects you 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. These short-term, unpaid opportunities to meet with or shadow professionals are different from an internship. They typically last 1–2 days, but may last longer. These opportunities take place all over the United States and are offered between December 2019 and May 2020.

Important Dates:

  • Monday, September 9, 2019: Applications Open for All Students
  • Thursday, September 12, 2019: Info Session on DiscoverWork, 11-11:50 Herrick Room
  • Thursday, October 10, 2019: Applications Due by 3:00 PM

Check your email next week for the application and opportunity list!

The Boerigter Center for Calling and Career is open Monday through Thursday from 8 am until 6 pm and Friday from 8 am until 5 pm. Boerigter rooms are now open to students in the evenings.
Are you looking for a quiet room to study? Come use our rooms in the evenings!

Learn more about Klesis

Are you a junior starting to think about graduate school? Do you have questions about whether an academic career is a good fit for you? Klesis is an organization on campus that matches students with faculty mentors and hosts programming designed to help students ask these questions. If you are at all interested in Klesis, contact Dr. Steven McMullen at or come to our information meeting on Monday, September 9 at 4:00PM in Graves Hall room 206.

What is new with you?

  • Share with us . . .what you did this summer? Send us a picture and description of your summer work/abroad experience to feature during Career Week.