Rewind to July of 2014.
As an incoming first-year student at Hope College, I was a ball of nerves and excitement. Being the type of person that needs planning and order, not knowing what was to come when I stepped onto campus in the fall was a rattling concept. Thankfully, Hope College does a picnic called a “Summer Send Off” in four different areas: Naperville, Mid-Michigan, Southeast Michigan, and Southwest Michigan. Since I am from the Lansing area, I went to the picnic held at Patriarche Park in East Lansing in the summer of 2014. About 10 of my high school friends were also coming to Hope, so we all arrived together. Even though I was with the people I felt most comfortable around, I couldn’t help but be nervous. I was moving away from an area that I had lived my entire life, to a town where I had visited only a couple of times. Coming to Hope was more or less a leap of faith for me, as I hadn’t even gone on an official campus visit. From the very beginning of the picnic, I knew that this was where I was supposed to be. The people from Hope College that hosted the picnic were friendly and I didn’t feel completely clueless anymore. I had no idea how to do this whole college thing, considering how I was a first-generation college student, with no real guidance in this adventure. But after the picnic, the countdown was set for August 24, move-in day, and I couldn’t have been more excited.
Fast forward to now: July of 2016.
Packing up the orange and blue Gatorades into the cooler and putting everything into the Hope van, I would soon be on my way to the first Send Off picnic of the summer. Ever since August of 2014 (Yes, two weeks after I stepped onto campus!) I have worked in the Alumni and Family Engagement Office, the very office that hosts the Summer Send Off picnics. I couldn’t help but look back on the time that I was so nervous about a simple picnic. Now, I am greeting the incoming students as they arrive, and making them feel at home before they even come to campus. Hope College has a way of doing that. As I stood under the pavilion, looking at all of the students that were listening to the Orientation Directors, I couldn’t help but look back on the time that I was sitting in their exact place. A feeling of peace and thankfulness washed over me. The leap of faith that I once took in 2014 brought me to a state of joy, contentment and peace in 2016.
If only these freshmen knew what they were in for.