My name is Spencer Turbin and I am a current senior at Hope studying economics, global security and German. I am originally from Livonia, Michigan, and now live in Traverse City, Michigan. I started my freshman year at Hope in 2020 in the heat of the pandemic and will graduate May 2024. I have experienced and witnessed Hope College through varying stages but have found growth and gratitude through all of them.

My initial decision in coming to Hope was rooted in the community it provided, the unique high-quality programs and resources present, and the cost of attendance. For me, I was privileged enough that paying for Hope was a ‘doable feat’ through both Hope-provided and independent scholarships, generous contributions from my family and on-campus jobs. While I cannot say that the financial aspect was stress-free, I can attest that I am extremely lucky to be graduating from Hope this spring with little to no debt. As I face the bittersweet reality of graduation in May, I can confidently say that I am excited and encouraged by what my future may hold.

Exploring discernment and calling are important processes for all college students, but they are particularly emphasized institutionally at Hope. For me, this process contains an excess of exploration and opportunity. I get to make exciting decisions about where in the U.S. I may live, what industry I want to start my career in, and most importantly, what type of values I wish to emphasize as I align my personal goals with professional career options.

An exciting aspect of the discernment process is doing it alongside my peers. However, this is where a clear divide emerges. It is easy and encouraging to talk to friends in similar situations as me; but for the majority of my friends, this is not the case. Financial sacrifices, burdens and entanglements limit many of my peers’ decision-making factors when composing post-grad plans. These factors often center around location and the financial need to stay at home, seeking a numeric requirement that will simultaneously cover cost of living and loan payments. Pursuing this type of stability often leads to traditional jobs that are devoid of personal passion. None of these factors are inherently negative or wrong, but it is unrealistic to assume that they have no impact on the potential happiness or change affecting the opportunities of Hope graduates.

Interning with the Hope Forward initiative has been a huge privilege as it has allowed me to see Hope Forward in all of its stages. Through both myself and my friends, I have witnessed the initial benefits of Hope Forward through Anchored Tuition. Through current cohort members, I get a glimpse of a community and an opportunity that can one day be a reality for many Hope students. Through my specific work at admissions, I get to hear stories and meet students from all over the world who embody hope, hard work and generosity. It’s tremendously encouraging to see the willingness and desire of these students to bring their stories and talents to Hope College.

One of the strongest certainties I have identified through my work with Hope Forward is that it doesn’t mean or represent one singular thing. Hope Forward means and represents different things to each person. To me, Hope Forward encourages and celebrates excellence and hard work. It transforms a college education into a multi-faceted investment in human potential and it provides a necessary experience to students regardless of their background.

The work of Hope Forward and the potential it brings means meaningful change for all Hope students to come. This will not only be seen through reduced tuition bills, but also a change in the way students interact with their education and their community. This change will not only have an impact on the student experience, but also on Hope College as an institution. An innovative shift in the way that Hope operates and creates graduates has the ability to redefine how we think about higher education as a whole. This change in thinking is critical as it allows us to ensure that all students who are capable of succeeding in college are able to attend college in the first place.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *