I Miss You, Hope College!

*Editor’s Note: Kleenex alert! The reflections below, contributed by Bill Moreau, associate professor of English, show how students are keeping Hope in their hearts by remembering how the college community and its bond are important to them. Their authenticity shows that #keepinghope is both difficult and enduring.

Because of COVID-19, on Wednesday, March 11, the Hope College community was told that we would start our spring break one day early. Athletic excursions did not depart.  Immersion trips evaporated. Chapel Choir’s spring venture dried up. Personal break plans fizzled. Students were told to leave campus the next day and to stay safely at home until April 13. That initial four-week closedown ended up being extended to the end of the semester. Students did not get a chance to say goodbye in any significant way. Classes, meetings, celebrations, and Chapel/Gathering services all went remote. Although many activities continued in a distant, screen-captured way, the human touch on the campus of Hope College resembled a vacant lot. Rumor has it that a few tumbleweeds drifted with the westerly breeze through the Pine Grove and down past Martha Miller and onto the athletic fields just east of DeVos.

Prof. Bill Moreau teaches remotely while a student and her cat listen and learn at home.

After ten weeks of normal face-to-face interaction, a week-long blurred spring break (mainly loaded with hours of figuring out a remote-learning strategy of some sort), and then five weeks of distance-centered classes—plus another week of exams, final projects, and presentations—we finally finished the semester.

I found that the shelter-at-home lives my students were now living had an immense impact on their view of their former lives as college students. Yes, they were still college students during the pandemic readjustment, but they were now college students with a different view of what they once had. To confirm that observation, I asked all of them to respond to the following prompt as part of their exit from my three classes: “What do you miss most about your pre-pandemic life at Hope College?”

Below are some of the thoughtful responses they shared:

“What I miss most about my life at Hope is the sense of freedom. Being back at home has made me feel as if I have taken two steps back in life instead of forward. I miss being able to get coffee with my friends or play intramural sports with my sorority. I miss working at the bookstore and the Science Center or going to the gym when I needed to blow off some steam. Honestly, I miss everything about Hope. I never thought I would miss it this much, but because I never got to properly say goodbye, I feel as if I closed the book on my life in college without actually finishing it.”  (Senior)

“I think the real question is what don’t I miss about Hope College. I miss everything from late night conversations with my roommate, to hard workouts with my teammates, to thoughtful conversations with professors, to singing in Chapel with my friends. I think the overarching theme is that I miss my people. The friends I made at Hope fill my heart with so much joy. I feel so grateful that God led me to Hope and placed those people in my life. I am praying that I will get to see their faces in a few months.”  (First-year student)

“I miss singing! Whether it’s in Chapel Choir or my acapella group (12th Street Harmony), I always enjoy being able to express myself through music. I also miss being able to see everyone that I love at school. You don’t realize how much it brightens your day saying “Hello!” to thirty people in passing throughout the day until you don’t have that experience anymore.”  (Sophomore)

“I have missed interacting with my professors the most while being back home. One of my favorite parts of Hope College is the relationships I get to form with my professors. I truly learn much better when I have one-on-one instruction. I also miss my friends and the activities around campus. It has been quite boring sitting at home. I also really miss having a library and a place to study…and not my kitchen table!”  (Senior)

“I MISS EVERYTHING! I realized how much I take for granted the freedom and the friends that come with living on campus. It has been a very difficult transition for me. I had some personal trouble early in the semester, and it was really helpful to have friends to talk to and lean on when I needed them the most. I really miss the social aspect of Phelps and that feeling you get when you just want to sit and talk for the rest of the night.”  (First-year student)

I really miss walking through campus and running into people I know and being able to spend time in a place where I have so many memories. I also miss being able to do homework on campus. I loved to study in Schaap by the ducks and I miss sitting at those tables and doing homework. I miss seeing my professors and classmates in person and I miss the opportunity I had to go talk with my professors in their offices. I also miss Hope traditions, like Brinner or Spring Fling. If I had to pick one thing I miss most, I would say it would be the Hope community.”  (Senior)

“I miss the physical on-site meetings for Chapel and the Gathering. In the craziness of life, those were my places to be at peace amongst the chaos, usually sitting with my friends by my side. I miss my professors, my friends, my work staff at Campus Ministries and my new Sib Sorority sisters. And finally, I miss my motivation. I would do homework every free moment I had—in either the BSC, the library, or at Campus Ministries. I miss the academic environment I used to be in.”  (First-year student)

“I miss seeing my friends every day. It is such a blessing to be surrounded by people who are so fun, kind, caring, and genuine. Being back at home is very isolating and feels a lot like my senior year of high school, which is not a good thing. I am ready to get back to Holland ASAP. I miss my team and my coaches. I never realized how much they filled me up and challenged me to not only be a better athlete but also a better person. I miss routine, having a definite purpose and plan for each day. I miss walking everywhere and saying hello to people’s faces.”  (First-year student)

“Since not being at Hope I have lost a lot of motivation. Hope gave me that environment that pushed me to do my best work. It has definitely been hard for me to keep this mentality at home. As a senior I also very much miss celebrating all of our accomplishments with friends, professors, and loved ones.”  (Senior)

“At Hope College I am continuously surrounded by people who love me, make me laugh, want to help me strengthen my faith, and push me to be my very best self. While I obviously love my family and being with them, too much family time is a real thing. It is hard to transition from being on your own into a household of seven people. I really miss seeing my best friends, eating dinner with my team, and staying up late to eat grilled cheese from the Kletz with my study buddy. What makes Hope, Hope? The people. The atmosphere at Hope College is what drew me to attending.”  (First-year student)

“I really miss going to class. I didn’t realize how much I appreciated in-person class until it was taken away from me. I love seeing my professors, seeing my friends, having discussions in real life. Class becomes so much more than just class when you are able to have a relationship with your professor and classmates.”  (Senior)

“I miss my job. I was on the Stats Crew and it was such an exciting time. I got to call the play- by-play for all the women’s basketball games and the tournament was so fun. Spring season was just beginning, so I got to see three of my housemates play lacrosse and call their games as well. Most of all, I miss having a routine. The whole world turned upside down and I was certainly not ready for it.”  (Junior)

“In terms of my life at Hope, I do not think I can pinpoint one thing: I miss it all.”  (First-year student)

“I have missed my lacrosse team more than anything. Those women are my family. A lot was taken away from us and it hurts me that we were not able to show how hard we were working. It is strange to me that I will never step on the field again as a Hope women’s lacrosse player. I miss human interaction and living away from home on my own agenda. This was all such a fast transition, and as much as I say I am past it, I am not. I am still in denial. Being cooped up has been so hard.”  (Senior)

“I miss the people of Hope. SO much. I miss my professors, my friends, my roommates, my TEAMMATES, my RAs, my RD. I miss playing softball. I miss falling asleep to the train and then waking up from it at 3:00 in the morning. I just miss Hope College.”  (First-year student)

“I miss my usual study spots the most. I had just gotten the hang of my new schedule and found my favorite ways and places to study so I could be the most productive before we had to leave. At home, unfortunately, my desk is right next to my brother’s room where he plays loud video games all day. I am excited to go back to campus to get back to my usual routine so I can be more productive and honestly just feel like a college student.”  (First-year student)

“I deeply miss my fraternity. I miss the Gathering and being with my best friends. I really miss my girlfriend. This is the longest we have ever gone without seeing each other since we started dating. I miss feeling like I have control of my life. I miss longboarding through campus barefoot. I miss going on double dates with my best friends. I miss being able to look in people’s eyes when we talk. This has been hard, and I will forever miss my last weeks of college. This was supposed to be our victory lap of school. Instead I am sitting in my parents’ basement, feeling like I am missing out.”  (Senior)

“We all had to abruptly say goodbye to the people with whom we had made such close bonds over this past year and that was really hard to do. On that last Wednesday night on campus, my roommate and I watched movies and played games with some friends from our dorm one last time before the COVID-19 shutdown. Before I left the next morning, I had to give her a hug goodbye and we both cried because we knew that we probably weren’t going to be returning to school until the fall. After being home for a few days, I realized that I was sleeping in my room alone and had no one to talk to besides my family. I love my family, but it was odd to spend so much time with them after creating a new life for myself at Hope.”  (First-year student)

“My friends made studying for tests fun and a lot less stressful because we would all stay up late together studying. Now, I find studying for tests to be more stressful because I have to do it all on my own. Also, I miss being able to do my homework in Martha Miller and other places around campus. Now that I am at home, I feel like it is harder to focus on my homework since I am no longer surrounded by other students.”  (First-year student)

“I miss the chance encounters and interactions. I miss saying hello to my groggy housemate in the morning. I miss the pre-class chit-chat with my peers. I miss seeing professors in the hallway and saying hello. I miss heated conversations at the lunch table with my friends. I miss exchanging smiles with the reception desk worker at the Dow. I miss waving across the Pine Grove to a friend passing by. I miss making small talk with the workers at the Kletz. In sum, I miss the interactions with people that I would never organize a Google Hangout to have, but still valued as part of my daily routine.”  (Senior)  

“I miss absolutely everything about being at Hope. I am dying to have one more day of classes, one more meal at Phelps, one more Chapel, one more Gathering. I would love to get a proper goodbye with my friends. I miss my dorm room. I miss feeling like I have a new life after high school and have finally found myself and my people.”  (First-year student)

“I miss the people honestly. I’ve been quarantined in my off-campus housing here in Holland and campus has been so empty it’s almost lonely. I miss the fact that I didn’t get to experience my last semester of college in the way that I thought I would. There was no last bar night, last meal at the Kletz, last walk through the Science Center. We had our last official week of classes on campus as Hope students without even knowing it would be our last. I miss what could have been.”  (Senior)

Join the Conversation


  1. I graduated in 02 and Mr. Moreau is still on my list of things I miss most about Hope College 😉

  2. Bill,,
    You are a great teacher, getting the best from your students while deeply caring for each of them. This is a brilliant and heart-wrenching idea, rich with experiences of realization that are likely on nearly every campus. I truly think this should be in the New York Times.
    Thank you for recognizing that this needed to be expressed. Jack

  3. I miss all the wonderful nursing students and the faculty in the nursing department. I miss Thursdays( my favorite day…What day is it Pooh? It’s today squealed Piglet? My favorite day, said Pooh? ) in the Skills Lab interacting with the sophomores…learning all the beginning skills which frame the nursing profession. I miss the delight when a student performs the skill just right!…and the special “thank you”, “Terri”! The collaboration of the faculty in this department is amazing. Keeping Hope that I will be with a new group of students in the lab and connecting with all the classes this fall. Terri Holden, MSN, RN, Volunteer, Nursing Dept., Hope

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