Life at Hope from a Faithful Perspective

A message from Senior Tim Wageman,

As the I walked up the stairs to Dimnent Chapel, I was greeted with “we’re glad you’re here” and high fives. The great wooden doors opened to reveal that Dimnent was just as beautiful inside as the outside. Scurrying along to find my seat in the packed Friday chapel, it was a different atmosphere. The sun peeked through the beautiful stain glassed windows illuminating the room. Immediately, I knew this space and these people were special. 

The last three years have been nothing short of miraculous. There was not a lack of difficulties or challenges. However, the gift of having someone walk alongside you is unparalleled. That is one of the greatest treasures of the Campus Ministries team. In my experience, it was a lot of sitting with me through questioning and learning – as I’m sure there are several you in that same spot. They are ready to sit with you in the heartache and celebrate you in your accomplishments. I have had the privilege of being involved with small groups, an immersion trip, and the worship team. All three are some of my favorite outlets at Hope. Small groups provided me with a space in which my story was known, and I was able to meet some of my closest friends to this day. The immersion trip allowed me to serve my brothers and sisters. The worship team gave me space to make joyful noises that please God.

Our own President Scogin said, “the only appropriate response to grace is gratitude.” I am grateful. I am grateful that Hope has been a place where I get to wrestle with the big questions of life and faith. I am grateful that the academic sphere has given me the opportunity to reflect on how my work and beliefs interact with one another. I am grateful for God’s grace.

In addition to sharing stories of Hope, I want to pass along some practical advice about what I wish someone would have given to me before I started my freshman year:

  • Work a 9:00-5:00 day. In college, you spend a lot less time in class. A tip that helped me was every weekday from 9:00am to 5:00pm was my workday. I would attend class, work, and get schoolwork done in the time frame. That freed me up to have stress free nights of playing IMs, going on donut runs, and hanging out at coffee house.
  • Eat your vegetables. I get it, we have an ice cream machine, and you should eat lots of it (I apologize to all my lactose intolerant friends). However, it’s important to remember take care of your physical and mental health. Schedule time to be physically active. Take study breaks. And eat your vegetables.
  • Use a planner. I was anti-planner for all of high school, and that changed almost immediately upon arriving at Hope. Whether it is using Google Calendar, a physical planner, or hundreds of sticky notes, find a system that works for you. This will alleviate the pains of forgetting assignments and overcommitting yourself.
  • Ask good questions. There are so many smart people at Hope. Smart professors, smart classmates, a smart president. Ask them questions! It doesn’t even have to be directly related to their area of expertise. My friend’s favorite question to ask is, “what brings you joy?”
  • Attend Chapel and The Gathering. You will never have class during Chapel, and The Gathering is a great way to launch into your week on Sunday night. Plus, in my opinion, Dimnent Chapel is the most beautiful building on campus. 
  • You are worthy, and I am proud of you. This is a hard transition and Hope has an incredible community that just wants to walk with you (our orientation team is the quintessential example of that). 

I will leave you with the words from the Apostle Paul to the church in Philippi.

“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!”

Philippians 4:1

Go in peace. 

The College Transition during a Global Pandemic

Welcome back to the Orientation blog! Today, Assistant Director Sarah Gruchow shares some of her thoughts after her experience this past year at Hope as a freshman. We know that new students are transitioning to college during a weird time, so we hope that her advice inspires you:

Graduating during a pandemic was quite the surprise and I can recall the day that school got canceled like it was yesterday. I felt an immense amount of shock and disbelief and had no idea what to expect and boy did I not expect the cards that were dealt. Not getting those last few months of high school was hard and the transition to college seemed extremely difficult and although it was a windy and long road we got through it. But hey, I did it and boy was it something. I had no idea what to expect coming to college during a global pandemic and it was hard, but at the same time it was filled with so many incredible memories.

I’ve learned through all of this that we have to make the most of what we are given no matter the circumstances. We have the ability to make any situation the best we can and I strived to do just that. At Hope I met some of the best friends I could have ever asked for and I am very lucky to be able to say that. I know it can be hard to make friends at college and even harder when we are told to basically stay away from each other. By putting yourself out there, easier said than done I know, you can meet some incredible people and Hope college is filled with those. Knock on your neighbor’s door, ask to go to dinner with strangers, go to all your dorm activities and introduce yourself to others, try your best to join clubs or go to activities around campus. There are so many ways to meet people!

This transition is hard and during a pandemic it’s even harder, but we’ve done it once and we can do it again. Persevere, my friends, and good things are bound to come your way. And during these hard times it’s easy to make bad things worse, but try the hard thing and make the most of it. Go on adventures, laugh with friends, and live it up! 🙂

Sarah Gruchow is a rising sophomore from Grand Rapids, MI, studying Environmental Science with a Biology Concentration.

Words of Wisdom on the 5 Messages: Be a Good Human

Welcome back to the Orientation Blog! Today, Assistant Director Haley is giving some Words of Wisdom on the 4th message of Orientation, Be a Good Human:

Being a good human means living in a way that shows care and love for the people and the planet around you. It can be easy at college to put the emphasis on school. While classes are important and a big reason why you’re at Hope, I encourage you to also put effort into being intentional in the ways you interact with those around you. 

At Hope, I have experienced the unique love and light from so many good friends, classmates, and professors. I learned from my religion professor that being a good human means being patient and being willing to have difficult conversations. I learned from the TEDx speakers that being a good human means standing up for what you believe in. I learned from a close friend that being a good human means extending a hand and simply sitting with people in tough times. I have discovered that in my life, being a good human means taking care of the planet and doing what I can to make sustainable choices. 

Whether this looks like inviting a classmate to sit with you at lunch, asking your neighbor in your residence hall if they want to go to chapel, or simply letting a friend know you are thinking of them through a stressful week, it is crucial to be kind to the people around you. It is also important to show humility and learn from the people around you. My faith is very important to me, and I think that being a good human has a lot to do with living a life like Jesus. Being a good human is rooted in action, so be bold and brave in the way you love those around you!

Haley Katenin is a rising senior from Quincy, Illinois studying Biomedical Engineering with an Electrical emphasis with a Neuroscience Minor.

Words of Wisdom on the 5 Messages: Ask For Help

Welcome back to the Orientation Blog! Today, Assistant Director James is giving some wisdom on one of our five messages of Orientation: Ask For Help.

ASK FOR HELP! Easier said than done, right? As an incoming college student, you are faced with what feels like an infinite number of new opportunities, but unfortunately, along with some of these new adventures come new difficulties. You might feel anxious about being away from your family for the first time, or perhaps your Intro to Biology course was not as easy as it was in high school. Regardless, Hope College has a wide variety of resources for students to take advantage of at no cost to them. Hope College students can apply for tutors, get counseling, work with peers in study groups and so much more. The best thing about all of these options is all you have to do is ask for help!

My entire life, I always struggled with asking for help. To me, asking for help showed vulnerability and weakness, it was admitting I wasn’t quite good enough. A simple fact of life is that this is just not the case. It wasn’t until a mentor of mine at Hope sat down with me and had a conversation on the subject matter. In our conversation, he gave me a quote that helped change my college experience and I think might be extraordinarily helpful to incoming students experiencing similar things to what I did. The quote he shared stated, “Asking for help doesn’t make you weak – it reveals strength, even when you don’t feel strong.”

“Asking for help doesn’t make you weak – it reveals strength, even when you don’t feel strong.”

In my opinion, there is a lot of power in this quote and remembering and practicing life with these words can make a big difference as I know it has in my life. College is an amazing place to be with so many amazing opportunities, but struggles are an inevitable part of life. So, remember, when these moments of need come about, don’t be afraid to ASK FOR HELP!!! 🙂

James Bird is a rising Senior from Rockford, MI studying Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Words of Wisdom on the 5 Messages: Value Differences

Welcome back to the Orientation blog! Today, an Assistant Director, Abigail Pineda, is sharing some words of wisdom on one of our five messages: Value Differences.

Let me be one other person out of many to welcome you to one of the most exciting seasons of your life. Your time at Hope College will be unlike anybody else’s experience and there’s something really cool about that. Yet, you should know that you do not walk alone because we are all in the same place at the same time. With this in mind, our Orientation community encourages you to value the differences you will undoubtedly be a witness to. 

I have always appreciated the use of mnemonic devices because of the practicality they provide. For this reason, I wanted to share my Three L’s to Valuing Differences.   

The first L is for ‘Listen more’. Meeting people where they are with a listening ear often will make a greater impact than you can imagine. Showing genuine interest for the stories of others is such a compassionate way of honoring everyone’s differences. To listen more in a way that is meaningful, it is incredibly helpful to invite people in that space with vulnerability, when appropriate. Many of my favorite memories that these last three years have gifted me with include just that; opening up to people and having the opportunity to walk alongside each other. All someone ever wants is to be seen and heard. Give others that same gift whenever possible. 

Another L that I think is also imperative to valuing differences is to ‘Learn always’. Having the ability to seek understanding and knowledge to empower others is such a privilege. Learning can look more than one way and guess what, it’ll take time and effort but it is beyond worth it. Read that book. Engage with that podcast episode. Seek to know more and be a part of something bigger than yourself. Participate in the student organization or group that challenges you in efforts to educate yourself.   

Finally, the third L is for ‘Lean in’. It is perfectly okay to admit that you will never fully know or understand what it is like to be in someone else’s place. Sometimes, that is more than enough and just the right thing someone needs to hear. If this is the case, still pursue with validation and affirmation. Valuing differences is an active journey without a destination. And one that is not always easy. When it gets uncomfortable, lean in even more. 

Valuing differences is an active journey without a destination.

Abby Pineda

Along with the other five core messages you will be exposed to during Orientation, I hope these Three L’s to Valuing Differences have served you well. Orientation is just the start to what I hope will be the most incredible and blessed chapter of your life. 

Abigail Pineda is a rising Senior from Texas studying for a Business Major with a Communications Minor.

Words of Wisdom on The 5 Messages: Mindset Matters

Welcome back to the Orientation blog! Today, an Assistant Director, Kylie Galloway, is sharing some words of wisdom on the first of our five messages: Mindset Matters.

When I arrived on campus in August of 2018, I found myself far away from home and did not know anyone at Hope. In fact, barely any friends or family thought I would leave Minnesota for college because I was a homebody who didn’t even like sleepovers when I was younger!

It’s safe to say I was quite overwhelmed as I moved into Dykstra Hall and Orientation began. I remember my first O-Team meeting clearly. A few freshmen in the group were confident and chatting with our Orientation Assistants, but I remember looking around at several shy, intimidated faces, much like I imagine my own.

My mom and I on move-in day, August 2018

One of the first things we talked about was the five messages of Orientation: Mindset Matters, Believe in Yourself, Value Differences, Ask for Help, and Be a Good Human.

I needed to hear those messages; they shifted my mindset that first evening. I realized we were all new to Hope and this whole college thing; I wasn’t experiencing this alone. From then on, my mindset shaped how the highs and lows affected me. It wasn’t so much a timid attitude anymore. I was resilient in each opportunity.

Reminiscing on those first few weeks at Hope, the phrase “mindset matters” got me through the great days and the tough days, the days when I was super homesick and the days when I felt like Hope was becoming home. Going into my senior year, I realize that the phrase “mindset matters” has actually affected my entire college experience. 

First day of college

In hindsight, I wish I began shaping my mindset before I arrived on campus. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely arrived hopeful and full of excitement, but it was certainly a hard transition. Knowing how much the phrase “Mindset Matters” has impacted my personal experience, I challenge you to begin shaping your mindset before you arrive on campus. Why not start before your college experience even begins?! 

Mindset is described as the lens through which we process the events of our lives and, therefore, it shapes our experiences.  I like to think of mindset as the lens on a telescope. It helps us examine different parts of our lives and gives us a greater understanding of those experiences, much like a telescope helps us see different parts of the world around us.

Professors often talk about having a “growth mindset,” but that mindset goes beyond the classroom. If growth isn’t top of mind, we are stagnant. As college students, growth opportunities are at every turn. Whether it be a new topic in class, a leadership opportunity, or simply life experience, growth is inevitable. A growth mindset takes every twist and turn life gives us and turns them into learning experiences, changing us for the better.

When I say college is a rollercoaster, it is. From incredible opportunities and amazing friendships to a year filled with mask-wearing and physical distancing, there have been many highs and lows in my personal experience. But, I’ve realized that mindset has the power to stabilize the rollercoaster. It’s easy to get caught up in the great and, some days, in the not-so-great, but a growth-centered mindset gives us the ability to turn the ups and downs into learning opportunities for the future. 

But, I’ve realized that mindset has the power to stabilize the rollercoaster.

Kylie Galloway

Mindset matters because it frames the way we experience each day, not only during Orientation, but during our entire lives. Before you arrive on campus in about a month and a half, take a moment and think about your mindset as you begin the next chapter of life. And remember, we’re all here to walk alongside you through it! You’re not alone, we’ve been there too. 

Kylie Galloway is a rising senior from Minnesota studying Communication with a Spanish and History Minor.

Feature: Summer Bridge Directors!

Welcome back to the Orientation blog! Today, our friends Ayanna and Madai are going to talk about their experience as the current Directors of the Summer Bridge Program and their advice to new students.


Hello! My name is Madai Huerta and I am a Summer Bridge Director. I will be a Junior this upcoming fall and I am a Studio Art Major on a Pre-med track. My freshman year was full of many life changing memories and Summer Bridge was for sure on the list. When you first meet me, I am a shy introvert that has social anxiety. But when I joined the Bridge Program in 2019, it challenged me to grow in my confidence. Slowly but surely I started to notice a difference in me that I hadn’t noticed before. I felt the support I got from my new friends and the connections I had made. This pushed me to do the uncomfortable and aim for the things I thought would be impossible. I am still on the journey of growing into the person I want to be and the Summer Bridge Program was a great start. 

Advice: For my shy peeps, push yourself to do the uncomfortable. It is okay to be nervous and shy about starting a new chapter in your life. Be patient with yourself and allow yourself to grow into your identity while you spend the next 4 years of your life on Hope’s campus. Oh, and don’t forget to smile 🙂


Hey ya’ll 🙂 My name is Ayanna and I’m one of the Summer Bridge student directors for this year!

You may be asking, what is Summer Bridge? Well, Summer Bridge, aka SB or Bridge, is a two-week program for highly motivated freshmen invited by SB program staff. During the two weeks, you have the opportunity to earn two college credits, connect with Hope faculty and fellow SB students, and get to know the campus and Holland community!

Thankfully, I was a part of Bridge in 2019 and the program eased my anxious feelings about starting college. Being a first-generation college student, I was intimidated about the idea of college and its expectations. Making friends was another point of concern. But at SB, our beach trips, movie nights, and late-night karaoke sessions formed friendships that didn’t seem forced. In terms of college expectations, successfully completing a science and English course during Bridge along with the encouragement from my SB directors and peers was a reassuring push that, I know, resulted in a better freshman year.


I would say “Don’t be nervous!” but that phrase didn’t help me as a freshman 😉 SO just know and take comfort in the fact that everything will work out. You’ve gotten this far and you’ve earned your place at Hope so just own it. Sometimes it won’t be easy, but you’ve got this! Please please please reach out for help if you need it 🙂

Summer Bridge FAQ:

  1. How long is the program?
    • This is a two week long Program which starts on August 15th and ends on August 27th. 
  2. When is the application due?
    • The application is due July 15th. Turn in your application ASAP! 
  3. Who can participate?
    • Summer Bridge is an invite-only program. Click the link we provided in the invitation to apply.
  4. When would we move into our fall housing?
    • You would move into your fall housing before Orientation!

Thank you for joining us today! You can email or call or text 616-928-1895 with questions. See you soon!

Feature: Step2Success Coordinators!

Welcome back to the Orientation blog! Today, we are have the pleasure of featuring the amazing Step2Success Coordinators, Isabella and Jacob.


Hello incoming freshmen! I’ve been asked to give you some advice. I am no expert, but I hope that these words will be a form of encouragement and guidance for you.

Go one day at a time.

Coming to college is a big transition and it is a time of excitement, nervousness, and a whole lot of other emotions. This may be your first time away from home for this long and you may be feeling scared about the future. You may be nervous about coming to a new environment and how you will fit. You could also be feeling extremely excited for independence and creating a small world for yourself away from home. Wherever you may fall on the spectrum, taking it one day at a time is key. 

Sometimes college can be glamorized as a place where you find everything. You find your people, you find your groove, you have the best classes. I am here to tell you something you might’ve heard already: it takes time. All of the plans you have right now may look different in the next few months, and that’s okay. Also, everything could turn out exactly how you want it right away, and that’s okay too. I would encourage you to give yourself grace as you set goals and work through this journey. Remember that this is a new space you are navigating. Remember that there are people here like myself (still figuring things out) that would love to help you! Remember that you have made it this far and that in itself, is a victory. Remember that you’re still growing and learning. Every day will come with its highs and lows but you will make it. One day at a time!

Remember that you have made it this far and that in itself, is a victory.

Jacob’s advice:

Come as you are!

I remember the first time I came to Hope College. It was in June, two months after I had made my decision to attend Hope. I spent about two days there, learning about some of the programs they had. There were programs like Phelps Scholars, Summer Bridge, and Step2Success, the latter being the one I’m a part of now as a rising junior. When I met my admissions representative, I told her that I just wanted to be myself and not try to label myself with any group immediately (such as race, ethnicity, social class, etc.). It wasn’t based on shame or guilt, it was more of trying to discover myself more and seeing what meaning those labels had towards me.

 I think the advice that I would offer towards the incoming freshmen is to not immediately label yourself, but to rather approach college as a way of discovering who you are. College is a time to dive in and do all the things that interest you. It’s also the time to research the topics that make you curious and help you see things from a different perspective. This should be a part of each individual’s journey. The more you commit to learning, the more understanding you become. 

Approach college as a way of discovering who you are.

Thank you Isabella and Jacob for your wonderful words! Make sure to follow Step2Success on Instagram @hopestep2success for more updates.

Isabella Musherure is a rising Junior from Cottage Grove, Minnesota. Her favorite Hope tradition is SAC’s Coffeehouse and late night conversations with friends. Jacob Beyen is a rising Junior from Germantown, Maryland. His favorite thing to do around Holland is to go to Crust54 for pizza!

FAQ Friday Re-Cap 6/25

Welcome back to the Orientation Blog! Today we have a re-cap of the FAQ Friday Livestream on June 25th.

What is the process for doing laundry on campus?

Everyone develops their own system for how often they do laundry. It is an important part of self care and cleanliness, though, so we want to encourage you to practice doing laundry at home at least once before you move in. It will save you a lot of googling! Every residence hall has a laundry room with plenty of washers and dryers. You will download an app that connects to the machines, load money into your account, and away you go! It is $1.50 for a wash cycle and $1.50 for a dryer cycle. Don’t bring quarters!

Do I need to have a car on campus?

We answered this question in a previous FAQ Friday! Check it out here. Shuttles to Meijer as well as some local churches run weekly. 

What are some commonly forgotten items?

  • Towels! Don’t forget that you’ll need a towel, shower shoes, and any other bathroom supplies for the shared bathrooms in most residence halls. 
  • School supplies: gathering these items can sometimes get lost in the hubbub of the weekend, but they are important because school starts on August 31st. The bookstore sells lots of these items but it can get pricey so we recommend purchasing them before you arrive to save money.
  • Some emergency cash: it’s nice to have a $20 bill tucked away when you need some cash on the fly!
  • Drawers/organizational system for underneath your bed or in your closet!

Do people decorate their rooms?

Yes! Bring wall hangings, art, pictures, lights, and anything that makes it feel like home. If you are planning on decorating the walls, make sure to bring blue painters tape and Command strips. 

How do I know who is bringing what?

In the next few weeks you will be getting a housing and roommate assignment. It’s important to reach out to them via email or phone to discuss splitting up some of the bigger items such as a mini fridge or TV.

What kinds of kitchen supplies should I bring?

Microwaves and appliances like toasters are not permitted, but each residence hall has a full kitchen for students to use. We recommend bringing a plate and bowl, some utensils, and a reusable water bottle. Also, dish soap is a multipurpose item that works great for washing dishes and as a stain remover! Snacks for on-the-go are great for fueling up on the way to class.

What should I leave at home?

Candles, microwaves, toasters, and maybe that 10th throw pillow that will probably just live on your floor.

What’s one thing you wish you brought?

A clip-on side table. There are small “tables” that clamp onto the frame of your bed that are great for storing all of your bedside belongings. Along with that, an extra long charging cable for your phone is a great investment! Extension cords and power strips are also great for charging technology and general ease.

What technology do people usually bring?

Most people bring a phone and a laptop. Students use all brands of technology and there isn’t one certain kind that is specific to Hope. Common software are Google (for Docs, Sheets, etc.) or Microsoft (for Word, Excel, etc.). There are computer labs in all residence halls as well as most academic buildings for use if something breaks! In case of emergency, CIT and the library are both great resources for checking out laptops if yours needs to be fixed.

Can I tour the residence hall I was assigned to?

Click here to see an online tour of all of the residence halls!

Thanks for joining us today! Follow us on Instagram @hopeorientation to catch our next livestream and stay updated throughout the summer. See you soon!

What We Wish We Knew

Welcome back to the Orientation Blog! Today, we are talking about what we wish we knew before coming to college. We hope these reflections can serve you as you navigate this transition to Hope! Here’s what we wish we knew:

Grace Purdue:

I wish I knew that a meaningful life takes time to build. I moved into college with the mentality that everything would perfectly fall into place the minute I arrived. Instant deep friendships, instant academic success, and instant community were all things I fully expected. Days, weeks, even a few months passed and I found myself with an empty heart. My high expectations kept me from focusing on building up connections; pushing me instead to be constantly disappointed with who I was with and where I was. 

It wasn’t until a Wednesday in my FYS that I found a turning point. My professor brought in a student who had taken the same FYS in past years, and she talked candidly about how she felt her freshman year. She told a story that matched up exactly with how I felt. “Good things are coming. You have potential. Finding a life that is meaningful to you takes time,” she said. That night, I looked around at my community, at my classmates, and at my beautiful, albeit confusing, life, and was able to appreciate right where I was at. So, before college, I wish I knew to be patient with my dreams. Hope College is here to welcome you and help you prosper, but establishing it as your home might take time, and that’s okay. It will be worth the wait!

I wish I knew to be patient with my dreams.

Grace Gadwood:

As we move through life, there are so many things we go through and then reflect on how they changed who we are and our beliefs. For me, moving to college was one of those major moments in life. I grew up going to a K-12 school, with a very small class, and my entire family was involved in the school system in some way. Within my first few months at Hope, I slowly realized some things that I was beginning to reflect on. Coming from my small school and town I grew up in my whole life, I wish I would have been more prepared for the difference in the amount of people and different ways I would connect with them. My small bubble I had grown up in had nothing on the completely wonderfully, well-rounded individuals I would encounter upon arriving and getting settled at Hope. In conjunction with this, I wish I would have known how to create and maintain relationships with people better than I thought I knew. With a small environment came being friends with who was around and not having a huge choice in who to have relationships with or how to keep those healthy. I became quickly overwhelmed at Hope while trying to make friends and figure out how to manage who I wanted to be in those relationships. However, 3 years later, I am here to tell you that the point of having that reflection time in our lives is to see how far we have come. Being able to see how much my eyes and heart have been opened since my time at Hope College is the most remarkable thing. One day, you will be able to look back on what you wish you would have known, too, and see that not knowing helped you to grow and prosper in a way that would not have happened if you knew. 

I am here to tell you that the point of having that reflection time in our lives is to see how far we have come.

Thanks for joining us today! Follow us on Instagram @hopeorientation and keep checking your email for more important updates!