The Five Messages: Ask For Help

Asking for help is not a strength of mine. In fact, it might have been the most challenging thing for me to work through freshman year. When I was asked to write about one of the 5 messages of Orientation, “Ask for Help,” I almost laughed out loud. This is the one value that I struggle with the most. I have been, and always will be, horrible at mustering up the strength to ask for help when I need it.

To most people, this sounds, well… pathetic. This struggle extends back to when I was a kid. A fiercely independent child, from the day that doing something on my own was an option, that’s all I wanted to do. “Let me do it,” and “I can do it by myself,” were the two most important phrases in my toddler vocabulary. This independent mindset transferred to high school, where I became the girl who did the group project all on her own. Whether it was asking for help from my teachers, parents, or even my peers, the thought of having to rely on someone else felt like failure.

What makes asking for help so hard?

This is exhausting, but I didn’t notice exactly how so until college. I felt so incredibly welcomed by my professors and friends that it seemed there could never be a time where I would ever feel uncomfortable asking for help again. This, however, is easier said than done. After breezing through the first month of classes, my first college midterms, and ¾ of the semester, final exams lurked ahead of me and I knew I wasn’t ready. In one of my more challenging classes, there was a topic that we had learned early on that was pivotal to the rest of the content of the semester. If I could just understand this one piece of material, I could connect the dots for the rest of the semester’s work. But I didn’t want to budge. I consulted google, I nonchalantly wondered about the topic out loud to my friends, yet everyone seemed to know it but me.

 So much value can be added to your Orientation experience when you ask for help when you need it.

 I finally decided there must only be one way to really answer this: going to my professor’s office hours. So there I went, sweating in fear of disappointing my favorite professor or sounding dumb. I swear it took me three breaths to even pull up the courage to knock on the office door. But I left with a smile and a complete understanding of the topic, plus a deeper relationship with a professor who I knew I would never disappoint with a question. 

2019 Assistant Directors

This is just one of the many instances where asking for help is difficult, but it strengthens character. At Hope, no faculty member wants you to walk through something alone, especially if you’re struggling. And that goes for Hope staff and students as well! So much value can be added to your Orientation experience when you ask for help when you need it. Remember, even if you haven’t met them yet, you have a whole cheering squad just waiting for you to arrive on campus. I can’t wait to meet you in August!

My name is Grace Purdue and I’m a rising junior from Grand Rapids, MI, studying Chemistry with an interest in becoming a science communicator or researcher. I’m involved in Student Congress, Nykerk Song, Dance Marathon, Campus Ministries, IM sports, and a job in the ticket office. Orientation is my favorite weekend of the fall semester, so I can’t wait to see you on campus!

FAQ Friday Re-Cap: June 19th and 26th

Thank you for joining us for FAQ Friday last week! We covered the questions from June 19th as well, and we loved talking with you all. If you missed it live, here are all the questions we answered:

Some Reminders:

  • Orientation kickoff will take place Friday evening, August 14th.
  • Staggered move-in will take place during the week of August 10th.
  • Family Orientation will be a virtual experience starting July 7th.
  • Please contact firstyear@hope.edu with any questions about your first years student experience or logistics.

Academics:

Study tips? Adriana: Time management is crucial for me to do well academically. Using a schedule and listing out my assignments and their due dates help to keep me on track. I also set a timer for an hour at a time to make sure I’m getting a decent amount of uninterrupted studying in and try not to keep my phone in my view to minimize distractions. Cam: Keep an event planner and a homework planner. I recommend studying with friends who will hold you accountable to do your work. Also, I love whiteboards! Then I can see all my notes! Also, DON’T STUDY IN YOUR BED!!! I did this freshmen year and it totally messed up my study habits and my sleep schedule. 

When can I declare a major? You can declare a major as soon as after your first semester! If you are unsure of what you want to study, you can declare or change your major at any time, but you are required to declare something after your sophomore year. Adriana declared her major at the end of her freshman year, and is declaring her double major this upcoming fall as a senior. Cam didn’t declare her majors until her sophomore year, and then ended up un-declaring one at the end of her sophomore year.

What are the benefits of gen eds? A lot of students come to college unsure of what they want to study, and gen eds allows you the opportunity to take a course in something you hadn’t previously considered. A lot of students figure out what they want to study after taking gen eds and realize that’s something they’re interested in. Even if you’re already set on what you want to study, gen eds give you a well-rounded educational experience. Gen-eds expose you to a different way of thinking and can challenge your perspectives.

What’s it like doing a double major? Double majoring is not as uncommon as you may think. It is pretty straightforward to do, and sometimes different majors will have the same or similar requirements. Adriana: I am currently majoring in English and about to declare a double major in biology. These are two completely different majors, but Hope gives you the flexibility to major in things that may be totally unrelated, and it’s allowed me to explore two of my passions. Cam: I was a double major for a while with economics and political science. I decided to drop my political science major to a minor because I wanted the opportunity to explore other areas of interest, such as philosophy and religion classes. Going to a liberal arts college, like Hope, allows you to major in a field of study while still exploring some of your other interests!

I missed the virtual events about career and major discernment. Where can I find that info? Here they are:

When do we get our fall schedules? Usually mid to end of July.

Hope History:

How long has Hope been a college? Hope first enrolled it’s first freshman class in 1862 and was officially chartered in 1866. Van Vleck is the oldest building on campus, and it used to be the main building where classes were held.

Social Life and Extracurriculars:

Advice on making friends early on? Put yourself out there! Every other new student is just as eager as you are to make new friends, and it’s as easy as just seizing the moment and striking up a conversation with the person next to you.

Clubs? There are over 70 student organizations and clubs on campus, so there’s absolutely something for everyone at Hope. Check out our “Student Activities” highlight on our Instagram for more examples!

How do college students typically dress? However you want! There’s no pressure to dress a certain way, and you should dress in a way that makes you feel comfortable. Michigan winters can get quite cold and snowy, so BRING WARM CLOTHES.

Is there partying? Hope is a dry campus, so having alcohol on campus is a policy violation. There are opportunities through MSOs, PRISM, and Campus Ministries to get that party-like feel without the alcohol. Partying that does occur is off-campus. However, Hope does want students who have been drinking to come safely back to campus.

Is it hard to make friends? The Hope community is very friendly and welcoming, so making friends isn’t too much of a hassle! Res life is set up to help you!

How do I get involved in IMs? There are three different seasons for IMs, and multiple meetings to sign-up teams throughout the year. All it takes is forming a team of friends and attending a captain’s meeting. Some examples are soccer, flag-football, ultimate frisbee, badminton, and inner-tube water polo. Cam has played volleyball, co-ed flag football, and ultimate frisbee. Adriana played ultimate frisbee and inner-tube water polo. You don’t have to be good to play!

Residential Life:

When will we know who our roommate is? According to the usual timeline, the beginning of July. However, we ask that you are patient as that may not be the case this year as the college thinks about residential housing.

When roommate information is dropped, how do we access that information? In your plus.hope.edu account. Your log-in credentials are your student ID number and a pin given to you by the college. You are able to change the log-in pin number. This is also where you will find your billing information and your class schedule.

What do you wish you didn’t bring to college? Adriana: I have a bad habit of always bringing too many clothes that I never wear which takes up a lot of space. Really try to think about differentiating between the staples you always wear and the things that you never wear or don’t wear very often as you pack this summer. Cam: In general, a lot of people wish they didn’t bring video games to college. They find that they spend more time on their video games rather than meeting new people. However, I brought Mario Kart my second semester of freshman year and that was really fun because I could play with other people. In general, I would avoid bringing video games altogether your first semester, but especially single-player video games.

Dorm/College must haves? Box fan, mini fridge, Keurig/coffee maker, mattress topper, robe, flip flops for the community bathrooms/showers, room decorations, an umbrella, laundry basket and/or collapsible drying rack, blankets or towels for the beach!

Faith Life:

Are there different religions other than Christianity represented on campus? Yes. Hope is affiliated with the Reformed Church of America, but we also have a vibrant Catholic community and a priest who has an office on campus. The Interfaith Alliance represents different religions, and there may different religion classes available that explore religions other than Christianity.

Transfer Experience:

Do you have any friends that joined in the spring, and how was the transition?  There is a January orientation for spring semester transfer students so that they can get acclimated to campus. Greek Life also has its rush process in the spring, so that is a great opportunity to meet a lot of people right when you arrive. However, Greek Life isn’t the only way to get involved throughout the spring semester– you can join clubs, participate in spring IM sports, and more! There are tons of opportunities to make friends, get involved, and find your home at Hope even if you transfer here during the spring semester.

The Five Messages: “Believe in Yourself”

I never planned to be an Assistant Director (AD) for Orientation. That may sound strange being that it’s my second year in this position, but it’s true. At the beginning of last summer, I had no idea what this would look like or what it would involve, but despite the uncertainty, I decided that it would be a great experience and a chance to impact incoming students. Choosing to accept the AD position was one of the best decisions I have made in college. I have had an absolute blast, made some incredible friends, and even had my eyes opened to areas I may want to pursue in the future.

I couldn’t be more grateful for the Orientation program for helping me to believe in who I am and showing me what I am capable of doing.

While being an AD has been and continues to be an amazing experience, I would be lying if I said it didn’t come with its challenges. One such challenge was my lack of experience with Orientation in general, especially from an organizational standpoint. The only experience I had with Orientation was when I had gone through it as an incoming freshman. 

I was put into a position where I had to lead and advise others on a job that I had no prior experience with. It was hard and more than a little stressful at times. However, I was determined to not let it overwhelm me to the point that I could not do my job. I had been chosen for this position, and I would not let my team down. So, I stepped up. Playing a part in a program that offers so much to new students gave me a new level of confidence. Being able to help new students, as well as OAs with their questions, helped me to not only believe in myself, but reminded me that I was meant to be there and that I had an important role to play despite the doubts I had previously believed. 

I couldn’t be more grateful for the Orientation program for helping me to believe in who I am and showing me what I am capable of doing. As someone who is generally content standing to the side or at the back of the room, this was an experience that really helped me realize my own confidence. I gained invaluable skills that have helped me grow as a student and will continue to help me for years to come.

Hi, my name is Gabe Swanson, and I am a senior majoring in psychology with a minor in religion. I am from Elgin, IL. After graduation, I plan on taking a year off before going on to grad school to get my master’s in social work. Throughout my time at Hope, I have been involved in theater and Nykerk Play as a coach. This is my second year being a part of Orientation, and I am excited for it all to start!

Welcoming You to Hope Event Recording

Did you miss Tuesday night’s event? No worries! We have a recording of the live event available here! We answered some questions about Orientation dates and Family Orientation, heard some advice about the college transition from our student life leaders, and heard from our campus leaders about the “Hope Way”.

This event and future events like this will prepare families and students for a smooth and easy transition to Hope College in August. We hope to provide you more details and updates about your student experience (housing, dining, classes, and all the rest…) while equipping you with the knowledge and understanding of campus resources before you even arrive to campus! Over the coming weeks, it is our goal to answer all of the questions you have. We encourage you to continue sending those to firstyear@hope.edu

If you are seeking information about new student orientation, check out hope.edu/orientation. The schedule for new students will be coming soon. You can also follow Orientation on Instagram @hopeorientation

For now, mark your calendars for July 7 at 7 pm (EDT) and every Tuesday evening following it until August 4. We can’t wait to “see” you soon! 

The Five Messages: A Brief Introduction

Over the past few years of Orientation at Hope, the team has developed five messages that are intended to help students transition into their time at Hope. These five messages are meant to shape and guide your first-year experience as well as your subsequent years at Hope. As you think about and prepare for this next chapter, we hope these five messages stick with you and encourage you. 

Believe in Yourself

Have faith in your abilities and confidence in yourself! Learning how to believe in yourself will help you create a Hope experience that works for you and help you to become an advocate for yourself and the things you are passionate about. 

Ask for Help

We know this is not always easy, but asking for help is often one of the most important things you can do throughout your time at Hope. Asking for help connects you with people, builds up courage and vulnerability, and can help make your experience even richer than you anticipated. 

Mindset Matters

Having a positive attitude and outlook can impact your experiences in big ways. Going into this new chapter, your outlook on navigating this unknown environment will help you to find your place and transition into the Hope community. Adversity may not be in your control, but how you react to it is!

Value Differences

Everyone that you encounter will have had experiences different from your own. These are the experiences that shape who we are, and it is important to be respectful of everyone’s stories, despite the circumstances. Our differences are what make us stronger, more interesting, and more human. 

Be a Good Human

Most importantly, being compassionate and open-minded will only benefit you in your Hope journey. Valuing differences, having a positive mindset, believing in yourself, and having the courage to ask for help simply aren’t possible without open-mindedness! Seeing the good in others and yourself will set you up for greatness in all aspects of your life.

Over the course of the next few weeks, some of your Assistant Directors will share how these messages have impacted them in their experiences as students and as leaders within Orientation. We hope that their stories not only inspire you, but encourage you to dive in during your time at Hope and take advantage of all the opportunities that will come your way!

What is Steps2Success?

Hey, class of 2024! The Step2Success team is beyond excited to meet you and support you as you begin your college journey. The program coordinators for this year, Kristin Hill, Adil Keri and Mikayla Zobeck, have been diligently preparing for the great memories incoming freshmen will make connecting with this program.

Our pre-orientation program allows incoming students of color the opportunity to move-in the day before orientation. This is a major benefit to many incoming students because there are lots of perks to moving in early! Our student volunteers will also be available to assist you move in to your dorm and help get you started at Hope. 

Of course, we don’t stop there! Incoming students and current students will participate in fun activities that allow you to meet other new students and connect with the Hope community. 

Building a Community

Our program provides students with a network of support by helping them connect with faculty, students, and administrators who will be essential to making their experience at Hope exceptional. We also hold activities that help build community and foster cross-cultural relationships in a fun and interactive way. Our program doesn’t end at the end of the pre-orientation event because we assign you an S2S peer-mentor to assist you with all areas of your transition at Hope. Another big draw for our program is that it’s FREE! So, you can join by signing up to start your college experience on a great note.

…we assign you an S2S peer-mentor to assist you with all areas of your transition at Hope.

Reach out to us!

Our primary methods of communication are through three main platforms: Email, Instagram, and Facebook. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions that you may have regarding the program! Questions can be directed to diversity@hope.edu for more information.

As we prepare for this year’s Step2Success program, please consider that we may have to make necessary adjustments as we are experiencing unprecedented times with many uncertainties. However, you can be assured that we are working tirelessly to make this major milestone in your life go as smoothly as possible. Please continue to look out for updates as the summer progresses. The deadline for registration for the program is July 20, 2020. You can find all the registration information on our website

FAQ Friday Re-Cap: June 12

Thank you for joining us for FAQ Friday last week! We had a blast talking with all of you. If you weren’t able to listen live, here are the questions we answered: 

Academics:

How soon will we get our class schedules? You can expect your schedule by the end of July.

Are most people happy with their class schedule? Yes, Hope does a good job of setting up your schedule so it’s in line with your major interests and Gen-Ed requirements. If you’re worried about a specific class or change your mind, you can switch classes before you arrive on campus!

How many years of a foreign language are required? You need 8 credits of a foreign language. You can get these credits a few different ways. If you are starting a new language, you must take 2 semesters of a foreign language to get the 8 credits. If you already have experience in a language from high school classes, you can register for an upper-level language class to receive your credits (ie. Spanish 2 = 8 credits, French 3 = 12 credits, Latin 4 = 16 credits). 

How do I balance my classwork and social life? Time management is KEY. Get a planner and schedule times to hang out with people and time to do homework. Your FYS professor and class will help you adjust to the college coursework load, so you can always ask them for tips and support as the semester progresses. 

What is the first day of classes like? The first day of classes is full of excitement and nervous energy. To make that first day the best it can be, we recommend putting out the clothes you want to wear and packing your backpack the night before. Make your schedule your phone background for easy access to times, classrooms, and your professors’ names!  If you have an early morning class, find a buddy to get breakfast with so you can hold each other accountable to be on time for that first day! And, on the Monday before the first day, your OAs will show you where all of your classrooms are so you can get more acclimated to campus. We want to help you be as prepared as possible!

Best study spots: Cam: The new Campus Ministries Building. It has a fireplace, rocking chairs, and free coffee! Adriana: 3rd floor of the Science Center. It’s quiet, and there’s not a lot of distractions.

AP Credits Hope has a list on their website of the AP credits and scores that they accept, and what courses they count towards.

Social/extracurriculars:

How many extracurriculars are too many? You’ll want to make sure that you have time to succeed as a student and to take care of yourself! You need to make time to eat, sleep, and give yourself moments of rest. For a specific number, I would say 2-3 extracurriculars would allow students to balance all those things but varies if you have a job or a bigger course load. 

I’m nervous about making friends. What are some ways I can put myself out there? Go to events put on by your Res Halls, participate in campus traditions like the Pull and Nykerk, go to SAC events on campus. Do the things that interest you, and don’t be afraid to start a conversation with the person next to you! Also, don’t feel too much pressure right at the beginning of your college experience to “find your people”. Making friends takes time, so give yourself that space!

Campus traditions? We talked about: Nykerk, Pull, the annual President’s Christmas Tree Lighting, Coffeehouse (performances by Hope musicians every Thursday night!), Brinner (free meal in Phelps the Monday of finals week), Dance Marathon (year-long fundraiser that culminates in a 24-hour event to help the Helen Devos Children’s Hospital)

How/when should you try and get involved in campus traditions? A lot of campus traditions involve freshman and sophomore participants, so we encourage you to dive in during your first year especially if you’re interested in Pull or Nykerk!

Which dorms do Greek life members live in? You can be in Greek life and live anywhere on campus! Organizations also have on-campus cottages, but members aren’t required to live there.

When does Greek life rush happen? Spring semester. This allows you to get acclimated to Hope before joining a greek organization. 

Advice:

What is something you wish you would have known when you were a freshman? 1. You’re allowed to change your mind about things! Major, friends, anything! Make your college experience YOURS. 2. It’s okay to not go to chapel or gathering. Hope has those options available for you to take advantage of, but they are not required. 3. It’s okay to get a healthy amount of sleep.

How can I be a leader on Hope’s campus? Put yourself out there, and don’t be afraid to step up! There are so many opportunities for people with all different skill sets to lead on campus. You do not have to be an extrovert, but you do have to believe in yourself and advocate for yourself. Diving in and recognizing your own talents and skills will set you up for success. 

Holland: 

How cold is it in the winter? Very cold; we had two snow days in 2019! Campus is small though so its easy to avoid the cold. Make sure to bring gloves and a hat and a scarf!

Favorite restaurant? Cam: Mi Favorita Grocery Adriana: Mizu Sushi

Orientation:

Will I be able to tour the different res halls? Here is a link to a virtual Residential Hall tour! You don’t have to have a super put-together room, though. Your room is meant for you to function well, so make it your own!

When do we get our ID cards? You will get your ID photo taken and receive an ID card in August during Orientation weekend. We will have more details about this soon!

What will Orientation look like “Covid style?” Orientation will look different than it has in the past but we are still working to have an in-person experience for our students. We will be adhering to public health guidelines and can provide more details later in the summer. 

Things to look forward to in Orientation: Cam: Holland is a great place to be. During orientation, you will get to explore Hope’s campus and the surrounding community! Adriana: Meeting new people! You will be surrounded by so many new faces, and may find your life-long friends through Orientation Weekend!

Can’t wait to see you all this Friday!

Diving Into Orientation

Orientation! What an exciting time of the year! This will be my third year as an Orientation Assistant (OA), and I love that I have met so many new people through that first weekend each school year. Orientation has been one of the highlights of my Hope College experience and is always a blast! Whether you make relationships in your Orientation group, through your residence hall, or from other events throughout Orientation Weekend, you will have the opportunity to meet all kinds of new people and form friendships with other students. 

The OAs are not only here for you, but we want to get to know you and cultivate a friendship with you as well! 

Although it may seem overwhelming and uncertain, the goal of Orientation is to ease you into your Hope experience. Through your Orientation group, the OAs (upperclassmen volunteers) help you and other new students break the tension and get to know each other through icebreaker activities. Those activities may be a bit silly and goofy, but they can also be the best part of your Orientation experience!

Through these Orientation groups, I, along with many other OAs, have been able to create connections with new students that have lasted well beyond Orientation Weekend. One of my best friends was once one of the new students in the Orientation group I led during my first year as an OA! Since then, we have joined a sorority together, been leaders for Club Connect together, and she even joined the Bible study group I led the year we met. The OAs are not only here for you, but we want to get to know you and cultivate a friendship with you as well! 

It is weird to be in a completely new environment, but some advice that my OAs gave me as an incoming student was to really dive in and not think about home too much during the first few weeks at Hope. My freshman year I lived in Dykstra Hall in cluster 2-3, and just by spending that first weekend at Hope, I was able to start forming deep friendships with girls who have continued to be some of my best friends. 

Although it may seem overwhelming and uncertain, the goal of Orientation is to ease you into your Hope experience.

So, here’s my advice to all of you new students: embrace the awkwardness and silliness of Orientation. You truly get out what you put in, and you aren’t in it alone– everyone around you is dealing with the transition into this next chapter. Lean on your classmates, and lean on your OAs!

Rebecca Biernacki is a rising senior majoring in Nursing and minoring in Spanish. She is from the suburbs of Chicago, and she found out about Hope through a neighbor from home who had been attending Hope at the time. Throughout her time at Hope, Rebecca has been involved in the Alethean Sorority, Nykerk Play, Dance Marathon Morale squad, a leader of Club Connect, small group bible studies and immersion trips, and she went on a May term to Málaga, Spain. She is so excited to meet all the incoming students!

Welcome to Our Blog!

Allow us to be among the first of many to welcome you to Hope College and to the Orientation blog! We are excited that you have made the transformational decision to join the Hope community. Our lives have changed because of the academic programs, spiritual and leadership growth opportunities, and meaningful relationships that Hope offers, and we know that you will flourish here too! This is a big and exciting transition and we are eager to support and equip you for the start of a great Hope experience. 

We also want to extend a welcome to the families of our new students as you all begin this journey together! Orientation will provide you with information and experiences so you are ready to have a student at Hope. 

Orientation is here for you!

We know this year has not been easy: graduating from high school and entering college in the midst of a global pandemic has created trials and obstacles you have had to learn to overcome. However, we at Orientation want to assure you that we are here for you! Though the circumstances are constantly in flux due to the pandemic, we are dedicated to communicating and connecting as much as we possibly can with you and your families throughout the summer. 

Please know this as we move forward: Hope is planning to offer a safe, in-person Orientation experience for new students in August. We also know that this plan may have to change as we learn from our health and government leaders. 

How to stay updated over the summer:

The majority of our communication will be through three online platforms: this blog, @hopeorientation, and the Orientation website. This allows us to be flexible as we plan, providing you and your families with continuously updated information. Schedules, instructions for how to RSVP for Orientation, and safe move-in guidelines will be available on these platforms in the coming months. 

For now, we ask for your continued patience as we continue to navigate these unprecedented times and encourage you to regularly check-in to this blog and our Instagram throughout the summer!

On this blog, you will find stories and advice from current students and staff about their college experience to help you become familiar with the Hope community and culture. In particular, keep a look-out each Wednesday for installments of our “Anchored in Hope” blog series with these stories.

 If there is anything we can do to be more helpful or accommodating to your individual needs, please let us know. We can be reached by email at orientation@hope.edu. We, along with the entire Orientation 2020 team, look forward to sharing our stories with you over the upcoming months!