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!