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. 

Published by Student Orientation

Hope College New Student Orientation strives to create a smooth and welcoming transition to college for students and their families.

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