My Hope College experience can be attributed to one thing: community. My freshman year, it was very easy for me to assume that my community would be my peers. However, as I reflect on my nearly 4 years at Hope, I have come to realize and develop an appreciation for the mentors who I have been fortunate enough to consider as part of my community.

Mentors can be found outside of your major or interest areas. One of my favorite people to ever walk through the Pine Grove with was Kevin Kambo, a former Hope College Philosophy professor who I happened to meet once in Campus Ministries. At that moment, I had absolutely no interest in discussing Philosophy with him, but rather the tea he chose to brew. Since that accidental meeting, I have taken an interest in London Fogs, and questions of human dignity and memory. We are able to discuss not only tea and Philosophy, but also life and our well-being. And although Professor Kambo is now no longer in Holland, I look forward to catching up with him soon.

Mentors can even be found outside of our normal walks of life. While I am not an international student, I know that I can always walk into Jasmine Lowell’s office at the Fried Center for Global Engagement to chat. The first time Jasmine and I met was unexpected, just as unexpected as our 4 hour conversation that took place a few days later. Since that moment, Jasmine has been one of my biggest supporters, on and off-campus. One of my favorite memories happened during her visit to Washington, D.C., when I was studying off-campus. She unexpectedly accompanied me to a meeting that was last-minute so that we could spend time together. I could not ask for a better mentor, second mom, or a better friend.

Mentors can be found everywhere on Hope’s campus, but I was fortunate enough to meet my first mentor, Nate Haveman, before I even knew where Holland was. I didn’t know it at the time, but Nate would end up being the reason I chose Hope. His passion for students and his intentionality in every interaction was eventually what resulted in my decision to attend Hope College. Since our first meeting, Nate has always been someone I can go to for a laugh, advice, random conversation, or a hug. I owe a huge part of who I am and where I’ve ended up to him, and I am forever grateful that he showed up at my high school nearly 5 years ago.

These three people, and many more mentors, have been sources of inspiration and comfort on campus. They have witnessed me become the person I am today. They are part of my Hope community that I could not be without. I am a firm believer that mentors are just as important as friends. But if you’re lucky, they might even turn into your friends. 

Published by Hannah Santiago

Class of 2023 Hometown: Chicago, Illinois Major: Political Science

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