Just a few hours ago, I took my last exam and wrapped up my third semester at Hope. Three down, five to go. I’m almost halfway through my time here, which blows my mind! The majority of my college experience still lies ahead but I can confidently say that thus far, I’ve been transformed in my time at Hope. As I learn to navigate life and balance responsibilities away from home, Hope has specifically helped to transform and develop my faith, my friendships and my academic experience.

Growing in Faith

I’ve grown in my faith significantly since coming to Hope in fall 2022. I went to a big public high school where I only knew a few other Christians. It’s been such a blessing to step into the abundant community of faith here at Hope. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of going to chapel every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and being able to worship alongside my peers and professors. This is such a unique experience that my friends at larger public schools don’t get. Chapel, the Gathering and everything Campus Ministries offers is completely optional for students. To me, this heightens its impact. If a student wants to attend chapel, they must prioritize it themselves. This has been a fruitful and transformational commitment for me as I surrender and allow the Lord to transform my life and heart through the daily rhythms I participate in here at Hope.

The act of moving to school away from home was a transformational act of faith for me. I’ve had to learn how to depend on God in new ways as I navigate this stage of my life at Hope. The support in faith and life that Campus Ministries chaplains and Bible Study leaders offer has been absolutely transformational in my journey here at Hope.

Growing in Friendship

Hope has given me the community that I’d always dreamed about, but never thought possible. It’s been beautiful to engage in deep and fruitful relationships with people from all over the country and world. The variety of organizations or groups on campus has allowed me to engage with students of all different majors and ages. Some of my close friends are a year or two years above me, which is not something that I could have said in high school. My closest friends are all studying a variety of disciplines from music to nursing, which has been a beautiful dynamic.

Navigating life alongside the friends I’ve found at Hope has been a blessing. Through the highs and lows of each semester, I am so grateful I’ve found a community and support system that truly wants the best for me. I’ve learned about what it means to be a real friend, and how to let someone be a real friend to me. These lessons have been transformational.

some of the deep friendships I am so grateful for!

Growing in Academics

I have not had a class at Hope so far that I didn’t enjoy or get something valuable out of. Time and time again, I go back to old notes from semesters past because the information I’ve learned in classes ranging from psychology to First Year Seminar was just so valuable.

While exam week has been exhausting, this week I found myself gratefully reflecting that I enjoy the content I’m studying and the projects I’m completing. My Hope experience has transformed the way I view academics. Rather than memorizing content to receive a certain grade, I’m challenged to let the content shape and even transform me. I’ve been able to build relationships with a number of amazing professors that acknowledge my potential and help me push myself in the classroom. I love school and learning, and that is something I’ve grown in through my time at Hope.

Overall, my time at Hope has truly challenged and transformed me. I’ve grown in my faith, my friendships, and my relationship with school. I’m so grateful for the way that I have been changed over the past three semesters, and expectant that the next five semesters will also hold their fair share of transformation. So here’s to the journey, transforming in Hope!

Published by Audrey Wells

Class of 2026 Hometown: Portage, MI Majors: Communications & Spanish Minor: Social Witness Ministry & Global Health

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