I remember very vividly getting asked multiple times about which school I was going to choose and attend. In fact, I recall that question coming at me in about eight different forms for at least a year. It is a stressful time of life, and deciding on a college is probably the biggest decision a lot of us had to make up to this point in our lives.
However, looking back, choosing Hope College was the best decision of my life. It is easy for anybody to say that about the college they chose, however, Hope College is different than every other college. At the time of deciding on a college during my senior year of high school, I thought I knew why attending Hope would be great. But, after being here for over a year, I can now say that Hope embodies so much more depth and teaches a significantly larger number of life skills than I ever thought I could and would receive from college.
Initially, my reasons for considering Hope included the small school size, and therefore, the reduced class sizes. Along with that, the faculty to student ratio is small, allowing for strong relationships with professors. The academics also include incredibly strong programs, setting us up for great futures. The research is among the top in the nation, pushing us outside of our comfort zones, in which I am learning, is very important for personal growth and preparedness for great lives after our time at Hope. The liberal arts aspect of the college is also beneficial, creating well-rounded individuals. The rate of acceptance into graduate schools and into the workforce is also extremely high. I also knew Hope has kept some old traditions, which I thought would be meaningful to be a part of. Those facts alone initially sparked my interest, but I was wondering what else Hope had to offer.
The second I stepped onto campus for my visit day, a feeling rushed through me and was unlike anything I had experienced before. Everyone, and that is not an exaggeration, said “Hi!” or acknowledged me as I passed them on the sidewalk. Further, walking into each building, the friendliness continued. It was not just a normal friendliness either — it was extraordinarily genuine, and the glory of God was certainly present. It was so unique that I still am unable to put it into words. Hope’s community is phenomenal.
Community. Hope’s tight-knit community is as special and unique as they come. In fact, I do not think I will ever be able to describe it. My sister is an alumni of Hope College and is now at Arizona College of Optometry (again, Hope prepares extremely well for life after college). She was on a hike there and her group ran into two ladies at the top of the mountain who had a question regarding the trail. My sister heard one of those ladies say she was from Michigan. To make the story short, both were alumni of Hope College as well, and one lady said something that stuck out to my sister: “What a special place Hope is.”
All the way in Arizona, people are talking about the special place that Hope College is. I cannot help but think how true that statement is — and how beautiful that, on top of a mountain across the country, positive conversations about Hope College are being had, continuing to connect people, and furthering the excellence that Hope has to offer. This story exemplifies that the magnificence of Hope is part of every past, present, and future student.
Choosing Hope was the best decision I have made thus far in my life, and it is still something that is nearly impossible to put into words. I am confident that in my lifetime I will be able to approach and think through situations more efficiently, work with a wider variety of people, be able to listen and communicate better, and be comfortable with being uncomfortable — pushing myself each and every day, better than I ever would have without my time at Hope College. I cannot say enough great things about this special school and I hope that everyone has the opportunity to attend Hope College.