I always heard rumors about how Hope College would change your life, and those rumors have not been wrong. Hope College has let me grow as a student, athlete, and as a follower of Christ. This is always my quick response answer on why I chose Hope. Reflecting as a junior now, I have further clarity on why I would choose Hope over and over again. I am not saying it is picture-perfect because going to college can be hard, but wow does going to Hope College make it easier.
I have seen tremendous growth in myself the last three years at Hope, but this is not to say that I have had days where I severely struggled. There have been days where I struggled as a student (Financial Accounting why does my brain just not click with you?) I have had races where I cried the entire last six laps around the track (I do think that race hurt my ego more than anything else), and Lord knows I have struggled with my faith day in and out. Throughout all of these struggles, I have somehow managed to fall asleep in a twin size college bed feeling blessed almost every night.
I am not exaggerating when I say that the reason these bad days end up always getting turned around is because of the people at Hope. I have so many professors that got to know me as more than just another student in their classroom. Getting coffee or just catching up in their office makes the world of difference in how I do as a student. These professors have encouraged me to do great things in a major I never even anticipated myself to have.
Academics aside, if you find yourself lucky enough to be part of a team, sorority/frat, chapel band, or any other team-like group at Hope you will get an incredible sense of belonging. That race I cried the whole last six laps of? My teammates were there to pick up my crying, sweaty, and disappointed self off the track without even saying a word about their amazing races. They filled me up with words of encouragement and left me without a doubt the next one would be better. Five of these amazing girls were freshmen too, and they have already become some of my closest friends. You will oddly look forward to practice, as these people will understand and see you through a lot. The crazy thing is that they will be there to love you through it all.
Even if you are not part of a team at Hope College, you will get some amazing people living under the same roof as you. The dorm life gives you no other choice but to bond with all of the people you will be sharing one bathroom with, but the Hope community makes it ten times more bearable. I got lucky enough to have gone in completely blind going into my freshman year and I ended up meeting one of my best friends, aka my roommate. We befriended two other girls down the hall our first day of freshman orientation, and now going into senior year, we all signed a lease to live under the same roof for the 4th year in a row. These girls have seen me through the good and bad, but that is the amazing part about Hope. Your roommates will be there to bring you on spontaneous sunset and Sluggo pizza beach trips, celebrate your birthday for a week (or 2 because we really like birthdays at our house), cry with you when you’re frustrated about changing your major once again, pray for you, roll out your calves after a long day of practice, and most importantly, fill you up with ice-cream and motivation when they hear about your disaster of a track meet.
Going to Hope College will be an adjustment, just like it is for everyone who is going to college for the first time, but I would continue to pick Hope College over and over again. The people that you are with along with your education, success as an athlete, and as a growing follower of Christ are irreplaceable. The connections you make in your sorority, class, orientation group, or team will be lifelong friendships that will continue to fill you up, even when you ugly cry around a track for six laps.