Ultimate Frisbee Champions

So after last night, my Hope College experience is complete. I finally won an IM t-shirt. At the beginning of the year (last fall), I said that I couldn’t graduate without a shirt. Thank goodness I won one – I’m thinking my parents wouldn’t really want me to be coming back for a 6th year…

This semester I learned how to play ultimate frisbee and had a blast. Every Monday and Wednesday I would look forward to 6:30 PM when I got to meet up with the team to play. It was fun playing on the football field – I have to say, turf is pretty nice. And last night, for the final game, not only did we play on the football field, but we also got to play under the lights – that just made the whole experience even better.

And while we’re on the topic of last night being a “cool” experience, I’ll just go go ahead and say that it was cool because we won the shirt, but it was also snowing… Only in Michigan does it snow at the end of April.

So here’s my advice to you – if you’re coming to Hope, you should learn how to throw a frisbee. Playing ultimate is tons of fun, and you get to make great friends along the way. Who doesn’t want to have fun and make friends??

Enjoy the pictures from last night’s game – they were taken by my good friend (and photographer) Matthew Douglas

Celebration of Research

Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought that Hope College would have research opportunities for Accounting majors, but then again, that’s the beauty of Hope. One of my accounting professors contacted me last spring asking if I would have a desire to apply for a Frost Research Grant to study the Affordable Health Care Act and its impact on our tax system. My professor knew that I had an interest in going to law school, and that having research experience would separate me from my peers. Several weeks later, after applying for funding, we learned that we had received the grant, and that our summer would be filled with court cases, survey design, Human Subjects Review Board, and abstract writing.

Working as an undergraduate research assistant was a great experience. I found it challenging and rewarding all at the same time. It was challenging to learn about survey design and how to correctly ask questions. Even after analyzing my survey results, I can’t say that I perfectly asked my questions. But at the end of the day, it’s such a cool thing to say that I’ve designed my own research project.

Fast forward a year to last Friday, when I participated in the Celebration of Undergraduate Research. All Hope College students who either have research grants or have completed research for class present their projects. It was so exciting to see so many of my fellow classmates and friends presenting their hard work. And who can know – maybe in twenty years one of those people will be famous for some great discovery, which started at Hope!

If you have more questions about participating in undergraduate research please don’t hesitate to email me at chelsea.barfield@hope.edu. I’m so thankful for the opportunity that Hope gave me to learn about an issue that is so important in today’s political arena (and business world). Not only did I learn academic knowledge, but I also learned the importance of being an informed and engaged citizen – both of which are important!

Celebration of Research
Celebration of Research
Research Poster
Research Poster

{Leaving College}

The past few weeks, my fellow blogger Marvin Solberg has done some awesome posts on being a senior in college. This week, I wanted to add on to his most recent post about being ready to graduate college.

Hope College has been an amazing place to spend the past several years. I am constantly reminded that attending this school was a wise decision. Hope has allowed me the time I needed to grow spiritually, academically, and emotionally. However, as great as it’s been, I know that my time in college is coming to an end — and I’m okay with that. Here’s why:

Hope College has prepared me to go out into the real world and be successful. Now, I’m not saying that I have life perfectly figured out, but I know that I have the basic skills and tools needed to succeed. My professors have taught me the importance of thinking critically and having an inquisitive mind. They’ve taught me that no matter where I go in life and what I achieve, I’m never too smart or too old to stop learning. And my professors have taught me to find joy in every job or experience.

Now it’s not always easy to think critically, have an inquisitive mind, or to find joy in what seems like meaningless tasks; however, at my time at Hope, I’ve seen so many great examples of these behaviors from advisors, mentors, faculty members, and staff. My hope is that as I leave this place, I will take with me all the memories and examples from the past four years. And that’s how I know my time in college is almost done. I know that when I leave this place I won’t be completely lost in the “real world”. Instead, I’ll be able to take the lessons I’ve learned, along with my experiences, and pursue a new life in a new city.

So here’s the deal — if you’re currently a high school senior, struggling to make a decision on where to attend college, think about what you want to take away from college. Do you simply want a degree? Or do you want more? If you want more, take it from this senior, Hope College is the place for you.

Tulips - What Holland, MI is Famous For!
Tulips – What Holland, MI is Famous For!

“The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes” – Marcel Proust

It’s All About the Shirt

There are many activities to be involved with on campus, but probably the most popular is to play an intramural sport (IM). Before this semester, I really hadn’t played in too many IM games. Growing up, I had always enjoyed watching sports, but really never played. But now, I’m on an ultimate frisbee team and having the time of my life – just wishing I would have joined a team before senior year.

All that being said, I thought it would be fun to share with y’all about the different intramural sports and teams that you can play on while you’re at Hope. Basically, if there’s a sport you want to play, Hope most like has a IM team for that sport. Here’s a picture that shows all the different sports:

Hope College Intramural Sports

Intramural games are played twice a week – either on M/W or T/R. Games can be anywhere from 6:30 PM to 11:00 PM. You might think that you would be too busy with other things to play a sport, but it’s really nice to be able to take an hour study break, run around, and hang out with friends.

If you’re nervous because you aren’t great at sports or super competitive, don’t worry! The intramural staff understands that everyone wants to compete at a different level. For some people, they’ve played sports their entire life and want to be extremely competitive. For others, they just want to run around and have a good time. So, to allow everyone to play how they want, you can sign up for different leagues: “More Competitive” and “Less Competitive” (and for some sports Competitive).

The best part about playing in IM games is the prize if you win the final game in the playoffs: The Intramural T-Shirt. If you say that it’s just a shirt, you probably haven’t won one yet. I haven’t won a shirt yet, but I know that I don’t want to leave Hope College until I have a shirt.

So when you get to Hope, make sure to check out the different intramural sports. It’s a great way to relax and have tons of fun with your friends! {make sure to keep checking back for updates on if I win a t-shirt before graduation}

New Adventures

As my senior year at Hope is coming to a close, I never thought that I would find new things to do at Hope. Basically, my thought process was that I would spend the last 40 days of college doing the same things over and over again. But, that’s not what’s happened! In the past couple weeks I’ve had the opportunity to do so many new and fun things, and I want to share them with you!

Lake Michigan

In my time at Hope I had never visited Lake Michigan when it was frozen over. But just a few weekends ago, I went with my friend, and fellow blogger Leslie, to watch the sunset over the lake. The lake was so beautiful – definitely a trip worth taking if you decide to attend Hope.

Lake Michigan Completely Frozen!
Lake Michigan Completely Frozen!

Hope Baseball Games

Before Tuesday, I had never been to a Hope baseball game. After today, I’ve been to three. Like any sporting event at college, it’s fun to attend games that your friends are playing in. And today, it was even more fun to be at the game since Hope beat Calvin.

Taco Bell

Throughout my time in college, I always knew that I liked Taco Bell; however, over the past couple weeks, Taco Bell has become a much needed study break with friends. Once or twice a week, I head over to Taco Bell with two of my friends, and we order “three crunch wraps supreme – no tomatoes”. I really can’t explain it, but there’s just something about late nights at college and Taco Bell that go hand-in-hand.

Ultimate Frisbee

I’ve never played Ultimate Frisbee, but on Monday I have my first game. I’m pretty excited to be the “team mom” and bring snacks to every game – and eventually catch a touchdown (or goal… not sure what it’s called).

All in all, my last semester at Hope College has been tons of fun! And, I look forward to seeing what the last 37 days have to hold!

Top 5 Things!

With Spring Break fast approaching, it’s starting to hit me that my college days are coming to an end. In fact, 59 days from now, I will be a graduate of Hope College. I just have so many mixed emotions about leaving this place. On one hand, I can’t wait to graduate and never take a test again. On the other hand, I dread the day that I have to say goodbye to a place thats become home and given me so many great friends. So here are the five things things I’m most looking forward to as the semester (and college) draws to a close.

Warmer weather and trips to the beach: one of my favorite things about Holland, MI, is how close the beach is to campus. When the weather becomes nicer, Hope students love to take trips to Lake Michigan. I can’t wait for a 75 degree day where my friends and I pick up shaved ice and drive to the beach to play volleyball and watch the sunset.

Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan

Spontaneous get togethers: some of the best times in college happen when nothing is planned and you just meet up with people. As college comes to an end, it seems that life becomes more structured. After I leave this place, I’ll be missing the late night Taco Bell runs, Friday volleyball games at DeVos with friends, playing cards till 1:00 am on the weekends, and the late night adventures that you can’t explain unless you’re there.

Taking the last exam: as fun as college has been, it’s also been a ton of work. I cannot wait to leave my last exam and know that after I pass the CPA exam I won’t have to take another test.

The Rope of Hope: at the last Gathering (Sunday night Chapel service) all seniors are asked to stand around the pews in the chapel, and cut part of a rope. There’s just something about standing with all of your classmates and knowing that you have been a part of a great school, and that school will continue with you wherever you go.

Commencement: even though I know it signals the end, I can’t wait to walk across the stage and be a graduate of such a great institution. Also, watching my friends walk across the stage will be equally as rewarding. Knowing that we’ve achieved a college degree is a great feeling – and I can’t wait for the day!

Hope College 101: Career Services

Hope College offers students several great resources to further their career, one of those being Career Services. I personally have used Career Services many times, and firmly believe that the staff there is part of the reason that I have a job waiting for me after graduation.

Career Services offers many different options to help students improve their marketability to potential employers. Here are some that I found most helpful:

  1. Resume Critiques
  2. Practice Interviews
  3. Networking Events

Before you even attempt to make a resume, go on an interview, or attend a networking event, Career Services will provide to you handouts full of helpful tips. After reading through the handouts, you can send your resume in to be edited, sign up for a mock interview or attend one of numerous networking events.

When I was beginning the process of searching for a job, I sent my resume into Career Services and had them look through it. After several edits, my resume was finally ready to be sent off to different accounting firms. It was a great experience to learn how to make, and edit, a resume that will serve me well in the future.

Mock (practice) interviews are one of the most stressful things to do, but they will help prepare you for real interviews. During the time that I have been at Hope, I have participated in three mock interviews, and every time I improved.

Finally, networking events are a great way to practice meeting future employers and making contacts. Career Services hosts a different networking event almost every week. Companies like Target, Herman Miller, PWC, and Deloitte all come to campus throughout the semester.

All in all, Career Services is an awesome resource that you should look forward to using if you decide to attend Hope. Getting a great job becomes a lot easier when you have people training you how to be your best.

If you would like to learn more about Career Services, I encourage you to check out their website for more information! Happy Friday and Go Hope!

My Greatest College Experience

One of the greatest influences on where you attend college is hearing from other students currently attending college. Listening to their experiences and stories tells you about the culture of a place. Today, I want to share my greatest college experience with y’all: studying abroad.

Now, I know you’re all thinking that you can study abroad at any college, which is true; however, with the dedication that Hope College professors have to building relationships with students, studying abroad is such an amazing experience.

In 2013, I spent the summer studying in London and Paris. I learned about different cultures, history, traveling, art, architecture, exchange rates, french pastries and economics. Every day was filled with new adventures and experiences that I will never forget.

I travelled with a group of eleven other students (twelve including me) and two professors. We spent time visiting with members of Parliament, Lord Brian Griffiths (Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs and past advisor to Margaret Thatcher), the CFO of Wimbledon, and Herman Miller executives.

When we weren’t in class or meeting with business professionals, we spent time exploring the city. I loved spending time visiting churches, museums, and famous landmarks. Attending theater performances was another favorite part of the trip. There’s something about a night spent appreciating the arts. While I was in London I saw several different shows, including: Les Miserables, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Billy Elliot – all of them were incredible.

Now, I could keep talking about my trip, but I think pictures capture Europe better than any story I could tell. So, enjoy a few of my pictures from London and Paris:

So here’s the thing: come to Hope College. You won’ regret your decision, and one day you’ll be able to tell others about all the amazing experiences that you have at this awesome school.

If you have more questions, feel free to tweet me @hopechelsea15 or email me at chelsea.barfield@hope.edu.

Looking Back {From the Eyes of a Senior}

I went to the library tonight with the intent to do homework. Well, the library turned into a small social gathering with friends. We started talking about how fast the year is going, and how we can’t believe that graduation is in 94 days. But in all the craziness of the final semester of college, I started thinking back to the summer before my freshman year at Hope. And you know what? I can’t really believe how fast time has gone, and how far I’ve come from a nervous high school senior wondering if moving to Michigan was the right choice. So if you’re one of those high school seniors, nervous about what the future holds, I thought I would offer some encouragement. So here are 7 things that I wish I would have known heading off to college.

1. Everyone is in the same position as you. No matter what first impression people give you, everyone is in the same spot. No one really understand stands how college works, or even what to expected. So don’t worry too much! If you have a question ask it, if you want to get to know someone go introduce yourself, and if you feel sad or homesick tell someone! College is about learning and growing, so don’t be afraid to do so!

2. It takes time to find your true friends. If you feel like you keep meeting new people, but you haven’t met that perfect group, don’t stress! It takes time to make friends and develop close relationships. College is a time that people change and define their beliefs and values – this means that people you thought would be good friends at the start of your freshman year might not be the people you spend your Friday nights with. But bottom line, just because you haven’t found that perfect group doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you.

3. Learning to live with someone can be a challenge. That initial feeling you have about your roommate becoming your best friend probably won’t come true. Living with someone new is a good and bad experience all at the same time. Why you ask? Well, you’re taking two people who have limited things in common and telling them to live in a small space – it can be a challenge. Now, all that to say, Hope really does a great job matching roommates; however, it’s still an adjustment.

4. The professors want to know you. I cannot stress this enough! One of my absolute favorite things about Hope College is that your professors care about you. You will never be just a name on a test. So take advantage of the professors here. Visit their offices and ask questions – but don’t just ask questions about school. Ask about their life, their experiences. Because here’s the deal: if you don’t get to know your professors, you’ve missed out on one of the greatest relationships you’ll ever have.

The best professor and advisor!
The best professor and advisor!

5. Find out your interests and follow them. Pursue something that interests you. Chances are that if you don’t like your classes (okay, find the material semi interesting) than you aren’t on the right path. The great thing about a liberal arts college is that you have opportunities to try different classes – and you should try out classes. I made the mistake of coming into Hope as a nursing major and learning later in the process that I can’t stand blood or the smell of a hospital. But through Career Services, family, friends, and professors, I found a major that is perfect for me! And you too will find the perfect major – but don’t stress, it might just take a little extra time!

6. Take initiative. I can’t encourage you enough to take initiative. There will be so many things you want to do while at Hope – intramurals, Dance Marathon, Pull, and Nykerk just to name a few. Allow yourself time to do these things. Work hard and work smart so you can also enjoy your time here!

7. Time flies: It’s true, time really does fly! You would think that four years doesn’t go by that fast, but it will. So make the most of every moment, because you’ll never regret the time you spent at Hope College.

So there you have it – 7 things I wish I would have know 4 very short years ago. If you have any questions about Hope College (or college in general) make sure to follow me on twitter @hopechelsea15 – I always love talking to perspective students!

Cooking in College {part two}

Last semester I posted several recipes that my friends and housemates enjoying cooking. Well, it’s a new semester, and we all still need to eat. So, I thought it would be fun to give y’all some more things to try cooking! Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili – Courtney J.

  • 1 ½ Cups Broth (Veggie or Chicken)
  • 2 Sweet Potatoes (Chopped into ½ inch cubes)
  • 1 Small Sweet Onion (Diced)
  • 1 Can of Fire Roasted Tomatoes (14oz)
  • 1 Can Black Beans (Rinsed and Drained)
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic (Minced)
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt

Directions: Throw all of the ingredients into a slow cooker, and set on low for 6-8 hours. Top with lime juice, avocado, sour cream and/or shredded cheddar& enjoy

Chicken Divan – Leslie K.

  • 1 lb broccoli
  • 1 can cream of broccoli soup
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • (1/2 cup rice for one serving)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Get any sort of pan and put the cooked broccoli in first. Layer it with the pre-cooked chicken, then put the cream of broccoli soup on top, followed by the shredded cheddar cheese. Cook for about 35 minutes or so. Put on top of however much rice you desire and enjoy!

Poppy Seed Chicken: Elyse M.

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 sleeve of Ritz or Club Crackers
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds, or more if desired
  • 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 2 cups of shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions: Place the chicken breasts into a large pot and cover with water. Bring to as boil over high heat, the reduce hear to medium, cover, and simmer until chicken is cooked – about 20 minutes. Drain water and shred the chicken. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the butter, crackers, and poppy seeds in a bowl; set aside. Blend the sour cream and cream of chicken soup in a bowl; pour half of the soup mixture into a 9×9-inch baking dish. Add the shredded chicken, then poor the remaining half of the soup mixture on top. Sprinkle with cheese, and top with cracker mixture. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.

Hope y’all try these recipes out! Cooking can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Find some friends to cook together! After all, life is better spent with others!

Had a great night cooking with my roommate, Elyse!
Had a great night cooking with my roommate, Elyse!