A Message of Encouragement: A Senior Witness from a Friend

Everyone has a story. But it is usually not the one that they are telling.

These words were spoken by a good friend, in chapel this past Wednesday.

It was something that I needed to hear. Something the people of Hope College probably needed to hear too.

I’m a junior at Hope. And I by no means have things figured out. But I’m starting to realize that my friend was right. We usually aren’t telling the story we’re living. But why…?

Most often, there is one thing that holds us back from who we’re made to be. I tend to think that thing is fear.


Fear of not fitting in.

Fear of being vulnerable.

Fear of not having a good story to tell.

These are all legit fears.

But let me tell you what else my friend told us at chapel on Wednesday…

“God didn’t create you to be like somebody else. He created you uniquely in his image.”  

The point here is not if you believe in God or not. The point is that you are unique. You have gifts, talents, humor, and so much more. So, let me tell you, you were never made to fit in. You were made to stand out!

“I used to feel like I had to be perfect… Becoming vulnerable with others has given me freedom from that.”

I’ll be honest. Being vulnerable with people is hard. Especially those close to you.

I’ve found it easy to be “good.” This is much easier than, “You know, I’m not having a great day,” or “I’m really struggling with this…” Now I’m not saying we should go around telling people all of our struggles and be Debbie downers. I’m all about positivity and the more we can have in this world the better. It is in sharing with those we are close to that is important. It will give you a sense of freedom. Your relationships will be strengthened. And you will have overcome a legitimate fear.

“Don’t ever underestimate the impact you can have on someone else’s life.”

 We tend to believe our influence and story we tell with our life is not good enough. Here me out on this… You are making an impact. Whether you know it or not. You are.

If you don’t think you have a good story to tell, experiment with the following: Walk down the street and give someone a warm smile. Maybe a friendly “hello.” If they don’t smile back, I’ll take the blame! What I’m trying to say is that making an impact is so simple! Often, we think we have to do big things to tell a good story. I’m learning it’s the little things that make the story good.

Most the time we don’t tell our actual story. We let fear win. But fear doesn’t have to win! Remember: You are unique. You are made to be vulnerable. You are making an impact. The way we live our life is the story we tell. So, let me ask you… What story are you currently telling?

What We Really Need to Hear

I screw things up. I get anxious. Sometimes I feel alone.

Yes, I feel this way even at Hope College.


Hope is rooted in our name. I believe that we all have a hope for something great. To achieve something great. To do something great. To be something great. We’re told that this Hope will never fail us. But somewhere along the lines this Hope that we hold can grow foggy. What we once saw clearly in front of us, we no longer see. Life gets kinda bland. Or it just really sucks. And I guess that’s just how life goes sometimes.

I’m a junior at Hope. I’m really not that wise. I definitely don’t have all the answers to our problems in life. But I’m not really here to give answers or solutions. Just things I think we all need to hear. Especially when Hope is no longer in sight.

Our screw ups don’t define us.

Every day I screw up. Yesterday I gave a group of people the wrong directions, making them 30 minutes late to where they were going. Today I bombed a test. Tomorrow, I will probably sleep through my alarm. You get the point. I sure hope you screw up too. I think it is healthy. What the heck, have you ever met anyone who is pretty much perfect??? Yeah, me too. They’re boring. So don’t be perfect! Be you. And mess up. It makes life more interesting.

You only reach the summit if you keep on climbing.  

There’s the old saying, “if it was easy, everyone would do it.” Whoever said that was right. Quick story… I grew up with the goal and dream to play football in the NFL. Lofty, yes, but I was serious about it! That dream was crushed when I was 13 years old. I was told I needed brain surgery, and that I could never play football again. BUT, dreams don’t have to die, just change slightly. After recovering from surgery, I decided I would learn how to kick for the football team. I kid you not, I couldn’t kick a football further than 10 yards. But I kept on going. I spent countless hours learning how to kick a football. Sure enough, a year later I ended up starting my first ever game on varsity. Not as a linebacker, but as a kicker.  I tell you this so that you may be encouraged! You are right on the verge of achieving your dreams. It’s not easy, but keep on climbing. It’s worth it.

When confused, MOVE.

Decisions are hard. Especially in the first few years away at school. It has been so easy for me to get stuck in the middle of a decision, not knowing what to do. What I’ve learned… MOVE. Choose something. When you’re stuck, the right choice is the moving choice. What matters is that you’re moving forward. If you make the wrong choice, remember, screw ups don’t define you.

Alone? Someone else is too.

I know what it’s like to sit in Phelps alone. If I’m anything like you, there’s nothing worse than not knowing anyone in a sea of people. If you’re feeling like this, you’re not alone. There are others who feel the same way. Sometimes we just wish there was someone who acknowledged us. Let me challenge you… Be the person to acknowledge someone else. They won’t feel as alone anymore. Neither will you.

Believe in Jesus? You’re loved. Don’t believe in Jesus? You’re loved.

I see people who have faith. I see people who don’t. What I see is people. We are no different. Too often we put up a “faith filter” that distorts who people really are. I believe in Jesus. I would say that my life has been changed because of Him. But I am by no means any better than the person who doesn’t believe. I am loved by God. You are loved by God. You can’t do anything to change that. For those who don’t believe, it’s ok. For those who do believe, here is some food for thought… “What we do with our love is where we are in our faith.” –Bob Goff

Where are you at?



3 Things I Wish I Knew Going into Freshman Year

By: Tucker Marty

It is hard to believe that I, Tucker Marty, was once an 18 year old freshman who knew not a soul at Hope College. What’s even crazier is that, now a junior, I am over halfway done with my time here. Wow. Thinking back on my first two years here I feel all types of emotions. I have learned a lot. I have felt loved. I have felt at home.

Somehow, I think I am starting to figure the whole college thing out. Well, that’s probably not true because junior year is kicking my butt right now. But, I’m making progress. And I’ve learned a few things along the way. Had I known what I now know, going into freshman year would’ve been a whole lot smoother of a transition. So, I figured I’d share a few of these things with you all.


Yup, you bet I procrastinated as a freshman. Well, what the heck. I still procrastinate as a junior! BUT, I have learned a major key in how to conquer it (yes, I am still working at this)! Here it is: Be okay with moving on. Do not let the thing you are stuck on, keep you in the rut! I cannot tell you the amount of times I have been writing a paper, and I just stare at my cursor at the top of the page for what feels like forever, trying to come up with some clever way to start. Now, I know to move on. I tell myself to start some other place. Being okay with moving on doesn’t just have to apply to papers and homework though. I think too often we can so easily get caught up in little decisions that we make feel HUGE, and we become frozen because we don’t know what to do. I have learned here at Hope that it is simply best to choose a direction, and keep moving. It will reduce your blood pressure.

Time is Valuable

There are two typical responses for a Hope student to the question, “How’ve you been?” The first, is “Good,” and the second is, “Busy.” Hope students are always busy. Not that being busy is bad, I actually enjoy being busy. But an important lesson to learn is that you need to fill your time with things that are important to you. Otherwise, you will get overwhelmed quickly. Coming to Hope, you will be encouraged to get involved in this, get involved in that! “You’re not living the life of a Hope student if your day is not jam packed.” This statement is false. Besides learning to fill my time with what is important to me, I have gotten a whole lot better at saying no. Saying no is good! When you say no to one club, one extracurricular, one opportunity to lead this Bible study, you are gaining time to actually do what is important to you. Time is valuable, people! Learn what is important. Say no.

Having Fun is a MUST!

“College will be the best four years of your life.” This won’t be true, unless you decide to make it true! While learning new things, studying, and looking towards your “someday” is great and all, I’ve learned that sometimes you need to start focusing a little more on your “today.” Hope College is so great because it is a place where we have been given the resources, the support, and the incredible opportunity to dream about our “someday.” But it can be easy to start doing a whole lotta dreamin, and a just a little livin. Live for the now. Ride your bike to the pier with a friend. Make it a tradition to get Applebee’s “half off apps” every other weekend at midnight. Start a spikeball tournament in the Pine Grove. Polar bear plunge into Lake Michigan in November. Start a prank war with the guys (or girls) living across from you. Take a random road trip up north. Get the “pirate’s booty” from Captain Sundae. Stay up all night with your friends because you can! Make Hope College the best four years of your life, and I promise you it will. We’ve got a whole lotta tomorrow to worry about. Today, live for the now.