Dear Hope College

Dear Hope College,

Let me preface this post with some honesty – Hope was NOT my first choice. I didn’t want to come here because I had family that has been here. I wanted to go somewhere different, not following in the footsteps of my family. Four years later, I find myself struggling leaving behind an institution that has changed me for good in so many ways. Although I am ready to graduate and apply the things I have learned, leaving behind the friendships among my friends and professors will be the most challenging part. I know I won’t be able to call my friends who are 5 minutes away and see if they want to go to dinner, or go watch a movie, and that very thought scares me. Plus, being 6,000 miles away is going to make it more difficult, but this is all part of the challenge.

Since my freshman year, my faith has grown exponentially. Not only did Chapel and the Gathering help in this process, but the intentionality my friends and professors had in my spiritual journey really propelled me. The pure intentionality that is characteristic of the Hope College community is very unique and cannot be found anywhere else. Without the supportive community Hope harbors, I would not be the same adult I am today. This is what attracts so many students to come here. It’s amazing.

Additionally, Hope has provided me with opportunities that no other college could have given. Firstly, I was accepted into the Nursing program, one of the most difficult programs to get into. Without this backbone in my college career, where would I be!? The experiences that I’ve had within the program also led me to other opportunities including becoming a teaching assistant (TA).

I was also able to visit Washington D.C. for two years in a row; one year to meet presidential candidates and the other to discuss and learn more about social injustices. I was accepted to study abroad in Vienna with Hope’s Vienna Summer School, yet again providing me with an unforgettable experience. The memories and friendships formed are ones that are merely unforgettable.

One of my highlights throughout my entire college career is my involvement in student life, with Student Activities Committee (SAC). Becoming a student leader and leading an influential group on campus has allowed me to grow in ways I could not have imagined. Through this organization, I gained skills, an influential mentor, and life-long friends. I continuously rave about how hard-working my organization is and I am incredibly proud. Leaving behind an organization such as SAC will be tough knowing that it is going to exponentially grow.

It’s crazy to think about everything that has happened these past four years. A lot of things make sense now. I now understand why some opportunities were closed for me; God had a better plan for me and opened other doors for me. All of my experiences too now make sense, because all of my hard work has paid off and I am headed to serve in Cameroon with the Peace Corps. My jigsaw puzzle is complete, for now!

This liberal arts college, this campus, and these people make Hope what it is. Knowing that I have been part of Hope’s heart and soul is the very reason why I don’t want to leave. The individuals who have supported me through my triumphs and set-backs, from the moments I celebrated to times I cried, thank you so much for being there for me. You too, Hope College, thank you for being there for me. Hope is more than just a school with a great accolades; Hope is a community in which you are supported, loved, and appreciated. And for that, Hope College, I thank you.

With much love,
Marvin Solberg

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What My Burrito Bowl Tells Me About My Life

You betcha. You read the title right. Everyone’s burrito bowl (or burrito, or quesadilla) truly explains their personality. Each little ingredient in your delicious Mexican food reveals a little part of you, it’s not rocket science. Before I tell you what my burrito bowl tells me about my personality, we should warm up. For you who Vine, you’ll understand. For those who love Chipotle, you’ll understand. If you’ve never seen this video clip before, you will understand once its done.

So, like that little boy, Chipotle is my life. Despite that the nearest Chipotle is in Grandville (only a 20-minute drive!) it’s so worth visiting. I mean, I could get into that Chipotle vs. Qdoba war, but it really comes down to your preference. Let me tell you that although I love Chipotle, I also thoroughly enjoy Qdoba. Plus, there are more Qdoba spots around the area so it is more accessible. But, Chipotle for life.

White Lime & Cilantro Rice

This is my foundation in my burrito bowl, but rice in general is a foundation in my life being that it is a staple. Being Filipino and all, I eat rice with every meal (practically). In addition, it represents me as a human, it is my backbone. I always know that this will be a constant both in my burrito bowl and life. Not to mention that it is so tasty. If you don’t have this in your bowl, you’re missing out.

Pinto Beans

Beans, beans, the magical fruit. The more you eat, the more you toot. This layer goes on top of my foundation. So, it’s like the floor above the basement in a house. What does this mean? My pinto beans are another level up to my rice. It is the very platform that I need to maintain an adequate burrito bowl and life. My pinto beans represent my values and other ideas and thoughts are firm and somewhat resistant to change. They can be alternated with black beans from time to time, but that rarely happens.

Chicken

So Chipotle chicken is really good. I want to be able to make chicken like that. But what my chicken represents in my life are my passions. I have a passion for Chipotle, dance, academics – nursing in particular, traveling, and so much more. Each little piece of chicken could easily represent a passion. Not only does it represents my passions, but it also represents my drive to pursue my passions seeing as it is a protein source (thanks Nate!).

Pico de Gallo Salsa

Otherwise known as mild salsa, this is my next layer to my life. It represents my adventurous side. It’s not too spicy that I take life-threatening risks, but it’s not bland to the point that I’m mundane. Pico really shows my various adventurous sides. From time to time, I take a bite of my food and get a good piece of red onion – that would represent my wildest adventures like going to Europe twice in one year! This layer is also constant in my life.

Sour Cream

Yeah, some people are not a fan of this, but it’s good and I only eat it when I go to Chipotle. This represents my adaptable side. Because sour cream is not a solid, it’s not constant and can take many forms. It’s important to remember that life will throw crazy things at you (cheese), so you’ll need to be prepared to expect the unexpected and be able to adapt to the issue. By doing so, you’ll decrease your stress and you will produce a good outcome.

Cheese

As I mentioned above, cheese is what life throws at you. It can be a long problem (long shreds of cheese) or it can be a short problem (short shreds of cheese). It can taste good, or it can taste bad. It can be scattered throughout your ball, it so it represent many things going on at once. But because it’s on top of my sour cream, I can adapt to it. My sour cream almost absorbs the cheese and I end up going with the flow.

Lettuce

The very last layer of my burrito bowl, but an important one. They represent my friendships and connections. Unfortunately friendships comes and go, and this would represented by the lettuce on the outside perimeter of my burrito bowl. Once I put that fork in there, some lettuce pieces fall out. On the other hand, the lettuce that stands tall in my plethora of food represents my best friends. They don’t fall off, especially when I mix my food!

My layers of Chipotle all working together!
My layers of Chipotle all working together!

So you have all of these layers of food, then you mix it. Eating it with out mixing it is a crime. When you mix it, it represents that each layer works with each other to make me who I am. Writing this blog was actually more difficult than I thought it was going to be. Some of my friends say I have a problem (because I’m at Chipotle once a week), but I just enjoy it so much. And connecting it to my life was even harder, but I think I successfully did this. I hope you enjoyed it folks! I hope you can find meaning in the little things in life because that makes life so much better. If you haven’t already, make sure to read my other blogs, follow me on Twitter, and on Instagram!

Reasons Why You Should Go To Admitted Students Day

April 18th is approaching, and there are questions out there about Admitted Student Day, so I thought I would answer them for everyone! If you can’t make it, just remember that it’s completely OK! You won’t lose priority in choosing your roommates and it won’t put you “behind” by any means. What this day is intended for is to give you a taste of what happens at Hope, and it also provides you opportunities to take care of some business!

If you can’t decide whether or not you should come, let this blog post convince you to come. Here are reasons as to why you should come:

1. If you’re committed to coming to Hope, it’s a wonderful excuse to come and explore campus again (or for the first time!) It’s pretty during all seasons, so you might as well get a little taste of what Hope is like in the spring! Exploring Holland can also be advantageous. i mean, you will be living here shortly, so why not explore the town?

2. So many students will be here! It is a wonderful opportunity to meet those who you’ve been in contact with on Hope on Facebook, or just to meet fellow Dutchmen! Maybe you can get your roommate situation settled, or just meet other with your same interests. In addition to other students, important faculty will also be here. President Knapp will be there, and other key Hope faculty that will definitely be an integral part of your Hope College experience!

3. Other than students and faculty, organizations and clubs will also be present during Admitted Student Day! You can meet with clubs you may be potentially interested in joining. And those weirdos whose blogs you have been reading all year will be there, too (myself included!). It’s a great time to ask any questions you have about Hope, transitioning from post-high school life to college, and just any other general questions. (By the way, us student bloggers are AMPED to meet you)!

4. Admitted Student Day is another chance to convene with other with your similar interests, including fields of study. I definitely think this is something to take advantage of. Experts from various disciplines will be present to answer any questions you have, and they also want to meet you!

Here's a cliché Hope College picture. I challenge you take on while you're here!
Here’s a cliché Hope College picture. I challenge you take on while you’re here!

Hopefully, this is enough to convince you! Admitted Student Day is truly a blast. You will be able to get all of questions answered, hopefully making you less nervous! Us student bloggers as well as the entire Hope community are very excited to see you and meet some of you! If you have other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! If you haven’t already, make sure to follow me on both Twitter and Instagram!

P.S., I dare you to take picture with anything Hope and post it on the Hope on Facebook page!

Here’s Why I’m Ready To Leave College.

Firstly, I would like to thank all of those who read my last blog post, “Things Seniors (STILL) Don’t Want To Hear.” It was a stunning success, and I appreciate all of your continual support and positive comments. This is why I love my job so much, being a student blogger and all.

With that interjection out of the way, let’s cut down to the chase. Whether I believe it or not, (believe me, sometimes, I’m in denial) I am ready to graduate and leave college (23 days!). The days continue to fly by and I am closer to liberation from higher education and transition myself to adulthood.

Kinda.

1. I always tell my closest friends and others the following: “I’m ready to be done with school, but I’m not ready to leave my friends.” Despite that I have my best friends here in one place, I really want to be on my own. Having my friends not even 5 minutes away has been a fairy tale for the past 4 years, but I have to think to myself that it’s just not like that outside of the college world (with a few exceptions, of course). I’m ready to take on this challenge by leaving. If I made friends in college, I’ll be able to make friends at my workplace or outside of my workplace. But hands down, leaving my friends WILL be the hardest thing. I am forever grateful to Hope College for bringing these people into my life. Without them and their support, I would not be where I am, and where I am headed.

2. The point of college is to have social experiences, academic experiences, and learn from the two. For 4 years in a row, I have been in classes and situations where I have learned so much. Now, it’s time to actually apply what I have learned. What’s the point of learning all of these concepts and ideas if you don’t actually use them? (there goes all your $$$)! I mean what’s the point of nursing school if I’m not going to be a nurse?

3. The college bubble has been so good to these past four years, but simultaneously, I also want to pop the dang thing. Graduation is my way of popping the Hope College bubble. It is SUCH a warm and welcoming community; that’s one primary reason I chose this fine institution! Again, we ALL have to realize that wherever we end up, the social atmosphere might be vicious or unrelenting. Those are powerful words, but it’s the truth. As much as I want to live in the friendliest of all cities, it’s just not realistic. We will have to work with people who are not as cheery as us, and by leaving college, we will get the experience doing so. Just let me go already!

4. This one goes out to all of the parents too, but I am done spending crazy large sums of money that I don’t have. I am so glad I have the education I do, it’s one of the best investments you can make! But, money does not grow on trees. And even if it did, that tree is obviously not budding yet. I just want to use what I learned throughout these four years, do them, and get money for doing them.

5. Lastly, have you heard the phrase “college is the best four years of your life?” Let me tell you, I am not a believer in this. If college are your best years, then shoot, what’s exciting about the future? Nothing. Another reason I’m excited to dart out of here, all of the experiences, memories, and opportunities that lie ahead of me! There is so much outside of the college world, and I’m about to take in as much of that as possible. I mean, college has been the best part of my life, but I’m still young. There is just so much out there; I’m ready to do all of it!

College Friends!

College has truly provided me with the tools and opportunities to help me become the man I am today. My values, ideas, and interests have been molded by my college experience. In return for such a wonderful and priceless experience, I am ready to become a productive citizen of the United States and give back to those who are deserving. I thank God for putting me in my dream vocation of nursing to help those in need. Hope College has been so great, but it’s time for my next chapter!

Thanks for reading another senior related blog post, all! Again, thank you all for the support by reading and providing feedback on my posts. That’s when I know I’m doing a great job. If you haven’t, make sure to follow me on @HopeMarvin15 on Twitter, and follow me on Instagram at MarvSolberg!

Things Seniors (STILL) Don’t Want To Hear

As of today, there are 34 days left until commencement (probably the first thing seniors do not want to hear). I feel as if college seniors get asked what their future plans are during the beginning and end of the school year. At the beginning of this academic year, I posted a blog title, “Things Seniors Don’t Want To Hear.” Although accurate then, it is definitely applicable now that we are graduating in practically one month (it was really funny to reflect back on that)!

Graduation is in (X number) of days!

Thank you, Captain Obvious. Although I will confess; starting spring semester, I created a countdown on my planner. For me, it was motivational. For others, not so much. We seniors already have so much going on between now and then; graduation is definitely the last thing to think about. With papers, projects, and exams left, all of our “energy” (it’s gone, we’re burnt out from academia) goes into that. The more we think about graduation, the higher the chance of a stress-attack. I am excited to graduate because I’m so checked out with school work, but I am NOWHERE near ready to say my goodbyes.

What are your plans after college?

With the exception of a slim 1% (me included), many seniors DO NOT know what their plans are after college. Real talk, most of us don’t know which TV series to binge watch on Netflix, or what to eat for dinner. If many of us can’t figure that out, how the heck would we know about our post-college plans? I am lucky that I do know what I’m doing (Peace Corps!) and I’m THAT senior that everyone hates because I know my plans. It’s ok, I suck it up, because in the end, we will all end up somewhere. It’s just a matter of when. To you “non” seniors out there, be careful when asking this question!

When are you going to settle down?

Well, Netflix and I have been going steady, and we are definitely ready for the next level. I joke, I joke! Again, with the slim 1% who are engaged or already married, KUDOS! I am happy for you that you have that settled. As for the rest of us, people, we’re only 22-23. The only commitment that I have in my life (other than family and Netflix) is food and sleep. I’ll settle down when someone finds me in my cave.

Are you ready for the real world?

Last time I checked, I live in the real world. Others may not think that college is the “real world,” but the real world is what we make it. College has challenged us and taught us so much. As much as seniors think that they are not ready for post-college life, think again. We have all the tools we need to survive, and the skills that we have grown in will definitely put as at an advantage in wherever we end up. So we ARE ready for the real world, we just have to realize it.

Enjoy college while it lasts!

This is the reason why I hate this question: we only have a limited amount of time left, but there are so many things to do between now and graduation. I’m trying to enjoy college while it lasts, but I still need to balance academics and life out. One of the main reasons college exists is so we can get degrees; I would definitely like mine. But you don’t need to tell me to enjoy college while it lasts. It just tells me that a) the number of days keep decreasing and b) life without my college friends around at all times is going to be an adjustment.

Are you ready to graduate?

And lastly, the Holy Grail of all questions. Are we seniors ready to graduate? Yes/No. We are ready to graduate because we want those challenges in various settings, we may be getting tired of the people we have been with for four consecutive years, we just want a new environment, and we are just so done with school work. But why would we not be ready? We don’t want to leave this place we call home behind, and we may not be ready to say our farewells to our closest.

It's actually happening!
It’s actually happening!

Despite the fact that seniors don’t want to hear this, we have to face its reality. Graduation is upon us whether we are ready or not, but there’s a reason why it’s called commencement; we are starting afresh! Thank you for reading, all! Make sure to follow me on Twitter and on Instagram!

When In Europe…

TGIF to everyone! This first week post-spring break flew by. During this time, time usually does fly. I mean, we only have 4 weeks of class left and finals week. Oh wow, that makes me uneasy. Anyway, if you have been following some of my blog posts regarding my spring break, awesome. If you haven’t make sure to check some of my blog posts on this site, and well as my other blogging page.

After some reflection, and by some, I mean a ton, I realized that this was my last spring break as an undergraduate, and I did it with a bang by going to Europe! I write about my adventures and could ramble on and on, but I just want to share my highlights with you all. If you the opportunity, I would recommend you visiting some of these places, or just traveling in general. It’s been a blast telling my friends these stories, and it is also weird to say that I was in Europe less than a week ago! Anyway, here are my top 5 experiences this past break!

1. Gdansk, Poland

Gdnask is a city in Poland that lies on the Baltic Sea. This city is about twice as large as Grand Rapids, Michigan. But this city was filled with so much history, being the site where WWII during the invasion of Poland. The architecture and buildings in Stare Miasto (or Old Town) We’re replicated to match what they were pre-WWII and they did an amazing job. It was chilly when I was here, but that’s because it was on the water!

2. Trains

Instead of driving from city to city, my friend Dimitrie and I decided that it would be European to travel via train. When in Europe, do as the Europeans do, right? The metro and train systems in Europe are merely amazing, and it makes me sad that the US doesn’t have an awesome system like Europe’s. Not only are trains fun, but they were very cheap and affordable.

3. Warszawa (Warsaw)

Warsaw is Poland’s capital and largest city. With the cities we visited, this was definitely the most modernized one with skyscrapers, food, and shopping everywhere. Despite its modernization, my favorite aspect of Warsaw was Stare Miasto (Old Town). Again, it was destroyed in WWII, but the efforts that were invested to recreate it make it look like no one touched a building. Europe is just better than the States at time merely because of its extensive history, and this is evident through the design and structure of European cities.

4. Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp

Out of my top 5 experiences, this would be my favorite. Although emotionally draining and painful to experience, being at Auschwitz was purely powerful. To see what prisoners have been through makes me not only cringe, but my heart also cried for them. To realize the atrocities conducted here was just unbearable. This is a place to visit sometime in your lifetime. Your perspective truly does change. If you want to read more about Auschwitz, make sure to check out my post on it!

5. Last but not least, Copenhagen!

Despite that Dimitrie and I were only in Poland for a limited amount of time, we did Copenhagen right, hitting up the most important landmarks! We visited the Little Mermaid Statue, visited a fortress, and NyHavn, my favorite part of Denmark! NyHavn is a section of Copenhagen that is within its canal system with shops and restaurants along the water. What a sight! It is such a beautiful country, but their prices definitely took a toll on my wallet. I got used to Poland because it was very cheap their, so Denmark was a stretch, but so worth it! There was just so much history again, making it one of my favorites!

Enjoy these pictures I took from each of my top 5 experiences, everyone! Thanks for reading!

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Kultura Polska 2 / Polish Culture 2

Hey friends! I have another post about Polish culture. If you haven’t read my first blog post on Polish culture, make sure to check it out! As I have been traveling throughout Poland, there are other differences I have noticed in culture. As a “Westerner,” it’s fun to note these differences. It’s crazy how many differences there just by just crossing the “pond!”

Europeans really like putting locks on their bridges.
Europeans really like putting locks on their bridges.

6. PDA

Yes, PDA, public display of affection. It happens in Poland ALL OF THE TIME. Holding hands, hugging, kissing, the whole shebang. And to the public, it means nothing. It really catches me off guard when this happens near me. In the States, this doesn’t really happen much (in terms of public kissing and all of that hoopla). But if you ever come to Poland, (or Europe in general), expect this and try not to surprised!

7. Smoking

It’s gross, and there’s research behind it. But hey, it’s European I guess. Smoking inside is very illegal, but it is accepted in public areas. Every time I walk somewhere, I pass at least 10 people who smoke. I just hold my breath. The main reason why smoking is still prevalent in Europe is because their governments have not pushed anti-smoking campaigns like the USA. So in this case, go USA!

8. Putting Feet Up

I recently put my feet up on the seat in front of me in the subway, and I was “yelled” at by locals to put them down. This brought me memories when I did the very same thing in Vienna last summer. In Poland and in Europe, it is VERY disrespectful to put your feet up on furniture. In the end, your feet and shoes are filthy and they don’t want that on their materials. This maybe acceptable in the States, but don’t do it in Europe!

9. Fast Food Culture

Fast food places such as McDonalds or Burger King in Poland are actually restaurants. The Polish and other Europeans really value the social aspect of eating meals. Whenever they eat, they take their time and their waiter or waitress does not rush them, or visit them like they do in the States. When I went to McDonalds (yes, I caved and craved McNuggets), all who ordered sat, and ate their food, socialized, and let their food digest. So, I did the same to be European.

10. English

Despite all of our differences, we have more similarities than differences. One similarity is that we are HUMAN! But another one is that Polish citizens are great at English! They understand and can respond well, which makes it easy to travel. But one difference is that WE don’t speak Polish, but we try hard! So far, I have mastered the following: Cześć (pronounced chayshed), dziękuję (pronounced jenkuyeh), and dzień dobry (pronounced djen dobreh). These are enough to get me by. Back to the point, communication is simple, and despite our cultural variances, we are much more similar than different!

That’s it for culture, folks! As of today, I only have 2 days left in Europe, so I am going to make the most out of it. If you haven’t already, make sure to follow me on Twitter and on Instagram!