Senior Struggle #7: Rejection Can Be Good

I hope that I can remember this every time I face rejection in my life!

Happy Tuesday, readers. Only a few more days until Easter Break – I know you all can push through!

Something that has been on my mind a lot this semester is what to do this summer. It’s on everyone else’s mind too, but especially seniors as graduation is just around the corner. Fortunately, I know what I’m doing this summer so a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders, but for many people, there is still the looming uncertainty that summer will bring.

“Will I move home after graduation?”

“When will I hear back from that job that I applied for and really want?”

“When will I know what I’m doing with my life?”

These are just a few stressful questions that I’m sure everyone has been asking themselves, especially seniors. In lieu of these questions, I want to focus on rejection and how it doesn’t always have to be a bad thing.

People see rejection in their lives mainly by not getting jobs, internships, or acceptance into student groups. Those are the most visible ways rejection rears its head, but there is also rejection in relationships, friendships, and other areas of your life. Getting turned down for a date, being overlooked or losing touch within a friendship, or getting a poor grade after working hard on your homework are other ways that rejection is poignant in life. I’ve experienced all of these types of rejection, and although the rejection stings, in many ways I’m happy the rejection happened.

If it weren’t for the different types of rejection I’ve been through, namely rejection from internships and employers, I wouldn’t be where I am today. It’s hard sometimes to see the good that comes out of rejection in the moment, but that bad grade or the denial of entry from that student group could open up your schedule for something that you want to live into.

It’s may be hard to see now, but rejection can be beneficial. I hope everyone is able to see that as graduation nears and summer worries start to pile up.

Until next time!

Senior Struggle #6: It’s OK to Want an End

As I get ready to graduate, I have to keep this saying in mind!

Hello, readers! I hope your week is going well so far! We have five weeks of school left, and those weeks are flying by! The time passing quickly is sad as I realize that my final year of college is coming to a close, but at the same time, I’m happy that it will be done soon and I will be able to start a new chapter of my life.

Throughout this second semester, I’ve felt that it hasn’t been okay to feel that I wanted college to be over. College is supposed to be the best four years of your life, right? While these years have been amazing, I feel like there is a reason that college is only four years: because at this point, I’m supposed to grow up. I’ve outgrown communal living where I have to share a bathroom (even though I’m living with my best friends), I’ve outgrown classwork, even though I know I’m learning a lot in my classes, and I’ve especially outgrown the feeling that I have to do everything and be busy to be the best version of myself.

I’m ready for independence. Hope has prepared me well to use the skills I’ve learned in class for internships and jobs. I’m ready to live into things I’m passionate about and I’m ready to say no to things that are a source of stress. I’m ready for my own space; I’m ready to find out who my close friends are, and I’m ready for a new chapter of my life to begin.

For a long time I thought that this readiness wasn’t normal and that I was being selfish because I wanted to move on from college. I would suppress these feelings and try to be sentimental when people asked me if I was ready to graduate. “No way!” I’d say, “I want to stay here forever!” But that wasn’t true!

Although Hope has given me skills and memories that I’m thankful for, I don’t think this feeling of wanting to move on is bad for me. It’s one I’ve definitely had to come to terms with, but I think every senior has been or is going through the struggle of feeling like they want to stay and go at the same time. What’s important is knowing what these feelings mean for you individually, and how they affect you.

Whether you’re a freshman or a senior and these last weeks come and go, enjoy the time you have left at Hope, but also be at peace with what you’re feeling. Until next time!

My Spring Break

Happy Monday, Readers!

I hope you all enjoyed your Spring Break and feel relaxed and rejuvenated as we enter this last sprint before the school year ends. As a senior, it felt like this Spring Break was needed more than ever before. Here’s a little glimpse into what I did!

For my break, I headed down to sunny Florida with my family. It was so nice to be able to spend one final break with them before my sister and I graduate. We had been to Florida before, but this break was different. This break was needed, and it didn’t feel long enough. We didn’t want to come home!

When we boarded our plane Thursday afternoon heading to Florida, we were cold and ready for the sun. I can say with confidence that we didn’t leave the sun for 10 straight days. We spent every day on the beach reading books, taking much-needed naps, and dipping our toes in the warm Gulf Coast water. We had some different excursions during the evenings, like going to a play, exploring the surrounding Naples area, and going on a sunset boat ride, but other than that, we played many games of cards and read a lot of books. It was blissful! Leaving Florida’s 75 degree weather and coming back to Michigan’s 30 degree weather was a wake-up call, but I’m glad to be back with my friends for these final weeks until graduation.

A view of the sunset from the boat tour we went on!
It was so much fun being able to go on Spring Break with my best friend!

I hope you all had a great break and are ready to push through these next few weeks!

Until next time!

Senior Struggle #5: Being/Remaining Healthy

Happy Monday, Readers! I hope the weekend treated you well and you had a relaxing time full of rejuvenation.

Speaking of relaxation and rejuvenation, I feel like every person I’ve encountered lately has either just gotten over, is just coming down with, or is right in the middle of a cold. This semester is taking its toll on people, and the question at the forefront of my mind right now is: how does a student, especially a busy senior with so much on their plate, stay healthy physically and mentally?

  1. The first step to staying healthy is knowing your body and the signs of illness or exhaustion. For me, I know my body well enough to know that whenever I get just a twinge of a sore throat, it’s time to put my preventative health skills into action and slow down.
  2. To prevent illness, you need take care of your body. This means giving yourself “me time” so that you have time to regroup from your busy day-to-day life. This also includes getting enough sleep at night (7–8 hours) and eating a healthy diet. Trust me, if I only get five hours of sleep each night and eat french fries every day for dinner, my body pays for it and I feel gross at the end of the week.
  3. The only way to combat that gross feeling is to exercise. Finding your balance of how many times per week and for how long is tricky, especially when you’re going from place to place so often; however, being active at least three days a week is usually what I try to aim for. Sometimes (ok, let’s be honest – most times) that doesn’t work out and I end up working out only one or two days, so I try to be active and walk to class from my off campus house instead of driving. I’ve discovered that any activity, no matter how small it is, helps my body feel good.
  4. Finally, if you do get sick, give yourself time to recover – don’t rush the recovery process! Contact the Health Center if needed, but resting is always a good idea. Besides, who doesn’t want an extra couple days to sleep?

Although I’ve only listed four ways to help keep you healthy, only you truly know your body and know what is good for it when you start to get sick. Keeping busy has its benefits, but make sure that if you do get sick, you take time for yourself to recover so that you can get back on your feet in a short amount of time.

Until next time!

Being healthy is something that’s important to everyone – especially people with busy lifestyles.


Break for Winter Break

Happy Monday, Readers! I hope you all have transitioned back into school and homework smoothly after coming back from Winter Break. We’re in the final stretch now until Spring Break – hooray!

I’ve decided to take a break from writing on a Senior Struggle this week to tell you about my Winter Break – it really was an amazing few days filled with friends and outdoor activities!

For Winter Break, my housemates and I decided to visit Minnesota, where one of our housemates is from. We decided to visit her house because we had all been to each other’s houses before except for hers and wanted to see where she was from before graduation rolled around and we were out of time and weekends. So we packed up the car and drove ten hours to Minnesota, passing through Indiana, Illinois, and (what felt like) the huge state of Wisconsin.

Once we arrived at her house, we headed straight for her families cabin even farther north of where she’s from. It was so good to get away and play endless board games, read, play with their dogs, and just relax. It was even better because there was limited cell phone service, so we were forced to unplug for a short time – it was amazing! One of the activities we did was snowshoeing across the lake her cabin is on. I had never been snowshoeing, so the experience was new and exciting.

After spending a few days there, we came back to her house to spend some time with her family. We explored the nearby city of Minneapolis and saw what the city had to offer. One of the highlights of her hometown tour was Minnehaha Falls – a usually frozen over waterfall just shooting off of Minnehaha Creek. Because of the warm weather, the waterfall wasn’t frozen over, but that made it even more beautiful!

After her hometown tour, it was time to head back to Holland. Ten hours and many snacks later, we arrived back at Hope ready to take on the coming weeks. It was a restful and relaxing break and I hope yours was just as adventurous as mine!

Until next time!

Happy Monday, Readers! I hope you all have transitioned back into school and homework nicely after coming back from Winter Break. We’re on the final stretch now until Spring Break – woohoo!

Senior Struggle #4: Being Prepared

Happy Monday, Readers! Welcome back to talking about topics that seniors struggle with especially during these last few months before graduation. This week’s topic: being prepared.

Whether its being prepared for class by having your homework done, being prepared for the days you don’t get home until after 12 hours, or being prepared for what comes after college, I’ve noticed that being prepared is something that every senior is worried about. For myself, I know that if on Sunday nights I haven’t done my homework up until Wednesday and picked out my blog post theme, I am not prepared for the week and am left picking up the pieces throughout the week. I feel like that’s the case for many people, and if you add looking for a job for after graduation (so that you can be prepared for after college), all the looking ahead and preparedness is overwhelming.

One way to curb this overwhelming feeling is what I like to call “spreading out and staying on top.” Many of you probably know this tactic, but I wanted to reiterate it now because this semester, I’ve benefited from sticking to it greatly. The way to master this technique is to list everything you have to do for the week. Write it down. It physically helps to see what you have to do when it’s written down. Once you see what you have to do, make a game plan and break those tasks down into maybe five chunks. All those tasks at once and in whole chunks are overwhelming, but if you divide them up and spread them out throughout your week it makes you feel more accomplished. Another thing that helps is, if you’ve finished all of your tasks for one day, continuing to work ahead so that you can take some of the pressure off other days. I used to think, “now that I’m done with today’s tasks, I can relax!” While that might be a good way for some people to function, what helps take my stress away is working ahead.

On a bigger scale, another way to become prepared for life after college is to be prepared when it comes to looking for and securing jobs. The biggest time to feel unprepared is during a job interview, but if you can master your answers for most questions beforehand, you’ll feel better prepared and less nervous. A resource students can use to help prepare them for job interviews is setting up a mock interview at the Career Development Center. In doing this, students will be asked questions normally asked at job interviews and will be given feedback on their answers. This will help students be less nervous going into an interview and to help them know what’s coming.

Being prepared is something everyone needs to learn to do. Hopefully these points have helped to alleviate some stress about it!

Until next time!

How many people feel all the time.

Senior Struggle #3: Saying Goodbye to my Email Signature

Happy Monday, readers! Miraculously, after writing last week’s blog, I feel a lot better about being busy this semester. I feel like writing that blog post put a lot of things in perspective for me and I’m at terms with my workload for the semester. My new goal is to get most of my homework done during the weekends so that my weeks are a little less hectic. All it took was some rehashing to figure out how to do that!

The new thought that has been on my mind since I last wrote is the fact that I am scared out of my mind to leave this safe little bubble of Hope I’ve called home for the past four years. Thinking back on it, Hope has been my safe haven. It has given me an education, put amazing people in my life, and most importantly fostered my faith for the past four years. Everything has been made easily accessible to me and has been extremely convenient. It’s been easy to get involved, see friends when I need to, and go to church without straying too far from campus. The way I tend to think about this convenient bubble is in terms of my email signature. It looks like this:

Hope College, Class of 2017

English Major and Management Minor
Career Development Office, Career Advisor
Student Blogger, Hope College Admissions
Hope College Student Ambassador
Hope College Student Congress Representative
Nykerk Cup Executive Board Member, Treasurer

Adaptability | Positivity | Empathy | Developer | Futuristic

How I feel about my email signature…

To me, my email signature shows that I’m accomplished here at Hope and how easy it was to make those accomplishments happen. Once I graduate though, that signature will disappear and that thought is extremely scary to me. All my accomplishments will be gone! I will have to start from scratch building up my email signature with involvements and activities. How will I even begin to do that if I’m not within the comfortable bubble of Hope? How will I find activities to be involved in and make a new normal for myself?

One way to alleviate some of this stress about graduating and creating a new normal is by preparing for life after graduation. For me, that means to start thinking about it. A way that I’m going to start this conversation is by attending the event series “Life After College” which is put on by the Career Development Center, Campus Ministries, and the Senior Seminar program. Every week the series will be covering a different topic that seniors will have to face after graduation. This week on Wednesday from 3 p.m.–5 p.m., or Thursday from 7 p.m.–9 p.m. in the first floor rotunda of Martha Miller the topic that will be covered is finding a church. As a faith-driven person, that topic is very important to me and something I want to invest in. Other topics range from faith in the workplace to friends and fiancé’s after college – whatever the topic I know I need to start thinking about it!

Hopefully you all have started thinking about what life holds for you after graduation, but if you’re like me and haven’t even started, just know that Hope has amazing resources like the Career Development Center to help you start that conversation.

Until next time!

Senior Struggle #2: Priorities

Happy Monday, Readers! I hope your week is off to a good start and your weekend was restful and relaxing.

Floating back to last week’s blog, guess where I made a visit to this past weekend? You guessed it – the breakdown chair. Now, jumping right into the topic for this week, what do you think my breakdown was about? It was about how stretched I am this semester and where my priorities lie.

At some point (preferably soon), I’m going to have to accept the fact that I am busy and that my second semester of senior year won’t be a piece of cake. I have so many activities going on in my life while my friends don’t and that’s just the way it is. That’s the way the cookie crumbled. I’m done feeling sorry for myself, I’m done feeling jealous of things I can’t control.

Instead, I need to focus on the cards I’ve been dealt. I’ve been dealt 16 credits worth of classes and homework – many people have. I work jobs on campus – many people do. I’m involved in extracurriculars – many people are! In the grand scheme of things, I am no one special here on Hope’s campus. Many people do the same things that I do every single day. However, I have professors that care about me, bosses and jobs that I love, and amazing friends that push me to be the best I can be. Although in the grand scheme of things I may be no one special, in the everyday, fine fiber of Hope College, I am a valuable piece of the puzzle.

I don’t say that to be vain or boastful, mostly just to cope with my current situation. If I’ve learned one thing within the few short weeks of the semester, it is: in order to survive and thrive in what I’ve been dealt, I need to make priorities and be present in those priorities no matter what the cost. Here are the priorities I choose to focus on every day:

  1. Faith
  2. Self
  3. Academics
  4. People (Friends/Family/Relationship)
  5. Work
  6. Extracurriculars

While they may not always be numbered in this exact order, these are the things in my life that are important to me and I like to work hard at. I value relationships, doing well in school, and performing well at my respective jobs, and while all of these priorities are important, the one I forget about most often is the priority of myself.

Self-care should be one of the most important priorities in anyone’s life. Knowing yourself and your limits are extremely important and give shape to what you want your life to be. Being an introvert with extroverted tendencies, I tend to over book my days and not take enough time to rejuvenate myself in a healthy way. A perfect rejuvenation time for me would be reading a book, journaling, or just doing anything alone. Those things take a back seat when planning my days, though – my thought process is “I can always squeeze one more meeting or coffee date into this extra hour of time.” My goal for this week and the entire semester is to focus on myself and listening to what my brain and body need, whether that be a good reading session or just taking a nap. Part of focusing on myself is living into my priorities and being present when focusing on each of them.

As we hit the ground running this week, I encourage you all to figure out where your priorities lie and figure out how to stay true to them as your lives get busier and busier. I know it will help me through this busy time of my life and I hope it will help you too!

Until next time!

I’m with ya, Ron. This week I’ll try to live into my own priorities.

Senior Struggle #1: Time for the Breakdown Chair

Happy Monday, friends! It’s a good day to stay inside and read a book, watch some Netflix or perhaps… write a blog!

In case you don’t know, the theme of my blogs for this semester is “Senior Fears/Struggles” and the more I’ve been dwelling on this theme, the more fears/struggles I can think of. The predominant one for this week? The concept of time.

My housemates and I have been struggling with this a lot this week; so much so that we have designated a chair in our living room as “the breakdown chair”. (If you couldn’t guess, it’s the chair where people go to cry if they’re having a life-crisis.) It’s actually really fun – we take a picture of every visitor to the chair and are going to make a collage at the end of the semester. So far we have had two visits to the breakdown chair and that’s only this week.

Need a good cry? Come over and take a sit in The Breakdown Chair.

The origin of both breakdowns has been due to busyness and lack thereof. One of my housemates, Britta Hageness, finds herself in the non-busy category and comments on her situation as follows.

I feel like all seniors are in one of two boats. They are either jam-packed busy – finishing up a full course load while also applying for jobs or grad school, working multiple part-time jobs, and taking on huge leadership roles on campus – or, there are seniors who only have one or two classes left and are left with an abnormal amount of time in their day-to-day lives.

I [Britta] am the second one, and I think I’ve been having a mini identity crisis about it. I think my past three years of college have been a balancing act of trying to be the “perfect” amount of busy. I’ve tried to not over commit myself to clubs and other activities because a) I want to be able to finish my homework and b) I like my sleep. But I also want my schedule to be full enough to feel like I have a specific purpose on this campus and to avoid boredom.

This semester, my “perfect balancing” system has gone out of whack because I have too much time. I’m only taking one class at Hope, along with one class online. Grad school applications have been sent out, so that’s also off the to-do list. Having too much time is a unique problem for a college student. I truly don’t think I’ve ever been bored for the last three and a half years, not even for an hour. Now I’m trying to avoid boredom on a daily basis. I’m trying to make the most of it by reading books for pleasure and by actually being prepared for class. Maybe I’ll take up a new hobby like sewing or figure skating… haha.

I guess it’s a nice transition into the real world where we won’t find our identity in our major/ classes/ studies. However, it doesn’t feel like the college life that I’m used to.

While many seniors are in Britta’s situation, there are also many seniors that are packing it all in. That would be me.

I’ve found that I’m barely treading water this year what with being enrolled in 16 credits that I need to graduate, working three jobs, and being in more clubs than I can count. On top of that I still need to come out of this busy season with a job so that I’m not completely lost after graduation. Most days I wonder how I’m going to come out of college in one piece.

While Britta and I are both struggling with managing our time, the idea to be taken away from both our situations is balance. After college there will be an adjustment period for sure, but as long as we know ourselves and how much we can handle (or not handle) the natural balance of work, friends, and life in general will fall into place.

So whether you’re feeling the busy burn or waiting for life to pick up, know that college is all about finding out who you are and discovering your balance. Take a deep breath, everything is going to be ok. (Said more for my own assurance than yours I’m sure.)

Stay tuned for more Senior Struggles next week!

My Sentiment is Showing.

Happy first day of class, readers! It’s time to get back into the swing of things after a hopefully restful and relaxing Christmas break. Are you ready?!

Now, I’m not usually a sentimental person, but as a senior graduating this May, I’m starting to see that there are a lot of sentimental moments that my last semester will be offering me. Let’s take today, for example. Today was the last first day of class. It was the last first day of my undergraduate degree where my only job and expectation is to learn from my professors. At no other time in my life will my job be to sit back, relax, and absorb knowledge. Once graduation rolls around, my job is to do.

Today was also the official end to my three-week Christmas break – something that I won’t get again in my life (unless I’m planning on being a teacher, which I’m not). At no other point in my life, at least in the foreseeable future, will I get a break that long with absolutely nothing to do. In my mind, that’s something to be sentimental about. Possibly even mournful.

These moments combined with the fact that real life is starting in four short months makes me just a little nervous for the present and the future. Here are a few questions that are haunting me at the moment:

  • How can I make this the best semester ever and not miss out on a single activity?
  • What will I be doing after I graduate?
  • How do I stay in contact with old friends and make new friends once college is over?
  • What are my passions and how do I incorporate those into my career choice?
  • What will I eat once I graduate if I don’t know how to cook? (Probably the most important question of all.)

If any of you have any answers to these questions, please let me know. While you all are getting back to me though, I am going to be exploring these ‘senior fears and questions’ in each of my blog posts. I’m hopeful I’ll get to interview my peers as well as some of my coworkers at the Career Development Center to see what they have to say about some of these topics.

This will help me process my fears/questions as well as give you an accurate representation of what it’s like to be a graduating senior at Hope College. It’s a win win situation, really. Be prepared for a wild ride.

I’m looking forward to sharing this journey with you, readers. Until next time!

This is me not being prepared for all the sentimental moments this semester
This is me not being prepared for all the sentimental moments this semester