“Have to” to “Get to”

By: Rourke Mullins

“If you want something you have never had, you must be willing to do something you have never done”.

These words sit closely to me in this season of life. The time is coming that I walk across the stage and receive my diploma and start a new stage of life after college, a season called adulting. It is incredibly exciting but also extraordinarily frightening. You might feel the same way as this season of change is quickly approaching you also. I remember the thought of college being exhilarating while also crippling when thinking of leaving home, friends, and family. So how do we work through this? How do we embrace this change and excel through this season?

I have always been one to dislike change. When I was in your shoes I wasn’t even able to see the excitement of going to college. When I was in your shoes, I was so scared of what was to come even though at the end of the day I knew I could do it. Many of you might feel this same way with being frightened by the idea of change but knowing very well inside you that you have what it takes.

When I was in your shoes feeling this way of only seeing the negative in change, I was lucky enough to have someone step into my life and share a few words of wisdom. They told me, “Rourke, you don’t have to deal with change, you get to!” At first, I thought the person who shared this with me was crazy but after some time I realized how true that statement was!

Let me first say every single one of you are capable of working through this change. Every single one of you who are worried and scared by change are already more than prepared to handle this next stage of life, believe in yourself! Second, let’s change our mindset from “have to” to “get to”. We get to experience these changes, myself included with this change into post grad/adult life. It is an opportunity that we have to expand and challenge ourselves in new ways. We GET to change.

Lastly, don’t forget that you are not alone in this. Reach out through the platforms that have been given to you to connect with other students and you will find that you are not alone in these worries!

Coming to Hope was my version of doing something that I have never done and it has taken me to new places and grown me in ways that I never could have imagined. I promise, this is challenge worth facing with rewards that are never ending.

As always, Go Hope!

Getting Comfortable in the Uncomfortable

By: Rourke Mullins

We as humans have unique tendencies. We have a weird way of shifting who we are and what we do based off of those around us. Don’t think I am shaming you, I’m not. I can think of countless ways that I have conformed myself, made decisions, and have grown to be like those around me. Why is this? Is this because we struggle to find who we really are and being someone else is easier? Is it because we think that there is only one way to live our lives? Both are possibilities but what I believe it comes down to is the paralyzing fear of walking along the unbeaten path.

The unbeaten path is scary for obvious reasons that goes against our normal habits of following along the path of least resistance. IT’S SCARY and that is okay to admit. So why even bother thinking about it, right?

When I first found out I was accepted into Hope College I felt this very same feeling of fear. It wasn’t close to home and I didn’t know one soul on the west side of Michigan. Some of you may be in the same boat I was in and you might feel this same feeling of fear. But the good news for you and I is that usually when we feel fear it means that we are usually stepping out onto that unbeaten path and here is where we are able to find ourselves more fully than we ever have before.  So here is my challenge for you, whoever is reading this in whatever stage of life you are at, get uncomfortable. I challenge you to live a life that is constantly pushing your boundaries of comfort that places you in situations where you could have never imaged being while making decisions you never thought you would be making.

Why?

A poem I recently heard explains why perfectly when saying, “To cross oceans of uncertainty, one must leave the safety of the shore”.

Go and get uncomfortable!

Find Your Home

By Rourke Mullins, Hope College Senior

Here it is, you’re 18 years old and the moment has come when you are asked (a lot) to answer one of the most important questions of your young life so far: “Where are you going to college?”

It can be daunting question. For me, it created a pit in my stomach. I didn’t know how to navigate my way through this new feeling and the endless amounts of college mail my mom would throw on my desk. I know I am not alone in this. You may be feeling this way too. So, the question really is: How do we answer a question that carries more weight than most of us have ever dealt with before?

Well, to be honest, I actually swung and missed at my first try on this one. I had decided to attend another university for all of the wrong reasons. I choose it because, in reality, it was a cop-out. It was a choice that had the lowest amount of risk and a choice that revolved around things that did not matter. I quickly realized this and had to force myself back to square one and ask again, “Where am I going to college?” This time, the once impossible and scary question now seemed so clear. I am going to go home, I decided. But not back where I grew up home but to a place where I feel at home. When I thought in this way, that’s the moment when my college decision changed for me.

First, I made a list of all the reasons why I loved home. Some of them were comfort, peace, and the feeling of being wanted. I took on my new college search with clear eyes and a heart that was looking for this new home that I was so hungry for. By the grace of God, I was led to this small liberal arts college in West Michigan called Hope. It is a place where you walk down the street and are able to say hi to your friends, or complete strangers; a place where you can get incredible coffee and have conversations that will change your life forever; and, a place that holds you close during dark times and celebrates good times. It’s a place that I now call home. A place where I feel comfort, peace, and the feeling of being wanted.

Here I am 3 years later looking  back on my experience and what a journey it has been. So if you are in the place that I was in, scared by the thought of where you will attend college, I encourage you to change your perspective. Allow yourself to look at colleges not as a place you will be leaving your home to go to, but as a place where your next home will be. For me, I have found a home in Hope.