Transformed by Hope

Just a few hours ago, I took my last exam and wrapped up my third semester at Hope. Three down, five to go. I’m almost halfway through my time here, which blows my mind! The majority of my college experience still lies ahead but I can confidently say that thus far, I’ve been transformed in my time at Hope. As I learn to navigate life and balance responsibilities away from home, Hope has specifically helped to transform and develop my faith, my friendships and my academic experience.

Growing in Faith

I’ve grown in my faith significantly since coming to Hope in fall 2022. I went to a big public high school where I only knew a few other Christians. It’s been such a blessing to step into the abundant community of faith here at Hope. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of going to chapel every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and being able to worship alongside my peers and professors. This is such a unique experience that my friends at larger public schools don’t get. Chapel, the Gathering and everything Campus Ministries offers is completely optional for students. To me, this heightens its impact. If a student wants to attend chapel, they must prioritize it themselves. This has been a fruitful and transformational commitment for me as I surrender and allow the Lord to transform my life and heart through the daily rhythms I participate in here at Hope.

The act of moving to school away from home was a transformational act of faith for me. I’ve had to learn how to depend on God in new ways as I navigate this stage of my life at Hope. The support in faith and life that Campus Ministries chaplains and Bible Study leaders offer has been absolutely transformational in my journey here at Hope.

Growing in Friendship

Hope has given me the community that I’d always dreamed about, but never thought possible. It’s been beautiful to engage in deep and fruitful relationships with people from all over the country and world. The variety of organizations or groups on campus has allowed me to engage with students of all different majors and ages. Some of my close friends are a year or two years above me, which is not something that I could have said in high school. My closest friends are all studying a variety of disciplines from music to nursing, which has been a beautiful dynamic.

Navigating life alongside the friends I’ve found at Hope has been a blessing. Through the highs and lows of each semester, I am so grateful I’ve found a community and support system that truly wants the best for me. I’ve learned about what it means to be a real friend, and how to let someone be a real friend to me. These lessons have been transformational.

some of the deep friendships I am so grateful for!

Growing in Academics

I have not had a class at Hope so far that I didn’t enjoy or get something valuable out of. Time and time again, I go back to old notes from semesters past because the information I’ve learned in classes ranging from psychology to First Year Seminar was just so valuable.

While exam week has been exhausting, this week I found myself gratefully reflecting that I enjoy the content I’m studying and the projects I’m completing. My Hope experience has transformed the way I view academics. Rather than memorizing content to receive a certain grade, I’m challenged to let the content shape and even transform me. I’ve been able to build relationships with a number of amazing professors that acknowledge my potential and help me push myself in the classroom. I love school and learning, and that is something I’ve grown in through my time at Hope.

Overall, my time at Hope has truly challenged and transformed me. I’ve grown in my faith, my friendships, and my relationship with school. I’m so grateful for the way that I have been changed over the past three semesters, and expectant that the next five semesters will also hold their fair share of transformation. So here’s to the journey, transforming in Hope!

Hope’s Collaborative Culture Across Campus

One of my favorite aspects about Hope College is that I am more than just a number on campus – professors and faculty know, value, and care about the students. From the dining hall staff that greet me enthusiastically each morning to the classroom where my professors ask about how my cross country race went to faculty of the Boerigter Center who will send me job opportunities that they think I would be interested in and every interaction in between, Hope fosters an environment that cultivates meaningful relationships across campus. 

I am grateful for the opportunities that the College has made available for me to engage and collaborate with Hope professors, faculty, and staff. For example, I have worked as a student consultant through Hope’s Center for Leadership for two semesters so far. In this role, I have received deep mentorship and training from faculty and professors. By participating in this smaller group setting, I have been able to gain invaluable experience and hone my leadership abilities. Directly learning from subject matter experts and professionals in the industry has bolstered my skills, and I have been able to employ my learnings within the classroom as well as in my internships. Additionally, hearing their personal and professional journeys has provided me with perspective on my own career and calling journey. As each project assigns new coaches, I am able to learn from a diverse set of leaders while also maintain support and connections with past coaching mentors. 

With national rankings in its undergraduate research, Hope College offers a plethora of opportunities and resources for students to connect with professors and faculty for research experiences. Many students even stay in Holland over the summer to conduct research with professors from all different departments. I am grateful to participate in research through the biology department. As a student majoring in biology, I see my research as enlivening my course content. I am able to directly apply my acquired knowledge in a hands-on setting. In the lab, student development and growth as a scientist is prioritized. As such, each lab experience is a learning opportunity that allows me to directly collaborate with the professor and my lab group peers. Together, we work to design experiments, solve problems, and analyze results. I enjoy attending the College’s annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research & Creative Activity (CURCA) at the end of the academic year, where I am amazed at the immense variety of fascinating research projects. From STEM to the humanities, these student research collaborations with faculty and professors drive inquiry and provide a holistic formation for students. 

For me, the intentional interactions and collaborations with Hope’s professors, faculty and staff have been one of my favorite aspects about the College. The vision of its Christian, liberal arts foundation is directly lived out at Hope in this way. As a result, my educational experience encompasses so much more than simply a degree – it cultivates character. I am able to learn from those around me and receive personal mentorship that helps me flourish and reach my fullest potential both as a student and as an individual. I will forever be grateful for the deep, synergetic community that Hope College cultivates between students, professors, faculty, and staff.

Making a Four Year Plan

Since registration happened recently, a lot of people I know, myself included, have been thinking a lot about the future. Not just in terms of next semester, but also for all four years at Hope and beyond. These thoughts are why I would encourage everyone to make a four year plan. For me, a four year plan has helped ease the anxiety surrounding the future as well as help me keep track of my major and general education requirements.

How to Make Your Plan

It’s easier than it sounds. First, make a spreadsheet and divide it between fall and spring semester. Then, input the classes that you’ve already taken, you’re currently taking, and the classes you’re registered for. After that, note the classes that count for general education and/or your major. I personally do bold for general education and colored text for major, but you can do whatever you like. And with that, you have the beginnings of a four year plan!

Planning Ahead

Now that you have your four year plan started, it’s time to plan ahead. Degree Works comes in handy for this, because it will tell you which requirements you haven’t fulfilled. Since the course schedules for upcoming years aren’t posted yet, you can’t make a totally concrete plan. However, a general idea of what’s to come is still helpful. It’s easy to find out when most classes are typically taught. If you click on any given course in Degree Works, it will say it is taught in the fall, the spring, both, or as needed. This knowledge can give you an idea of when you should take certain courses. However, there are some requirements that are still up in the air. For those, I just put the requirement name in the semester I think I’ll take it in. For example, I don’t know what my second 300 level computer science elective will be, so under Fall 2025 I just have “CSCI 300-2” listed instead of an actual course. This way, I still have the time blocked off even though I don’t actually know what I’ll take.

Fulfilling Requirements

Sometimes it can be tricky getting all of your requirements fulfilled. Luckily, a four year plan helps with that. Now that you have an idea of what classes will be taught in the future, you can plan when to fulfill your general education and major requirements. One thing I would encourage is to double count classes as much as possible. A lot of beginning major classes count for general education, but maximizing this will give you more leeway in your future schedules. Additionally, if you plan on studying abroad, it’s good to be mindful of what sort of courses you want to take abroad. There are some general education classes that work really well abroad, so you want to make sure to save those.


Depending on your major and how many credits you transferred in, you may have room to take classes just for fun. Awesome! While it’s important to plan ahead, when it comes to electives, this is the area with the most room for spontaneity. Since you have your four year plan, you know what you can do, so this is the time to just enjoy yourself. 

Making a four year plan may seem daunting, but in reality, it takes away a lot of the guesswork when it comes to registration. And a four year plan isn’t something you have to do alone! You can ask for help from your advisor, other people in your major, and your friends. They’re all more than happy to help. So now that you know how to make a four year plan, do it! I promise it’s worth it.

Maintaining Faith

Your schedule is busy, you’re running late to class, your homework isn’t done and you forgot to print something off for class. Your friends tried encouraging you to go to chapel, but you have no time. Even the idea of church on Sunday is exhausting. Devotions take too much time from homework. Praying takes time from a struggling sleep schedule. What do you do?

Breathe. Firstly, breathe. Take time for yourself and relax for a minute. Forcing yourself to do anything within your faith or religion with an exhausted mind is going to annoy you and push you further away. I’m here with some ideas for maintaining a spiritual life and maintaining spiritual practices for the student with an overwhelming schedule.

Listen to Yourself

What do you need at this exact moment? Do you need to sit in a quiet room? Watch a movie to distract your mind? Maybe take a walk? Do whatever that is first. Create a habit of it within your schedule. Don’t force yourself to stick to it. Things change and you will become overwhelmed if you force leisure into a packed day. Let the leisure happen when it happens, don’t force a schedule that will stress you more.

You need time for your mind to relax. A constantly burning brain will crash and you will struggle. Sleep isn’t always the solution but quieting your mind even for 20 minutes is enough to allow processing. Too much stress and your performance will decline.

Don’t force your faith either. Forcing your faith and spiritual practices will only make you miserable. You won’t enjoy it as much and you might not learn anything either because your brain is running in another direction instead of listening. When your faith is forced it falls from being personal and experiential to just another task you have to cross off your list for the day. Listen to what you need first.

Settle for Minimum

Striving for greatness all the time will burn you out. At Hope College, you aren’t required to go to Chapel. You are highly encouraged, and I will also encourage you to attend a few, but there is no one forcing you to go. So, go when you can. Don’t go if you know you will be worrying and stressing the entire time. Find a substitution to fit into your day.

If you can’t attend a Chapel because you have a massive project due for the class at 11:00 AM, maybe talk to a friend who went. Listen to them explain what happened and what they learned. You will still benefit from second-hand learning. This conversation could even strengthen the relationship as you connect over faith together. Or you could check out the livestream from that day at a later time.

You can still be faithful by praying for 2 minutes. A small check-in, that’s it. If structure within your faith is causing stress, try talking to God for a few minutes. You aren’t perfect and will never be expected to be in your faith.

Support Systems

Find a friend or a group that will help you stay accountable. But don’t settle for people who will discourage you if you can’t attend a meeting or hang-out. Your faith shouldn’t be forced on you from others. I know from personal experience that extreme pressure to be perfect in faith drives one away, because the stress that is experienced begins to be associated with faith and religious practices.

A good support system will keep you informed, but they will accept your business. All they should want from you is effort and the willingness to try. They will help you in maintaining your faith. If it truly is an aspect of your life that you want to prioritize more, then that must be worked on as well. Take care of yourself but be committed.

Final Note

You got this. God does not expect you to be perfect in your faith, but he does expect effort. Just try but don’t hold yourself to a level that will eventually ruin your sanity and pleasure in faith. If you aren’t enjoying your faith relationship then something is off. You aren’t doing anything wrong, there are just other things that may be overwhelming you.

As someone who struggled with a severely busy schedule and the desire to be perfect in their faith, I will tell you this; you are loved no matter what and you need the time to love yourself too.

On Campus Jobs at Hope

I love that Hope provides flexible student employment opportunities for its students.  Most of my friends and I have student jobs, which vary from tour guiding or overnight hosting to being a TA.  Personally, I’ve worked in Campus Print and Mail for a little over a semester.  From this experience, I would say that an on campus job can be both manageable and beneficial for students at Hope.

There are local businesses that hire students, such as coffee shops or stores downtown, but my first choice of a job would always be student employment.  Hope College employers are flexible and understanding.  Student workers are held to a high standard and depended upon, but employers understand and emphasize the importance of our academics as well.  My bosses in the mailroom (and my friends’ bosses from other on campus jobs) allow me to prioritize school and my health while keeping a position on staff.  For example, a few weeks ago, I needed to make up an exam during a scheduled shift.  My boss was very flexible with this, letting me go take the exam and then come into work after with no problem.  We are also encouraged to communicate when we are sick, which teaches students to both advocate and take care of themselves.  This culture allows me to have a job without hindering my academics or my health, something I’m deeply grateful for.

Something is always happening in the mailroom, whether I’m grabbing a package for a friend or loading the Amazon lockers in the hallway.  On campus jobs offer an engaging task to focus on that provide a break from academics while allowing time to be spent productively.  This lets me and other student workers pursue a better life balance at school.

On campus jobs give students another way to engage in community as well.  I work with a different person every shift, allowing me to meet people from all different years and academic disciplines.  I also never know who will come and pick up mail.  It’s fun and exciting to run into my favorite professors, friends, or classmates. Regardless of the specific job, on campus positions tend to yield community. It’s very typical to make good friends through a position, or to apply for the job alongside a friend. This isn’t necessary by any means, but working with friends is a lot of fun. My best friend works in the mail room as well, and it is always such a joy to work the same shift.

Mal (my best friend) and I work together in the mailroom!

Overall, I would recommend that students really consider on campus job opportunities at Hope.  Jobs provide a new facet of community and connection, along with a productive way to spend time outside of school work.  They also make space for students to balance academics and health, while making a little extra money. 

Hope College Global Engagement: Your Ticket to study around the World!

As I walked through the Detroit Metro Airport with my strategically stuffed backpack and my rolling suitcase in hand, the feelings of excitement, anticipation, and wonder fluttered within me. Heading to the security line, I tightly hugged my parents and brother goodbye as they smiled radiantly and spoke with words of encouragement. After placing my belongings through the security machinery and then lacing back up my white sneakers, I waved to my family through the security’s roping and line of travelers behind me. With my Dad’s thumbs up, I turned back around, crossing the threshold to my terminal. 

Scattered among strangers, I found familiar faces wearing sweatshirts with the words, “Hope College.” My peers and professors greeted me with warm welcomes as I entered our flight’s gate. With 2 hours to spare, my classmates and I explored the airport, passing by a large gumball machine, a steakhouse, and a Michigan tourist shop. While wandering through the airport, we discussed what we were most looking forward to and ‘bucket list’ items for our trip. 

“Definitely the Big Ben!” one classmate exclaimed.

My friend with aspirations for going into tennis management perked up with, “Obviously our visit to Wimbledon!”

“Shakespeare’s Globe Theater performance,” said another. When the question was repeated to me, I couldn’t choose! I was excited for everything and I simply yet excitedly replied, “All of it!” 

Soon after returning to our gate, our flight section was called over the speaker. Stepping onto the jet bridge and into the plane, I talked with another student group headed to London who were studying fashion while there. We compared our planned visits and learned about one another’s colleges as we waited in the boarding line. As I talked with my fellow peer she mentioned too that this was her first time flying internationally and we laughed together as we verified the nearly 8 hour flight time ahead of us. Once in my seat, I sat next to a passenger visiting her mother in England as she provided me with recommendations for places and attractions to visit. With each site she described, my anticipation grew even more. Looking out the small airplane window and into the darkness of the night that was intermittently broken up by different building lights, I smiled with a combination of excitement, curiosity, and gratitude for what was to unfold. 

This past May, I had the opportunity to study abroad in London, England. While there, I took a course entitled Management in the British Economy where I learned about the differences in the business industry between America and England. We also met with a wide variety of business professionals and British firms, which enhanced our class content and discussions. The course was backed by cultural experiences. From Cambridge to Canterbury to Notting Hill, we visited many different areas. We got to participate in a variety of activities as a group including a Double Decker bus tour and the River Thames boat tour around the city, theater performances including Les Miserables and A MidSummer Night’s Dream, and a tour of Parliament provided by a former member of the House of Lords. Between company visits and classes in the park, my peers and I got to explore sites of the city. Among some of my favorites were the Tower of London, Churchill War Rooms, and the London Eye.

Through the Center for Global Engagement, Hope College offers multiple study abroad experiences for students that are both domestic and international. Whether a student wants to study abroad for a full semester or for a month, the College has a program for you. While many of the May, June, and July term programs are administered through Hope, the College also partners with travel abroad programs where students can interact and meet other college students from around the globe. 

As the application deadlines approach for this coming May term, I cannot wait to look into other programs to participate in after having had such a positive and formative previous experience! I am grateful for the study abroad opportunities that Hope College offers students as these experiences enable students to broaden their perspectives and learn from cultures throughout the world. 

Experience Life

Senior year creeps up on you faster than you may think. One moment you are moving into your Freshman year dorm and the next you are finishing up your first semester of your last year. Have you experienced everything possible? Have you done everything you could? Where are you going after graduation?

Questions like those can be haunting. I had them when I entered my last year at college. But now, as I’m wrapping up my last first semester of college I realize that those questions are only there to scare me. I have done everything I can and my time isn’t over yet. I can experience life before college is over and I move onto my next stage of life.

In College

Experiencing all that college life has to offer is only “completed” if you feel there is nothing you missed out on. There are plenty of events I was unable to go to due to homework or conflicts, but I have no regrets. I feel like I accomplished all I could in my years and it’s still not over yet. I have all my plans for my last semester laid out to ensure I leave feeling successful in both my education and how I spent my personal time.

Don’t let homework bring you down. Being busy with classwork is common but that is no reason to completely cut out everything fun. Take time to enjoy going to things like sports games, Spring Fling, department events, friends’ houses, club events, etc.

I found my enjoyment when I took a night a week to spend on myself. Whether that was going to dinner with friends, watching a movie, doing a craft, taking a walk, going out with friends, just relaxing with a friend or taking a nap. Before I started doing this I found that I would become extremely burnt out very fast and began to hate college. I didn’t want that to be my experience, so I took a step back to analyze why I was unhappy. When I found that I was miserable because of how busy I was making myself, I decided to devote some time to myself and my friends.

Last Hoorah

Senior year, for most, is your last year of classes, last year of exams, last year of studying terms or equations, last year of meeting people and trauma bonding over a stressful class, last year of attending college events, last year of eating food from the dining hall. A lot of “lasts”. The same could be said for your senior year of high school.

Make the most of every moment. Don’t just isolate and resort to being alone to cram out all of your work. Get out some times and have fun. Experience life. Allow yourself to breathe, it’s your last year and you deserve to enjoy it. There will be times where it will get stressful, but if you let those control your last year then you may end up leaving with regret.

Work hard, but don’t overwork.


My own personal experiences so far my senior year have been stressful. This (Fall 2023) has been one of my more packed semesters. I haven’t had time to go out with friends, I spent a lot of time in my room studying and doing homework, I have two jobs, and I definitely didn’t spend the time with my friends that I wanted to. But that’s not the end.

I planned my last semester of college to be more relaxing and enjoyable. Spring 2024 is going to be my lightest load of classwork and I am so excited. I am planning on being more present with my friends and engaging more in campus life events. I haven’t got down on myself for not “experiencing everything” this past semester. There was nothing I could do with the amount of coursework I had. Which means I am planning on enjoying my last semester. Enjoying graduation in May, enjoying work throughout the semester, enjoying the friendships I have made throughout college. There is no shame in being busy.

Experience all of the college life you can while you are here.

Life in Holland: Christmas Edition!

Holland at Christmas time is like no other. Life is full of joy and celebration whether you’re walking downtown, visiting your favorite coffee shop, or attending a Christmas performance in Dimnent Chapel. There’s plenty of ways to get into the Christmas spirit here, but I want to talk about my top five aspects of life in Holland during this time of year!

Downtown Atmosphere

Downtown Holland is gorgeous all year long, but it quite literally shines at Christmastime. Up and down the main street, trees are covered in lights, and fire beams from the fireplace outside of Kilwin’s Ice Cream. There’s also a large Christmas tree in a plaza area right downtown. You’ll always find families or friends who have stopped in front of it to take pictures. Even if I’m not shopping, this is my favorite time of year to walk around downtown.

The famous Christmas tree downtown!


If you do choose to shop downtown during Christmas time, you’ll be delighted to find stores uniquely and beautifully decorated for the season. My personal favorites, Gezellig and Spring Sweet, are absolutely stunning this time of year. Downtown hosts a few “Shop ’til You Drop” holiday events where stores are discounted over the weekends. Many people from the Holland area come out and shop at that time, getting into the Christmas spirit as a community.

a Christmas display in my favorite downtown store, Gezellig


Another popular activity to do around this season in Holland is visiting Kerstmarkt. This is a Dutch-inspired Christmas market that takes place in the typical farmer’s market spot downtown. There are vendors selling food and crafts, and you might even get a chance to chat with the Dutch Santa!

Coffee Shops

Coffee shops are always one of my favorite places to frequent in Holland, and at Christmastime this sentiment only amplifies. My favorite coffee shop is Kin, which is about 10 minutes away from campus. If you stop by in December, you can decorate your own coffee cup ornament for their tree, order a special holiday drink, and make Christmas cards that they’ll mail for you.

At Hope

Last but certainly not least, various holiday events happen on campus at Hope that add to the festive atmosphere of the community. Vespers is a well-known Christmas concert that Hope’s music ensembles put on in Dimnent Chapel in a weekend typically near the beginning of December. People travel from all over the United States to come to Vespers every year, and the show typically sells out very quickly. Campus Ministries also puts on a special event called Lessons and Carols, which happens on the last Sunday night before exam week. Students all get dressed up and come together in Dimnent Chapel to sing carols, hear the Gospel, and celebrate semester’s end with their community at Hope.

A few friends and I at Lessons and Carols in Dimnent!

Wrapping it Up

All in all, there are many fun and festive activities to do in Holland during the Christmas season. Both on campus and off, Holland is my favorite place to be this time of year!

Christmas at Hope

Christmas at Hope is nothing short of magical. Especially with snow on the ground, it feels like I’ve been transported into an idyllic Christmas painting. But even though the scenery is spectacular, it’s Hope’s Christmas traditions that make this time of year so special. After Thanksgiving break, there are ample opportunities to be festive on campus, and there’s something for everyone. However, there are a few events you simply can’t miss.

Tree Lighting

At Hope, the Christmas season only truly starts after the tree lighting. It’s not something you want to miss. The student body gathers around the tree next to the President’s house to sing carols, watch the tree lights come on, and get excited for Christmas! Plus there’s hot chocolate served during the event and cookies served afterwards in the BSC. What more can you want? My friends and I look forward to it every year, and we love getting to hang out afterwards too.


In case you don’t know, Vespers is a Christmas music extravaganza featuring all three of Hope’s vocal ensembles, our orchestra, and a few student organ players. But be warned, tickets sell out fast! If you are able to get a seat, you certainly won’t be disappointed. Besides the beautiful performances, it’s worth going just to see Dimnent Chapel decked out in stunning Christmas decor. The thing I love most about it is seeing all of my friends in the various ensembles getting to show how hard they’ve worked leading up to the event. The sheer effort put in by everyone involved is incredible. 

Lessons & Carols

Every year there’s a special Christmas Gathering service that features a blend of classic and contemporary Christmas songs. The service itself has more of a contemplative mood, with many moments for quiet reflection and prayer. If you’re looking for an opportunity to step away from the chaos of the season I can’t recommend it enough. 

Christmas Brinner

In my opinion, Christmas Brinner is the superior Brinner. It has all the fun and chaos of a regular Brinner, plus everything that’s awesome about the Christmas season. It’s a win/win! My favorite part of the night is when the whole dining hall sings The 12 Days of Christmas. Last year, my group got to sing “five golden rings” (which is objectively the best part of the song). If you’re looking to get one last dose of Christmas fun at Hope before exam week continues, I can’t recommend Christmas Brinner enough. 

Just take it all in!

While Christmas is super fun, it can also be overwhelming. Not only are there a ton of events to go to, but exams are right around the corner. So if there’s one thing I want to recommend above all else, it’s to take a quiet moment and look around. It’s important to take breaks when you’re studying, so why not take that opportunity to really soak in the scenery? The best Christmas gift you can give yourself right now is managing your time well and keeping your stress down. Plus, your friends are probably feeling the same way as you are, so you can take the opportunity to spend time with them and just relax.

No matter what your schedule may look like right now, there are a ton of Christmas activities you can go to around campus, and there’s something for everyone. It’s a great break from exams, and in my opinion, there’s no better backdrop for Christmas than Hope’s campus. So have fun, and make sure to stay warm!

Residential Life at Hope

Growing up, I loved to imagine what my dorm would look like.  I watched Youtube videos of college room tours, and dedicated a whole Pinterest board to decor ideas.  Now that I’m back at Hope for my second year, I’ve come to understand that the residential experience is much more than just the room you live in.  Residential Life at Hope provides a support system and community where students can belong.

When coming to Hope as a freshman, students can sign up with a roommate or go in blind.  Hope has a special survey designed to match students with people that have similar room preferences and habits.  Some people find their close friends this way.  Students are typically required to live on-campus for the first three years at school.  Their fourth year, they can live off campus in an apartment or rented house, or continue on campus. Most people will live in dorms the first two years and then nearby Hope-owned cottages during junior and senior year. This structure is intended to give students a community starting right when they step on campus.

Last year, my dorm was co-ed and this year I live in a smaller building with all girls.  These dorms have different cultures and communities, but I have uniquely found my place in both of them.  In every dorm, there are student RAs (resident assistants) as well as RDs (resident directors) that students can be in relationship with.  This year, I have been blessed through coffees and chats with both my RA and my RD.  I truly appreciate their willingness to invest in forming a relationship with me. My experience with them is not abnormal; RAs and RDs are hired to support students. All those I have met truly do their job well. They put on community-building events (from movie watching to pancake eating!) and have an emergency phone that students can call through the night if needed. This structure and intentionality allows residents to thrive.

When coming to Hope, I was nervous that the dorm I signed up to live in would limit who I was or who my friends would be.  While dorms are a good place to find community, they’re not exclusive.  As a sophomore, my best friends live in all different dorms than me.  I love to go visit their rooms, and never feel unwelcome because I live or don’t live in a certain place on campus.  Residential life isn’t limiting like I once feared it was.  It’s a way to find your people, but it’s not the only way.

This year, I live with my best friend in a room with arguably one of the best views on campus.  Our neighbors have become some of my favorite people, and our RA has become a sweet friend.  Residential Life at Hope yields rich relationships, intentionality, and support.  I am so very thankful for that.

my room’s beautiful view of the Pine Grove and sunset!