I came to Hope as a freshman in the fall of 2018 with unbelievable expectations and hopes for what my first year in college would be. I would meet my roommate and become best friends. College, how hard could it be if I managed to get through high school. I thought about the free access to an exercise facility and how I would take advantage of that daily, without excuses. These ideas were some of the ones that laid a foundation for what I thought would be the best year of my life. Needless to say, nothing turned out the way I imagined it to.
In the process of learning about what my new home could offer me, I came across struggles I didn’t expect. The first came early on in my first semester.
During my first week as an official college student, the girl who I hoped to share the next four years with, decided that Hope College could no longer be her home. She surrendered the opportunity to pursue an education and although I was supportive of her choice and wished her the best, it was very discouraging. For someone who had traveled a thousand miles away from home in pursuit of her faith and a greater education, I felt guilty for not being homesick enough to make a decision like my roommate’s. Due to her decision, I was alone in a room meant for two for the rest of the year. Both my emotional and social health were at risk.
Taking classes that were tailored to my interests was something I looked forward to. I would work hard and study harder to be the straight A student I always wished to be. Spoiler alert: this was not the case. Although I dedicated as much time as I could to my classes outside of the classroom, it was not enough. The first grade I earned on an exam was disheartening. The second, was a greater disappointment. In addition to this, I was also neglecting my physical health by feeding into habits that seemed the most convenient. My mental and physical wellbeing were deteriorating.
As the year went by, I began to be aware of the different resources at my disposal. Attending events hosted by the Student Activities Committee, like Coffeehouse on Thursdays, and seeking out friendships in my residence hall and classes fed into my emotional and social needs. Pursuing academic assistance from the Academic Success Center and making the healthiest choices I could contributed to my mental and physical wellbeing. Once I made the choice to play an active role in what Hope had to offer, I felt myself working towards a healthier version of myself.
Since opening my eyes and heart to the community that once welcomed me, I’ve found the emptiness I once felt, be filled. Since then, I have connected with two amazing girls who I now call roommates, worked alongside a professor as a teacher assistant, and volunteered as an orientation assistant to welcome a remarkable group of freshmen. My journey to this point has only enriched my college experience and I could not be more thankful.