It’s incredibly weird to think that I am officially done with my sophomore year at Hope. I can’t really explain it, but it’s gone so fast and so slow at the same time. In the past year I have met so many people, fallen in love with so many things, been met with so many great new opportunities, and seen my life change in so many ways.
Finals were overwhelming and seemed never-ending. I finished my last paper of the year about fifteen minutes ago and I still feel like there is so much more to do. I’ll wake up in the morning knowing that all that is left to do is check eight residents out of their rooms so they can go home for the summer, check the rest of the building with my staff, and sing at two Baccalaureate services on Sunday, but it won’t hit me until I’ve been at home for a few days.
This year, I have written over sixty papers. I have consumed hundreds of cups of coffee, most of them at hours when humans shouldn’t even be awake. I have seen more new beautiful places in West Michigan than I can count. I have folded dozens of paper cranes and been struck by numerous pieces of literature. I have watched way too many episodes of “Cupcake Wars” on Netflix and cried every single time they announced the winner. I have eaten a lot of ice cream, but also a lot of spinach, which I’m pretty sure counteracts the ice cream. I have ridden more trains in the past year than in the rest of my life combined, most of them with my best buddy/boyfriend by my side. I have adopted the groutfit lifestyle shamelessly.
I have traveled through 11 states on choir tour, camp visits, and weekends with my family or boyfriend. I have driven to Grand Haven too many times just to go to my favorite coffee shop. I have taken spontaneous trips to Grand Rapids and Chicago with my best friend. I have written songs for the first time in years. I have changed my major and quit activities I was a part of and joined new ones I’m really excited about. I have cried a lot of times, and I have laughed a lot of times. I have gained a group of best pals in this year’s Dykstra Hall staff. I have launched a full-scale investigation into who was stealing my stuffed Jamaican banana and leaving me ransom notes demanding candy. I have driven to the beach too fast on last-minute trips to see the sunset. I have taken a lot of pictures. I have spent an entire week without speaking at all. I have learned a lot about the constancy of Jesus, even when I wander away. I have found comfort time and time again in the fact that I am known and fully known by the God of the universe. I have taken science classes and religion classes that made me more confident in the vastness and glory and omnipotence and eternity of the God who made all this happen. I have found peace in knowing that there are so many things I will never know. I have realized that the best thing to spend money on is gas. I have learned that people and sleep are both more important than homework (homework is important too though, but eventually if you don’t sleep, you can’t do homework… Trust me on this one.). I have realized that there’s probably never a bad time for a cheeseburger. I have sung in the Duke University chapel on tour with Hope’s Chapel Choir, which I am convinced is the most beautiful building I will ever see in real life.
I have come to terms with the fact that I will never stop loving Dr. Pepper but I do not need to drink it every day (this is a major development, everyone). I have realized that I was born to be in the outdoors and at camp. I have rediscovered a love and wonder at the beauty of trees. I have experienced love from so many people like I never thought I could be loved. I have found passionate care for people on different continents who I will never know. I have cried over people I miss and people who are still here but I am already dreading missing. I have been to really great concerts. I have yelled during quiet hours sometimes even though I’m an RA. I have discovered a love for writing in many different forms. I have found an identity in something outside of music. I have checked “take a picture with Paul Boersma (one of Hope’s chaplains) and my best friend Allix” off of my Hope College bucket list.
I could go on forever.
Actually, I probably already have. I’ll be impressed if you made it all the way here.
I am so thankful for the things I’ve experienced at Hope this year. I have had so many incredible opportunities through so many people and departments, from the music department to campus ministries. While this year has contained so many ups and downs and I am ready to move on to camp for the summer, I am so thankful for the experiences I have had over the past eight months. I’ve been here for four semesters, and I have three left. It’s so weird to think that this time in my life is over halfway done. I am so excited for the many things that are yet to come (some AWESOME things are lined up for next year), and I can’t wait to see how God continues to work both in me and on this campus!
“For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
– Isaiah 43:19