Among the many attributes of Hope’s location that set it apart from other schools in my college search, one particular attribute caught my attention: Hope is exactly 13 minutes from the beach.
And boy, have my friends utilized this asset. From last-minute runs to watch the sunset over Lake Michigan to a quick beach day on a rare, hot September or October day, the beach is one of the places where students can escape the pressures of everyday life and refresh.
Growing up in Petoskey, Michigan, I am truly a lake town girl at heart. Not only does the Lake Michigan lakeshore remind me of home, but it has also made Holland home in and of itself.
Small Town, Big Possibilities
Aside from the beach, Holland holds so many avenues for students to engage with the community. Only two blocks from campus, 8th Street is great for grabbing coffee with a friend, shopping local small businesses, picking up lunch, or even catching a movie! One of my friends’ favorite things to do on Saturday or Wednesday mornings is go to the Holland Farmers Market and grab a loaf of homemade bread or a bouquet of flowers for our cottage. Holland provides so many fun opportunities for students outside of Hope’s campus to engage with the community and make college memories memorable.
Holland is a town that embraces all of the seasons Michigan has to offer. Beaches and an abundance of ice cream places rule the summer. Followed closely by apple-picking, cider mills, and the changing colors in fall. Downtown fireplaces, heated sidewalks, and Christmas lights make Holland feel like a Hallmark movie town in the winter. And, of course, tulips bring new life to Holland every spring.
Holland’s proximity to other towns gives students even more things to do in the area. Saugatuck to the south and Grand Haven to the north provide awesome places to hike down to the water, visit different beaches, or explore new downtown areas. Holland is also just 40 minutes away from Grand Rapids, giving it all the advantages of a big city without compromising Holland’s small town charm.
Another way my friends and I have engaged with the Holland community is by visiting local churches. I have visited over six of the churches in the area, and every single one of them was excited to welcome Hope students and made us feel like we were part of their community.
One of my favorite ways I have interacted with the Holland community is by volunteering at a local nursing home. Volunteering has allowed me to build strong relationships with the people of Holland in a way I wouldn’t get to do on a college campus. Many of my friends have also pursued volunteering opportunities in Holland with organizations such as Community Action House, Holland Free Health Clinic, and Young Life programs at local high schools.
It’s Always a Good Time
So much of college is about the unpredictable and unplanned events that make it memorable. The late-night Good Time Donut runs, frequent Target trips, weekly (or nightly) Chick-Fil-A meals, or sitting in the car at the beach talking to your mom – Holland is a place for real-life memories. It’s a place where students can build a community outside of school and where they can find a home away from home.