How have I changed as a person due to the college that I chose? Have I been transformed at all? What is transformation?

Tackle the Big Question

Have I changed at all?

Without any self-reflection I would have said “no.” I might have laughed too. Similar to high school, I am who I am and there is no changing me. Sounds very stubborn and stuck-up, right? Well, it is, and I was.

I am not the same person I was in high school, I’m not even the same person I was freshman year here at Hope. We all possess the ability to be changed as we travel through life. No two people can have the same experience and change the same way. You will change based on how willing you are to be stretched and pulled in different directions.

So yes, I have changed. Hope has transformed me in ways that I never planned.

Emotional/Mental Transformation

I wasn’t sure of who I was and who I was meant to be when I began at Hope. That is not to say I know any more now, but I have gained confidence that I will be where I am meant to be.

Hope has provided me with communities in which I have grown and found comfort in the company of friends. These friends have given me outlets for bottled emotions. I am in a much better state of mental health now, compared to when I came into college. If you would have asked freshman me if she thought Hope College would help our mental health, once again I would’ve shook my head.

Through the clubs and the many resources at Hope like the Boerigter Career Center and the numerous resources offered by the Library, I have found peace of mind. The pressure I put on myself has been lessened. I have learned that I am not alone in my progression through life.

Spiritual Transformation

I wasn’t sure about my faith coming into college. I knew that I wanted to create a stronger relationship with God but I didn’t know where to start. Of course, when I started Hope it was during COVID so everything was online. Yet, that had some benefits, I was able to watch some Chapel services and other lectures from my room. My introverted side loved that.

I also joined a Bible Study my freshman year and made a friend who I can now say is one of my closest friends. My Bible Study leaders still keep in touch with me as well. That Bible Study allowed me to learn more about God and His love for people through the views of others. Which also gave me the opportunities to understand different views that my own.

Physical Transformation

I am healthier and more accepting of my own body now more than ever. In high school I was very self-conscious of how I looked. Constantly worried about others’ opinions. College terrified me. People had more opinions there.

Yet, here I stand: healthy and confident. I have made friends who go to the gym with me sometimes, and we push each other. I have found support where there was previously none.

Even when I am in the gym I feel welcome. I have never felt uncomfortable or judged. Hope students have an understanding: everyone is working to be better, so we don’t have the place to cast judgement.

Final Notes

Hope College is a community of students, faculty and professors who are working together in harmony. No one is above another. If at all a student struggles or feels as though they aren’t “good enough” there are resources and people at Hope who will provide guidance and love.

Published by Emily Leegwater

Class of 2024 Hometown: Zeeland, MI Major: English; Creative Writing emphasis Minor: Studio Art

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