Where to Begin
When you enter Hope College’s beautiful campus you are first blown away by the welcoming feeling. Then, you decide to get more involved. So you pull up the clubs and organizations website and are instantly overwhelmed. There are so many. Where do you even begin?
Begin with merely glancing through and taking notes of your interests. Even if there are clubs for things you’ve never tried but think are interesting, write it down. Who knows? You might love it more than you think.
Once you have some written down, go through and read into each one. Figure out if you would be willing to commit some time to an activity or group. Clubs and organizations are here for you to build community, but community is a two way street. Even if it’s a street you don’t walk that often, you need to walk it at least a little.
I am a part of so many clubs and organizations here at Hope. I am one of the leaders of English Club, I participate in intramurals, and I am involved in seven other organizations/clubs. While that may seem like a lot, it really isn’t. I have time for each, even if it’s attending only one meeting or event per semester. Through these connections I have developed many relationships that I never would have otherwise.
For those who are concerned, thinking; “I’m not a social person, will I be too overwhelmed? Could I even participate well enough?” I was in that same position when I started college. I hid away in my dorm room and kept to myself. Yet, I knew I wanted more. So I joined a bible study; a very small group of young women who wanted to grow in their faith together. It was the best decision I ever made. I met my now closest friend and found that I wasn’t forced to put myself out there. Yet, the women were so welcoming that I found myself being more open and involved as the semesters progressed.
This seemingly small step lead me to want to pursue more relationships. So, I went to the Hope website for clubs and organizations and started browsing. Then I sent out emails to the clubs asking to be placed on their email lists. Now, here I am, more involved than I ever thought an introvert like me could be.
What does this all mean?
It means you are welcome and wanted here at Hope. Your peers want to get to know you and interact with you. Students of Hope gather together to learn and grow through each other.
It doesn’t mean you are now obligated to make each meeting and attend every event hosted by the clubs and organizations you are apart of. It doesn’t mean worrying about meeting new people; you can drag your friend or roommate along even if they aren’t involved in that club yet. I did that my Sophomore year; I dragged a friend along to an event and now they are apart of that club as well.
Being apart of a club or organization here at Hope College means you are a contributing member of our large community. So, reach out. Join that club that’s been on your mind. Reach out to the event leaders and ask if you can help run the organization or club. But keep in mind, you are not judged if you miss an event or cannot attend meetings. We all have obligations to our classes and our mental health, do not put those at risk because you are worried you will miss out. I missed a meeting for the club I lead because I needed to work on homework and no one minded. I simply reached out and asked what I missed. My fellow leaders were more than happy to fill me in and wish me luck in my studies.
The clubs and organizations are here to help you create community at a school where you might not know a single face. To build you up and allow you to have some fun while completing an education. So what are you waiting for?