2019 Countdown to Hope

It’s a new year! And a new chapter for you as well. You’ll be starting college life in just a few months. These are exciting times — but let’s be honest, these can be stressful times, too.

We want to take the worry out of your upcoming transition to Hope College and Holland, Michigan, so we’ve created a “Countdown to Hope” — your checklist on next steps for financial aid, scholarships and enrollment.

January

  • Join Hope College Connect! Connect is our online community for admitted students.
  • Create a FAFSA account. If you have not done so already, create your Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) at fafsa.gov and send your information to Hope using our Federal School Code, 002273.
  • Complete and submit the FAFSA. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at fafsa.gov, using 2017 tax information.
  • Watch your mailbox for scholarship info. Hope began notifying admitted students about academic (also called “merit-based”) scholarships in mid-December.
  • Respond to requests. As the Office of Financial Aid staff reviews forms, they often contact families to request more information. Be sure to respond if contacted!
  • Join the conversation! Follow Hope on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat (hope_college) and YouTube. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #Hope2023.

February

  • Last call for scholarship materials! Submit or update your materials (new test scores, class rank, GPA or high school transcript) by the February 1 deadline to be considered for academic scholarships.
  • Watch your mailbox for a financial aid package. The Office of Financial Aid begins sending financial aid award letters in early February. This letter includes your award package, which indicates the types and amount of aid offered to you for the 2019–20 academic year.

March

  • Last call for financial aid forms! Still need to submit financial aid forms? Be sure to do so by the priority filing deadline, March 1.
  • Remember to save your spot. In early March, Hope mails admitted students a request to submit the $300 enrollment deposit at hope.edu/deposit. This deposit reserves your place in the Class of 2023.

April

  • Attend Admitted Student Day! Saturday, April 13 is our annual Admitted Student Day, the perfect day to take a final look at Hope before you make your decision.

May

  • May 1 — National Candidates Reply Date! To guarantee a place in Hope’s Class of 2023, submit your deposit at hope.edu/deposit. After May 1, a deposit reserves your place only if space is available. (The enrollment deposit is nonrefundable after May 1.)
  • Watch your inbox for housing info. In late May, Hope emails housing materials to all students who have reserved their place in the Class of 2023.
  • Watch your mailbox for class registration info. Also in late May, Hope mails personal Hope College account and class registration information to all students who have reserved their place in the Class of 2023.

July

  • Save the date. In early July, Hope mails orientation materials to all students who have reserved their place in the Class of 2023. Make plans for you and your family to attend the many activities scheduled throughout Orientation Weekend in late August.
  • Find out where you’ll be living. Also in early July, Hope mails housing and roommate assignments to all students who have reserved their place in the Class of 2023.

August

  • Review your schedule. Watch your inbox for your class schedule, which Hope emails to all students who have reserved their place in the Class of 2023.
  • Celebrate! You have arrived! Your first year at Hope begins with Orientation Weekend held in late August. Move-In Day is Friday, August 23.

Once in Your Shoes: Reflections from the Carpenters to Prospective Hope Parents

Feel like you’re swimming in questions about searching for the right college? You’re not alone! In this series, “Once in Your Shoes,” four Hope families share their wisdom about the college search process as they were once in your shoes. We’ve asked these families some admissions-related questions, with the goal of letting their experiences help you.

Chris Carpenter ’90 and Panechanh Choummanivong ’93 Carpenter

Christopher and Panechanh Carpenter, from St. Louis, Missouri, reflect upon their family’s Hope admissions process. The Carpenters’ son, Cameron, is a member of Hope’s Class of 2022.

As college decision letters began arriving in the mail, what went through your minds?

Did Cameron get into Hope College? Did we choose wisely with our selection of colleges to explore based on Cameron’s academic and career interests? Did Cameron spend enough time exploring Hope College, Holland and West Michigan? If Cameron selects Hope College, how will he cope with being eight hours away from home for the first time in his life without his parents and sister?  

As Hope alums, we had frequently shared memories of Hope College since Cameron was a small child. He had spent time touring the campus and listening to our stories many times as a teenager. While waiting for decision letters to arrive, we reminisced about our own college years, uncertainties, experiences, and lifelong friendships. We also reviewed the rationale for ranking Hope College Cameron’s #1 choice.

What was the criteria you were using to help in the decision process?  

Cameron had toured schools in Indiana and Missouri (our home state for the last 15+ years), some of which were larger and some that were more expensive. Cameron wanted to compete in college athletics as had his father. He was also comfortable in West Michigan with all of his grandparents and cousins within a 30-minute drive.  

However, the most important qualities that distinguished Hope from other colleges and universities were the engagement of the professors and coaches and the camaraderie Cameron noted during the Fly-In Weekend. The student body made him feel comfortable, while the professors he met generated excitement at the academic opportunities ahead.

What role did Hope’s faith dimension play in the decision process?  

We were comfortable allowing Cameron to explore his spiritual growth in the open-minded atmosphere of Hope College.

Cameron and sister Kayla led a walk around campus.

How many times had you visited campus before the final decision to attend Hope was made?  

Cameron had been on Hope’s campus several times during summer vacations on Lake Michigan growing up. Since Holland is an eight-hour drive from St. Louis, he didn’t have the opportunity to visit Hope during the high school year because he was committed to cross country, basketball, and track. However, he did fly to West Michigan for the Fly-In Weekend in the fall of his senior year. The opportunity to live in the dorm for a couple of days, attend classes, and encounter actual students who were studious, sufficiently challenged by their academic workload and content seemed to seal the deal for Cameron. After that weekend, he never spoke of any other colleges and has never looked back.

How did size of our institution influence the decision to attend Hope?

The size of the student body, dorms and classrooms significantly contributed to Cameron’s level of comfort with Hope College. He went to a large urban high school but seemed to know almost everyone in his graduating class. His state champion high school cross country team remains extremely close knit, and he wanted to repeat that team experience with his college career. Hope’s Cross Country program was fantastic at explaining the world of Division III sports for the scholar-athlete, especially Coach Northuis.

What concerns did you have or can you share about paying for college?  

Chris: Every semester of my four years at Hope College in the 1980s, my parents reminded me of how expensive the school was relative to state schools and how I probably wouldn’t be able to return the following semester. I had one or more jobs every semester at Hope College and was only able to afford the meal plan my freshman year. We have worked very hard for the last 30 years to ensure that our children would never feel those stressors or uncertainty about their college education — and fortunately, they have not.

Panechanh: I also worked one or more jobs throughout my four years at Hope College. Since elementary school, our children have been taught that their most important job is to be stewards of their education by participating in class, completing homework, and preparing for every exam (including ACT/SAT) to the best of their ability. They have had jobs to learn the value of earning money, but never as a necessity for affording their education. We appreciate Hope’s attention to the cost of a college education.

Any other thoughts or stories you would like to share?  

[Admissions representative] Nate Haveman played an indispensable role in maintaining Cameron’s interest in Hope College. From visiting our home to having dinner with Cameron to sending intermittent notes telling Cameron about “The Pull” or other Hope events and checking in by email to see how senior year was progressing, no other college matched this level of engagement or sincerity. Whereas other colleges made Cameron feel as if they were capable of providing a four-year college education, Nate’s approach combined with Hope’s professors and Coach Northuis made Cameron feel as if he was coming home.

Worrying About the “What If?”

Female Hope Student
Chandler Alberda is a junior from Austin, Texas

Deciding where to go to college was just as stressful and scary as it was exciting. What if I made the wrong choice and I missed out on an entirely different experience at a different school? I wanted someone else to decide for me so I didn’t have to think about it. My whole mindset changed once I went on college visits. As I visited different campuses I began to envision what it would look like to live there.

Being on Hope’s campus, I could feel the supportive and lively community even though I was only in Holland for a couple of days. Seeing the campus, talking to the students and sitting in on classes made my decision very clear. I saw myself as a student at Hope. Buying my dorm stuff, meeting my roommate and signing up for classes was all fun but the hard decisions didn’t just stop once I decided to go to Hope. All of a sudden, I had to choose a major.

At Hope, many new students come in as “undecided.” This was refreshing because I didn’t know exactly what field I wanted to go into. With the liberal arts education, I was able to take classes in the musical arts, political science, communication and business, all in my freshman year of college. This way I wasn’t picking a degree out of the blue but I could test out the waters.

I met so many people when I came to Hope and at least half of them were all deciding on their major too. One of the first classes every student takes is the First Year Seminar (FYS). In this class, you and other first-year students discover what your passions are and can transition into college together. We also took personality tests that would tell us what our strengths are. I was Woo, Communication, Activator, Maximizer, and Futuristic.

I met with faculty and advisors to find out what Hope could offer me, and I discovered the types of classes I enjoy. Once I paired my passions with my strengths, I felt confident in declaring my major. I became a Communication major and I fell in love with the upper-level classes that I was taking even though I thought that declaring a major could prohibit me from experiencing other classes that Hope had to offer. Through the general education requirements and electives, I still got to take classes that taught me skills outside of communication.

Decisions are hard and college can be scary. What is comforting is that there are many students that have gone through the same trials. Everyone else that shows up on move-in day will be figuring it out just like you. A huge part of college is discovering what you love to do and making your passions a part of your everyday life. Hope College has so many resources available to discern those passions. Take advantage of the advising programs and technology that Hope has.

Lastly, transitioning from high school to college is going to put you out of your comfort zone. Try new things and take chances. You never know what opportunities can arise in places you would least expect. Deciding on a college and picking a major are both hard decisions. But they are easier made if you take the time to explore your options. An overnight visit to a college and a class in a subject you’ve never studied can be intimidating but you may come across your new favorite thing.

Campus in a Summer State of Mind

hope hat and water bottle in foreground, shadow of big red lighthouse in background

When your parents first drop you off at Hope, it is hard to imagine that you might not want to go back to “home sweet home” next summer. Holland is an enjoyable city to be in from Fall to Spring, but summertime is prime time for this beach town. Locals will tell you that Hope students are truly missing out when they pack their bags for summer, only to return when classes start up for fall.

Finding Friends

What is stopping people from staying around in the summer? Most often it is the misconception that campus is dead. That is farthest from the truth. Hope has a variety of activities and programs that keep the campus full of life all summer long. Events and Conferences host dozens of camps that bring in new groups from all over the country weekly. And, while it’s definitely not the same vibe as during the school year, there are plenty of Hope students who stick around campus in the summer that it’s no trouble finding friends to hang out with. I used to be skeptical about staying in Holland over a break until one Easter I wasn’t able to make it home. Turns out, there were so many others that I would not have gotten to know and love if I had not stayed on campus.

Working on Campus

Student workers for physical plant driving a utility vehicle. Nearly every office on campus hires students to help them out during the summer. You learn so much and gain respect for the way that our staff and faculty spend all summer bettering the campus so that everything runs smoothly when students return in the fall.  Student workers help with everything from landscaping with Physical Plant, researching with their professors, giving campus tours with the Admissions office, and more! All of these options are valuable experiences and opportunities that are still relaxed enough to give you plenty of play time outside of the office.

Living in a Beach Town

The Holland area is a vacation destination for thousands of people every summer which makes staying here over the summer the perfect balance between work and vacation. I have been to the beach and out for ice cream nearly every day and it never gets old. If you are down for an adventure, there are plenty of day trip options to nearby state parks or other beach towns like Saugatuck or Grand Haven. Or relax by taking advantage of the Pine Grove, beach volleyball courts, or strolling beautiful downtown Holland. With all this to do, my friends and I haven’t had a dull moment on campus this summer.

Staying at Hope in the summer is experiencing the same friendly and loving community except with a summer state of mind. Most of the same resources you use during the academic year such as the Bultman Student Center, the Dow, and the library are still available. Plus staff and faculty love to see students around in the summer, and often times, they are even more willing to meet with you if you need advising or just a chat. You are guaranteed to meet new people and have fun experiences you would not have during the school year. Turns out, in college, staying at school over the summer is actually really fun!

Comparing Financial Aid? Ask These Questions!

For many high school seniors and their families, the college selection process includes a comparison of financial aid offers. As you narrow your list and weigh your options, there are a few important questions to consider. Keep this list handy as you compare financial aid packages:

  • What is the renewal criteria for my financial aid? Does your financial aid package include an academic scholarship? If so, be sure to check the criteria for scholarship renewal. Academic scholarships at Hope are guaranteed through your sophomore year and renewable for your two remaining years if you maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or 2.75, depending on the scholarship. We want to ensure you have time to be involved with activities outside the classroom — internships, student clubs, service projects and more — that help build a strong resume for the next steps in your career.
  • Does my financial aid apply to off-campus programs such as study abroad? Your financial aid at Hope, including merit-based scholarships, travels with you for any Hope-approved off-campus programs.
  • What is the school’s graduation rate? How feasible is it for students in your preferred academic program to graduate within four years? At Hope, 87 percent of our graduates finish in four years or less.
  • What type of learning environment do you prefer? The most valuable financial aid is one that supports your education in an environment where you will thrive. Consider the factors critical to your success, including:
    • Academic offerings: Does the college offer the majors and minors you’re seeking?
    • Size of school: Where do you see your best fit — at a large, mid-sized or small school?
    • Faith: Is an active faith community important to your personal development?
    • Faculty-student relationships: How closely do faculty collaborate with students, not just in terms of faculty-to-student ratio, but also in the quality of interaction?
    • Mentorship: What kind of one-on-one attention will you receive — from academic advising to academic coaching — from career advising to preparing for graduate school?
    • Opportunities: What opportunities exist for off-campus study, hands-on research and creative performance? Can you participate in athletics, student clubs, and volunteer with service and leadership programs?
    • Sense of community: What words would you use to describe the community you’re seeking? Tight-knit? Friendly? Safe? Active? Fun? Social?
    • Support services: What services would be beneficial to you? Academic success center? Group study and peer partnership programs? Counseling and psychological services? Health center?

We are eager to help you answer these questions and any others you may have. Schedule a campus visit to talk to us in person, or contact us at admissions@hope.edu or 616.395.7850. We can’t wait to tell you more about what makes Hope such a special place!

Countdown to Hope

It’s a new year! And, a new chapter for you, as well. You’ll be starting college life in just a few months. These are exciting times — but let’s be honest, these can be stressful times, too.

We want to take the worry out of your upcoming transition to Hope College and Holland, Michigan so we’ve created a “Countdown to Hope” — your checklist on next steps for financial aid, scholarships and enrollment.

November – January

  • Create a FAFSA account. If you have not done so already, create your Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) at fafsa.gov and send your information to Hope using our Federal School Code, 002273.
  • Complete and submit the FAFSA. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at fafsa.gov, using 2016 tax information.
  • Complete and submit the SAF. Visit hope.edu/saf, where you’ll find Hope’s Supplemental Application for Financial Aid (SAF). Complete the online form, then print, sign and send it to the Hope College Office of Financial Aid via mail, email or fax. (NOTE: The SAF cannot be submitted online.)
  • Watch your mailbox for scholarship info. Hope begins notifying admitted students about academic (also called “merit-based”) scholarships in mid-December.
  • Respond to requests. As the Office of Financial Aid staff reviews forms, they often contact families to request more information. Be sure to respond if contacted!
  • Join the conversation! Follow Hope on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat (hope_college) and YouTube. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #Hope2022.

February

  • Last call for scholarship materials! Submit or update your materials (new test scores, class rank, GPA or high school transcript) by the February 1 deadline to be considered for academic scholarships.
  • Watch your mailbox for a financial aid package. The Office of Financial Aid begins sending financial aid award letters in early February. This letter includes your award package, which indicates the types and amount of aid offered to you for the 2018–19 academic year.

March

  • Last call for financial aid forms! Still need to submit financial aid forms? Be sure to do so by the priority filing deadline, March 1.
  • Remember to save your spot. In early March, Hope mails admitted students a request to submit the $300 enrollment deposit at hope.edu/deposit. This deposit reserves your place in the Class of 2022.

May

  • May 1 — National Candidates Reply Date! To guarantee a place in Hope’s Class of 2022, submit your deposit at hope.edu/deposit. After May 1, a deposit reserves your place only if space is available. (The enrollment deposit is nonrefundable after May 1.)
  • Watch your inbox for housing info. In late May, Hope emails housing materials to all students who have reserved their place in the Class of 2022.
  • Watch your mailbox for registration info. Also in late May, Hope mails personal Hope College account and class registration information to all students who have reserved their place in the Class of 2022.

July

  • Save the date. In early July, Hope mails orientation materials to all students who have reserved their place in the Class of 2022. Make plans for you and your family to attend the many activities scheduled throughout Orientation Weekend, August 24–27, 2018.
  • Find out where you’ll be living. Also in early July, Hope mails housing and roommate assignments to all students who have reserved their place in the Class of 2022.

August

  • Review your schedule. Watch your inbox for your class schedule, which Hope emails to all students who have reserved their place in the Class of 2022.
  • Celebrate! You have arrived! Your first year at Hope begins with Orientation Weekend, August 24-27, 2018.

May Term Mems

Pine Ridge, South Dakota 

One of the unique academic experiences that Hope College offers students is to study over the summer months through May, June and July terms. For many Hope students, this is a chance to travel or spend some more time in lovely Holland and build a deeper community with the members of one class.

In May 2016, myself, a group of Hope women and an extraordinary Religion professor packed into a twelve-passenger van and drove off into the Badlands of South Dakota. Our goal was to engage and learn about the Oglala Lakota Tribe on Pine Ridge Reservation. As the professor mapped out the ride, we took turns sleeping and passing snacks as we anticipated the adventure ahead. What would the third poorest county in the country look like? What work would we be doing to help a culture with such a long history of oppression? What would the Natives think of such a strange group of Midwestern college students walking through their shops and communities?

Prior to the trip, the class met for three hours in the morning for a week in Holland to prep ourselves for the journey. My professor, Dr. Hoogerwerf, opened his doors to us and a couple of us stayed with him and his wife for the entire week. We had night chats over dinner and rode together to class in the mornings. Our side of the deal instead of rent was to babysit grandson Miles, which was never a problem. We learned about the history of the Oglala tribe and the tragedies committed to Native Americans by Colonial militias and American forces in United States History. The Lakota Tribe was forced on reservations like Pine Ridge and taken from their sacred Black Hills that now contain four faces of American presidents carved side by side. My favorite book we read was called Neither Wolf Nor Dog written by a white man who interviews Lakota Indians on the reservation and records their stories. There were many experiences on the trip that have some of the top memories of my Hope experience so far. To keep this story short, I’ll talk about my top three:

Volunteering with Remember

Our housing for the trip was offered by a nonprofit organization working with the Oglala Lakota tribe called Remember. The organization focuses on helping members of the community by building outhouses, skirting trailers, gardening and other hands-on immediate needs and relief. Meanwhile, as students, church groups, and other volunteers offer their time and skills Remember educates visitors about the tribe’s troubling past, but more importantly their rich culture. They also employ members of the tribal community to speak in the evenings and share their stories with guests. I loved meeting the speakers and hearing their experiences.

Cheesin’ after hiking the Badlands

Hiking with Ineila

Professor Dr. Hoogerwerf

One such speaker at Remember has had a relationship with our professor for years. He offers year after year to lead a hike through the Badlands and share with us the discoveries left behind by World War II machine guns and the critters that lived there before. The Badlands were formed by a salt-lake that dried up and left behind fossilized turtle shells and neat patterns of dirt and rocks. It’s a beautiful hike — but an even greater look into why the tribe treasures the land taken from them.

The group hiking through

 

 

We did it!
Ineila (our guide) and Rachel looking at turtle shell fossils

 

 

 

 

Sweat Lodge

My all-time favorite moment of our trip was also the moment I wished I could dive into a pool of ice cubes. Sweat Lodge is a traditional ceremony that “cleansed” the soul and when the men of the tribe would meet with Wakan Tanka (their deity). Another speaker at Remember, lead us through this ceremony and shared his sacred songs. The heat was intense and all twelve of us sat together under a dome made of animal skins and blankets surrounded by hot rocks that sizzled with the humidity of the air. We were also invited to share a meal with them and we sat in their trailer eating soups out of spare cups and bowls. The way they opened their arms to us was a unique and genuine gesture, and it reminded me of the way the church should also open its arms.

Example of what a lodge looks like

These memories have driven my studies back at Hope and will continue to shape my future goals. I love to fix myself in new cultures and learn from stories there. I would encourage students to volunteer and travel in their time at Hope. If not for a semester, then for a May, June, or July Term. If not for these then go on an immersion trip through Campus Ministries! There are many ways to travel, serve and learn from others and the opportunities are plentiful at Hope.

Learn Lakota: “Mitakuye Oyasin” – we are all related

 

 

Hope College Nursing

By: Noemi Rocha

As a kid, I would equate nursing school with a trade school. I always pictured the hospital beds and learning the necessary technical skills, but not much else. My Hope experience has been completely different than I imagined and incredibly worthwhile.

If I’m being completely honest, I didn’t know I wanted to be a nurse until my senior year of high school. I came to Hope believing I wanted to do nursing, but then there were days where I thought I had changed my mind. However, the approach and effort Hope takes to create wonderful and capable nursing students is what made me stay. I still remember sitting in Anatomy Lab and holding a human heart for the first time. I had this moment where I paused and was just amazed at the intrinsic design the human body has. Every part has an important function.

My first two years at Hope had a nursing focus, but I felt like any other student. I took prerequisite courses for the nursing program, but for the most part, I was taking a lot of different courses as well. I believe this time to explore different topics is imperative to shaping who you are and how you perform in a career. In my freshman year, I was part of the, Phelps Scholars Program, a living-learning community, that focuses on exploring different cultures and ideas and I loved it. This community gave me a greater understanding of cultural competency and as a nursing student, we’ve explored the concept of cultural competency in previous courses. Although the Phelps Scholars Program wasn’t centered on nursing at all, I still found a way to apply my learning to my future career.

I’m currently in my junior year and in my Psychiatric Mental Health Theory and Practicum Rotation. All of the nursing rotations are a half semester and include many different hospitals with different specialties. The group is about 7 – 8 students to one professor and the real-world learning truly begins. Each clinical will visit the hospital for 8 hours on Monday night and again on Tuesday morning. I’ve been able to gain both the necessary experience and confidence throughout this first clinical, which is necessary to be a good nurse. Recently, I had a moment where I truly realized that the patients we are working with are real. I knew that going in, but I don’t think I understood the gravity of what it actually meant. It’s an honor to be able to enter into their life for a moment and provide the best care we can.

My one piece of advice for a new nursing student – or any student looking to come to Hope –  would be to continue learning. Nobody is ever completely knowledgeable on every topic. Trust me, the knowledge of how to be an effective nurse will come with time, but what you spend your time on outside of the classroom is also important. At Hope, I have the opportunity to attend lectures that a variety of groups & organizations offer, typically on topics that are flooding the media. The intent is never to choose a side, but to listen to different sides, understand new perspectives and continue to learn and question ideas. Never stop listening. It is how we understand people. When we can understand a person, we can provide care. Similarly, if a patient feels heard by the nurse, they are more willing to trust the nurse and become completely honest. A patient that is honest will receive better care than one who is not.

My perspective of what a nurse does has completely changed from how I used to think about it. Yes, it’s important to learn and know the technical side, but there is so much more than that. I have gained so much respect for nurses and I cannot wait to become one myself. The nursing program at Hope is challenging, but it equips students to jump into the field once they are finished with their four years. I will be ready and so will you.

Can’t you just tell me?: Musings on Being Undecided

By: Alley LoPrete

One of the most daunting parts of choosing a college for me was wondering if I would make the right choice. How do I know my school is the right one? It brought me back to middle school dreams of my future husband and asking my mom “How do you know he is the ONE?” So, I chose a school where I could find lots of options; Hope College. Perfect! I found a liberal arts school where I can take classes in multiple areas to fit all my interests. It wasn’t a cop-out. Rather, I felt that Hope College would help me stay well rounded and flexible so that I could do all the things I love for four more years.

As a result, my schedule freshman year was a melting pot for my mind:  Basic Painting: yes I love to be creative! Encounter with Cultures: awesome, I love learning people’s stories!, Communication: nice, this is an important skill. Then, the most terrifying email came into my inbox from my advisor. The subject line: DECLARE A MAJOR! A major, as in one subject, one degree, one department. Here I was faced with another choice and I was again too overwhelmed with ideas to make it. My biggest fear was that I would choose a career path that I would tire of, or that my degree would limit me later in life. I also felt that I needed to choose a major that would follow God’s calling for me. Thus, I was forced to turn inward and reflect on what I knew about myself.

This reflection was a large part of my First Year Seminar at Hope and through the class and the Career Development Center I took a StrengthsQuest test. This test is aimed at finding your top strengths through a series of self-reflection questions. Everyone passes this test and ends up with your top five strengths! Mine are: Includer, Adaptability, Connectedness, Empathy, Achiever. These traits pointed to a career in relationship building, so I signed up for a sociology class the next semester. Turns out, I love the social sciences and particularly the study of communities.

I also met with a religion professor after taking a religion course freshman year. I learned about all the careers that one can have in studying humanities and realized how options grow based upon your passions. I also read a book called Acts of Faith in my First Year Seminar class and I learned how much religion effects the world and how the social justice elements of my faith could be used for a greater good. I soon realized that my passions for serving others could be built into what I study at school. I can work for a nonprofit, serve, and still make a living.

In the end, I changed my major at least three times and ended up with not one, but two majors: Sociology and Religion. Through mentors, resources and experiences in the classroom my interests were channeled into potential jobs and the majors to go with. I am now looking forward to attending Seminary or Graduate school and working as a chaplain or for a nonprofit in the future. Even within my majors, I do not feel limited as I feared. In attending a liberal arts school, I can still go in and out of departments and continue learning! But, I do know now that my future is bright and I have a direction for my studies and a plethora of job options in the future.

Here are some points of advice that I will leave you with:

  • Reflect on your life experiences and what brings you joy: these often help you determine what you want to pursue doing in the future, because you loved them in the past.
  • Use your resources: family, friends, mentors, career centers and advisors, Strengths Quest and more can help you make good choices and consider more options that you may know about now.
  • Step out of comfort zone: your major may not be the most practical initially, but in talking to professors and doing research you may find more career possibilities.
  • Mix it up: Try out different classes, go to lectures outside your major. You may run into a topic you didn’t know you had a passion for and may end up with a minor!
  • Think of others: Everyone is given skills that are unique, think about how you will not only be helping yourself in choosing a major, but also keep in mind how what you’re studying can help others as well.

3 Things I Wish I Knew Going into Freshman Year

By: Tucker Marty

It is hard to believe that I, Tucker Marty, was once an 18 year old freshman who knew not a soul at Hope College. What’s even crazier is that, now a junior, I am over halfway done with my time here. Wow. Thinking back on my first two years here I feel all types of emotions. I have learned a lot. I have felt loved. I have felt at home.

Somehow, I think I am starting to figure the whole college thing out. Well, that’s probably not true because junior year is kicking my butt right now. But, I’m making progress. And I’ve learned a few things along the way. Had I known what I now know, going into freshman year would’ve been a whole lot smoother of a transition. So, I figured I’d share a few of these things with you all.

Procrastination

Yup, you bet I procrastinated as a freshman. Well, what the heck. I still procrastinate as a junior! BUT, I have learned a major key in how to conquer it (yes, I am still working at this)! Here it is: Be okay with moving on. Do not let the thing you are stuck on, keep you in the rut! I cannot tell you the amount of times I have been writing a paper, and I just stare at my cursor at the top of the page for what feels like forever, trying to come up with some clever way to start. Now, I know to move on. I tell myself to start some other place. Being okay with moving on doesn’t just have to apply to papers and homework though. I think too often we can so easily get caught up in little decisions that we make feel HUGE, and we become frozen because we don’t know what to do. I have learned here at Hope that it is simply best to choose a direction, and keep moving. It will reduce your blood pressure.

Time is Valuable

There are two typical responses for a Hope student to the question, “How’ve you been?” The first, is “Good,” and the second is, “Busy.” Hope students are always busy. Not that being busy is bad, I actually enjoy being busy. But an important lesson to learn is that you need to fill your time with things that are important to you. Otherwise, you will get overwhelmed quickly. Coming to Hope, you will be encouraged to get involved in this, get involved in that! “You’re not living the life of a Hope student if your day is not jam packed.” This statement is false. Besides learning to fill my time with what is important to me, I have gotten a whole lot better at saying no. Saying no is good! When you say no to one club, one extracurricular, one opportunity to lead this Bible study, you are gaining time to actually do what is important to you. Time is valuable, people! Learn what is important. Say no.

Having Fun is a MUST!

“College will be the best four years of your life.” This won’t be true, unless you decide to make it true! While learning new things, studying, and looking towards your “someday” is great and all, I’ve learned that sometimes you need to start focusing a little more on your “today.” Hope College is so great because it is a place where we have been given the resources, the support, and the incredible opportunity to dream about our “someday.” But it can be easy to start doing a whole lotta dreamin, and a just a little livin. Live for the now. Ride your bike to the pier with a friend. Make it a tradition to get Applebee’s “half off apps” every other weekend at midnight. Start a spikeball tournament in the Pine Grove. Polar bear plunge into Lake Michigan in November. Start a prank war with the guys (or girls) living across from you. Take a random road trip up north. Get the “pirate’s booty” from Captain Sundae. Stay up all night with your friends because you can! Make Hope College the best four years of your life, and I promise you it will. We’ve got a whole lotta tomorrow to worry about. Today, live for the now.