What to Expect for First Year Advising

Freshman advising is an incredibly laid back experience. The process depends on whether you declare a major your first year.

Not sure on your major yet?

If you don’t declare a major your first year, your advisor won’t change. Your First Year Seminar professor will be your advisor until you declare your major. There’s no need to worry if you don’t know what you’re going to major in, most programs can still be completed in four years if you declare your sophomore (and in some cases, junior) year. Before classes even begin (during Orientation week), you are required to meet with your advisor to go over the classes you’re enrolled in. Then, at the end of your first semester (and all semesters to follow), you are required to again meet with your professor and go through the classes you’re planning on taking for the following semester.

Declare a major

You can request a professor from the department for your major directly on the major declaration sheet, or you may be assigned an advising professor. You should meet with your new advisor, especially if you’ve never met them before, just so the two of you can get to know each other outside of the constraints of a classroom. From there, your advisor can give you specific, thoughtful advice regarding your major, and the classes they believe would be best for you.

Your advisor is the person who can help you with just about anything and everything. They’re there for you and they want to help you, and watch you succeed. They can help you figure out what classes would be best for you and help you find internships and summer jobs. They can be excellent references on resumes, and a great source of guidance.

Your responsibilities are to take initiative in scheduling appointments and having a valid reason to meet with your advisor. Whatever you schedule an appointment for, you should be prepared for the meeting. For example, when you have your semestral meeting with your advisor regarding classes to take, you should have the classes you’re planning on taking already in mind to share with them.

Exploring majors

Hope’s liberal arts emphasis allows you to explore multiple possible majors, while still working towards graduation. This means that you’re free to take courses ranging from the arts to math, and still receive helpful credits along the way. Hope also offers a career development center where you can take tests that show you which field you would be best in. Your advisor is another great source of advice when exploring majors and planning for your future. 

Chilean Movie Night

This Wednesday (March 15), I and Amie Hixon will organizing a Chilean movie night on the behalf of International Student Office in order to promote studying abroad. We both studied abroad in Chile this past fall semester. I was in Business and Culture program and Amie was in Liberal Arts Program. We will have a brochures about all the possible options if you are interested in studying abroad in Chile.

The movie, we will be playing will be is called Machuca (2004) and it is about two boys who observe a political coupe in their native country Chile. The only reason we picked it because it has the highest ranking on IMDb of 7.8. It got 12 awards wins and 5 nominations. I and Amie have not seen it yet, so it will be for the first time as well. So come to watch and explore about studying in Chile!

@DePree Cook Auditorium  at 7:00 pm

Cover of Machuca movie.
Cover of Machuca movie.

International Food Fair at Hope, a.k.a. Czech Cuisine

This past weekend, on Saturday, there was an international Food Fair where international students were making foods from their home country. Unfortunately, I was not be able to able to attend, so I will talk about what Czech cuisine looks like.

All my not-Czech friends who tried Czech cuisine, they either really liked it or do not eat at all. The meal is usually very heavy and includes a meat and some type of sauce. Czech cuisine has one unique quality and that you can put it in the fridge for 2 days and reheat it and still tastes relatively good as when it is made for the first time. It is because in the history were living very economical life styles in farms many times and they were trying to use their resources as much as possible.

Like Italians developed pasta or Japanese sushi, Czech developed “czech dumpling” it very different than the Chinese one. We three types of dumplings. One is called “Bramborový” which is an adjective of potato, because the dumpling is made from potatoes. Then we have “Houskový” which is an adjective of bread roll because this type of dumpling is made from bread rolls. The last type of dumpling is called “Ovocny” or fruit dumpling because it has fruit inside, but people put there a lot of things like Nutella or jam. But if Czech person offers “Ovocný” knedlík one refers to a sweet dumpling.

Other popular meals are called Svíčková or Knedlo Vepřo Zelo.

Knedlo Vepřo Zelo is made of Bramborový knedlík, pork meat, and cabbage
Knedlo Vepřo Zelo is made of Bramborový knedlík, pork meat, and cabbage
Bramborový Knedlík
Bramborový Knedlík
Houskový Knedlík
Houskový Knedlík
Svíčková na smetaně is made of houskový knedlík, beef meat, vegetable sauce, and whipped cream and cranberries for a decoration.
Svíčková na smetaně is made of houskový knedlík, beef meat, vegetable sauce, and whipped cream and cranberries for a decoration.
Ovocný Knedlík
Ovocný Knedlík

Senior Struggle #5: Being/Remaining Healthy

Happy Monday, Readers! I hope the weekend treated you well and you had a relaxing time full of rejuvenation.

Speaking of relaxation and rejuvenation, I feel like every person I’ve encountered lately has either just gotten over, is just coming down with, or is right in the middle of a cold. This semester is taking its toll on people, and the question at the forefront of my mind right now is: how does a student, especially a busy senior with so much on their plate, stay healthy physically and mentally?

  1. The first step to staying healthy is knowing your body and the signs of illness or exhaustion. For me, I know my body well enough to know that whenever I get just a twinge of a sore throat, it’s time to put my preventative health skills into action and slow down.
  2. To prevent illness, you need take care of your body. This means giving yourself “me time” so that you have time to regroup from your busy day-to-day life. This also includes getting enough sleep at night (7–8 hours) and eating a healthy diet. Trust me, if I only get five hours of sleep each night and eat french fries every day for dinner, my body pays for it and I feel gross at the end of the week.
  3. The only way to combat that gross feeling is to exercise. Finding your balance of how many times per week and for how long is tricky, especially when you’re going from place to place so often; however, being active at least three days a week is usually what I try to aim for. Sometimes (ok, let’s be honest – most times) that doesn’t work out and I end up working out only one or two days, so I try to be active and walk to class from my off campus house instead of driving. I’ve discovered that any activity, no matter how small it is, helps my body feel good.
  4. Finally, if you do get sick, give yourself time to recover – don’t rush the recovery process! Contact the Health Center if needed, but resting is always a good idea. Besides, who doesn’t want an extra couple days to sleep?

Although I’ve only listed four ways to help keep you healthy, only you truly know your body and know what is good for it when you start to get sick. Keeping busy has its benefits, but make sure that if you do get sick, you take time for yourself to recover so that you can get back on your feet in a short amount of time.

Until next time!

Being healthy is something that’s important to everyone – especially people with busy lifestyles.


Senior Struggle #3: Saying Goodbye to my Email Signature

Happy Monday, readers! Miraculously, after writing last week’s blog, I feel a lot better about being busy this semester. I feel like writing that blog post put a lot of things in perspective for me and I’m at terms with my workload for the semester. My new goal is to get most of my homework done during the weekends so that my weeks are a little less hectic. All it took was some rehashing to figure out how to do that!

The new thought that has been on my mind since I last wrote is the fact that I am scared out of my mind to leave this safe little bubble of Hope I’ve called home for the past four years. Thinking back on it, Hope has been my safe haven. It has given me an education, put amazing people in my life, and most importantly fostered my faith for the past four years. Everything has been made easily accessible to me and has been extremely convenient. It’s been easy to get involved, see friends when I need to, and go to church without straying too far from campus. The way I tend to think about this convenient bubble is in terms of my email signature. It looks like this:

Hope College, Class of 2017

English Major and Management Minor
Career Development Office, Career Advisor
Student Blogger, Hope College Admissions
Hope College Student Ambassador
Hope College Student Congress Representative
Nykerk Cup Executive Board Member, Treasurer

Adaptability | Positivity | Empathy | Developer | Futuristic

How I feel about my email signature…

To me, my email signature shows that I’m accomplished here at Hope and how easy it was to make those accomplishments happen. Once I graduate though, that signature will disappear and that thought is extremely scary to me. All my accomplishments will be gone! I will have to start from scratch building up my email signature with involvements and activities. How will I even begin to do that if I’m not within the comfortable bubble of Hope? How will I find activities to be involved in and make a new normal for myself?

One way to alleviate some of this stress about graduating and creating a new normal is by preparing for life after graduation. For me, that means to start thinking about it. A way that I’m going to start this conversation is by attending the event series “Life After College” which is put on by the Career Development Center, Campus Ministries, and the Senior Seminar program. Every week the series will be covering a different topic that seniors will have to face after graduation. This week on Wednesday from 3 p.m.–5 p.m., or Thursday from 7 p.m.–9 p.m. in the first floor rotunda of Martha Miller the topic that will be covered is finding a church. As a faith-driven person, that topic is very important to me and something I want to invest in. Other topics range from faith in the workplace to friends and fiancé’s after college – whatever the topic I know I need to start thinking about it!

Hopefully you all have started thinking about what life holds for you after graduation, but if you’re like me and haven’t even started, just know that Hope has amazing resources like the Career Development Center to help you start that conversation.

Until next time!

When (Not Yet) In Rome

While I wait for my semester abroad to begin, I thought I might as well share some of what I love about Hope with you all. When I chose to study abroad there were some things I knew I would miss: my friends, downtown Holland, Hope’s campus, etc. In addition to those things that were obvious to me, here are a few other things at Hope that I’ll be missing this semester.

1. Chapel

stained glass window
The rose window in Dimnent Chapel

It’s going to be strange moving from a campus with services 4 times a week to a city that’s filled with churches worshiping God in a language I barely know. A friend told me that, for her, studying abroad became a time for growth in which she gained a new perspective of God and a fresh reminder of his divinity and our inability to truly understand him. Her story was encouraging, as well as the fact that I can always listen to Chapel and the Gathering online.

2. Career Development Center

This Hope resource has all kinds of services available to students. From résumé help to mock interviews, this is the place to go for help with moving towards your future after Hope. While I have been working on summer internship applications I have missed being able to drop in for advice on my application materials. Thankfully, plenty of résumé and cover letter advice, tips, and samples, are available online.

3. Spring Traditions

Students sitting in the grass on campus
Spring Fling is an event that always draws tons of students, freshmen to seniors alike.

Two of the many events that stick out to me when I think of spring semester are Dance Marathon and Spring Fling. First is Dance Marathon, a fundraising event for Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. It’s a 24-hour event that a team of students spend the entire year planning, making decorations, and fundraising, all for the kids. Then Spring Fling is one of the final events of the year. On the last day of class the Pine Grove is filled up with inflatables, food, music, and students celebrating the end of another school year. You can line up early to get a free t-shirt, play laser tag, and line the sidewalk to watch The Push, a team shopping cart race.

While there are things I will miss at Hope, I cannot wait to study abroad this semester. However, thinking about how much I’ll miss is yet another reminder of how I really picked the right school for me. And I’m glad I have one more year to spend living at Hope.

Thanks for reading!

Senior Struggle #2: Priorities

Happy Monday, Readers! I hope your week is off to a good start and your weekend was restful and relaxing.

Floating back to last week’s blog, guess where I made a visit to this past weekend? You guessed it – the breakdown chair. Now, jumping right into the topic for this week, what do you think my breakdown was about? It was about how stretched I am this semester and where my priorities lie.

At some point (preferably soon), I’m going to have to accept the fact that I am busy and that my second semester of senior year won’t be a piece of cake. I have so many activities going on in my life while my friends don’t and that’s just the way it is. That’s the way the cookie crumbled. I’m done feeling sorry for myself, I’m done feeling jealous of things I can’t control.

Instead, I need to focus on the cards I’ve been dealt. I’ve been dealt 16 credits worth of classes and homework – many people have. I work jobs on campus – many people do. I’m involved in extracurriculars – many people are! In the grand scheme of things, I am no one special here on Hope’s campus. Many people do the same things that I do every single day. However, I have professors that care about me, bosses and jobs that I love, and amazing friends that push me to be the best I can be. Although in the grand scheme of things I may be no one special, in the everyday, fine fiber of Hope College, I am a valuable piece of the puzzle.

I don’t say that to be vain or boastful, mostly just to cope with my current situation. If I’ve learned one thing within the few short weeks of the semester, it is: in order to survive and thrive in what I’ve been dealt, I need to make priorities and be present in those priorities no matter what the cost. Here are the priorities I choose to focus on every day:

  1. Faith
  2. Self
  3. Academics
  4. People (Friends/Family/Relationship)
  5. Work
  6. Extracurriculars

While they may not always be numbered in this exact order, these are the things in my life that are important to me and I like to work hard at. I value relationships, doing well in school, and performing well at my respective jobs, and while all of these priorities are important, the one I forget about most often is the priority of myself.

Self-care should be one of the most important priorities in anyone’s life. Knowing yourself and your limits are extremely important and give shape to what you want your life to be. Being an introvert with extroverted tendencies, I tend to over book my days and not take enough time to rejuvenate myself in a healthy way. A perfect rejuvenation time for me would be reading a book, journaling, or just doing anything alone. Those things take a back seat when planning my days, though – my thought process is “I can always squeeze one more meeting or coffee date into this extra hour of time.” My goal for this week and the entire semester is to focus on myself and listening to what my brain and body need, whether that be a good reading session or just taking a nap. Part of focusing on myself is living into my priorities and being present when focusing on each of them.

As we hit the ground running this week, I encourage you all to figure out where your priorities lie and figure out how to stay true to them as your lives get busier and busier. I know it will help me through this busy time of my life and I hope it will help you too!

Until next time!

I’m with ya, Ron. This week I’ll try to live into my own priorities.