November Resolutions

November has been a good month for me so far. I’m finally finally FINALLY starting to feel better after being sick since fall break. I’m just feeling very renewed and really not stressed at all, which is pretty miraculous for me (as you know if you read my last blog post!). Throughout November I have been trying to make some positive changes in my life and I’ve just been so much happier and felt a lot more content in a lot of ways. I thought I would share some of the things I’ve been doing. I hope you’re having as great of a November as I am, and if you aren’t, then maybe you can try one of these things and it will help a little bit!

1. Less spending

As you may be aware, I really like to buy things, but I hate to spend money. I feel so guilty almost every time I buy something because I know there’s something else I should be saving that money for (like, I don’t know, college). Towards the end of October I decided to stop using my debit card for a few weeks. It was really hard at times, but I’m glad I did it. Now I’m even more motivated not to use it. I like seeing the balance in my bank account go up instead of down for once! It’s a good feeling.

2. Managing computer usage

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Having my own laptop at school is awesome, but it can also be a little bit of a struggle. It’s so easy to be so constantly plugged in, but I’m trying something new to keep myself a little more balanced. I saw something on Pinterest that inspired this, but I took it a lot further. I taped a list of things to do before using my laptop right onto the cover so that I’ll always see it. I’ve done something on the list every time I’ve used my laptop so far since I made the list, so hopefully I can keep that up!

3. Less caffeine

This isn’t really a priority for reasons that it should be, but it is a change I’ve made that I think is probably helping me feel better. I am a huge fan of all things coffee, along with Coke and Dr. Pepper. The fact that there’s Dr. Pepper in the pop machine in Phelps is such a struggle for me. It’s so hard to make it to the cucumber water when I have to walk past that every time… Oy. But anyway, the medicine I’m (still!) on from being sick can tend to make people not sleep, and I have learned the hard way that a little caffeine has huge effects on that. One cup of coffee early in the day and I’ll be up several hours later than I need to be at night. I will admit that I’ve cheated on this a few times, but I’m trying!

4. To-do lists

Is it possible to be a to-do list addict? I really think I am one. Luckily, I think that’s a pretty healthy addiction. I try to make a pretty long list every day. It keeps me productive and motivated to get things done. I HATE leaving boxes unchecked! I put pretty easy things on there to make myself feel good too, like “go to class,” “take a shower,” stuff like that. You have to start somewhere!

5. Choosing joy

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Since school started, I’ve been really focusing on God making me new. A big part of that for me has been choosing to live in joy despite what else may be going on at the time. I think it’s so easy to get sucked into just paying attention to the things we wish were going better, but God has really been working on showing me just how blessed I am. Some days I have to really make a conscious effort to choose to live my life in joy, but it’s been so much more rewarding and I’ve felt so much better. I really can’t complain about any little things that may be going on in my life when God is doing so many good things that I don’t even know about yet!

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Have you been making any changes for the better lately? Send me an email at, leave me a comment, or tweet @hopekathryn17! Thanks for reading!


The Lord will guide you continually,
    giving you water when you are dry
    and restoring your strength.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like an ever-flowing spring.

[Isaiah 58:11]


Hi everyone!

So, for the past two weeks, I didn’t do any blog posts because I could not come up with any good ideas and then it hit me…

I never talked about food, which is probably the most beautiful subject there is to talk about.

When I was at a recruiting trip, one of the questions directed was about college food and by the mimics of the students around me; it was not hard to tell that they were actually concerned about the subject.

Well, my dear reader, don’t you worry; it’s not even half bad how phrases. However this subject needs work and has to be studied until the depths of it so this and next post will be about college eating habits.

Here we go…

At Hope College we have 4 different places you could grab food from;

  • Phelps Dining Hall
  • Cook Dining Hall
  • Cup and Chaucer
  • The Kletz and Cool Beans corner within Kletz, just for coffee.

I will introduce only the Dining Halls in this post.

Dining Halls are for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Phelps Dining Hall is open to everyone who has a meal plan (“room and board”s board part of it). However, Cook Hall is only for upperclassmen and those who live at Cook. As much as it sounds terribly unfair, it actually is not. Phelps is larger and has more options; here is the current menu.

The headlines like “American Grill” and “Homestyle” are the stands you get food from. If you don’t like any of the options, you can always go to the sandwich section of Phelps and prepare your own sandwich.

Is it hard to picture the hall? Well, there are some pictures for you.

Unfortunately this place is not open all the time, however you can find the hours online.

If you are at the class on most of the hours they’re open, you can always get your meal to go! Last year I had class from 4 to 4:50 and then my next class was from a 5 to 8; so I had my dinner to go.

Here is the form and detailed information.

You don’t have a class, but you are feeling really sick? No problem, Phelps has got you all covered!

The services are not limited with these few and that is why I will be writing a second post about the food at college!

In the next post, I will be talking about “Nutella Wrap” days, the Kletz and a survival guide if you have no food in your fridge and missed dinner hours.

Stay tuned!

Doing Things You Hate

via Forbes

I found this picture on Pinterest a while back, and it pretty much describes my life in high school to a T. I am really really REALLY bad at saying no when people ask me to do things. I probably shouldn’t have admitted that on the internet because now anyone who needs to add a person to their club or group or activity could seek me out and I won’t be able to say no to them. Ah!

Looking back, it seems like way too big of a portion of my high school career was spent doing things I didn’t enjoy. There were so many things in high school that I felt obligated to be a part of, and I ended up being way overloaded during my senior year. Take a lesson from me, high schoolers, college students, toddlers, and adults alike: If you don’t want to do something, it’s okay to SAY NO. You might disappoint someone, but you have to take care of yourself first. That’s something that I’m slowly but surely realizing is so important. I was in about a million and one activities in high school because people kept asking me to join them. How many things am I doing (besides my classes) now that I’m in college? Three. And let me tell you, it’s amazing. In high school I was leaving for school at 6 or 7 am and sometimes not getting back home from all my various activities until almost midnight. Then I’d still have to do all my homework for the next day and somehow find time to eat, sleep, and hopefully shower. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably telling yourself that you’re “becoming a more well-rounded individual,” but in the long run, you really might be doing yourself a lot more harm than good.

It doesn’t matter how long your list of accomplishments can get if you’re not enjoying your life in the meantime. Don’t sacrifice your high school years just to try to achieve as many things as possible. Sure, it’s great to push yourself and live up to your full potential as much as you possibly can, but stop. Take a break. Enjoy where you’re at. Right now you might be at a stressful time in your life. It’s crunch time in the semester. College application deadlines are starting to roll around. You might even already be worried about prom (forever guilty of that). But just remember that it’s okay to stop and breathe. Eat a bowl of ice cream. Go out to dinner with your friends. Make a pizza with your parents. Ride your bike. Read a book. Tell God how your day is going. Everything will still get done. God is in control. He has a plan for you and it’s so, so good. You’ll feel way better in the long run if you stop and enjoy the ride. I know for some of you, you’re saying, “No Kathryn, you don’t understand how busy I am. I don’t have time to stop and take a break.” That’s definitely something I would have thought if I would have read a post like this a year ago. I’ve been there, and I can promise you that it’s all going to work out incredibly and God’s glory will come through. You don’t have to be the best at everything (or anything at all!), but God will fill you up and help you be the best that you can be.

How do you say no when you don’t want to do things? What are your best mechanisms for coping with stress? Leave me a comment, send me an email at, or tweet @hopekathryn17! I’d love to hear from you! Thanks for reading!

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

-Galatians 1:10

So Much Going On

Hi everyone! This week has been absolutely crazy! For starters, yesterday was Halloween and my friends and I had a fun Halloween party called Club Eek. This is an annual tradition for VerBeek cottage where people come and dance, eat some candy, and relax. Well, while that was going on, I also had my first intramural tennis match of the season, which is really exciting. My partner and I have been playing for the past three years together and it’s just a great and fun time of the year because it is when we are able to devote some time to playing one of our favorite sports and getting to hang out together. I have to say we were pretty rusty, so we’ll just say that the result was not what we had hoped for. Regardless, it was a blast and I can’t wait for the other matches we’re going to be playing within the next few weeks.

Lauren and I dressed as minions for Club Eek!
Lauren and I dressed as minions for Club Eek!

In addition, Nykerk will be going on tomorrow. I’m sure many blog posts will be talking about it, so I’ll save you the time of reading about it but it is going to be really exciting. I’m pumped to see what songs are performed, the speeches the orators present and which play is going to be the funniest and most clever. Nykerk marks the beginning of November, which makes me sit back and think. It’s so strange to realize that it’s already November, meaning Thanksgiving is this month and BAM it’s Christmas and the first semester is over! There is still a ton to do within that time, but this year seems to be flying by… it can be a good and bad thing.

On one hand I’m excited for my classes to be over because they are very overwhelming, but at the same time junior year is so monumental because you’re an upperclassman and don’t have to figure your life out completely yet. Sometimes you just need to put on the brakes and live in the moment, though. I catch myself walking through the Pine Grove going to a review session or the library and just looking at all of the fall leaves and thinking, “One day I’m going to really miss this place and these stresses compared to what is in store for me.” I then just realize I need to appreciate where I am and what I am doing here at Hope and be grateful for everything and everyone around me because not everybody gets that opportunity. This post all of a sudden became very deep and meaningful, so sorry if you were hoping for a really light-hearted one about Halloween! Anyway, that’s it for this week! Have an awesome weekend and I’ll update you on my life at Hope next week.

The Pine Grove
Enjoying the fall colors of the Pine Grove

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @hopeleslie15.

Stress Reliever

Everybody has those super long and stressful weeks, right? Well, I just had the most hectic week of my college life. Multiple tests, homework assignments, and meetings consumed me this past week but you know what makes it seem tolerable? Friends and being able to finally relax and take a minute for yourself. On Friday, I was planning on just lounging around but my friends had the great idea of getting together and going out to dinner in South Haven and having a girl’s night. Let me tell you, that was the perfect solution to all of the stress in my life. We made fools of ourselves while singing along to Taylor Swift in the car ride to dinner and once we got there, we just shoved our faces full of food. Some non-cafeteria food was just the perfect beginning to the weekend!

Once we got back to campus, we ended up watching “House Bunny” and “Sydney White” and “The Lucky One.” Yes, we did watch all of those—well I fell asleep for a chunk of one, but it was the ultimate movie marathon. Basically, my point is that even when life and circumstances seem intolerable and you hit a point where you just want to give up, friends always seem to lift your spirits—at least that’s what mine do for me. Whenever I am having a rough day, one of my friends either at Hope or from home happen to text me something that just makes me feel better. Friends and people who simply understand you and your life are the people that always seem to cure whatever funk you are in. For instance, something happened this weekend that just bummed me out and I got back to my apartment and my friends picked me up and surprised me with a pint of ice cream and candy to cheer me up. Seriously, friends (and food) are the ultimate cure when you are feeling low.

Dinner in South Haven with these lovely ladies!
Dinner in South Haven with these lovely ladies!

On a brighter note, this upcoming week should be pretty exciting with the inauguration of President Knapp on Friday! Also, some classes are cancelled so that’s just an added bonus! In addition, homecoming weekend is this next week, so the annual hoedown will definitely be a hit, so everybody better go to that!

That’s it for this week, so don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @hopeleslie15.

Oh, Just a Little Drizzle

Hey everybody! So as you have seen (if you live in
Michigan), we got hit with quite a few days of rain, which is sometimes a
bummer, but at least it isn’t snow! With the coming of rain comes the saying
“Spring showers brings May flowers.” After these few days, we must have some
pretty awesome flowers coming our way. Although some people get bummed about
rain and that everybody gets wet, I believe you have to just choose your
attitude about it.

Just the other day, I had an Ultimate Frisbee game and it
was raining so hard that the Astroturf was flooded and I was honestly soaked
three minutes into the game… you would think they would cancel the game, but I
guess not. Tonight I have another game, so I’m now prepared to being drenched
for a good hour or so, but it just makes it so much more fun! If you’re one of
those people who absolutely despise rain, here is a list of things that I like
to do when it’s super gloomy out:

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    {page:Section1Watch a movie or a marathon of your favorite show (if you
    don’t have a load of homework that needs to be done)
  2. Play a board game like Apples to Apples with some friends
  3. Make something warm to eat like Mac & Cheese
  4. Run or walk in the rain… who cares if your hair or makeup
    gets ruined? You’re out to have some fun!
  5. Read a book or magazine
  6. Do a craft such as making a bracelet or decorating your
    room. Some of my friends like making puffy, paper balls that they hang from
    their ceiling or putting up lights
  7. Learn how to play a song on the piano or guitar–convince a friend to teach you if you have no idea how to play
  8. TAKE A NAP! I think everybody could use a little more sleep
  9. Spend a ridiculous amount of time watching YouTube videos or
    going on Facebook
  10. When all else fails, do some homework and get ahead in one
    of your classes so you don’t have to stress about it later

That’s about all I have to say about this rain that we are
having. I hope you all keep yourselves occupied, dry an in good spirits even if
you don’t like this weather. If any of you are going to Admitted Students Day
on April 13th, come to DeVos and meet with me and my fellow student
bloggers and we can answer any questions you may have about Hope! Don’t forget
to follow me on Twitter @hopeleslie15.

Fun Past and Future Events

Being college students and all, taking breaks is necessary
in order to stay sane from all the homework and assignments thrown our way.
Well, last weekend, as well as this week, I got a fair share of entertainment both
from fellow Hope students and others. Last Friday, I really needed to unwind
and fortunately, the Students Activities Committee (SAC) had an evening full of
Vanderprov (Hope’s student comedy group) and brought in some professional
improvisational people from New York that performed for about two hours. The
beginning consisted of our Vanderprov group doing a few acts and then the main
show began. Although the beginning got off to a slow start, it provided plenty
of laughs once everybody got into the swing of everything. The comedians played
into many of Hope’s long-standing traditions like Pull and Nykerk, which was
hilarious because they didn’t completely understand the whole concept of the

Even after this comedy show, a bunch of my friends and I
rushed to the movie theater and saw Safe Haven. If you love chick-flicks as
much as I do, definitely go see this movie. Some of my friends had read the
book and were somewhat disappointed by the movie, but if you are just in the
mindset of watching a cute movie, this is the movie to see. Seriously, all of
Nicholas Sparks’ movies are amazing!

On Saturday, homework consumed most of the day, but once my
brain could no longer take any more knowledge being crammed into it, I went
with some people to see Argo. Surprisingly, I had never really heard about
the movie, but when I watched the trailer before seeing it, I was really
excited. I don’t know about you, but I love any movie that is based on a true
story because it makes the movie more believable and makes you really reflect
on the fact that it really happened.

After this past weekend, I put in my fair share of studying
and then eventually went to the Trine vs. Hope basketball game in the MIAA
Tournament. Fortunately we won, which means that Hope will be competing against
Calvin this upcoming Saturday! Tickets are on sale right now, so if you are in the
area, it’s a game you will not want to miss!

That’s about it for now. Don’t forget to follow me on
Twitter @hopeleslie15.

My Past Week Beyond Academics

The days until Christmas break are
certainly being counted down here at Hope! Despite all of the excitement, we
still have preparation for finals and everything before we’re free to leave.
Even beyond that, there are more things going on besides academics at Hope
during this time.

This past weekend, I volunteered
for a few hours at a place called The Rock, which is in downtown Holland. This
is the first time I’ve been there and I honestly did not even know it existed.
If you are unaware of what it is, it’s basically an after-school program for
at-risk children in which people volunteer to help them with homework, but also
play with them for a while before they go home for the day. My RA had organized
this volunteer day with someone else in another dorm to gather people up to go
make a structure called a Gaga Ball Pit for kids at The Rock. I had never heard
of this before, but it sounded like enough fun, so why not volunteer, right?
It’s for the kids! When I got there, I realized what this Gaga Ball Pit is. In
Layman’s terms, it’s an octagon structure that’s about three feet high and you
play dodge ball in it but you can only slap the ball and it has to hit the
person below the knee.  Despite
some confusion with actually building it, we all ended up playing it together
and it was a lot more fun than I anticipated.

The same day, there was another big
thing going on: the Hope vs. Calvin hockey game. This is the one hockey game
that everybody attends because we host it at The Edge and gather as many
spectators to watch us play our rivals. Even though the turnout was great, Hope
ended up losing. This was a huge disappointment, but it was loads of fun
anyways because everybody was so engaged in the game and if you’re with
friends, it’s even more fun!

The final major event this week was
the intramural playoffs for the winter season. I’m sure I mentioned it in a
previous blog, but I was playing intramural tennis with my partner from last
year. We were 8-0 going into playoffs, so we had a good chance of winning the
more competitive league. On Tuesday, we won and then on Wednesday we played in
the semifinals and unfortunately lost. Even though this was a huge upset, I had
the best time! My partner and I don’t take things too seriously, so when we
knew we weren’t going to win, we just enjoyed the last few games just doing our
best and having a good time. That’s the best when people aren’t too competitive
because you can still have fun and aren’t pressured to be flawless. This winter
intramural season is my favorite time of the year because tennis is a passion
of mine but playing with a great partner makes it even better! I can’t wait for
next year and hopefully we can win the league!

These were just some of the events
going on this past week, but now it’s time to buckle down and study for finals
next week. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @hopeleslie15.

Time to Relax

Hey Everyone! So, you know how life can be really stressful
and schoolwork is a huge contributor to that? Well, for the next four days, I
am STRESS FREE!!! Thanksgiving Break could not have come soon enough! Thinking
about break makes me realize that we just had Fall Break, and in three short
weeks, Christmas Break will be among us and for that, I am thankful. That is
just one of the things I am thankful for this holiday season. Too bad other
countries don’t have Thanksgiving because not only are they really missing out on some
amazing food, but a great time with family and relaxation. Last year, I
traveled to Chicago and had Thanksgiving with my aunt, uncle, brother and
cousins, but this year I am in for a treat—my parents are flying in from
California and my brother is taking the train from Chicago and we’re all
staying at our family cottage here in Holland. This is the first time where I
don’t have to travel for a holiday, but my family is coming to me—it’s pretty

The first
minute I was done with classes on Wednesday, I started packing for this long
weekend. I was dropped off at my cottage and relaxed while reading a book and
then watching some television until I had to pick up my family from the train

morning, my brother and I ran our own version of the Turkey Trot down to Tunnel
Park (I don’t know if you’re familiar with that place, but I mentioned it in
one of my previous blogs). After that, my family and I played a game of
Bananagrams while watching some SportsCenter. Not having to worry about
schoolwork and getting to class is SO NICE, so just sitting around the house
and playing a game with the family is a real treat.

A tradition
in my family is going to a movie on Thanksgiving do, so we did just that. My
mom and I went and saw Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part II and my
brother and dad saw Skyfall. I thought this last installment of the
Twilight Saga was actually really good compared to the others and my brother
and dad thought this recent James Bond movie was really good as well! This
tradition proves to be very interesting each year because it seems as though
nobody goes to the movies or a bunch of people do. This year, there were a
total of eight people in theater with my mom and I and about eleven in the
movie with my brother and dad. I guess going to a movie on Thanksgiving isn’t
too popular in Michigan. Anyway, once we got back, we put the turkey in the
oven and waited in anticipation for our feast while watching the Food Network.

On Friday,
my family and I plan on going on a nice hike and just hanging out and eating
leftovers all day. Another tradition we have is watching Planes, Trains,
and Automobiles
with the hilarious Steve Martin and John Candy so we’ll
watch that sometime this weekend. The rest of this weekend is going to be pure
relaxation because we don’t have anything planned. Usually my family will drive
to my aunt’s house and visit them for a day in California, but that’s not much
of an option this year. Regardless of where we are, holidays are always super
relaxing and makes me appreciate my family a whole lot more because these are
the years when it starts getting harder to see family and it becomes more
infrequent because everybody is growing up and is in different parts of the
country. That’s why it is so special to me that my family traveled to me this
year! Now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s time to finalize the Christmas list
and start thinking about the last set of tests and projects before we leave for
Winter Break. It’s only a few weeks away and it can’t come soon enough!!!!

That’s just about it for this holiday weekend, so look for my next blog next week and I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and don’t go too crazy shopping on Black Friday!!!! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @hopeleslie15

Super Saturday

Don’t you love Saturdays? It’s the weekend, so you can sleep in and leisurely do your homework and still hang out with friends. Well, this past Saturday was pretty eventful for me. The campus can be pretty boring on occasion, but this Saturday was full of a LOT of stuff. It was pretty monumental in multiple ways: I got my first package of the year from home, the Pull on Black River took place, and it was my roommate’s 20th birthday. Let me just walk you through this day. Ready? Here we go:

MY FIRST PACKAGE! On a lazy morning, I usually check my email looking for any
updates from professors or clubs and when the magic words “Mailroom
Notification” pop up, I’m the happiest person alive. I think most people here
at school will agree with me that getting a box from home is one of the best
feelings ever: you feel like it’s your birthday because you get something
special in the mail plus you usually get food or some sort of goodies in that
box that any college student would love to have.

I got this notification on Saturday, so I was super pumped
to go to the mailroom to get the box and see what kind of random things my mom
and dad sent me, but of course I walk over to DeWitt right when it closes… meaning
I have to wait until Monday to get it. Ugghhhh!!!!! It’s so frustrating to know
that a box is waiting for me to open it, but I have to wait 36 hours to get it.
Monday came and I opened it and the first thing I saw was a bag full of York
Peppermint M&Ms. Have you ever had those???? They are so good that I ended
up eating half of the bag in 2 hours…oops. Next, I got some pretzels, almonds,
cashews, Chewy bars, NutriGrain bars and the best of all… a homemade coffee
cake! I know you guys probably don’t care what was really in the care package,
but it made my day twenty times better. Whenever I’m having a real bummer of a
day, getting that email turns my entire day around. Not only do you get some
awesome stuff, people are jealous of you. That was just the beginning of a great weekend.

few other people are posting on their blogs, they are talking about the
legendary Pull that went on Saturday. I’m an Odd Year, so I’m completely
biased for the sophomores winning this year. Last year, we won as
freshmen and the theme we had this year was “Perfection,” so we had to
live up to that title. After a little over two hours on the rope, 2015’s
Pull Team won for the second year in a row (which is very rare)! Not
only did we win, but we set a record for gaining the most rope for Odd
Year (a little under 80 feet). If you don’t know what Pull is, look it
up on YouTube because it’s SO MUCH MORE than a simple tug-of-war. It’s
intense. No other word can describe it. After three weeks of ridiculous
training, the freshmen and sophomores “tugged” it out and put on quite a
show. What’s even better than winning was seeing all of the pullers and
their moralers hug each other and celebrate. All of the blisters and
bleeding paid off and created some amazing memories.

My roommate Cheryl turned 20 on Saturday too, so it was a pretty
monumental day for everyone. With such a hectic afternoon with Pull,
everyone was pretty drained from all of the excitement. Regardless of
how tired we were, Cheryl and I managed to head over to Good Time Donuts
for celebratory donuts followed by an awesome game of Apples to
Apples. This may sound like a pathetic birthday, but it was so much
fun!!!! If you have a good group of people playing, it can become the
most entertaining game you have ever played. I know this is not the typical sort of birthday, but “typical” is so overrated, right? Since we couldn’t finish
the night off with playing a board game, we watched the amazing  Matt
Damon in The Bourne Ultimatum. What a great movie. Seriously. It’s so
good. Watch it.

With a pretty crazy week this week, I’m so ready for fall break next
Monday and Tuesday. I’m sure my next post will be all about my
adventures. I’m heading to Chicago because I can’t really head to
California for a few days because it’s definitely not worth the long
travel and pricey ticket. Anyway, until after fall break, have a good