A Texan’s Experience in the Mitten State

I constantly receive questions about how and why I ended up in Michigan all the way from Texas. People always ask how I am adjusting to the winter, how I heard about Hope or what made it stand out.

Hope is a special place with kind people. There is no perfect college, but there are some non-negotiables when it came to picking a college. I wanted a small school with a vibrant community. I wanted a place where I could be pushed to grow. I wanted a school that could fulfill my academic goals, spiritual needs, and lifelong friends.

I always knew I wanted to go far away from home for college. Why not? If you have the opportunity to go somewhere completely different for a few years, take it. Don’t get me wrong, there are wonderful reasons to stay near home — home cooked meals and free laundry can come in handy, but If I could go back in time and look back at my college decision process, I’d still pick Hope College.

The first time I visited Hope was right about now in my senior year and I quickly learned that winter in the Midwest means heaps of snow, frosty temperatures, and many excuses for hot cocoa. With that being said, here are some other lessons I’ve learned being 1,200 miles from home — outside of the importance of warm layers.

  1. Homesickness is a real thing

Unfortunately, homesickness is a real thing. Whether you miss the tacos like I do or you miss your pets, you are bound to feel homesick. However, you shouldn’t be afraid of it. Change can be hard and scary, but there is so much growth that comes from it. The first time I got homesick, I thought I was the only one feeling this way. This is not true – it’s normal. So many of my friends struggled with it in our first semester. It’s important to acknowledge those tough feelings and talk through them. I remember talking about homesickness with one of my professors and after I let those confusing feelings out, I felt much more at peace being at Hope.

  1. Get ready for the layers

The feeling when you walk into a warm building after being outside for an extended period of time is indescribable. I love being right on Lake Michigan – even in the winter when you can walk out and see the frozen waves. I used to think anything below 50 degrees was cold, but like I said earlier, there’s nothing a few layers can’t fix.  Be prepared to layer up and down multiple times a day — in every season! It may be a hassle at first, but you’ll get used to it. I actually enjoyed the process of buying all of my winter attire and everyone was so willing to help. Who knew there are so many options and features in parkas and snow boots?

  1. You will find a community

I was incredibly nervous coming into Hope because I didn’t know anyone here. I was nervous about the shorter breaks and what I would find myself doing since I wouldn’t be able to go home. I was nervous about finding a church that I connected with. I was nervous about getting to the grocery store and the list goes on and on. If this sounds anything like you, you will find a community and be more than okay.  It may take some time, but you’ll have more than one offer of where to go to Thanksgiving dinner. People will text you to check in on you. I receive texts from staff and professors asking if I need anything because they know I may need the extra encouragement. As I spend more time here, Holland has felt more and more like home. You will be taken care of.

If you’re looking at Hope from a Texas or a few thousand miles away, I strongly recommend a Fly-In weekend! Getting to be on campus and catch a glimpse of what your life could look like, despite being so far from home, is such an important step in this process. Hope College is worth it and it may be the school that stands out makes you feel like home despite the distance. It’s normal to have worries, fears, and uncertainties. It’s healthy. Hope College has challenged me in so many ways. Like I said, if I could go back to my college decision process, I would pick Hope College over and over again.

 

“Have to” to “Get to”

“If you want something you have never had, you must be willing to do something you have never done”.

These words sit closely to me in this season of life. The time is coming that I walk across the stage and receive my diploma and start a new stage of life after college, a season called adulting. It is incredibly exciting but also extraordinarily frightening. You might feel the same way as this season of change is quickly approaching you also. I remember the thought of college being exhilarating while also crippling when thinking of leaving home, friends, and family. So how do we work through this? How do we embrace this change and excel through this season?

I have always been one to dislike change. When I was in your shoes I wasn’t even able to see the excitement of going to college. When I was in your shoes, I was so scared of what was to come even though at the end of the day I knew I could do it. Many of you might feel this same way with being frightened by the idea of change but knowing very well inside you that you have what it takes.

When I was in your shoes feeling this way of only seeing the negative in change, I was lucky enough to have someone step into my life and share a few words of wisdom. They told me, “Rourke, you don’t have to deal with change, you get to!” At first, I thought the person who shared this with me was crazy but after some time I realized how true that statement was!

Let me first say every single one of you are capable of working through this change. Every single one of you who are worried and scared by change are already more than prepared to handle this next stage of life, believe in yourself! Second, let’s change our mindset from “have to” to “get to”. We get to experience these changes, myself included with this change into post grad/adult life. It is an opportunity that we have to expand and challenge ourselves in new ways. We GET to change.

Lastly, don’t forget that you are not alone in this. Reach out through the platforms that have been given to you to connect with other students and you will find that you are not alone in these worries!

Coming to Hope was my version of doing something that I have never done and it has taken me to new places and grown me in ways that I never could have imagined. I promise, this is challenge worth facing with rewards that are never ending.

As always, Go Hope!

#ThrowWhatYouKnow (Everything You Want to Know About Greek Life and More)

 

To rush or not to rush?

A brilliant question that inevitably crosses the mind of many soon-to-be-freshman. And with great reason. It’s a big decision!

Greek Life, no matter where you are in the country, comes with its own unique set of myths, stereotypes, and hesitations. I’m sure you know someone whose Instagram caption is forever “#throwwhatyouknow”. Annnnd then I’m sure you know someone else who always insisting that Greeks “buy their friends”.

I’m not here to sway you one way or another, I’m here to share with you my experience and give our future freshman a view into the process.

TERMS

First of all, let’s start by breaking down some very important terms. If we are going to have an open conversation about Greek Life, then it’s vital you know what it all means! And quite frankly, Greek Life is a language all of its own so I’m sure you’ll find having some clear definitions will be very helpful. (Enter cheesy dad joke something along the lines of “it’s all Greek to me”)

  • Organization – A broad term to describe any fraternity or sorority
  • Actives – Current members of an organization
  • Rush – The process one goes through to join an organization (participants are known as rushees)
  • Open Event – a rush event that anyone can attend
  • Closed Event – a rush event that one must be invited to
  • Bid – What one will receive when an organization is interested in taking a rushee
  • G.O. – This stands for Greek Orientation. This is a Hope College exclusive term. It refers to the 3-week orientation process all new actives go through after choosing an organization
  • Pledge Class – The actives who rushed the same year as oneself
  • Philanthropy – This is the non-profit cause that each organization supports throughout the year via fundraisers and activities
  • “Finding Your Home” – This is a colloquial saying conveying the message that there is a perfect place for every rushee

 

HOPE COLLEGE STATISTICS AND BACKGROUND

Now that you have all of the terms under your belt, we can move into more specifics!

Hope College has 7 sororities and 8 fraternities. About 20% of the Hope College student body participates in Greek Life. Most of Hope’s organizations are local with the exception of one fraternity (Phi Sigma Kappa) that is national. The difference between local and national organizations are laws that each must follow and the dues that must be paid. Contrary to many schools, Hope students rush second-semester allowing room for the incoming freshman to informally meet people in every organization without any pressure to make decisions. Additionally, rush is about 2 and a half weeks long giving rushees plenty of time to actually know the actives. There are currently 704 active members of Hope’s Greek Life and it’s always growing with room for you to find your home!

RUSH

Just to be clear, rush is very different for guys and girls. I will explain each, but I’m sorry guys, I just don’t have the same expertise and experience rushing frats. I’ll do my best, but maybe someday one of you can come and tell me more about it.

GUYS

Guys rush is rather informal. Events will consist of pizza, pool, laser tag, dodgeball and all of sorts of ‘manly’ activities. All events are open until the very last event which is closed and readily known as an informal. If you are invited to an informal, you will ask a date to attend the event with you. An informal invitation is usually followed by a bid, but you do not need to be invited to an informal to receive a bid.

GIRLS

Girls rush is a little more structured than guys rush. There will typically be an open event followed by a closed event. This pattern will repeat about four times over two weeks. The events will range from lip sync battles to bowling to dodgeball (yes apparently, dodgeball is loved by guys and girls alike). The rush season is closed with preference in which the rushees write down their top 3 preferences for an organization. Bids are handed out that night by representatives of the sorority.

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

So now that you’ve heard basically every fact you need to understand Hope’s Greek system, I’ll give you a real student’s experience and perspective of Greek Life. First of all, I’m a Del Phi (aka a Delta Phi) and I couldn’t ask for anything more! I absolutely adore it and I’m incredibly thankful for the people I’ve met through Hope’s Greek Life – it’s brought some of my best friends into my life!

That being said, I didn’t always think I was going to rush. In fact, as I came into college, I was rather against the idea. I didn’t want a huge sorority house experience in which I only talked to Greek Life people and that’s it. I wanted to make sure I had friends in lots of areas and I had the freedom to explore whatever I felt called to.

After stepping onto campus, I quickly discovered that Hope’s Greek system is not at all an exclusive group. At Hope, everyone in Greek Life is highly involved on campus with loads of other interests, clubs, sports, and activities. And that really caught my eye. I quickly made friends who were in Greek Life without even realizing it. This was the first time I experienced one of the things I still so highly respect about Hope’s Greek Life: it’s not a bubble.

Greek Life students have friends all over campus. In fact, students all over campus have friends all over campus. I think this is more of a Hope-culture-thing than a Greek-Life-culture-thing, but it’s so pervasive that you can experience throughout every organization – Greek or not. I fell in love with this aspect of Hope’s Greek Life and soon after I decided to rush. I quickly decided to go Del Phi and it was one of the easiest decisions I ever made! I FOUND MY HOME AND I HOPE YOU DO TOO!

Once you’re all done with rush and G.O. then you are ~activated~ and that is when some seriously fun stuff starts! We do all sorts of great events and fundraisers! Some of my personal faves are…

Dance Marathon (a 24-hour dance party fundraiser for Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital)

Canoe (a canoeing day trip you take with all your sistaaas… or brothers)

Pink Day (a bake sale that the Del Phi’s put on to fundraise for breast cancer research, our philanthropy)

And, of course, there so many fun reasons to get all dressed up like FORMAL!!

FUN FACTS

I’ll leave you with a couple of fun facts that help paint an even broader, fuller picture. I hope this blog helped you clarify your thoughts on Hope Greek Life and maybe even settle some nerves about rushing!

  • A majority Hope College Greek Organizations aren’t referred to by their letters. Some common names you’ll hear are Dorians, Cosmos, Emersonians, and many more.
  • Every Hope College Greek Organization has an elected position that organizes bible studies and prayer requests, known as the Chaplin.
  • Not everyone in an organization lives in the organization’s house (or cottage as we call them). Each Greek cottage holds about 10 people.
  • Here is the website if you’re interested in learning more! https://hope.edu/offices/student-life/greek-life/

Getting Comfortable in the Uncomfortable

We as humans have unique tendencies. We have a weird way of shifting who we are and what we do based off of those around us. Don’t think I am shaming you, I’m not. I can think of countless ways that I have conformed myself, made decisions, and have grown to be like those around me. Why is this? Is this because we struggle to find who we really are and being someone else is easier? Is it because we think that there is only one way to live our lives? Both are possibilities but what I believe it comes down to is the paralyzing fear of walking along the unbeaten path.

The unbeaten path is scary for obvious reasons that goes against our normal habits of following along the path of least resistance. IT’S SCARY and that is okay to admit. So why even bother thinking about it, right?

When I first found out I was accepted into Hope College I felt this very same feeling of fear. It wasn’t close to home and I didn’t know one soul on the west side of Michigan. Some of you may be in the same boat I was in and you might feel this same feeling of fear. But the good news for you and I is that usually when we feel fear it means that we are usually stepping out onto that unbeaten path and here is where we are able to find ourselves more fully than we ever have before.  So here is my challenge for you, whoever is reading this in whatever stage of life you are at, get uncomfortable. I challenge you to live a life that is constantly pushing your boundaries of comfort that places you in situations where you could have never imaged being while making decisions you never thought you would be making.

Why?

A poem I recently heard explains why perfectly when saying, “To cross oceans of uncertainty, one must leave the safety of the shore”.

Go and get uncomfortable!

What We Really Need to Hear

I screw things up. I get anxious. Sometimes I feel alone.

Yes, I feel this way even at Hope College.

Hope.

Hope is rooted in our name. I believe that we all have a hope for something great. To achieve something great. To do something great. To be something great. We’re told that this Hope will never fail us. But somewhere along the lines this Hope that we hold can grow foggy. What we once saw clearly in front of us, we no longer see. Life gets kinda bland. Or it just really sucks. And I guess that’s just how life goes sometimes.

I’m a junior at Hope. I’m really not that wise. I definitely don’t have all the answers to our problems in life. But I’m not really here to give answers or solutions. Just things I think we all need to hear. Especially when Hope is no longer in sight.

Our screw ups don’t define us.

Every day I screw up. Yesterday I gave a group of people the wrong directions, making them 30 minutes late to where they were going. Today I bombed a test. Tomorrow, I will probably sleep through my alarm. You get the point. I sure hope you screw up too. I think it is healthy. What the heck, have you ever met anyone who is pretty much perfect??? Yeah, me too. They’re boring. So don’t be perfect! Be you. And mess up. It makes life more interesting.

You only reach the summit if you keep on climbing.  

There’s the old saying, “if it was easy, everyone would do it.” Whoever said that was right. Quick story… I grew up with the goal and dream to play football in the NFL. Lofty, yes, but I was serious about it! That dream was crushed when I was 13 years old. I was told I needed brain surgery, and that I could never play football again. BUT, dreams don’t have to die, just change slightly. After recovering from surgery, I decided I would learn how to kick for the football team. I kid you not, I couldn’t kick a football further than 10 yards. But I kept on going. I spent countless hours learning how to kick a football. Sure enough, a year later I ended up starting my first ever game on varsity. Not as a linebacker, but as a kicker.  I tell you this so that you may be encouraged! You are right on the verge of achieving your dreams. It’s not easy, but keep on climbing. It’s worth it.

When confused, MOVE.

Decisions are hard. Especially in the first few years away at school. It has been so easy for me to get stuck in the middle of a decision, not knowing what to do. What I’ve learned… MOVE. Choose something. When you’re stuck, the right choice is the moving choice. What matters is that you’re moving forward. If you make the wrong choice, remember, screw ups don’t define you.

Alone? Someone else is too.

I know what it’s like to sit in Phelps alone. If I’m anything like you, there’s nothing worse than not knowing anyone in a sea of people. If you’re feeling like this, you’re not alone. There are others who feel the same way. Sometimes we just wish there was someone who acknowledged us. Let me challenge you… Be the person to acknowledge someone else. They won’t feel as alone anymore. Neither will you.

Believe in Jesus? You’re loved. Don’t believe in Jesus? You’re loved.

I see people who have faith. I see people who don’t. What I see is people. We are no different. Too often we put up a “faith filter” that distorts who people really are. I believe in Jesus. I would say that my life has been changed because of Him. But I am by no means any better than the person who doesn’t believe. I am loved by God. You are loved by God. You can’t do anything to change that. For those who don’t believe, it’s ok. For those who do believe, here is some food for thought… “What we do with our love is where we are in our faith.” –Bob Goff

Where are you at?

 

 

Chileans Speak the Hardest Spanish

Spanish is truly hard in Chile. I have to admit that my Spanish is not at the highest level at all, but Chilean Spanish is truly hard. There is a saying that, if one can learn to speak Spanish in Chile, than one can speak Spanish anywhere else in the world.

Again, keep in mind that this is from the perspective of a student who has a lot of room to improve in Spanish, but if I speak with a person from Columbia, Argentina, Peru or Spain, I can 8 or 9 out of 10 words. But when I speak with a Chilean, one speaks so fast and uses quite a lot vocabulary that is spoken only in Chile.

I think it very interesting to see how every country speaks differently and actually every country is very proud of their Spanish.

Adding to a what is specific to Chilean and Latin American people in communication is a personal space. In Europe, and especially United States people are used to having  a personal space, when they are in public spaces or just anywhere. People from Peru are leaving the last personal space. When one speaks with them, they are literally in one’s face. Chilean people are in between Europe or U.S. and Peru, but the difference is still really big. I can see or feel it in the subway, shopping store, or just on on the streets.

For example, I was buying yesterday a groceries and I was waiting in the line. Automatically, I left some space for the person in front of, but the person behind me was literally touching me with his shopping cart. It may not sound or seem that much of difference in words, but it really is.

A Professional Procrastinator

To be honest, I thought my procrastination habits would be a thing of the past upon my entrance into college. Well, here I am, in my second semester, and I will be the first to admit that my procrastinating is at its very peak. That being said, I must apologize, as I have, like you might have guessed, procrastinated writing a blog for a few weeks now. Fear not! Here it is.

As always a list. However, this list will have a title. Without further ado… A few things not to do when you should be doing your homework/writing blogs that I’ve done over the past few weeks:

  1. Play Zombies. As I have mentioned before, my closest friend Zach attends Arizona State University. The distance between us has not at all hindered our friendship, but rather during our time apart, our relationship has blossomed. Zach and I have facetime dates nearly every night, but not just to talk. Because we’re both that cheap (or innovative, depending on how you look at it) that is our method of communication while we “fend off the undead hordes” together over Xbox Live. As Hope soccer coach Steve Smith likes to put it, “Xbox literally destroys my players’ GPAs.” Well coach, to you I say, check my transcript! Read it and weep, I’m doing better than last semester.
  2. Clean your dorm room. I have this not-so-awful habit of cleaning when I get stressed. Some, like my roommate, would consider that a great asset. However, let me tell ya, cleaning is awesome until you put it ahead of that 4-page paper due at 8 AM the next morning. On the bright side, at least you’d get to study all night in a clean room, eh?
  3. Call your parents. Before I say anything offensive, I love you dearly Mom. Yet, when I get on the phone anticipating a 5-minute phone call, those 35 minutes of chatter sure do fly by quickly. Now, don’t get me wrong, keeping in touch with your parents is VITAL… especially during your freshman year. Just try to keep the conversations short and sweet when there’s school work that needs to be completed.
  4. Go Grocery Shopping. Who can study effectively without their favorite snack? Answer: nobody. I completely agree with that notion. But, wandering around aimlessly at Meijer comparing the prices of crackers is not going to bode well for your academic success. Trust me: been there, done that.
  5. Pray. Yes Hope College is a Christian University. And no, there is NEVER a bad time to pray. That being said, it is probably unwise to enter into a 20-minute conversation with the Maker the night before a midterm exam (at least, prior to any studying). Yes, God does work in mysterious and wonderful ways; I’m not denying that. However, of His many revelations I have witnessed, He is yet to reveal to me the exam answers in Sociology 101. Quiet time is the best time, just spend some quality time in your textbooks along with your scripture.
  6. Workout. I’ve never been one to stay at the gym for extensive periods of time. If I haven’t said it enough already; I strongly dislike running. Yet, it was only a week ago that I found myself at the DeVos Fieldhouse eyeing up my extremely averagely sized biceps for a little bit longer than originally planned. I guess my brain needs a workout more than my body does sometimes.

There you have it. Those are only six of the numerous ways that I procrastinate regularly. Hear this, if nothing else: if you’re going to put off your school work until the last minute make sure you like coffee, little to no sleep, and at least be capable of delivering in clutch situations. Enough with all of these buzzer beater shots, walk-off home runs, and game winning goals. The test of a true man comes at 10:55 when that reading response is due at 11.

When you really get good at putting off work, you’ll start writing blogs to stall even more. It’s probably time to get started on that ministry 201 paper…

Have a great week (or weeks) everybody!

With Love,
Steve

#JustPhelpsScholarsThings: The Confederate Flag Controversy

Confederate Flag
The Confederate Flag: To fly or not to fly?

On Tuesday, Sept. 29, a student from Durfee Hall flew the Confederate Flag on Hope’s campus. According to an email sent by President Knapp, “The flag was removed and the Student Development staff is now addressing this as a judicial matter with the students involved.” The controversial issue of flying the Confederate Flag has invaded social media and conversations not only now but also earlier this summer as a nationwide dispute; much like Donald Trump, everyone is talking about it, whether they care about its significance or not. On one side, defenders of the student argue that this is a freedom of speech issue and that anyone has the right to fly the flag because it symbolizes their Southern cultural heritage. In the middle are people who argue that it’s just a flag and the student who flew it probably did it for fun, not to harm or insult anyone.

And then there I was in my FYS class, three teachers with steely glints in their eyes reading off of President Knapp’s email to the class with gentle yet serious voices. A day after the flag blew up the campus, the Phelps Scholars advisors and teachers thought it was necessary to address the issue. Currently, Phelps Scholars students are reading “Acts of Faith,” a book written by Eboo Patel who had gone through several stages of ignorance, discovery, and finally understanding of the importance of dialogue between different cultures and religions.

As students took turns speaking, one of the teachers scratched simple yet impactful words onto the blackboard. Because of my goldfish memory, I can only remember two words she had written: FEAR and EDUCATION. The following is based on what the Phelps Scholars program has taught me through its discussions and its readings as well as prior knowledge.

FEAR: The Confederate flag, although simple with its red backdrop, blue ‘X,’ and white stars, is bogged down with a history of anger, hatred, ignorance, pride, and fear. Although slavery was not the only reason the South wanted to succeed from the Union and that perhaps the flag was flown for other reasons thereby representing other things to different people, one cannot argue that the flag was flown when people were lynched. It was flown years after the war to represent opposition against black people. Whenever this flag flew, people were scared. Even now it brings about false assumptions towards the flier and incredible fear and confusion for the onlooker who recognizes its history. Flying the flag at Hope College without a clear message unavoidably brought about the assumption that someone harbored hatred towards the black students of Hope. An anonymous source confirms that it was flown for fun, but for whatever the reason, the student needed to understand that a history that dark was not to be thrown around lightly.

EDUCATION:  In order to combat future acts similar to this, we talked about how crucial it was to learn not only our history but other cultures’ as well. Ignorance breeds accidental and stupid actions. In turn, pride causes a purposeless need to defend oneself. To stop this toxicity from ever beginning, respect and communication are pivotal. What a crazy thing it was that here we were reading a book about understanding and love, there they were on the evening of GROW’s annual kick-off, and yet it was still happening: perhaps unintentional, but actions were created from misunderstanding and juvenility, birthing fear.

If you have a say in this issue, please don’t be afraid to speak up. Comment below with your thoughts. Communication and listening are the only ways to make clear of murky, controversial issues after all.

Saturday Rocked

Hello again, Readers! I hope you are enjoying the last few hours of your weekend, and that these last few days have been treating you well! I’ve been itching to tell you all about my Saturday because it was the most beautiful one’s I’ve had in a while!

The first reason my Saturday was so interesting was because of a class I’m taking. I’m in a class called British Literature, and we are studying the great Romanticist writers, such as William Blake and William Wordsworth (and many more writers named William I’m sure). The main premise of Romanticism is to be in touch with nature. This was in reaction to the Industrial Revolution, which was just before the dawn of Romanticism. One of the projects required for this class is doing a project called “Being Romanticist” in which we have to basically set our own parameters for the project and decide how to best portray Romanticism in our everyday lives. We get to decide what it entails and how we get to carry it out. It’s very independent and open ended, so I decided to think outside the box. I decided that for my project, I would give up technology including my phone, laptop, and TV three times throughout the semester and journal about the things that happen in the absence of the technology. This comes out to be one day per month of no technology, and yesterday was the first day. It was amazing!!

So, luckily Hope is awesome and always has something going on during the day most Saturdays. Yesterday was no different. There is a ministry on Hope’s Campus called Delight that meets Fridays at 7am, but yesterday was their kickoff breakfast, so I got to go to that. It was an amazing morning full of pancakes, fruit, and Jesus and I didn’t miss my phone at all…except for when there were picture-taking opportunities. I love to take pictures so that was a struggle not having my phone on me to snap some pics. We did get one on someone else phone though! Here it is:

There were so many girls at Delight! It was wonderful to see so many girls on fire for God and willing to be vulnerable with each other.
There were so many girls at Delight! It was wonderful to see so many girls on fire for God and willing to be vulnerable with each other.

The rest of the day was just as magical! A few of my friends and I went over to Saugatuck for the afternoon and did a little shopping, lunching, and hiking. Once again, the only time I missed my phone was when there was a picture-taking opportunity, but being with friends always puts you in your own little world and you kind of forget everything else anyways. A quick stop to Michaels for some decorations for our house rounded out the evening and that was that! During the evening was a little more challenging because I listen to music A LOT and I didn’t have any to turn on while I was doing my homework and reading.

Other than that though, having no technology for a Saturday made me open my eyes to the more beautiful things around me without having my eyes glued to my phone. If you all have the chance, I highly recommend taking a day or two and going technology-free. It’s rewarding and made me feel a lot closer to nature because I wasn’t seeing it from behind a phone.

Until next time, Readers!

Questions about what I wrote? Check out the bio and give me a jingle via email or social media!

How Much Your RA’s Do For You..

Hey Everyone,

This year I am an RA(resident assistance) in Kollen Hall on the first floor. I never realized how much the RA’s go through for the residents in their hall. During this week of training, we go through multiple different safety, psychological, and physical lessons on how to handle situations in order to keep a Residence Hall safe. We have training from 9-6 everyday for the week, but we have lots of hallway work that we do during the nights and are busy until 10 pm most nights. This was one of the most grueling weeks I have had in a training situation. We get to have some fun with our co-workers as well though! Don’t get me wrong!

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I really have a new appreciation for my RA’s of last year. We really do care about our residents. We want to make it the best year possible for them. Hopefully everyone is enjoying getting to know their RA. We really are here to help, serve, and care about you. I can guarantee you that if you are concerned about fitting in or being involved with activities, your RA can help you, or at least point you in the right direction.

Although RA training week was a lot to handle and learn, the staff here at hope college really works hard to show us that they care about us RA’s as well and that we are valued employees. They even throw a celebration dinner for us at the end of training week.

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Being an RA, so far, has been a busy, yet wonderful experience!

Thanks for reading, I hope you are all having a great week!

Jesse Heerdt