Your Final Dear Abby Post

Hey friends! I know it’s been a while since I posted a “Dear Abby” post. Here is your last one. Many of you sent really interesting questions, and I had to think hard about these answers, but I know it’s enough to give you guidance. It’s unreal how tomorrow is the closing day of the entire semester. One more year of college under my belt. But before I get into Dear Abby, look out for my final post either tonight or tomorrow. It’s good.

Dear Abby, I am looking forward to going to Hope, but I feel as if I am not mature in my faith yet. Any suggestions?

Great great great question. I was once at your place, and many students who go here are still in this position! So first things first, don’t feel uncomfortable, you’re not the only one! For me, I’ve always identified myself as a Christian. I went to church, sang hymns, was in youth group, you name it. It wasn’t until I came to Hope that I realized what faith was, and where I was in it. It helped that I had friends that were already a good distance in their walk with Christ, so they were truly there for me and supported me. Let me tell you, even with their help, my journey was rough.

One of the defining factors that led me to Hope was Chapel and Gathering. But believe it or not, I only went to a few services because I was way too deep in my homework. That’s all I thought there was. I mean, I did well, but all I did was study. I wasn’t always a social butterfly, and my religion had gone down in my priority. But one Sunday, I had an epiphany at the Gathering. I realized that I was at Hope to become a nurse not for myself, but for God. As I continued conversations with my friends and continually attended Chapel and the Gathering, I noticed that I was happier and more productive. It was awesome to say the least. But moral of the story is that no one is at the same spot with their journey with God. Realize that you’re not the only in that position. Hope offers so many great resources to help you with your journey, such as Campus Ministries. Oh man, they do wonders!

Dear Abby, I heard Michigan winters are brutal. Coming from Southern Cali, how should I prepare?

Brutal is an understatement, for non-Michiganders at least! I mean, you’d think Michiganders would be used to the winters, but nope. Sometimes, I swear its like people haven’t seen snow. But you should be prepared to see how beautiful it is. Honestly, the snowfall and especially on this campus is STUNNING and out of this world. So, do that. Then I’d suggest a heavy and comfortable winter coat. Everyone has one, it’s like a requirement unless you want to freeze. This past winter, temperatures were sub-zero, and Holland was colder than Antarctica plenty of times. No joke. With your coat, you should probably have warm gloves if you are going to play in the snow, and thinner gloves for functional purposes (like driving, or going to class). A hat is also recommended. Although I don’t have one, many do. I typically use my hood and it works. Another important thing to something to keep your neck warm, like a scarf. Trust me, you’ll want one. It’s just practical. Lastly, boots boots boots. Do you want to walk in snow with canvas shoes? I think not (unless you want frostbite). If you’re prepared for the winter, you won’t mind it. A lot of students go out to Lake Michigan to walk on the lake frozen. It’s actually really neat! I can’t wait for you to experience it!

Dear Abby, I am really nervous I won’t find friends. Well, not even that, I’m just anxious to meet new people!

Thanks for that. Everyone needs to know that every freshman is going to be anxious. It’s a HUGE transition, no matter where you come from. Being on the finishing up end of my college, it’s actually interesting to reflect on how I met my core group of friends! You will meet so so so many people from your residence halls, classes, and organizations! Hope College does a great life in integrating the social aspect to your college life, because it’s essential! We’re humans, we are social!

My recommendation for you, and any of you who are anxious about meeting others; be open! College is your chance to branch out from your norm. Take advantage of this because it can help you out in life! For example, make connections with your professors and elders. One day, you might be filling out a job or internship appellation, and you can use them as your reference! Another example, if you are used to having that “one friend group” like you did in high school, forget that! Although you may have a group of core buddies, you are going to have so many more bubbles in your social life, which is even better. That way, you won’t get annoyed with your friends!!! My largest piece of advice for you all is to invest your time in this. If no time is invested, nothing will happen! So, 1) invest and 2) be open!

Dear Abby, JP’s or LJ’s?

Classic, haha. JP’s for homework and LJ’s for socializing. Both coffee shops rock. My freshman year, I was always at JP’s. My sophomore year, I was at both, and this past year, I was more at LJ’s. Their pastries (my favorite is the raspberry bran muffin, followed by almond green tea, and then honey bran) are TO DIE FOR. And they also sell my favorite cookie, the snickerdoodle. So, that’s why I’m there a lot. Both places have great student discounts at times and coupons. Being a college student, I’d recommend taking advantage of these deals!

Dear Abby, PC or Mac?

Another interesting question. For myself, I have a Mac, and I love it. I used to use PCs, but I’ve gotten used to Mac and actually accustomed to it. I actually have difficult time using a PC. But hey, it’s all personal preference. Many students have Macs, but many students also have PCs; personal preference! The important thing to remember is that you just need a laptop so you can do homework and type papers. And I guess Netflix, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, you name it!

LASTLY

Dear Abby, did you ever get homesick?

Growing up, I was always busy during the summers, whether that’s working or going to summer camps. I’ve been accustomed to being independent and not being home, but it’s totally different for everyone. I think I was homesick twice during my freshman year. The first time I called home was a week into school when college slapped me in the face. And by that, I mean having to do so much homework. It was just different because instead of coming home to my family, I came home to my roommate, which is nice too don’t get me wrong! Just different. Everyone adjusts to college differently. I felt as if I adjusted quickly, but others may take longer and that’s okay. Hope has awesome resources though if you are experiencing homesickness, like CAPS (counseling and psychological services). They do wonders! 100% confidential, supportive, and there for you! Also, your RA and your friends are also great resources. Hope this helps!

Ok Hope 2018. That’s all I have for you! It’s been great answering your questions and I hope they help you with your transition to college! I can’t wait to meet some of you on campus!

Dear Abby #3

Can you guys believe it’s almost April? As in tomorrow will be April. That means that we Hope students only have 1 month or less left of the spring semester! It’s pure madness. Honestly, it’s crazy to believe that I’m almost done with my junior year. I registered for classes this morning, and it said that my registration purpose was for “Senior.” Maybe Hope made a mistake? I’m not ready to leave this place. Pretty darn soon, Hope 2018 will be here! SO EXCITING!!

Anyways, here is the third “Dear Abby.” You guys ask great questions, and I enjoy answering them because I can too reminisce!

Dear Abby, food. Is the food good at Hope? What do you do for meals?

Great question. Hope has 2 dining halls, Phelps and Cook. Phelps is primarily for underclassmen, and Cook Hall is for upperclassmen. The majority of the students eat at Phelps. Anyway, I absolutely don’t mind the food. I need to eat! I mean, some days are excellent, and some days are so-so. We also have the Kletz snack bar! Here, you can use Dutch Dollars to get food, of use your meal plans if you have over 70 credits I believe. That’s what I usually do. I find the Kletz very convenient because it’s fast, and closer to my apartment. But for me, I like to change things a bit when it comes to food. If i’ve had a long day, or its the weekend, I will treat myself by going to a restaurant with my buddies (PF Changs, Applebees), cook on my own (I actually do a good amount of cooking), or get fast food, oopsie. Ultimately, the food at Hope is great! It has to be because you are paying good money to be here, so you only deserve the best. Hope also has a great meal plan program, so you have flexibility in meals! Hopefully, this helps!

Dear Abby, during my tour and visit at Hope, they said you can have your car on campus. Should I bring mine?

That is correct. As freshmen, you can have cars on campus, which is really convenient. Here’s my take. If you live a good distance from campus, a car is almost necessary so you can drive yourself home. But, if you know others from your area that are going to Hope, you can carpool with them. That way, you are saving money, and it’s cost effective. When you come here, you will meet a good chunk of people who have cars, so driving in Holland won’t be a problem. But because parking is survival of the fittest here, finding a parking space is always a competition. Sometimes, I get really upset because the same car is parked in the same spot for an extended period of time. If you have a car on campus, use it! I use my car all of the time, whether thats going to Grand Rapids for clinicals, running errands, attending community events, buying groceries, or going out to eat. Lastly, if you have a car, your parents won’t have to pick you up! That was my logic when I told my parents I wanted to bring my car to college, and hey, it worked!

Dear Abby, it’s obviously going to hard to pay for school, so I would like to get a job. What is your take on this?

Awesome awesome awesome question. I totally agree with you with in regard to the difficulty paying for school. My financial aid package deemed eligible “Federal Work Study.” This was great, because these students get the priority for jobs on campus! There is a huge work fair at the beginning of the year, and you can apply to as many as you want, then several departments will be in contact with you regarding positions. From there, all you have to do is pick! If you’re not on Federal Work Study, don’t fret! There are still many job opportunities. During my freshman year, I decided not work. Reason? I wanted to establish myself a student, and take time to establish a great friend group. Those two things in itself is a full time job! I don’t regret not working my freshman year. I am very happy with my choice, otherwise, I wouldn’t have my core group of friends! So, I started working my sophomore year, and my jobs truly have fluctuated just based on availability. Right now, I’m loving my jobs, and can’t wait to continue with them next year! If you feel like you want to wait a year, or a semester, go for it! If you want to get into work ASAP, go for it! Just make sure you prioritize school first, always!

Last but not least!

Dear Abby, it’s obvious that you are very involved in student affairs at Hope. How did you get these student leader positions?

The simple answer to that question is through the grace of God, honestly. Since being at Hope, I have been presented with so many student leadership opportunities, whether that’s 2 years of doing orientation, being an immersion trip leader, or being involved in SAC. I work very hard in what I do because I want it to have true meaning. In terms of these positions, they do not come to me. You have to go to them. One big this college students may have difficulty doing is stepping out of their comfort zone and try something new. In high school, I was one of those quiet kids if you didn’t know me, but if you did know me, I was full of energy. I can tell you for sure that its changed; I’m always the loud one now! 🙂 To get into these positions, I merely applied to them and showed my advisors my potential. I know I have potential, it was just a matter of executing it. By being accepted into these roles, I continue to show my hard work and my potential. It’s always a learning process. Essentially, if you want student leadership positions, work hard and prove to others AND yourself that you are high capable! Be self-aware! Hopefully this helps!

Thanks again for the questions, friends! Keep asking them. I honestly love answering them. You can either send me a direct message on Twitter at @HopeMarvin15 or talk to me on Hope on Facebook! Thanks for reading!!