Thursday, October 1st. A Day as an International Student from the Czech Republic.

Everyone has some song or tune that one absolutely hates. In my case it is the “Opening” by iPhone because it is the tune of my alarm clock. Today, Thursday, October 1st, the alarm clock wake me up at 7:15 am.

Like everyday, after I get off the bed, I take a morning shower and I brush my teeth. One of the advantages of morning showers is that it helps me to transition from being sleepy to fully thinking and functioning. Also, a shower is a place where I think about the day, what I will be dealing with and for what things like tests, hockey games, interviews or presentations I should prepare. The first class is at 9:30 a.m., so I have fairly a lot of time to dress, prepare for school and review some academic materials if I am having an assessment that day.

Vitamin shake nutrition label
Every day I drink a vitamin shake.

Next up is breakfast! I love breakfast because I am a morning person. I love the feeling that the whole day is in front of me. Also, I think that Phelps Dining Hall server the best food during breakfast in regards of freshness, quality and health.

My first class is at 9:30 a.m. in Lubbers Hall, which is literally 30 seconds from the Phelps Dining Hall, so  I start eat breakfast about when the clock hits 8:30 a.m. It is really nice to have a breakfast for 1 hour, but as you will get to know my day better, later in the post, this one hour of breakfast is my oasis of calm in the whole day.

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Breakfast with friends

IMG_07639:30 a.m. = English 101. As an international student, the process of learning English never ends, despite the fact that I lived in the United States for five years before enrolling into Hope College. Currently, in the English class we are working on the comparison/contrast essay. Since, I studied at private boarding school before, I know well how to write compassion/contrasts essay, but practice makes perfect!

English class
English class

After the English class, which ends at 10:50 a.m., I and my friend Christian went to the Martha Miller Center to sign up for the Chicago Trip on Saturday, October 3. My next class is at 1:30 p.m., so I have about 2½ hours for myself, but not really. Since I am part of the Hope College men’s hockey team, I have to keep myself in shape, especially when the first game is in 8 days. I workout or run every day just for myself. Today the weather is truly spectacular, so I went for 30-minute run consisting of shorter sprints. After I came back, I took a quick shower and I start to review for a Philosophy Quiz at 1:30 p.m. This took me from 11:50 a.m. to 12:40 p.m. Lunch was next at 12:45 p.m.

Lunch in Phelps Dining Hall

Followed up by Philosophy class in the Chapel at 1:30 p.m.

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Philosophy class in the Chapel
Deep thinking during Philosophy class with a help from Socrates.

The class ends at 2:50 p.m., and right after I go back to my room to drop off my stuff. At 3:00 p.m. I have a meeting with my advisor about declaring a major next semester. We do not speak for very long because at 4:00 p.m. I have another meeting at Holland Rescue Mission in regards of 18 hours of community service. The 18 hours of community service is not mandatory for regular freshmen at Hope College, but I am part of the Phelps Scholars Program which requires the 18 hours of community service during my first semester at Hope. The Holland Rescue Mission is located about 15 minutes away by walk from the school campus, which is not far, but I have to leave in advance.

Map to Holland Rescue Mission
Holland Rescue Mission

At 4:50 p.m. I arrive back on campus and I go to my room to do my homework until 6:00 p.m. Right after, I go to dinner. On Thursdays, Hope College hockey team has late practices, so I have to eat something light and healthy.

At 6:45, we are heading to the Ice Edge Hockey Arena in Holland. The practice starts at 8:00 p.m., but we are having a Powerpoint presentation about the systems, power-plays and power-kills prior the actual skate. At exactly 8:00 p.m. I am hitting the ice for 90 minutes of high pace practice. After the practice, some of the players are continuing to Applebee´s for second dinner and I join them for this time.

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Applebee’s with some hockey guys.

Around 10:45 pm, we are leaving Applebee’s and returning to Hope College. Most of the players still have to do a lot of work before they go to bed and I am not an exception.

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One song to describe this picture: Never Ending Story by Limahl

I do not waste time and I walk to Library, to get an early start on my Philosophy Essay, which is due on Friday, October 9th.

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Library at night.

Just about midnight, I complete the first two and the half paragraphs of the essay, so I come back to my room and I finish my assignments that I started in the afternoon. I quickly take a shower, brush my teeth and go to bed in:

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12:59 pm. 

Before I fall a sleep, I write few tweets about my day and set my alarm clock for 7:00 a.m., so in 6 hours. I am pretty exhausted, so I fall asleep quickly.

That is only one day of my life, and actually this Thursday is one of the easier days I had so far.

One College Fits All

We’ve all heard of the phrase, “one size fits all.” Especially for you high school seniors, let’s take that phrase to the next level, “one college fits all.” I was there with you, I wanted to go to a college where it had everything for me: perfect class size, outstanding academics, vibrant social atmosphere, opportunities to grow, intentional relationships, and so much more. After visiting many many colleges, from big public universities to small liberal arts colleges, I landed on Hope College.

I’ve had family members come to Hope, so that is the true reason why I applied. I always had the thought in my head that Hope was the last place I’d go because I wanted to do something different with my life, I didn’t want to follow any certain “footsteps.” Look at me know, I am a senior and loving life at the school that was my last choice. Do I regret anything? Absolutely NOT.

In working for admissions, it is not my goal to advertise Hope College to you, but to rather share my experiences with you to show you how I live my life and how I grew as a person here at Hope College. Any other school, including Hope will answer all of your questions and tell you what you want to hear, but let’s be real, “college shopping” is beyond that. You have to look at both sides of the story, not just the pretty side.

Let’s dive in to see how I’ve grown as an individual here at Hope for the past 4 years. Yikes, that seems like a long time ago!

  • Faith. I was always a believer. I knew God was always there. My only problem was being intentional and growing in my faith. What is faith if it’s not challenged, right? The great thing about Hope was that no certain religion was constantly being shoved down your throat. To be honest, that was one of my biggest fears coming to any Christian school. If religion was shoved down my throat, I would simply walk away. But the very fact that practicing your faith by choice was just splendid. It showed me that it should be up to me, not the church to pursue my faith. To see that other students also did it by choice made me want to pursue my own. No pressure at all. I am forever thankful for this because now, all of my academics and relationships are faith based. I would have NEVER gotten that a big school.
  • Academics. Challenges are great, everyone wants a good challenge. Hope provided me with challenges, especially in the academics. I’m not going to lie to you, or sugar coat anything. School is hard, and Hope’s caliber regarding academia has a high standard. But knowing this, there is so much support available for students if they are struggling with any class. I definitely took this as an advantage. Freshman and sophomore years, I had tutors in various classes to help me succeed. They worked around my schedule and tailored the tutoring session to me and my learning styles. Without my tutors, I would not be where I am today. Do yourself a favor, if you end up at Hope, don’t be ashamed to get academic support. Hope wants to see you succeed, so take that as an advantage!
  • Social. The last facet of my “big 3” (faith, academics, and social) aspects on life was dramatically changed. I was that kid in high school that said, “when we go to college, let’s keep in touch!” Yeah, that rarely happened. What I found was that I only kept in communication with a few friends. That really showed me that people change, and my relationships were not deeply rooted. My relationships at Hope College on the other hand are OUT OF THIS WORLD. When people say your college friends are your lifelong friends, believe it. All of my relationships here at Hope are ones I cherish. They are all centered on faith, and my connections are just so deep that it would take so much to break those apart. All of my best friends (with an exception for a few from home!) were synthesized at Hope College. And for that, I am forever grateful.

If that’s not telling you enough, I don’t know what else is. Colleges are supposed to change your life. Hope didn’t change my life though, it transformed it. Because of this institution, I would not be the person I am today.

Here is a cliché Hope College picture for you all.
Here is a cliché Hope College picture for you all.

Hey, I’m Home Again!

Home Sweet Hope, as the saying goes.

It’s a new year with new and exciting experiences ahead, and I am psyched to see what God has planned for me in the coming weeks. With this in mind, I figure with the new year starting off, I’ll throw in a reintroduction as well as a recap of my first two weeks of classes.

I’m best known by either Sophie or Soph, depending on the day and depending on who I happen to be talking to. Maybe you had a chance to see some of my posts over the summer, but if you’re new to checking out the Hope College blog, first of all, WELCOME!! and second of all, I’ll reintroduce myself to give you a chance to get to know me better.

I have recently declared a Communication major and Leadership minor (it’s about time, considering I’ve completed/enrolled in 20 Communication credits and 10 Leadership credits), and it has been cool to see new opportunities develop by turning in my official declaration. For one, my face is posted in the Communication hallway on a pretty sweet bulletin board along with my fellow Communication majors. Second, I have a non-academic requirement of my Leadership minor to have a mentor, who I have recently contacted. My heart is so happy.

Over and over again, I see God opening new doors for me to dance through. I’m so lost in His grace. When I walk through the doors of Dimnent each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings and on Sunday nights and am surrounded daily by amazing and inspiring peers and professors, I am reminded why the campus of Hope is my favorite place to be.

Here’s a quick glimpse of what my first two weeks on campus have looked like thus far:

First day of school:

First Day of School

Now, I didn’t think I’d begin the first day of my Sophomore year on crutches, but it turns out that the amount of walking talking place on a college campus was something my left leg couldn’t handle right away (side note: I broke my foot earlier this summer). So, I crutched/scootered around, kept practicing my physical therapy exercises, found the elevators in all of the academic buildings, and sweated (a lot, as you can see I’m sweating in this picture) because it was incredibly muggy and, for anyone who has been on crutches, you know how much extra effort it takes to get places. Good news, though – as of yesterday, both of my feet are officially walking!

THE BEACH:

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I could stay at the beach forever, and that’s all I really have to say about that.

Of course, I’ve been doing my homework, calling my family (don’t forget to do that!), and doing plenty of other productive things… but the beach, yeah, that’s my absolute favorite.

Want to continue to keep up with me? Keep up with my blog here, follow me on twitter @hopesophie17, or if you have questions or comments please feel free to tweet at me @hopesophie17 or send me an email at sophie.guetzko@hope.edu. Have a great weekend!

3 Days Left

Hey folks! Today marks the day of when all countdowns begin. As of today, there are only 9 days of class left. And my title states “3 Days Left” because there are 3 more days until THANKSGIVING! So after Thanksgiving Break, there is one week of class left, followed by exams. WHAT? And as of today, there are 30 days left until Christmas! Now, it really feels like Christmas because there is snow on the ground. It’s going to be a white winter folks! So, I’m going to try to post everyday until break. It will build up the excitement and I just have so much to talk about!

This past weekend, I went home. It was the first time I’ve been back since Fall Break, so it was a decent amount of time. I was just so ready to get out of school. My family celebrated Thanksgiving last weekend, because we have exciting plans for actual Thanksgiving Break (more to come!). For the first time in a long time, I actually got a lot of my homework done at home. This usually never happens because I am so distracted by my family because there is always something to do in TC! The best part of being home for the weekend was the intense SNOW!

Lake Effect Snow!
This is just some lake effect.

Yes, SNOW! Traverse City, as well as most of Northern Michigan was under a lake effect snow warning. From Friday night until Sunday morning, we were slammed with so much beautiful snow. Although I thought I was going to die while driving, I felt as if I was driving through Narnia! But with snow, comes work. The shovels were brought out and our snowblower was taken out of hibernation as well. Clearing the snow is a pain, but worth it because we have to get out of our driveway somehow!

Anyway, back to reality. These last 3 days are going to rough, but in the end, it is going to be worth it. There are simply too many assignments that need to be turned in! But my goal is to finish all of them, and as of now, I am in great shape, so I won’t have any homework during break! Ok, that’s all for now! If you haven’t already, follow me on twitter at @HopeMarvin15!

Blessings,

Marv

It’s OK to be Social

Alrighty folks, I’m back again with another post. Great right? So here is my “thesis” of this blog. Although college has a large focus on academics, it is OK to be social. I felt as if I was writing a formal paper there for a sec. Anyways, yes. As a nursing major, I am completely buried in homework and study literally 24/7. It can get irritating, but it’s the life I chose, and it’s my calling. So secretly, I enjoy this work sometimes (weird, I know). But last weekend, I did a lot of homework so I had time to just relax this week. But, I also was social and hung out with my friends! Ultimately, you have to find that balance between academia and the social realm, which is pretty unique here at Hope.

So, my homework is already done for this week. It is SO nice to have this work done. I have had so much time to focus on relaxing and working on SAC stuff. I’m a project lead for the annual Chicago Trip, so that is stressful. Just imagine schoolwork on top of that… it would be a disaster!! Regardless, maybe I’ll do this more often, the doing my work ahead of time because i have so much time for myself now!

But along with the completion of my work, I found time to be with some of my best buddies. It is good to have this time in college because it maintains your sanity. Trust me. Anyways, it was fellow blogger’s Chelsea Barfield‘s 22nd birthday, and my friend Nate’s 21st. So, we went over to his house to enjoy each other’s presence. We played trivia about each other, and all I have to say to that is we learn something new everyday, HAHA!

Maizey Jane and Me!
Maizey Jane and Me!

Along with having fun at the birthday party, I met Chelsea’s precious puppy, Maizey Jane. She DEFINITELY wins the cutest puppy award. This is the kind of dog I want when I get out college. Something cute, cuddly, and fun. Something Maizey! Afterwards, I ended up watching Despicable Me 2 with one of my best buddies, Joey. Oh man did I laugh a lot. Another thing I wish I could have are Minions. They’re simply the best. That following Saturday, I did some homework, worked out, and hung out with my friend Hannah! We watched 21 and Over and Pitch Perfect. It was a nice way to unwind. She also took me grocery shopping, and I bought a box of clementines. By the time we finished our movie, I ate 8. Yes, 8. They are the best. Then, that Sunday, I slept in a little bit, had breakfast with Joey, did some homework with Hannah and Allie, ate dinner, then watched my favorite TV Show, Revenge. If you haven’t seen it, GO. It’s on Netflix. It’s full of mystery and suspense, and in the perfect combination.

Ultimately, I had a productive weekend. Because I had those intervals in which I hung out with my friends, I got a lot done! See, everyone has 24 hours in a day, we just spend it differently. That’s it for now! If you haven’t already, FOLLOW ME on TWITTER! Just shoot me questions if you have any! I’ll be posting again later this week!

Until then!

My beautiful, rambunctious 30 kids

One of the classes I have been taking this semester is Educational Psychology, the first class in the Education program at Hope. Part of the class is a lecture twice a week, and the other portion is a field placement in a local elementary school. For the past 10 weeks, I have had the joyful blessing of getting to know some amazing kindergarteners at one of the elementary schools in the greater Holland area.

Becoming a teacher is something I have thought about since I was a little girl. The thought of having my own classroom and teaching students excited me. As I got older, I pushed teaching to the side as I considered other professions, such as becoming a doctor, lawyer, or marine biologist. By the time I Ieft high school, I was pretty settled on majoring in French and political science, and then going on to have a career in government or journalism. It wasn’t until I had a conversation with my mom over spring break that I began to think about teaching again. I signed up for Educational Psychology for the fall semester, and here I am!

Hope’s Education program is unique from other schools in that you get placed into a real classroom in your first education class, that way you can get some knowledge early on if teaching is right for you or not. At some other schools, you don’t have a field placement until your junior year, and by then it’s too late to change your major. Luckily for me, I have loved every day of my field placement and have realized that education is something I want to pursue. 

From the first day I entered the classroom, the kids were so welcoming of me. None of them hesitated to ask me to push them on the swings, or talk about how they went shopping with their mom and dad over the weekend. Being around kids so young is like a breath of fresh air because the only people I’m surrounded by are either my classmates or working professionals. It has also given me an opportunity to truly realize how much we learned in kindergarten. It may be hard to think about now, but there was a time in your life when you couldn’t read these words, count to 100, or name the colors of a rainbow. Even though I have only been going once a week for 10 weeks, I have seen these kids make so much progress in their learning and classroom behavior. There is one little boy in particular who could barely sit still in class in the beginning of the semester, and now he can sit through almost an entire lesson. We should go back to our kindergarten teachers and thank them for all they taught us! 

I wasn’t expecting to love the kids as much as I do, but somewhere along the journey, they worked their way into my heart. Sometimes I look at them and wonder what kind of people they’ll turn out to be, and if they’ll make good choices in their lives. Weird, I know. Being around them makes me excited for the day I will have my own classroom and will be able to make an impact on the lives of my students. I can’t wait!

-Rachael