Yeah, I Live by Detroit

I’m home, I’m home (for a little over three weeks)! The place I call home? Troy, a suburb located outside of Detroit. I spent a lot of time in Detroit growing up with both of my parents working in the city. I was actually born down there and went to day-care there!

Occasionally, when I tell people that I’m from outside of Detroit, their eyes will bulge out at me, as if I’m about to pull a gun from my back pocket. At this, I crinkle my nose and try to pretend that I don’t notice. I actually live in a very nice place, and their assumption doesn’t hurt my feelings but rather batters my opinion of them.

See, the stigma associated with the city is something that really gets to me. How are we supposed to make it better if people keep putting it down and assuming the worst for it? If you were trying to make positive changes in your life, and someone kept putting you down, can you imagine how hard it would be to get off of your feet? What gets me even deeper is that some people who say nasty things about Detroit have never been there. Sure, there are bad parts, but there are also great parts. In fact, a lot is being done to make the city a better place. It’s in the first steps toward revival.

Here’s a look at some of the good parts of Detroit. I spent a lot of hours down there waiting for my stepsister to finish her exams at Wayne State University. My mom, stepdad, and I explored for a while.

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Avalon | Hugh | Source Bookseller’s

A lot of these places have been around for a few years, and a lot of people were walking around in this area. The lofts are making it a very modern and cool place to live. (And yes, like most everything, this does remind me of New Girl).


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Shinola | Willy’s | Nest

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The Fox | The Filmore | Campus Martius

If you didn’t know, they’re building the M1 Rail on Woodward along neighborhoods by the Central Business District, Midtown, New Center, and North End. It’s goal is to by the catalyst of the area, promoting growth. They’re also building a new hockey arena for the Red Wings, our hockey team.

Hitsville, USA

My stepdad is a really big music guy, and we all know how much music was made in Detroit. They recorded people like Diana Ross & the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5, and Stevie Wonder. There is so much history in this city.

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Astoria | Greektown

The city life is also very alive; you can see people going out downtown to Greektown! We just went to the Astoria Bakery (mmmm!) to get some treats after dinner in Mexicantown.

It’s really clear to see how much is being done to the city when you drive through it. Keeping in mind that all cities, suburbs, and rural areas have bad parts, Detroit will never be perfect; no place or person could ever be. It can be fixed to it’s best potential, though. It’s our generation that can do this. Yes, there are bad parts (a lot of them), but it’s getting better and people need to know that.

A lot of young, college and high school kids say that they want to move to the city when the graduate. They usually mean Manhattan or Chicago, but one day, I think that they could mean Detroit too.


If you have any questions for me you can contact me at, through Facebook, or my twitter @hopebrooke18! I’d love to answer them!

Christmas Break Must-Do’s!

As of today, there are 6 days until spring semester commences. Let’s make these last 6 days memorable, probably because this is going to be the only time we have time to relax before Winter Break! Here is a post on some ideas you can do in the last 6 days. I have done most of these, but to those that I haven’t done, I’d like to do ASAP. Are you up for it?

Read for Enjoyment!
Ok, this might sounds weird, but I like to read FOR FUN when it’s not mundane textbooks. Right now, I’m reading Love Does by Bob Goff. SO GOOD. And the coolest thing is that he is coming to HOPE COLLEGE IN JANUARY! I’m so pumped. Maybe, I can even get him to sign my book! Regardless, you don’t have to read his book, but read something you enjoy before you’re forced to read a textbook!

Enjoy the Outdoors!
Ok, this may sound even worse, but just appreciating winter weather CAN be relaxing, at least for me. There are so many activities to do outside during the winter, like XC skiing, downhill skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, tubing, and etc. Also, I’ve ran a few times outside too. I sound crazy, but I really like running. There was a day last week where it was 50 degrees, so I definitely took advantage of that. The only bad news is that it’s only limited to people who ACTUALLY have snow. If you don’t have snow, and live in the sun, don’t complain. 🙂

Watch Movies!
There are a plethora of movies (that are actually good) that are out in theaters. If you’re a fan of Will Ferrell, Anchorman 2 is for you. I saw it, and it was just so funny. When a movie can make me laugh out loud, it’s pretty good. Another awesome movie to watch is Saving Mr. Banks. Oh my goodness, this movie was the best movie I have seen in a while. It was well directed, produced, casted, and was super genuine. No wonder why it was such a success. Another thing you could do is stay in bed all day and watch Netflix. Don’t worry, this is a judgment-free zone. I would consider that a success because you need to catch up on your TV shows.

Again, you’re probably asking yourself, “Why is Marvin so weird?” Well, I don’t know how to answer that, I just am. You can clean your house and your room. Yesterday, I cleaned my room, and I’ve accumulated so much stuff since high school that I never organized. I recycled so much paper, and now, my room is immaculate. I’m only suggesting this because before you know it, it will pile up.


So, this is probably the hardest one for me. Since leaving college, my relationships with my high school friends have been lost or disconnected. But I have those select few individuals I still talk to while I’m at school, and just being in their presence is awesome. I’ll be honest, I have more friends at Hope than I do home, and I’m 100% okay with that. All that matters to me is that I’m hanging out with the people I care about. Now, if you have a great group of friends at home, go. Go and hang out. Catch up over food, watch a movie, or just sit down and talk. Remember, time with your friends doesn’t matter, it’s the quality of your friendship.

I’m sure there are more things to do, but I just posted some ideas. I honestly can’t wait to be back at school, although this break has gone by so fast. But I have another post for you all later!

Christmas Break (Part 2)

Here’s another post for you all, so you can stay updated on my life! As of this Saturday, December 28th, I have been on break for 16 days. And as of today, there are 9 days left of break. Holy cow this break has been flying by. Anyways, since my Christmas Break (Part 1) blog post, I’ve added on more activities, simply so I don’t get bored while being home! I’ve continued to snow blow my driveway simply because Mother Nature demands it. Here, look at how much snow Up North Michigan has gotten. Crazy.

I just can't fathom the amount of snow on the ground.
I just can’t fathom the amount of snow on the ground.

I’ve also continued running and working out – but the ginormous amounts of food I consume just negate it, but at least I’m staying neutral, right!? And one more thing I continue to do is cleaning up around the house. My parents have been satisfied, so I’m going to give myself a pat on the back for that!

One of my best friends, Bailey, just came back from Ireland after spending an entire semester there! We went to this burger joint in Traverse City, MI called Bubba’s. Their burgers are to die for, and are reasonably priced, which helps a poor college student! Anyways, it was so great to listen to her experiences and catch up with her. Following our lunch, we went to her house to play Just Dance 4 on the Wii. Let me tell you, Just Dance is so much fun. I recommend it to anyone who likes to have fun!

I also visited one of my best high school friends, Eva. We always have a tradition in which we decorate Christmas cookies, and go shopping for Christmas presents for friends and family. It’s always a blast spending time with her. Here is a picture of us and our decorated cookies. We’re experts.

Eva and me with our cookies!
Eva and me with our cookies!

One of my childhood best friends finally came home a week ago, so I’ve been hanging out with him for a good amount of time. Mitch and I went last minute Christmas shopping for friends and family, and it was a great time. My other childhood best friend, Brett, also came home from the USAFA (United States Air Force Academy). Hearing all about his experiences was just so interesting. It was good to have these two guys back home. My childhood best friends, along with their brothers, watched Anchorman II: The Legend Continues. If you have watched the first one, and haven’t seen this one, I strongly recommend it. Will Ferrell never ceases to disappoint! This is a Christmas Break Must-Do!

Then, Christmas came along. I really enjoyed being with family and having a white Christmas! Some of my friends did not have a white Christmas, so I am really thankful! I didn’t get much for Christmas because I have everything I need! I just asked my parents to help pay for my trip to Vienna this summer 🙂

The day after Christmas, I went up to Boyne Mountain with some family friends for an annual skiing adventure! It was just amazing to say the least. I enjoy being outside in the beautiful winter weather downhill skiing. We also went ice skating at Boyne, which was a blast. I needed a refresher on skiing because it’s been two years, but it really didn’t take long for me to get the hang of it again! Below is a slideshow of my favorite pictures from Boyne!

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Lastly, I met up with my BFFLAE (best friend for life and eternity) just last night! Don’t worry, we established BFFLAE in our pubescent years, and it just stuck! I haven’t seen her since August so it was SO GREAT to see her! Maddie goes to Michigan Tech, which is in Houghton, Michigan (AKA The Upper Peninsula). Again, we had so much catching up. It’s just so much fun to listen to her experiences at school!

Here I am with Maddie!
Here I am with Maddie!

So, in this edition of my Christmas Break post, I was just a tee bit busier catching up with my best friends as they came home from college. I hope to hang out with them before I return to school, because I won’t see them for a while! Thanks for reading, friends! There will be more to come later!!


Christmas Break (Part 1)

Tomorrow, December 18th, 2013, marks my first week of being on break. And let me tell you this, it’s already going by too fast. My brain is still recovering from the extensive studying from finals week; all I need right now is doing nothing, Regardless, it feels so good to be on break. Although I haven’t done much, I’ve been pretty productive around the house, and thats good enough for me. Since last Thursday, my parents have got me doing chores and running errands. Is it weird that I kind of enjoy doing them? It’s probably because it burns up just the right amount of time; I’m neither bored or overwhelmed with things to do. Our house is clean (thanks to me), the driveway is clear of snow (thanks to me), and my parents are happy. When my parents are happy, it’s always a good day!

SIDE NOTE: I just looked up my final grades on KnowHope Plus, and boy am I satisfied. I made it through my Junior fall semester, and in good academic standing! Give yourself a pat on the back, MARV!

Since being home, I had the opportunity to watch 2 of my little bro’s basketball games. He goes to Traverse City Central High School, and is on the freshman team. He is over 6 feet tall, and is baller to say the least. That dude can jump, block, shoot, you name it.

He is a giant.
He is a giant.

Here’s a picture of us! It’s hard for me to believe that he’s taller than me. At times, I feel like I’m taller because I’m older, or that could be my denial kicking in. Nonetheless, I hope that I can watch more of his basketball games while I’m home. The school district here has just two more days left until their Christmas break, so maybe just one more!

One thing that I have been doing, so far, during break is running and working out. I am so THANKFUL that we have a “mini” gym in our basement, so I can lift and such. We also have a treadmill, which is awesome. So far, the weather has been awful up here, so I’ve been running on my treadmill. It can get quite mundane, but it’s better than sitting around. Tomorrow, I’m planning to run outside; it would be my first winter run! I’m nervous, but I’ll take a picture for all of you!

That’s week 1 at a glance, friends! I will DEFINITELY post something again before this week ends. For you Hope students reading this, I hope your break is nice and relaxing; we deserve it! For those of you still in school, stick it out! There are only two more days left until break! By the way, here is a shout-out to all of the admitted students for the CLASS OF 2018! You all rock, and you made a GREAT decision by applying to Hope! If you haven’t already, follow me on twitter!

Before I leave, I just wanted to share one more tidbit. As Christmas approaches, we tend to get stuck in our “materialistic” ways, with buying presents, and shopping for ourselves. I am totally guilty of this. It is important for us to remember the reason for the season. Let’s put CHRIST back into CHRISTMAS, ok? Alright everyone, thanks for reading!



Cloudy with a Chance of Snow: What to do when travel plans change

There are few things about traveling home that are “easy” being an out-of-state student. But is it worth it?


Up until about 7 PM on Tuesday, my family was planning to make the 7-hour trip to Michigan to come and pick me up to being Christmas break. Then, with all the crazy weather happening up here in the Holland area, my mom called me up and said they wouldn’t be able to make it due to the snow. In which case, she booked me a flight from Grand Rapids to travel home today!

I re-packed my belongings into airport-friendly bags (I had previously packed half of my stuff into a clothing hamper!) and adapted my schedule a little bit to ride with my friend Mallory to the airport, because she was headed toward Grand Rapids today as well! I’m so thankful to have such great friends here at Hope. They’re always there when I need them.

Here I am, hanging out in the GR airport for a couple hours before my flight. Here’s some advice for out-of-state students (or anyone, really!) when travel plans change and you have to adapt quickly:

1. Don’t Stress.

Spur-of-the-moment plan changes seem a little stressful (especially during finals week!), but have no fear. Number one, remember that God has you in His hands and He is watching over you. Number two, remember that things are never as bad as they seem. 🙂

2. Send boxes home.

I went to the Bookstore, and they were generous to give me a GIANT box (for free!) so that I could pack some of my clothing and extra stuff I couldn’t fit into my duffel bag. I mailed that home from the mail room in DeWitt (the funniest part was that the box was so wide, it hardly fit through the mail room window… that was pretty hilarious) so that I could send some of my puffy stuff — like my ski coat and favorite blanket — so that I would have it over Christmas break.

2. Roll your clothes.

If you fold your clothes and then roll them (beach towel style), it saves a TON of space in a suitcase! My friend mentioned that to me as I was packing and it was unbelievable how much more I could pack.

4. Stay in contact with your parents.

Especially when the weather is bad, be sure to send them a call/text as you hit each “checkpoint” — such as a gas station, airport, or other location — to ensure that you’re safe and sound. The last thing you want them to do is to worry!

Overall, just remember to be flexible and embrace anything that comes your way. It’s important to remember that your worries are nothing in comparison to the amazing plan God has for you!

Safe travels over the holiday season, and best wishes! Enjoy this time with your family — it is the most wonderful time of the year!

Keep up with me @hopesophie17 or send me an email at

My Semester Highlights!

I can’t believe that my semester ends tomorrow. Well, I actually can. As my friend put it, the days drag on, but the weeks just fly by! My fifth semester of college has been nothing but a learning experience and fun. I learned more about God, myself, my relationship with Him, my friends, and my relationships with them. Obviously, I learned more about nursing, but I also had a fun semester on top of academia! I kept busy by being involved, working, and just doing school. On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the worst semester and 10 being the best semester, I would give this semester an 8! That’s pretty good! I just want to share my top moments with you this semester!


When I learned that I was accepted to be a student blogger, I was nothing but excited. I love sharing my experiences with others, and I enjoy the effect that it can have on people. I hope (no pun intended) that my blog has nothing but an inspiration to you all who read it! I can’t wait to continue to blog next semester, but don’t worry. I’ll blog during break so you can keep up!


This semester, I started my nursing practicums. Now that I have started them, I am in it for the long run! Being in the hospital setting was great affirmation for me because I know this is what I wanted to do, and I LOVE IT. I am happy God put me on the nursing track. Along with my practicums, I had many opportunities to be involved within the program itself. I became a nursing TA for one of my favorite classes. I cannot wait to continue on with that as well!


Our college inaugurated the our 12th president! It was so cool to be a part of this experience, and it was definitely a historic event. I mean, when is the next time we will get a new president? In like, 10-15 years? You never know! Just being a part of this transition was awesome. On top of his inauguration, his involvement within the student body has been nothing but wonderful. On several occasions, he opened his patio for students to eat cookies, nachos, salsa, and drink punch. I mean, how cool is that!? And we also had the opportunity to talk with him and Mrs. Knapp! This college is simply UNIQUE!


Although I am Odd Year, The Pull was a pretty historic event for the Even Year, and I congratulate them! The Pull is always intense and awesome. One of my fellow nursing majors and friend was the pull rep for the Odd Year, so it was cool to ask him all about it! On the other hand, Odd Year won Nykerk, which was awesome. Hope traditions are seriously the best because there is so much student involvement in them. Not all schools has this!


I also had the awesome opportunity to serve on SAC (Student Activies Committee). As a core member, I had the opportunity to plan events for campus, which was a bunch of fun! Some big events include the Chicago Trip, and I planned that! SAC has been such a great experience. I was challenged as in individual, but I also grew, made new relationships, and gained new skills! For next year, I am a SAC DIRECTOR! I learned about this news just yesterday! I am so stoked to serve as a director for our campus next year! Expect awesome things, everyone!


In October, I had the opportunity to visit Hannah’s hometown of Green Lake. Hannah is one of my best friends, so it was just even more fun! This was the first time I have ever been to Wisconsin, and my priority was eating fried cheese. Did it happen? OF COURSE! And while in Wisconsin, Hannah and I met Bucky The Badger. How cool!?



On October 19th, my best friend Joey and I trekked to Ann Arbor for the weekend to watch a Michigan football game. This was an opportunity of a lifetime, and it was definitely on my bucket list. I am SO glad it is now checked off. We watched The Indiana Hoosiers play The Wolverines, and it was a great game to go to because MICHIGAN WON! If you have the opportunity to go to a big school to watch a football game, I recommend it.

Halftime photo
Halftime photo


This is always a highlight of any fall semester. There is just so much fun during the Hoedown, especially if you are with all of your awesome friends. My favorite part was eating the fall inspired food, and line dancing. It’s always a blast! Here is a picture!

Here are some of my favorite people; Erica and Joey!
Here are some of my favorite people; Erica and Joey!


This was something to put down for the books. President Knapp, his family, and Hope College started a new tradition of lighting a Christmas tree. It was SO cold at this event, but how could you miss it!? It was the first one, EVER. And now, I can say that, “Oh! I was at the first tree lighting 50 years ago!” when I’m older. But here is a picture!

Here is the lit tree with my candle. How cool!
Here is the lit tree with my candle. How cool!


For Thanksgiving Break this year, I had the opportunity to go visit and sightsee Las Vegas. It was so awesome!!! We saw shows like The Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil. We also went to all of the famous hotels, and toured around. We also went to The Hoover Dam and ate a lot of Filipino food. This is definitely a trip I will not forget!

Just living life off the edge...of the Hoover Dam!
Just living life off the edge…of the Hoover Dam!


Every year, Ballet Club puts on a ballet entitled, “The Nutcracker.” It is really famous, and is a classic ballet for the winter time. I performed the role of BOTH the Nutcracker and the Cavalier. Can you say exhausting, but fun!? My friends and family came and saw me perform. It truly was a blessing to have them in the audience. Here is a picture of my mom, brother, and me!

Here I am with my mom and brother!
Here I am with my mom and brother!


Really early in the semester, I applied for the Vienna May Term. Then as the semester was winding down, I decided I wanted to spend both May and June in Vienna. SO, I ended up applying for both. Just last week, I was informed I was accepted to both terms, received my first choice for classes, and RECEIVED A SCHOLARSHIP! So I am definitely going. This is just a picture of what I’ll be seeing so soon!

I'll be here for 2 MONTHS this summer!
I’ll be here for 2 MONTHS this summer!

WOW! A lot happened this semester. Writing about it was some good reminiscing. Now, just one exam and one day separates me from Christmas Break! I am so ready to be home with family and friends! I hope you all had great semester (for those of you on the semester system) and I hope you all had a great 1st trimester/part of your 2nd trimester (for those of you in the trimester system)! Stay updated with my break posts by following me on Twitter! God Bless everyone!


Visiting Michigan on break!

I cannot believe I will be back at Hope in less than a week. Time flies so quickly. On Thursday our family left to start our trip to Michigan to visit my dad’s side of the family. We first stopped by a suburb of Chicago to visit my mom’s aunts. We only planned on staying an hour or so, but it turned into five hours. My mom’s side of the family is from Italy, so they all love to talk.

Frankenmuth, Michigan

Once we left Frankenmuth, we drove to our cousin’s house and played a variety of games. Every night was family game night, and it was a blast! My favorite game played was Balderdash. I want to buy it and bring it back to Hope to play with my friends. While I was at cousin’s house in Manchester, my friend Sarah came and visited with my family. We all played Taboo together, and or course my team won. My stomach hurt by the end of the night from all of the laughter.

After we left my cousin’s house, I drove home with Sarah. The roads were really slippery from the snow, so she drove like 25 mph the whole way back. We ate and chatted for awhile in her room then went to bed. The next day we ate out at the same sushi place that we ate at last year when I visited her. Then my parents came and picked me up from Starbucks. Of course it was snowing on our ride home, so it took longer than expected to arrive.

Sarah and I in the snow storm

I really enjoyed my time in Michigan with my family. I am looking forward to heading back up there in less than I week.

Hope your week is wonderful