Dear Prospective Students

Dear Prospective Students,

This is my “letter” to you. As of today the class of 2015 graduates in 58 days (less than 2 months)! A large sum of my four years at Hope have been shaped by involvement within the campus community. Hope has so much to offer, but you have to seek many of these opportunities out. I want you to take advantage of what Hope has to offer; these opportunities will enhance your college experiences beyond what words can imagine. Trust me, these 4 years have flown by and I can still remember move-in day as if it were yesterday. Here are some opportunities you can take advantage of and tips that will make experience at Hope memorable.

My freshman self.
My freshman self.


This may be obvious, but it’s the first thing you need to do. Move-In Day is overwhelming, you’re stepping into what will be your home for the first year. Your first instinct is to stay in your room, but go meet people! Whether that’s in your residence hall, or just around campus. You can also meet new people at the Activities Fair, or through Orientation! You may feel uncomfortable, but it’s worth it. I have many friends who go to state universities and they stuck together. Not saying it’s a bad thing, but expanding that bubble will make or break your experience.

2. Introduce Yourself to your Professors!

This was advice I received from an upperclassman when I was going into college. The professors at Hope don’t profess for the sake of education. They care for your well-being as a student and want to be a resource. Take 5 minutes to introduce yourself before, or after some of your first classes! Heck, set up meeting times to discuss your Hope experience or academics. I meet with one of my professors weekly to discuss academics and my life. This ultimately led me to having an academic mentor, and those are so beneficial.


Well, you should definitely give them a try! Student Activities Committee, or SAC is part of the student organizations category, and being a director of the largest student organization has been a blessing, really. My leadership skills continue to grow, and the team I work with is simply amazing! There so many more groups to get involved in too, which is so great! Some examples are Dance Marathon, Student Congress, and Student Ambassadors.

4. Greek Life

Greek Life is another great way to meet people and to get connected with Hope. The Greek organizations at Hope are unlike any other in that they are local. You will only find these sororities and fraternities at Hope! Within the organizations, you can network with current students and alumni. I have many friends involved in Greek Life, and they absolutely love it!


The Holland community is very spoiled in that it has a large supply of volunteers! Many Hope students volunteer in the Holland community. There are so many places you can volunteer within the community. Some are the Holland Health Clinic, CASA (Children’s After School Achievement), The Rock, Holland Hospital, Center for Women in Transition (CWIT), and so much more. Hope College also has the Volunteer Services office where they can network with you organizations you can volunteer for!

6. Campus Jobs

I previously posted a blog about having a job during college. If you decide to have a job, GREAT! This will definitely make your time at Hope worthwhile. Having a job not only gets you money, but it also networks you with various faculty and staff throughout campus and teaches you the importance of time management skills. Definitely worth it. This job, as a student blogger, is all of that and rewarding. I am able to help YOU ALL out!

And lastly…


Oh my lanta. Hope has SO many resources for its students. These resources will help you with your Hope College experience. For example, use the career development center for tips on resumes, have mock job interviews, and get networked with businesses! Maybe you’ll even get your first “big kid” job through them! Another great one is the Academic Success Center! They will pair you up with a tutor (fo’ free) for help with any of your classes. I’ve had several tutors for several classes. It really makes a difference! There are so many more resources on campus, you just have to come here to find out!

I hope this was helpful for you all! Your time at Hope will change you (in the best way)! If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to get in contact with me through Hope on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Excitement in the Air

It feels good to be back. I’m not sure what it is – the winter air, maybe? It feels different, but it feels good. It could be the feeling of a new beginning, except without all of the nerves and awkwardness of first semester. It’s like I’m a freshman, but I’ve been through conditioning already. I know, pretty much, what I’m doing and what’s in store for me. I just feel so excited and I can’t explain it.

What’s there to be excited about for me at Hope this semester?

New Classes – After having the same classes and schedule for a whole semester, it’s nice to mix it up. We start tomorrow, and while I’m nervous, I’m excited to be taking more classes that I’m interested in!

New & Old Friends – Seeing everyone back on campus is fun. It’s overwhelming hearing people throughout Dykstra scream as their friends walk in with all of their stuff. I’m excited to be back with the people I met last semester, but also make new relationships with others!

Sorority Rush – Hope’s Greek Life does sorority and fraternity rush in the second semester, not the first. I’m not exactly sure if it’s for me yet, but I wouldn’t be doing myself a favor if I didn’t rush and find out! I’m really excited to see what’s in store for me in this area at Hope, and I will for sure keep anyone who’s interested in finding out about Greek Life at Hope updated on my experience!

Winter Fantasia – This is Hope’s formal, put on by the Student Activities Committee! It’s coming up pretty soon and it should be a fun time. I love any chance to get dressed up!

Sounds pretty exciting, huh? I look forward to posting more of my adventures from this semester, like last semester, here and thank you all for reading!

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

The Top Three Things College Has Taught Me So Far

I’ve only been here a semester, and I’m not saying that I’ve been around this block as many times as another college student, but college has taught me some pretty cool and important lessons so far. There have been way more than three pieces of advice that Hope has loaned me, but these are the top three and/or the ones that I thought of first.

First: It’s all about balance.

College is so many things. It is academics, friends, social life, faith, sports, etc. One of the most important things you can do is find a balance between all of these things. Not to scare you, but if you don’t reality is going to knock you upside the head (pretty quickly, I might add).

Second: Friends
it doesn’t happen overnight, or the semester.

I just assumed that since I was going to Hope that we’d all click instantaneously and have immediate friendships that were effortless, beautiful, and life-changing. ERGHH (That’s a buzzer noise), I was wrong. It turns out that creating meaningful relationships with people is actually something that you have to work on (oops, my bad), and it doesn’t just come naturally. Also, it’s not going to happen in the time span of one semester, and I’ve accepted that now; you don’t get to know someone that fast.

Another important thing I learned is that it’s awkward. All of it is awkward, and I am awkward, because life is just a little bit awkward sometimes. Embrace this, love it, because that means we’re in places where growth can occur; we’re in a new beginning, and beginnings are always awkward but oh-so-promising of a better future. Besides, it’ll be fun to look back and laugh on all of the awkward conversations in the end.

Third: The power in someone’s story.

Before you call me cliché, I just want you to know that I don’t care; this is important. The thing is, everyone comes from a different background. Everyone has experienced different situations and events that have helped bring them to the place they’re at today. After one semester, it’s pretty clear to me how dire it is to learn someone’s story before thinking that I know who they are.

While you may know that someone enjoys knitting, do you know why? Perhaps you were really bothered by their knitting habit. What if you found out that their grandma taught them to knit, and she passed away last year and it’s all that they have left of her. Knitting. Meanwhile, you love your grandparents to death, and suddenly you understand why she loves to knit so much; it all makes so much more sense to you and you can finally understand her, really get her.

That’s a weird, made up example, but it shows the process of it all. I encourage everyone to listen to others’ stories before making up your mind on them. It’s life changing to the point where hearing other peoples’ stories has become an insane piece of my own story.

Stories quote

So that’s it. That’s what one semester of college has gotten me. I’ve also learned a lot of academic things, but those aren’t often the first things that come to mind when I reflect back on the semester. It’s these changes in mentality that I reflect on and try to come to terms with.

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

The Obligatory Fall Break Post

Hello everyone!

In case you didn’t know, Hope students didn’t have classes the last two days, giving us what we call fall break! I went home on Friday and returned this afternoon.

This was my first weekend home, so I was super excited. Yet I had my fears, what if I didn’t want to come back to Hope? What if home was so amazing that I never wanted to return to campus? So yeah, I was really excited and a little bit scared to go home for the first time since coming here.

I had an amazing weekend baking, going to a family-friend’s halloween birthday party, pumpkin picking, dinner out with family, catching up with a few of my friends at home, cuddling with my pets, and of course enjoying home-cooked meals. I love taking pictures, so here are some from my fall break!

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My fear continued to pester me as I soaked up home, and I grew worried that when I came back I’d become incredibly homesick. I tried to push it away, but there was no doubt that it was a possibility.

However, when my mom and I dragged my bags up from home and into my dorm room, I felt fine. I still feel fine, and I know this is where I’m meant to be. Hope isn’t necessarily home, the place where my family lives, but it is home, where I live. Yes, fall break was great and I love being there, but Hope is amazing for different reasons: it forces me to grow, has an amazing community, and awesome support. There’s no place I’d rather be.

Have a great rest of the week,

Brooke (contact me: or @hopebrooke18)


FYS Part 2: What is an FYS?

I remember it like it was just this summer, because it was just this summer. I’d been eagerly awaiting Hope emails since April when I’d committed – to sign up for classes, fill out my roommate information, etc. Eventually, I was given some sort of course guide for my fall semester so that I could send in my preferences.

But wait, what’s this? A required seminar for all freshmen… I groaned. This meant that I was going to be pushed out of my comfort zone and into my proximal zone of development and ohmygod why would I ever want that?

I’ve since disposed of my foolish ways, and I’m here to tell you exactly why a lot of freshmen, including myself, would want to take a First Year Seminar (FYS) class. I’m here to talk about the Hope College FYS.

So here is… Part 2 of FYS: What is an FYS?

To keep this post shorter, I’m going to do this in question and answer form!

Question: What exactly is a First Year Seminar? And what is its purpose?

Kerri: It’s a required class for all first year students; the objective is to introduce students to college in a small classroom setting. You do get to know your advisor, so it’s really beneficial to first year students because you’re not just a name on a paper.

Dee: A large focus is helping students to become acclimated to the college as well as assist them in making a successful transition. You’re not just a name on a piece of paper, you become close with your advisors and peers, and critical thinking is introduced early on. Your professor(s) for this class become your academic advisor(s) until you declare a major.

Question: Do you wish you had one when you were a freshman in college? Why?

Dee: I definitely do. It’s also a class outside of the description of most classes.

Kerri: The program didn’t start until the early 2000s [Kerri actually went to Hope!]. I think we both wish we would have. It’s a great way to get to know professors and other students. When I went to hope they just assigned us an advisor based on your major.

Question: How/Why do you like teaching a first year seminar?

Dee: Its unique that Kerri and I have to opportunity to teach together. Hopefully this is a benefit to the students because they have two opportunities to connect to someone.

Kerri: Yes, we like it. I like the small class setting and getting to know the students on the personal level. Choosing your own curriculum is interesting, sometimes it’s challenging to get people to talk or make something interesting.

Question: How did you design the seminar? Is it going how you planned?

Dee: The flexibility was very intentional, because we really had no sense for how the students in the class would connect. If students weren’t willing to be vulnerable we could have adapted that.

Kerri: I think that we found a topic that we thought was really relevant to college students, as well as when we were in your shoes. We designed it and it’s going well, but we’re trying to be flexible in terms of the students needs. Overall we’re getting the objectives met.

Question: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Dee: Go FYS!

At the end of the interview, both Kerri and Dee admitted that they were both quiet in class and wish they would have been more assertive. Hearing this was helpful to me, as I tend to be quieter in classroom settings.

It’s safe to say that the FYS is designed to help students, and it sure is helping me adjust to college life! Hopefully you learned a little bit more about this required course for all first year students!

Thanks for reading!


Getting To Know Me–Orientation Weekend Style

Happy Friday Eve! I hope your week has been wonderful thus far.

I have to apologize—as college life tends to require—I hit the ground running with this whole blogging experience and did not take the time to introduce myself! So, here’s a little information about me Orientation Weekend Style 🙂

Name?: Erin Hoolahan
Year?: Freshman
Hometown?: I am from Wexford, Pennsylvania which is a suburb about 20 minutes north of Pittsburgh.
Where I am living: Van Vleck Hall (the oldest and most charming building on campus)

Photographic evidence of VV's lovely charm
Photographic evidence of VV’s lovely charm

Major?: Undecided
Hobbies?: Baking, guitar and Ultimate Frisbee

Finally got to use Van Vleck's awesome kitchen to bake some chocolate chip cookies tonight! (and they're gluten free :) )
Finally got to use Van Vleck’s awesome kitchen to bake some chocolate chip cookies tonight! (and they’re gluten free 🙂 )

Interesting factoid?: I am a triplet. I have a brother (who is at Slippery Rock University in PA) and a sister (who is at Roosevelt University in Chicago).

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How did I find Hope?: Online. Right HERE on U.S News Week’s National Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings. (The story of how I chose Hope, however, may become the topic of a future post.)

Over the course of Orientation Weekend and the week or two following these questions are asked and answered thousands of times. They are a great, succinct way to learn the basics about a new classmate and now I feel better knowing you know the basics about me. 🙂

Feel free to follow me on Twitter and Instagram to see little insights and photos of life at Hope thorough my eyes!

I hope you have a lovely rest of the week!

The Class of 2017 wins Nykerk!

As many of you know, the annual Hope tradition Nykerk occurred last weekend. I know that my words could never completely describe Nykerk, so take a look at some pictures, all of which, and more, can be found on Hope’s website!

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Winning was awesome, but I was more proud of how everyone performed. Both songs were BEYOND AMAZING (If you don’t believe me, check out the sophomore song here and the freshman song here) and the plays were hilarious, as always. Rosemary, the sophomore orator, also did a fabulous job.

I was especially proud of how the orator I have been coaching, Gabby, performed. She went up on stage and delivered her speech with poise, confidence, and a smile. Claire and I could not have been happier with the way she performed. The last few days of practice, Claire and I let her rehearse her speech over and over again to feel comfortable with it. It was during that time when the speech transformed from a memorized, choreographed three and a half-page essay into a visual and audible piece of art.

Through the whole process, Gabby was gracious, hard-working, and flexible. We cut out some parts of the speech three days before Nykerk and made some minor voice inflection changes the night before, and Gabby didn’t complain once. She has been such a joy and light in my life these past few weeks and I already miss spending time with her!

I could not have asked for a better Nykerk season. I would like to say a big thank you to the executive board for all of their hard work, my fellow odd year coaches and the even year coaches for their support, and of course all of the participants for making the 79th Nykerk Cup the best one yet!