Spring Fling – Music, Friends, Fun.

Most days here at Hope are pretty great, but none have been greater than last Friday afternoon, when SAC held Spring Fling in the Pine Grove.

The sky was bright blue and faces were smiling as Hope’s entire student body lined up around the Pine Grove, waiting to enter and receive the free Spring Fling shirt. Inflatables were being set up, hamburgers were on the grill, and the music began to carry us away into the afternoon.

I know this all sounds a little cheesy and it’s hard to believe something that wonderful can happen, but it can and it did. I have pictures to prove it.

Just a few parts of Spring Fling included: laser tag, a zip line, a giant inflatable slide, barbecue dinner, a mechanical bull, free ice cream, a live band, s’more making, an inflatable bungee basketball game, a jousting blowup, and an obstacle course.

The best part by far about Spring Fling was that everyone was there. The people you met in your hall, the people you met in class, the same people you smile at while walking to class every day, the people you’ve haven’t yet had the pleasure to meet. Seeing everyone and being able to spend time with them before leaving was the most I could’ve asked for.

I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend my last weekend at Hope. Spring Fling is now my favorite event put on by the SAC, and I can’t wait until next year (even though the thought of being a sophomore already is killing me).

I’m really glad I could share this experience with all of you reading. Hopefully one day you can experience something like Spring Fling, too, or come to Hope’s and have a blast.

Thanks for reading,

Brooke

If you have any questions for me you can contact me at brookelyn.wharton@hope.edu, through Facebook, or my Twitter @hopebrooke18! I’d love to answer them!

Busy and Fun, A Rare Occurrence

I’ve been so busy lately that the last thing I want to do in a post is reflect on how busy the last two months of my life have been.

But, whatever, because it’s been a good busy.

Like I said in an earlier post at the beginning of the semester I decided to join a sorority here. Since the end of January I have been spending a lot of time getting to know the girls in our class. It’s been so busy. And normally when I get this busy I fall under immense stress and turmoil and my whole life feels like it might be over.

Not this month, though. Part of this is about time management, and the other part is about how much fun I’m having. I’m doing more than I ever thought I could handle but that can’t beat the people I’m meeting and spending time with. It’s truly shaping up to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, though I think that I will be able to say that with even more gusto once I’m a senior.

For example, last Friday night we watched movie with our brother fraternity and then went to the Science Center afterwards to play sardines. It was so fun! I’m so happy to be surrounded by such a lovely, supportive group of people.

On Saturday, we went on a donut run together for one of the girl’s birthdays! It was great to be able to celebrate with her while munching on one of Hope’s delicacies.

There are so many ways to meet people on Hope’s campus, and this is just the way that I have chosen to branch out after feeling like other opportunities weren’t working as well for me. I’m so glad that I did! When my time frees up next week… I don’t know what I’m going to do. Yeah, it’s been busy, but I kind of like it.

Plus, Big keeps sending me gifts. [Big stands for Big Sister. This is an older girl in the sorority who gets paired up with you to help support you and be there for you! Since Big Sisters also have Big Sisters, this creates a family line. It’s really cool to see how far back your family line goes!]

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If you have any questions for me you can contact me at brookelyn.wharton@hope.edu, through Hope on Facebook, or my twitter @hopebrooke18! I’d love to answer them!

Movie of the Weekend: Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler-poster-excerpt

It’s cold, dark, and snowy and I just watched what could be one of the best movies of the year. On sale on Google’s Play store for about 5 bucks, my girlfriend and I ordered some Hungry Howie’s and decided to escape the Michigan life and delve into the the neo-noir underbelly of Nightcrawler’s Los Angeles.

For those who have no idea what I am talking about, check out the trailer here.

I didn’t really know what to expect from this movie. From the trailer, it was something about a guy with a camera filming tragedy on the Los Angeles pavement. So Rachel and I turned down the lights and mashed our faces in pizza unaware of the mental roller-coaster we were about to experience.

The film revolves around the persistent character of Lou Bloom portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal as he desperately finds work. Captured by the energetic allure of crime journalism, Lou muscles his way into the gritty work of capturing late-night tragedy on camera with the encouragement of morning news director Nina Romina. His newfound career expands as he hires a protégé, Rick Carey, to help him capture crime and feed the news machine with tragedy, violence, and loss. The rest you must watch for yourself.

There’s more at stake than journalism with Nightcrawler. The film itself was an intense rollercoaster ride of action and suspense, but it ultimately had us, the audience, look both into ourselves and around us.

There may be spoilers so I do not recommend reading my reflection about the movie below until after watching it yourself.

Mouseover for Potential Spoiler(s)

I highly recommend everyone to watch Nightcrawler and if you can, enroll in a cinema class at Hope!

Rushing A Sorority At Hope

The last few weeks I’ve had the chance to participate in sorority rush here at Hope! It’s a lot different than at big schools, where rush only lasts about a week. Here, it’s a long process, only in the spring semester, full of getting to know the girls in the sorority and finding your best fit. The Sororities here are all local, so there aren’t any other chapters at other colleges or universities: Kappa Beta Phi, Sigma Sigma, Sigma Iota Beta, Delta Phi, Kappa Delta Chi, Alpha Gamma Phi, and Theta Gamma Pi.

I decided to Rush at the end of the fall semester, and that was really surprising to me. Greek life never seemed like my thing. I’m a bit of an introvert, but I really want to make life-long friendships here, and it looked like an opportunity that I just couldn’t pass up.

Rush started off with Round Robin, where we got to meet all of the sororities. It was really nice to get a first look at them. From there, I was able to narrow a few down, but I still had four in mind that I thought I would like to visit.

After Round Robin comes a series of open and closed events. At open events we did things like scavenger hunts, crafts, cookie making, speed friending, and all sorts of other fun activities. Closed events are similar, but you have to get invited, and they’re longer so you can actually go places. For example we went sledding and to a petting zoo for two of the closed that I attended!

I went to four of the first open events, and decided that two of them weren’t for me. After that I went to more open events for the other two. I believe I went to both of those closed events before I finally decided to stop rushing one of them and only continue with one. It was the only place I could see myself. This was risky, because I could have ended up not getting to join one in the end, but I wasn’t just rushing to join any sorority; I wanted to be in one that I like.

The final closed event is called Final Tea. I got invited to the closed event of the sorority that I wanted to be apart of, and I was soooo excited! After Final Tea, we submitted our preferences (you get to put down three sororities in order of first to third).

At the end of the night, I ended up with a bid (basically the sororities invitation to their group) from the Kappa Beta Phi (Dorian) sorority. I’m so excited because this is the one that I had wanted 🙂

If you have any questions regarding sorority rush I can probably answer them! You can contact me at brookelyn.wharton@hope.edu, through Facebook, or my twitter @hopebrooke18! I’d love to answer them!

Thanks for reading!

Confession: I Like Doing My Homework

If you’re a prospective student, you just read that title, and you’re already closing the window, I understand. You could keep reading, though; that would be cool. Alumni and others may understand what I’m about to say.

I finally think I know what I want to do with my life, and how can I tell? My homework is fun. Don’t take this the wrong way – while I may find peace, enjoyment, and excitement in what I’m currently doing, it’s no substitute for things like friends, donut runs, and other fun activities.

Yet when I’m doing my homework this semester, I find myself smiling at the things I’m reading, and being willing to go ahead in what I’m working on. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a secondary English education major with a psychology minor. My plan is to either become an English teacher, because I love the power that reading has had all throughout my life and I’d love to pass that on, or go to graduate school to become a school counselor.

In my English class, we read about reading and then wrote about what it has meant to us over the years. In my Educational Psychology textbook there are teacher tips that I just can’t get over. I can’t wait to help students grow and learn, whether it be as a teacher or a counselor.

I couldn’t have gotten this far without Hope. I mean that truly and honestly. Without the guidance that I have received since I got here, and the growing that I’ve done as a person through new friendships, classes, and activities, I would not be in the position that I’m in now. I’m forever grateful for what is happening in my life and the ways that God is working.

I’m taking this as a pretty decent sign that I’m heading in the right direction, and I’m so excited about it! My goal has always been to love whatever I’m doing. I’m loving it and loving that I’m loving it.

I hope that you’re doing what you love too!

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

Summer Research: Trips, Lab Family, and Fun!

Scientific Lab Cousins
Scientific Lab Cousins

I have neglected to tell you about my fabulous summer right here in Holland, Michigan. As a third year researcher at Hope, this summer was my ultimate time to grow in the lab. I was blessed to receive the Wolterink Prize in Biology in the Spring of 2013 for an upperclassman student that shows promise in research, funding me for a summer research position here at Hope. I had already applied to do research with Dr. Fraley (my lab mentor) for the summer, so it was perfect! He was happy that I was paid for, and I was happy that I for sure got a spot!

I was joined by three other students (all current seniors) in the lab for the summer, and boy did we have a blast. Working on multiple studies, we focused on progressing our projects and delving into the research we are not able to progress much on during the academic year. We worked on GnIH rat studies, cannulizing different locations of the hypothalamus to determine what the affect of GnIH is on feeding behaviors, behavioral duck studies, and a brand new water study on ducks that is technically TOP SECRET.

When thinking about research, it’s really a two way street. What can the student do for the mentor (of course- putting in the work and learning the material) but also what the mentor can do for the student. Teaching a scientist how to do science is NOT EASY. As new members come into our lab, veteran members are constantly learning how to best teach and mentor the new members. I give Dr. Fraley such credit for doing this 365 days a year for consistently new lab members.

Also, mentors give you CONNECTIONS. One of the most powerful things Dr. Fraley has done for us (other than teaching us science, and how to conduct science), is bringing us to national conferences and introducing us to elite members of the scientific community.

We had two AWESOME opportunities this summer to really get to know some of the top members in the poultry field.  The first event was a research conference at Maple Leaf Farms Co. to introduce the executives at MLF to the research and potential research that can be done to improve the poultry industry and standards they use daily.

Alexis Presenting for Maple Leaf FarmsAlexis Presenting for Maple Leaf Farms

Two of our lab members presented posters at MLF, and two of us did 15 minute presentations on our research. I happened to give a 15 minute presentation and BOY was a I NERVOUS. Standing in front of experts in your field and presenting on your findings is quite intimidating. However, the crowd was very receptive, interested, and asked GREAT questions that really helped me improve my research goals and define the next steps in my project.
The second event was a week-long trip to San Diego, California to attend the American Poultry Association Yearly Meeting.
We met an incredible amount of scientists, PhD and Masters Students and it was a great time to learn not only about other research but about possible careers in the sciences. You can read about graduate schools and opportunities there, but hearing it first-hand from students attending these schools is really a great resource.
2 generations of Poultry Scientists
2 generations of Poultry Scientists

At both conferences, we got to meet up with our “Lab Uncle and cousins,” Dr. Fraley’s colleague Dr. Michael Lilburn and his students. It was fun to pretend they were our “Lab Family.”

Grandma and the Fraley Lab
The Fraley Lab with Grandma!

We also met Dr. Fraley’s lab mentor and his wife! We had been anticipating meeting our “grandma and grandpa” for weeks before our conferences. When our “lab grandma” approached, she really surprised us by screaming, “ITS ME!!! GRANDMA!!!!” We definitely got a kick out of that.

Old Town San Diego

Of course our days weren’t only spent inside learning science and talking to colleagues. We got to do some site-seeing, mostly in Old Town San Diego. It was fantastic! With little shops, restaurants and performers, it was a great way to experience San Diego for the first time.

Old Town San Diego
Sightseeing in San Diego Old Town
Dr. Mamduh Sifri who joined us both in Indiana and San Diego
Dr. Mamduh Sifri who joined us both in Indiana and San Diego

While at the national conference, Chelsea Campbell and I presented yet again. This time, we did a 10 minute presentation with 5 minutes for questions from the audience. At the end of the conference, we got awards for our quality presentations. We were even featured on KnowHope later that week!

Fabulous Four In San Diego
Fabulous Four In San Diego

Though the summer was fun, of course, time goes on. Soon, I’ll fill you in on the Van Andel Institute conference we attended with new members of our lab. I am really proud of our new members who are really acclimating well and making great advances on our projects.

The Fraley Lab at VAI for WMRUGS 2013
The Fraley Lab at VAI for WMRUGS 2013

If you have any questions about summer research, or research at Hope, feel free to email me at amanda.porter@hope.edu or tweet me @hopeamanda15.

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!

Everyone’s Favorite Day!

Despite many exams, assignments, and projects being due on Friday, everyone still loves Friday. I can guarantee it is everyone’s favorite day (in the weekday of course!) If you’re reading this, give yourself a pat on the back. You made it through this week. I know for some, it was just such a draining week. I know it was for me. This week, I didn’t have any big exams, but I had so much busy work. Talk about redundant. Anyway, with all of that said, I’m glad I made it to Friday. Maybe I’ll play “Friday” by Rebecca Black…

Anyways, I’m so glad this week is over. All of my assignments are done, I took care of myself, and I didn’t get sick! I feel like everyone is coming down with something. I ran twice this week, which also made me feel great despite my heavy load of work!

7 MILES!
7 MILES!

On Tuesday, I ran 7 miles, because I could. It was such a nice day for a run because it was beautiful, warm, and sunny. I also beat a PR of mine, which was even more encouraging. I know this sounds CRAZY but the following day, I ran 3.22 miles with a friend.

3.22 Miles!
3.22 Miles!

So all in all, I ran a little more than 10 miles this week! And on top of that, I wake up early to workout in the mornings. Seriously though, I recommend just getting active and moving around. You’ll feel great, be more energized, and less stressed! Speaking of which, if you haven’t read my blog on stress, you should! CLICK HERE! Anyways, today is a very special day for three reasons. 1) IT’S NOVEMBER! 2) IT’S CHELSEA’S 22nd BIRTHDAY and 3) IT’S NATE’S BIRTHDAY! Ok, so I am a little biased, they’re some of my amazing friends, but today is going to be all about them! You might know Chelsea because she is a fellow blogger! CLICK HERE to go to her blog page! It’s got great content, I definitely recommend it! Anyways, I can’t wait until my classes are done because we are going to spend some time together celebrating.

It's Chelsea and me!
It’s Chelsea and me!
Nate and me, and this sums up our friendship!
Nate and me, and this sums up our friendship!

I’m so thankful it’s Friday. If you want to read more about other Hope College students, make sure you check out the Life in Orange and Blue Blog Page. There are some great posts and college advice and life. Time for me to get ready so I can tackle the day. If you get a chance today, make sure you just stop, breathe, and think for a moment. Be thankful for life, family, and friends. Count your blessings, and give thanks for the little things! That really get’s me motivated! If you haven’t done so already read some of my other blogs! Follow me on TWITTER! Feel free to ask questions about anything. I’m here to help! Also, spread the word about this post! Have a great Friday!