Senior Struggle #3: Saying Goodbye to my Email Signature

Happy Monday, readers! Miraculously, after writing last week’s blog, I feel a lot better about being busy this semester. I feel like writing that blog post put a lot of things in perspective for me and I’m at terms with my workload for the semester. My new goal is to get most of my homework done during the weekends so that my weeks are a little less hectic. All it took was some rehashing to figure out how to do that!

The new thought that has been on my mind since I last wrote is the fact that I am scared out of my mind to leave this safe little bubble of Hope I’ve called home for the past four years. Thinking back on it, Hope has been my safe haven. It has given me an education, put amazing people in my life, and most importantly fostered my faith for the past four years. Everything has been made easily accessible to me and has been extremely convenient. It’s been easy to get involved, see friends when I need to, and go to church without straying too far from campus. The way I tend to think about this convenient bubble is in terms of my email signature. It looks like this:


Hope College, Class of 2017

English Major and Management Minor
Career Development Office, Career Advisor
Student Blogger, Hope College Admissions
Hope College Student Ambassador
Hope College Student Congress Representative
Nykerk Cup Executive Board Member, Treasurer

Adaptability | Positivity | Empathy | Developer | Futuristic

How I feel about my email signature…

To me, my email signature shows that I’m accomplished here at Hope and how easy it was to make those accomplishments happen. Once I graduate though, that signature will disappear and that thought is extremely scary to me. All my accomplishments will be gone! I will have to start from scratch building up my email signature with involvements and activities. How will I even begin to do that if I’m not within the comfortable bubble of Hope? How will I find activities to be involved in and make a new normal for myself?

One way to alleviate some of this stress about graduating and creating a new normal is by preparing for life after graduation. For me, that means to start thinking about it. A way that I’m going to start this conversation is by attending the event series “Life After College” which is put on by the Career Development Center, Campus Ministries, and the Senior Seminar program. Every week the series will be covering a different topic that seniors will have to face after graduation. This week on Wednesday from 3 p.m.–5 p.m., or Thursday from 7 p.m.–9 p.m. in the first floor rotunda of Martha Miller the topic that will be covered is finding a church. As a faith-driven person, that topic is very important to me and something I want to invest in. Other topics range from faith in the workplace to friends and fiancé’s after college – whatever the topic I know I need to start thinking about it!

Hopefully you all have started thinking about what life holds for you after graduation, but if you’re like me and haven’t even started, just know that Hope has amazing resources like the Career Development Center to help you start that conversation.

Until next time!

Last Day of Undergrad Classes

This year has officially come to a close! That’s right, today is my last day of classes and it’s pretty bittersweet. I don’t think it’s hit me quite yet because I’m excited just to be done with homework and projects, but I will greatly miss the friends, professors and routine of each day. However, I think I’m truly ready for a new stage of my life and am really looking forward to living in Grand Rapids for the next three years. It’s been pretty comforting that I’ll only be 45 minutes away from Holland and Hope in general, so I don’t have to say goodbye forever. It’s also nice knowing that some of my friends are going to be in the Holland area, so saying goodbye at graduation will be more of a “See you later,” which will hopefully prevent some tears. With everything wrapping up, I’m excited to be spending the last few days with some of my best friends, especially at Spring Fling this afternoon.

The past two evenings have also been a great way to wrap up senior year because the two intramural teams I was on (frisbee and soccer) ended up winning the most competitive leagues. I’ve been a part of these teams for the past few years and it was a great way to end this great era because we won shirts for both teams. On top of that, I was able to score a great goal in the soccer game last night, making the evening extra special and memorable. I don’t think I could have ended my time here at Hope any better considering intramurals have been such a highlight for me these past four years. I’ve loved playing the sports but also getting to make friends I would not have otherwise gotten to know.

It’s so weird to have a final countdown until graduation because I have one class today, one exam Monday and then nothing the rest of the week until graduation. I think it’s going to be a surreal week just knowing that I’ll see these familiar faces for only a few more days and then never again unless there’s a great turnout at a future class reunion. I think the most scary thing about ending undergrad is the comfort and bubble we’ve been living in and now having a level of uncertainty of the future. I know for me, I still have more school so I’m certain of the next three years but many of my friends have a lot of anxiety because they don’t know what’s happening after graduation. Despite all of the nerves, I’m so happy and proud of myself and my friends for surviving college and getting through some tough times. I truly think it’s time for people to challenge themselves again and continue making memories. I’m beyond thankful for Hope and how it prepared me for graduate school and just life in general and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me and my friends in the future.

Ultimate Frisbee Champions! Alliance of the Magicians
Ultimate Frisbee Champions! Alliance of the Magicians
Most Competitive Soccer Champs! Yeah Chupalo!!
Most Competitive Soccer Champs! Yeah Chupalo!!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @hopeleslie15.

Wrapping Up Senior Seminar

There’s officially 11 school days left in this academic year and I have quite a few mixed emotions about that. On the one hand, I’m so excited to be graduating and moving on to other schooling and adventures. However, I’m going to miss the comfort that Hope has provided me, as well as seeing all of the familiar faces I’ve grown accustomed to each day.

Senior Seminar is one class in particular that has allowed me to reflect on my time at Hope and made me analyze the past few years as well as my years prior to college. I had mentioned in a previous blog that I had to write a paper called “What Moves Me” for this class and the ideas and realizations I had from writing that paper allowed me to write my “Life View” paper. This past week I had to present this paper and discuss my life view with the rest of the class. I’m not much of a public speaker but this presentation was a lot easier than I had thought going into it. Everybody in my class is so comfortable with each other so anything I said or revealed was going to be supported and respected. Although I was able to find meaning in the experiences in my life thus far, I really enjoyed listening to my peers and their stories.

The remaining time we have left in the class is solely dedicated to presenting our own life views and I’m actually looking forward to it. So far I’ve listened to only a few and they are such a joy listening to because people really open up about what makes them who they are. Some people take a humorous angle while others discuss the losses and personal tragedies they have faced, presenting a wide range of life events that my peers have faced. I feel so fortunate that my classmates are willing to share such personal things and I have a greater understanding and respect for each person because I’ve been able to get to know them better. Some presentations have actually inspired me and have challenged me to see from different perspectives. It’s crazy how much you learn simply from your peers and see what different obstacles everybody has had to deal with and how they cope.

I found it so beneficial to take this specific course and take a step back to analyze my life. It seems like something that everybody should do occasionally and learn from oneself and one’s experiences. Without this class, I wouldn’t have been able to decipher why things really happened or didn’t happen to me and having this understanding really helped me grow and appreciate people, situations and events in my life. I’m sure I’ll stumble across this paper a decade from now and really enjoy reading my perspective as a young adult and see how much I have changed since writing it and if I can find even more meaning that I didn’t see this first go-around. I strongly encourage you to simply sit down and take the time to see what you value in people, relationships, friendships and yourself. For me, I gained a new perspective of myself and I’m very grateful that I have found meaning through my actions. Even if it’s just writing in a journal, keeping track of your thoughts will be interesting and beneficial in the future looking back. See if you can learn something new about yourself!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @hopeleslie15.

Here’s Why I’m Ready To Leave College.

Firstly, I would like to thank all of those who read my last blog post, “Things Seniors (STILL) Don’t Want To Hear.” It was a stunning success, and I appreciate all of your continual support and positive comments. This is why I love my job so much, being a student blogger and all.

With that interjection out of the way, let’s cut down to the chase. Whether I believe it or not, (believe me, sometimes, I’m in denial) I am ready to graduate and leave college (23 days!). The days continue to fly by and I am closer to liberation from higher education and transition myself to adulthood.

Kinda.

1. I always tell my closest friends and others the following: “I’m ready to be done with school, but I’m not ready to leave my friends.” Despite that I have my best friends here in one place, I really want to be on my own. Having my friends not even 5 minutes away has been a fairy tale for the past 4 years, but I have to think to myself that it’s just not like that outside of the college world (with a few exceptions, of course). I’m ready to take on this challenge by leaving. If I made friends in college, I’ll be able to make friends at my workplace or outside of my workplace. But hands down, leaving my friends WILL be the hardest thing. I am forever grateful to Hope College for bringing these people into my life. Without them and their support, I would not be where I am, and where I am headed.

2. The point of college is to have social experiences, academic experiences, and learn from the two. For 4 years in a row, I have been in classes and situations where I have learned so much. Now, it’s time to actually apply what I have learned. What’s the point of learning all of these concepts and ideas if you don’t actually use them? (there goes all your $$$)! I mean what’s the point of nursing school if I’m not going to be a nurse?

3. The college bubble has been so good to these past four years, but simultaneously, I also want to pop the dang thing. Graduation is my way of popping the Hope College bubble. It is SUCH a warm and welcoming community; that’s one primary reason I chose this fine institution! Again, we ALL have to realize that wherever we end up, the social atmosphere might be vicious or unrelenting. Those are powerful words, but it’s the truth. As much as I want to live in the friendliest of all cities, it’s just not realistic. We will have to work with people who are not as cheery as us, and by leaving college, we will get the experience doing so. Just let me go already!

4. This one goes out to all of the parents too, but I am done spending crazy large sums of money that I don’t have. I am so glad I have the education I do, it’s one of the best investments you can make! But, money does not grow on trees. And even if it did, that tree is obviously not budding yet. I just want to use what I learned throughout these four years, do them, and get money for doing them.

5. Lastly, have you heard the phrase “college is the best four years of your life?” Let me tell you, I am not a believer in this. If college are your best years, then shoot, what’s exciting about the future? Nothing. Another reason I’m excited to dart out of here, all of the experiences, memories, and opportunities that lie ahead of me! There is so much outside of the college world, and I’m about to take in as much of that as possible. I mean, college has been the best part of my life, but I’m still young. There is just so much out there; I’m ready to do all of it!

College Friends!

College has truly provided me with the tools and opportunities to help me become the man I am today. My values, ideas, and interests have been molded by my college experience. In return for such a wonderful and priceless experience, I am ready to become a productive citizen of the United States and give back to those who are deserving. I thank God for putting me in my dream vocation of nursing to help those in need. Hope College has been so great, but it’s time for my next chapter!

Thanks for reading another senior related blog post, all! Again, thank you all for the support by reading and providing feedback on my posts. That’s when I know I’m doing a great job. If you haven’t, make sure to follow me on @HopeMarvin15 on Twitter, and follow me on Instagram at MarvSolberg!

Things Seniors (STILL) Don’t Want To Hear

As of today, there are 34 days left until commencement (probably the first thing seniors do not want to hear). I feel as if college seniors get asked what their future plans are during the beginning and end of the school year. At the beginning of this academic year, I posted a blog title, “Things Seniors Don’t Want To Hear.” Although accurate then, it is definitely applicable now that we are graduating in practically one month (it was really funny to reflect back on that)!

Graduation is in (X number) of days!

Thank you, Captain Obvious. Although I will confess; starting spring semester, I created a countdown on my planner. For me, it was motivational. For others, not so much. We seniors already have so much going on between now and then; graduation is definitely the last thing to think about. With papers, projects, and exams left, all of our “energy” (it’s gone, we’re burnt out from academia) goes into that. The more we think about graduation, the higher the chance of a stress-attack. I am excited to graduate because I’m so checked out with school work, but I am NOWHERE near ready to say my goodbyes.

What are your plans after college?

With the exception of a slim 1% (me included), many seniors DO NOT know what their plans are after college. Real talk, most of us don’t know which TV series to binge watch on Netflix, or what to eat for dinner. If many of us can’t figure that out, how the heck would we know about our post-college plans? I am lucky that I do know what I’m doing (Peace Corps!) and I’m THAT senior that everyone hates because I know my plans. It’s ok, I suck it up, because in the end, we will all end up somewhere. It’s just a matter of when. To you “non” seniors out there, be careful when asking this question!

When are you going to settle down?

Well, Netflix and I have been going steady, and we are definitely ready for the next level. I joke, I joke! Again, with the slim 1% who are engaged or already married, KUDOS! I am happy for you that you have that settled. As for the rest of us, people, we’re only 22-23. The only commitment that I have in my life (other than family and Netflix) is food and sleep. I’ll settle down when someone finds me in my cave.

Are you ready for the real world?

Last time I checked, I live in the real world. Others may not think that college is the “real world,” but the real world is what we make it. College has challenged us and taught us so much. As much as seniors think that they are not ready for post-college life, think again. We have all the tools we need to survive, and the skills that we have grown in will definitely put as at an advantage in wherever we end up. So we ARE ready for the real world, we just have to realize it.

Enjoy college while it lasts!

This is the reason why I hate this question: we only have a limited amount of time left, but there are so many things to do between now and graduation. I’m trying to enjoy college while it lasts, but I still need to balance academics and life out. One of the main reasons college exists is so we can get degrees; I would definitely like mine. But you don’t need to tell me to enjoy college while it lasts. It just tells me that a) the number of days keep decreasing and b) life without my college friends around at all times is going to be an adjustment.

Are you ready to graduate?

And lastly, the Holy Grail of all questions. Are we seniors ready to graduate? Yes/No. We are ready to graduate because we want those challenges in various settings, we may be getting tired of the people we have been with for four consecutive years, we just want a new environment, and we are just so done with school work. But why would we not be ready? We don’t want to leave this place we call home behind, and we may not be ready to say our farewells to our closest.

It's actually happening!
It’s actually happening!

Despite the fact that seniors don’t want to hear this, we have to face its reality. Graduation is upon us whether we are ready or not, but there’s a reason why it’s called commencement; we are starting afresh! Thank you for reading, all! Make sure to follow me on Twitter and on Instagram!

Why 2015 is the Best Year Yet

Despite the fact that it’s only February and we still have 10 months to go, 2015 has already proved to be the best year yet (for me at least). So much good news has come this year, and I am looking forward to so many things things year which is exciting! Let me tell you about the most exciting things that are coming up.

NACA (National Association for Campus Activities)
Where: Minneapolis, MN
When: February 14-16
What: This conference is an important one. Along with my other directors for SAC and a student life adviser, our purpose is to find talent to bring to Hope College not only to provide entertainment, but also provide an enriching experience for our students. This process is confusing, but so much fun at the same time. This year, the conference is in Minneapolis which will be fun and exciting! Last year, it was in Boston, but I was unable to go. I am beyond excited to go this year and scout out possible artists for the 2015-2016 school year! I can’t believe everything is happening so early!

Spring Break Trip to POLSKA!
Where: Gdansk, Warsaw, and Krakow POLSKA (Poland in Polish)
When: March 11-March 22
What: Well, seeing as it is my last spring break as an undergraduate student, I thought it was appropriate to “go big.” And so I did. I had a plan since this past August with my friend Dimitrie. I told him that we are going to travel for spring break. First, it was back to Vienna, then it was to Vietnam, but we landed on Poland. Why? For starters, it’s cheap! Secondly, there is so much history and culture to experience. Lastly, it’s an unconventional place to visit! When people go to Europe, it’s usually Spain or France. Don’t get me wrong, they’re wonderful places and would like to travel there also, but it’s cliché. So we’re going to Poland! I am excited for everything, especially our visit to Auschwitz Concentration Camp. It will be one heck of a learning experience.

Picture taken by kishjar? from Flickr.
Picture taken by kishjar? from Flickr.

GRADUATION
Where: Hope College
When: May 3
What: 4 years later, I am finally getting my undergraduate degree (Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing). It really doesn’t feel like 4 years has gone by, but it has. I am on track to graduate, and at this point, I am ready for a break from academia. I have already started a countdown because it’s reality, people. Some may get irritated at me that I have a countdown, but that’s their problem. They’re just not ready. But I am. I am ready to live in the world and I am beyond ready to apply my Hope College education.

Picture from Hope College. I can't believe that's what I'l be doing this coming May!
Picture from Hope College. I can’t believe that’s what I’l be doing this coming May!

PEACE CORPS!!!
Where: Cameroon, Africa
When: September 2015-November 2017
What: Where to even begin. First of all, I am beyond excited to be joining the Peace Corps! Make sure you check out my blog dedicated to my Peace Corps Journey, L’Afrique en Miniature. Anyway, I will be serving in Cameroon as a community health educator focusing on maternal and child health. What a perfect role for me seeing as I will be coming out of nursing school. After my service, I want to go to graduate school, and community health is one of my interests! After a long period of waiting, my time has come to serve!

What College Seniors DON’T Want To Hear

Yep, unfortunately/fortunately it’s my senior year here at Hope College. Before starting school, I was so stoked and am already looking forward to graduation (May 3rd). I even had a countdown for graduation. But since starting my final year of undergraduate studies, I realized I am not ready AT ALL. I’ve been pounded with questions, and I’m sure you seniors out there have also had this experience. As a thought, I just collected a bunch of questions that I know will irk seniors. Purpose: for seniors to know they’re not the only ones getting annoyed and for non-seniors to stop asking these questions. Well, here goes nothing!

What do you want to do after college?

For beginners, how would I know, or other seniors know if they can’t even decide whether or not they want to do their homework? For crying out loud. I mean some people might have an idea, but ideas and people change, constantly. So what do I want to do after college? I’m still not quite sure even though I have an idea. My senior friends, don’t fret.

When are you going to settle down?

Uhh, settle down with what? Homework? Ahhhhh, like marriage? Hmmm…. not in the near future. For those who are married or engaged in college, KUDOS TO YOU! That takes serious commitment and time. Personally, I just can’t imagine. That’s all I have to really to say to that.

It’s hard to live in “The Real World.”

Does that mean I’m living in fake world during college? Nahhh, I don’t think so. We ARE living in the real world, just in different contexts. College should be a time that challenges us so you we know how to properly function in. We are given the tools, but at the same time are presently living in the real world. I mean, if we weren’t living in the real world, we wouldn’t be living at all.

Enjoy college while it lasts.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the saying “college is the best four years of your life.” I mean I agree and disagree to some extent. I can confidently say that so far, it has been the best four years, but I haven’t experienced much yet. “Enjoy college while it lasts” also sounds like life after college is miserable, which is the complete opposite. Life should keep getting better! So yes, enjoy college while you’re in it. Make the best of it, but college isn’t the only exciting time in our lives. We have a lifetime to figure that out!

Lastly,

Are you ready to graduate?

Yes. No. Maybe? Whether you are ready or not, we are going to graduate no matter what. Life moves and on and it doesn’t stop. As seniors, I think we need to quit being in denial because graduation is inevitable.

That’s all for now, readers! If you haven’t done so, make sure to read more of my blogs, follow me on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM!