What to Expect for First Year Advising

Freshman advising is an incredibly laid back experience. The process depends on whether you declare a major your first year.

Not sure on your major yet?

If you don’t declare a major your first year, your advisor won’t change. Your First Year Seminar professor will be your advisor until you declare your major. There’s no need to worry if you don’t know what you’re going to major in, most programs can still be completed in four years if you declare your sophomore (and in some cases, junior) year. Before classes even begin (during Orientation week), you are required to meet with your advisor to go over the classes you’re enrolled in. Then, at the end of your first semester (and all semesters to follow), you are required to again meet with your professor and go through the classes you’re planning on taking for the following semester.

Declare a major

You can request a professor from the department for your major directly on the major declaration sheet, or you may be assigned an advising professor. You should meet with your new advisor, especially if you’ve never met them before, just so the two of you can get to know each other outside of the constraints of a classroom. From there, your advisor can give you specific, thoughtful advice regarding your major, and the classes they believe would be best for you.

Your advisor is the person who can help you with just about anything and everything. They’re there for you and they want to help you, and watch you succeed. They can help you figure out what classes would be best for you and help you find internships and summer jobs. They can be excellent references on resumes, and a great source of guidance.

Your responsibilities are to take initiative in scheduling appointments and having a valid reason to meet with your advisor. Whatever you schedule an appointment for, you should be prepared for the meeting. For example, when you have your semestral meeting with your advisor regarding classes to take, you should have the classes you’re planning on taking already in mind to share with them.

Exploring majors

Hope’s liberal arts emphasis allows you to explore multiple possible majors, while still working towards graduation. This means that you’re free to take courses ranging from the arts to math, and still receive helpful credits along the way. Hope also offers a career development center where you can take tests that show you which field you would be best in. Your advisor is another great source of advice when exploring majors and planning for your future. 

From the East to the West: What the Across-State Transition Is Really Like

Sometimes you don’t know there are better places for you other than the one you grew up in until you’re thrust into them.

I’d never lived anywhere but the suburbs of Detroit, whether it be Birmingham or Troy, MI. These places were comfortable to me. I’d been on vacations, but those places never felt like home to me. When I began living in a place other than my hometown, I was shocked at how well I fit into the culture and even more shocked at how I never realized that I didn’t fit into my hometown culture.

Here are a few similarities and differences that I noticed between my hometown and Holland.

Similar: There are malls, shopping centers, grocery stores, and small downtown areas.

Different: Once you get a little past Holland, all of that disappears and you’re left with farmland. At home, you won’t find a field for miles.

Similar: Both are very populated with families and people.

Different: In Holland, people tend to have younger families, with younger parents having kids earlier. In addition, people here seem to be more relaxed than on the East side. Road rage is definitely not as strong on the West.

Similar: Lots of churches can be seen in both cities.

Different: In Holland and at Hope, there’s a huge emphasis on faith. Yes, there are a lot of churches at home, but I just find that it filters into every aspect of life around here.

Similar: There are people that love you in both places.

Different: My family is back home and I’m here. Sometimes it’s a little rough seeing them all at home together and feeling like I’m missing out. However, I’m getting an experience they will never have here at Hope!

Similar: Certain trends and statements, ie. Music, Facebook memes, the Superbowl.

Different: Fashion statements. Chacos and socks? A sundress for every sunny day? An entire Patagonia (informally known as Patagucci here at Hope) wardrobe? Yes, those are actual trends for young people on the West side.

There are a lot of similarities and differences between my hometown and Hope. One thing I know for sure is that I’ve made Hope my Home, at least for the time being. I’ve come to realize that Holland’s laid back, easy-going and friendly attitude is one that suits me well.

Thanks for reading,
Brooke

Be Still, My Ever-Wandering Heart.

be still and know
There’s no hurry, no rush. It takes a while for the caffeine to kick in.
It’s more about what we do in the waiting.

I quickly find that in the midst of my daily life, there is an insurmountable peace that exceeds understanding running upon a parallel path.

There’s a lot I know; but even more, I do not. And I believe that is okay.

As humans I think we spend a lot of time thinking that if we just knew, things would be easier.

If we knew the answer for #37 on our Philosophy test.

If we knew the diagnosis was terminal right off the bat. If we knew the grocery store was out of salt and vinegar chips. That the pew in Dimnent Chapel was packed full of people. If two people were destined to be together. Or if the jar sitting lopsided on the kitchen shelf would crash to the floor when we opened the door.

My brothers and sisters, this is not the answer. Knowing is not the answer.

Control feels right to us at first. I can do this, we tell ourselves, unaware that the circumstance is fully out of our control.

And then we feel anxious. Worry creeps in like water through the cracks. It soon feels as though we are drowning in a wave that laps above our heads, throwing us deeper into the sea of uncontrollable control.

As we fall faster into into the realization of knowing that we do not know, we scramble to collect the pieces. But because we don’t know, we end up trying to fit together a 2,000 piece puzzle in a space the size of a place mat

It’s irrational. It’s disappointing. It’s overwhelming.

But it’s not over.

In our culture we often consider surrender to be a sign of weakness. It is a sign of weakness.

We surrender when we don’t know what to do. We surrender when we don’t know where to go, who to trust or how to move forward.

But in our faith, our acceptance of surrender means, simplistically, reflects the character of our God.

As a parent helps a child reach the cookies on top shelf, as a parent helps his or her daughter through the first breakup, as a parent cheers for their son on the field; our God takes on the same capacity.

He helps us when we can’t reach on our own, when we are in need of wisdom and when we need support.

Sometimes our need for control comes from not knowing we don’t need be in charge.

And that’s why the verse, “Be Still and know that I am God,” doesn’t say:

“Be still and know the entire collection of Aristotle’s works by memory”

“Be still and know the reasons why your family is falling apart”

or

“Be still and know everything.”

No.

It’s God saying to us, “Be still and know me. Know who I am. Know that I will fight for you.”

We can’t leave God on the bench during the game and expect Him to be the star player.

We have to let Him in. We have to surrender.

Be still, and know Him.

A Letter on Faith, Part One

Lighthouse
Sometimes we’re called to go when we don’t know where the path will lead.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been throwing the word “trust” around in my head, but it makes my mind swirl.

I’ve been busy with difficult classes and work and Bible studies and friends and God, trying to figure out how it all fits together.

And the truth is, I don’t know.

But what’s been striking me the most is the way that my faith increases as I understand less. It’s a form of wishful thinking, I suppose. Wishful thinking with expectation.

What causes me to pause in all of this is the thought that we, as students and people and adults alike, have at least one thing in common: the notion that it is easy to have faith in things that we can predict.

I have underlying faith that I’ll eat dinner tonight, that my homework will be complete, that I’ll have clothes to wear for tomorrow. But that’s not the life that God is calling us into.

He’s not calling us to have a predictable faith. He’s not calling us to know.

He’s calling us to have confidence in the things we cannot yet see; the things we cannot yet fathom, the things we don’t understand.

He’s calling us to trust. Trust is faith.

And I keep thinking about the verses that say, “if you have faith the size of a mustard seed” – the ones about trees and mountains being thrown into the sea and telling mountains to move – and I realize my faith is so small, smaller than a mustard seed.

If Jesus is talking in reference to a physical mountain, I’d love to have faith the size of a mustard seed so that I can see what He says take place.

It amazes me to see Him continue to move and rearrange my life to make me be the person He created me to be to do the things He created me to do. But what’s even more amazing is that He provides me with the grace to be able to change.

With all that He has done already, I have full confidence He will continue. In the midst of my schoolwork, studying, cleaning my room, doing my laundry, driving my car, walking to class, I will persevere. I will have patience. They are indications of faith and they lead to more faith.

I flipped open my Bible last night to find a verse that comes from James 1:4:

“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

And because perseverance leads to faith and faith leads me closer to God, it is true; at that time, I will be lacking in nothing. Because the cross was enough. Jesus was enough. He always is and will always be enough.

That’s what I know. But it’s not all that I know. Because even at the end of today, I will have grown another half-inch on the ruler of my faith. And I will persevere to the finish.

This Feels Like Home

I arrived home on Friday; I’ll be here for a week and two days.

It feels different being home, even though most things have remained the same.

There’s one building on the downtown strip that’s been demolished and there’s different pillows on the chairs on my front porch.

There are many more things that have never changed, and probably won’t, in the rest of the time that I spend here.

But I have. I’ve changed. And I know a lot of people say that because the world is constantly in motion. People say that because they encounter experiences in their life that shape their worldview for a little bit but then they fall back into the same habits they had at the beginning when they’re placed back into the same situations and spend time with the same people.

This type of change is different, I think.

I’m running into people I’ve always known and I’m driving down the four main streets in my hometown. Everything is familiar, but everything is different. The view in my rearview mirror is different.

Instead of letting it be what it’s been to me, it became what I’ve always wanted it to be.

When I went to college as a freshman, I was looking for a fresh start. In a way, I “broke up” with my hometown like it was my ex-boyfriend and traveled a little over 405 miles to a new place with new opportunities.

And a new place with new opportunities is exactly I found when I came to Hope. I praise God for that every day, because when I walked in as a freshman, I would have never believed I would be in the place I am today – full of joy, patience, and new knowledge.

But my hometown and I had an awkward “breakup,” because there wasn’t really any resolution. Neither one of us really had an answer to some hard questions, and we left each other without really talking – falsely hoping the relationship would improve with us being further apart.

My assumption was that, by building a life somewhere else, I’d fix all the parts of me that were broken. I was incorrect.

There was a time that it didn’t get better; in fact, it probably got worse. But then, it did get better; and now, it’s the best it has ever been.

Porch Swing
So often, we swing close to the person we want ourselves to be, but when we’re working off our our own strength, we swing back to the person we were.

I’m writing from a couch in my living room, and I’m more than happy to say I have two homes.

One is Hope, and one is here. And as awesome as it would be to say that “making up” with my hometown was on me, with joy, I say it’s Jesus. He made the view in my rearview mirror clearer than it’s ever been before.

I never would have found Him without Hope.

The choices we make sometimes lead us to places where we can’t find peace. We know we messed up, but we can’t find the way out on our own. We can’t find a way to break our habits, adapt our character, and change our perspective permanently. As often as we try, we fail twice as much.

We often run away in attempt to find what we’re missing, and in effect, we gain more loss. And I wish I had a list of steps to take, a magic recipe to find that peace to keep us from running away, but I don’t. I only have one word.

Jesus.

I learned that instead of running from something, we have to run to something. And the only One who will stay constant enough for us to run to, the only thing that will still remain, is God. He’s permanent, He is never changing. He’s the only thing that was there before I was here and will be here long after I am gone.

For the first time in a long time, perhaps the first time in the history of ever, my house is home. And my hometown is home. And I’m at peace. I’m happier than I’ve ever been in a place that hasn’t changed, but feels brand new.

We love a God whose desire is peace, and He gives us peace because He loves us in return.


Glad I got over that breakup… thanks, Jesus.

Follow me @hopesophie17 on your social media outlets (I’m trying to get better with my Instagram, I’m really trying). If you have questions or comments about anything at all, I would love to talk. Please send them my way at sophie.guetzko@hope.edu.

Dear Hope College

Dear Hope College,

Let me preface this post with some honesty – Hope was NOT my first choice. I didn’t want to come here because I had family that has been here. I wanted to go somewhere different, not following in the footsteps of my family. Four years later, I find myself struggling leaving behind an institution that has changed me for good in so many ways. Although I am ready to graduate and apply the things I have learned, leaving behind the friendships among my friends and professors will be the most challenging part. I know I won’t be able to call my friends who are 5 minutes away and see if they want to go to dinner, or go watch a movie, and that very thought scares me. Plus, being 6,000 miles away is going to make it more difficult, but this is all part of the challenge.

Since my freshman year, my faith has grown exponentially. Not only did Chapel and the Gathering help in this process, but the intentionality my friends and professors had in my spiritual journey really propelled me. The pure intentionality that is characteristic of the Hope College community is very unique and cannot be found anywhere else. Without the supportive community Hope harbors, I would not be the same adult I am today. This is what attracts so many students to come here. It’s amazing.

Additionally, Hope has provided me with opportunities that no other college could have given. Firstly, I was accepted into the Nursing program, one of the most difficult programs to get into. Without this backbone in my college career, where would I be!? The experiences that I’ve had within the program also led me to other opportunities including becoming a teaching assistant (TA).

I was also able to visit Washington D.C. for two years in a row; one year to meet presidential candidates and the other to discuss and learn more about social injustices. I was accepted to study abroad in Vienna with Hope’s Vienna Summer School, yet again providing me with an unforgettable experience. The memories and friendships formed are ones that are merely unforgettable.

One of my highlights throughout my entire college career is my involvement in student life, with Student Activities Committee (SAC). Becoming a student leader and leading an influential group on campus has allowed me to grow in ways I could not have imagined. Through this organization, I gained skills, an influential mentor, and life-long friends. I continuously rave about how hard-working my organization is and I am incredibly proud. Leaving behind an organization such as SAC will be tough knowing that it is going to exponentially grow.

It’s crazy to think about everything that has happened these past four years. A lot of things make sense now. I now understand why some opportunities were closed for me; God had a better plan for me and opened other doors for me. All of my experiences too now make sense, because all of my hard work has paid off and I am headed to serve in Cameroon with the Peace Corps. My jigsaw puzzle is complete, for now!

This liberal arts college, this campus, and these people make Hope what it is. Knowing that I have been part of Hope’s heart and soul is the very reason why I don’t want to leave. The individuals who have supported me through my triumphs and set-backs, from the moments I celebrated to times I cried, thank you so much for being there for me. You too, Hope College, thank you for being there for me. Hope is more than just a school with a great accolades; Hope is a community in which you are supported, loved, and appreciated. And for that, Hope College, I thank you.

With much love,
Marvin Solberg

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Preparing to Go

My freshman days here at Hope are numbered. There are eight days until my mom scoops me up in her minivan and we head home. Move-In Day seems both years away and also as if it were only last week. Here’s how I’m preparing myself to leave school, and how you can begin to prepare yourself to come to Hope.

Physical Preparation

I can’t really move anything around in my room yet, since I don’t have boxes or suitcases. The most I can really do is take the stuff on my wall down, but that would be sad.

One of my walls with all of my pictures and quotes :)
One of my walls with all of my pictures and quotes 🙂

Academic Preparation

Studying. As much as it hurts, we all have to do it. Finals start here on Monday, and that’s when I have my hardest exam. At least I’m getting it out of the way, right? Sure.

Mental Preparation

Telling myself that I’m going to go four months without being at Hope is pretty hard. That’s a long time to be away from people I’ve lived with and seen pretty much every day this year. I guess the way to prepare for this is just to remind myself that it’s happening, but there are plenty of great things that await me this summer.

Color fight photo
My sorority did a color fight before our formal. This is me and a couple of friends after!

So how can a prospective student prepare to come to Hope?

Physical Preparation

Take lots of photos (I think I’ve said this a million times, which just shows that it’s important), print them before you come. Maybe get some cute dorm supplies, do a few DIYs, buy some stuff from the Hope Bookstore. It’s important that you feel at home while you’re here. Start doing little things on your own if you don’t already, like your laundry or other independent tasks. This will make the transition feel a little bit more natural.

A DIY I made before coming to Hope :) HOPE letters!
A DIY I made before coming to Hope 🙂 HOPE letters!

Academic Preparation

Don’t slack off just because you’re a senior. You’ll be back to the books, with more material than ever, when you come to Hope. Make sure you keep your brain moving! Maybe check out a few books this summer just to get those juices flowing.

Mental Preparation

It didn’t seem real to me until the night before move-in what was actually happening to me. I didn’t realize how scary it was, although exciting as well, to be leaving home and my family. You could say that I had a mini panic attack in my bed that night. Just soak up every moment and don’t take things for granted, because soon you’ll be on your own (which I think is definitely a good thing now). I think it’s important to remind yourself every once in a while that you are leaving.

Pine Grove
Are you ready to make this place your home?

I hope you’re all enjoying these last weeks of April as we here at Hope college wind down and hit the books. We loved seeing all the prospective students this past Saturday. Go Hope 🙂

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!