Reflections From Home

Being home makes me wish I were still in high school. I guess that’s just because I have such an awesome family and I want to be around them more. I still love Hope… just hear me out ’till the end, trust me.

So maybe you’re a senior in high school, which is who I’m thinking of as I write this, but maybe you’re not. This is still something to think about.

Home is where warm candles are lit, where vanilla scents waft up my senses constantly, and fuzzy blankets are always there to snuggle under and watch a TV program while munching on my mom’s homemade popcorn. Home is my cat and dog, cuddling into me at any moment they can. It’s my mom’s cooking: real, fresh food. Home is my brothers and my step-sisters laughing, my step-dad cracking the jokes, and my mom rolling her eyes behind it all.

Home is comforting; everything about it screams, “Stay here!”

What if I did?

Whenever I get the feeling that home is a better place than anywhere else, I ask myself this. I wouldn’t have made the friends that I have so far, learned as much about myself as I have, and learned as much about others as I have. Home is cool and all, but nothing compares to the beauty of Holland. The lakes, trees, and hills, keep me grounded. Not to mention the fresh set of friendly people that surround me.

While home may be comforting, it’s important to get out there in the world, and push yourself out of your comfort zone a little bit. Without that, growth would never come. Without growth, I’d just be a stagnant person, munching on my mom’s popcorn and listening to my step-dads same corny jokes until I get old and can’t hear him anymore.

I’m exaggerating. But still.

Home is where the heart is but Hope is where my heart grows. While I wish I could have more time here, I know it’s time to get back to the books and friends that are waiting for me in Holland. Every day there is an adventure, and I need to continue mine.

Seniors: I hope that as you think about college and where you’re going to end up next year you remember to enjoy the moments you have at home right now. It’s sad but true that you will get less and less of them as time goes on. The good part is that a new chapter in your book is about to start, and whoever is at home is hopefully ready to cheer you on.

Until next time,


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

What Moves You?

Being a senior has a lot of perks, such as knowing the ins and outs of campus, having strong relationships with people in your classes, and generally feeling like you know what’s going on. Another perk I never really thought about was being able to look back on the previous four years and see how you’ve grown as a person.

In my Senior Seminar class, we had to write a paper called “What Moves Me.” The purpose of this assignment was to look introspectively on your life and identify what values you have and what motivates you in your life. I had never really thought about myself in so much depth, so I can already tell that this class will really allow for a lot of internal reflection, which is great!

Today in class we shared a summary of our papers with each other in small groups and it was really interesting to see how people look at themselves. There were certain people who pinpointed their values as a characteristic, such as loyalty, while others were moved through specific events in their lives that really shaped their character and personality. For me, I was able to use a combination of these two methods by realizing that what moves me are the values instilled in me at a young age.

Various events in my life have taken place that highlight what things are most important to me. These values I cherish the most include trust, being kind to others, and looking out for my well-being and others in everything I do. I find it extremely effective gathering in groups and talking about our lives and what makes us “us.” I have never been in another class where the topic is based solely on ourselves and assignments are for our personal growth instead of being driven by class standards and trying to simply get a good grade. I actually care about this class because the more effort you put in, the more you get back and learn about yourself!

If you are unfamiliar with the structure of this Senior Seminar class, let me give a brief description. Freshman year, every student is in a class called FYS (First Year Seminar) where they are being introduced to the liberal arts education. Fast forward to senior year and you take another class reflecting on FYS as well as the past four years. This class is designed to analyze your progress and growth as an individual and a student. The main assignment the Senior Seminar class is structured around the Life View paper, where you write about your life and it’s specific events in a 25-paged or so paper. Pretty intimidating, but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how I analyze my life and what has impacted me the most. Something else that makes the class really great is that you know a good amount of people in your class, so opening up to people is easier and more effective class discussions take place, which is much better than when people are scared to speak up.

I hope this blog has inspired you to look at yourself objectively and see what makes you the way you are. Personally, I find it interesting and amazing to see what has caused me to become the person I am today and in what ways I have remained the same since childhood. The values I had as a kid simply adjusted to my current lifestyle and I continue to carry out these beliefs and way of living. I believe it is highly beneficial to take moments every once in a while to sit down and analyze your life just for the heck of it because you may be surprised to discover something new about yourself.

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

College: A Never-ending Balancing Act

I’m wiping my brow as I type this. Okay, not really. I’m sure you get the point, though; the last week has been absolutely busy. College, it’s crazy. I must say, however, that it’s an enjoyable busy if you’re able to divide your time evenly between the things you have to do.

1. School – This is a no brainer. I mean you’re at college for this reason, right? But, while studying is so important, so are the rest of the things on this list.

2. Work – I work two jobs on campus, one in an office and this one! Both are really cool jobs, but I do have to find time for both! I believe work is important in cultivating work ethic for future jobs!

3. Friends/Social Life – While school is important, it’s really important to form relationships with the people around you and not devote all of your time to studying! I find that especially at a place like Hope, people really want to find time to learn about each other and each other’s lives. There’s also so many extracurricular activities to take part in.

4. Hobbies – Whether it be a sport, reading, writing, photography, art, etc. everyone wants to find time to do something they love; it gives us happiness from inside ourselves.

5. Exercise – To many, this is a priority. In a busy college lifestyle, it can be hard to find time to exercise, especially when you have a huge exam the next day and your friends want to go walk around down town…which do you choose?

(Tip for 3, 4, and 5: Take study breaks by reading a chapter of a book you’ve picked out, going to the gym, joining a bible study, or hanging out with friends! Right now, Nykerk Song practice is my fun break!)

So you have all of these things, and maybe even more, to figure out in college. I wondered exactly how I was going to balance all of these tasks coming into college, and even last week when I began doubting my abilities as I faced the exams and projects of the middle of the semester. Yet so many people are in college and doing it all. So while there’s no definite answer to how everything gets done, it all gets done. Stress will only make it worse, so try to remain calm and…

"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you" 1 Peter 5:7
1 Peter 5:7

Brooke – email me with any questions, or follow my twitter @hopebrooke18!


One Month In

Time flies when you’re at college, right? Well, it sure does for me. I mean, we are already more than one month in for Fall Semester. What’s even scarier for me is that I am a senior, and next week is October. Crazy. During my first month at Hope, a lot has happened! For starters, life got real. It finally hit me that it’s my last undergraduate year, and I won’t be around these people after being with them for 4 years. WOW, it’s going to be one large adjustment.

Thinking about graduate school too has been somewhat stressful. I’m just embarking on finishing 4 years of school, and I want to go for 4 more years. Why? I guess I just can’t get enough of it. I’m somewhat kidding, but in order for me to get my Ph.D., that 4 extra years is necessary.

Time is flying because I am finally in the swing of things. I am in a routine and have a set schedule for everyday during the week. Of course there is room to do spontaneous things, like going to football games, or going out to eat with friends. Because my life is hectic, I need this spontaneous time to socialize and be with my friends!

Some of the highlights I’ve had so far were going to 3 Michigan games with some of my favorite people. 1) With my best friend Joey, 2) with my roommate Nate, and 3) with my friend Lauren! (see the slideshow below for some pictures!) Last week, we also had a Vienna reunion dinner. It was so great to see my very best friends, even though I see them often, and it was also great to see the other students who went to Europe. Of course no one turned away free food! Another fun time was just last Thursday, or the Ben Rector concert with Joey. His music is simply the best, and SAC sponsored it, so I’m not biased at all 🙂

Well, that’s just a summary of what has been going on. I have mentioned some of these in my previous blogs, so check those out! Also, check out the pictures below. Thanks all for reading!

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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!

A Four Day Week

Hey folks! I know that Hope students are particularly happy that today is our last day of the week because tomorrow is Good Friday! I just have one more class, then it’s time for home. I am thankful that it warmed back up again, because there was snow on the ground Monday and Tuesday. Mother Nature, excuse me? Although it was only a four-day week, it was LONG. Why? Probably because I had so much going on. Anyway, I just want to give you all a recap of what happened this week!

MONDAY: Well last Monday was supposed to be our last Monday of clinical, but my professor wanted us to go back to the hospital to gain more hours and do more skills. At first, I thought it was pointless, but I’m so thankful that I was there! Being around patients and helping others is just awesome. After clinical, it was back to campus to do homework, and a lot of it. As the semester winds down, I want to finish as much as I can so I have all the time in the world to study. After a long night of homework, there was at least one inch of snow on the ground. That made me particularly angry. Here’s a picture.


After seeing the snow, I knew it was time for bed. I could not look at it one more second!

TUESDAY: We also had clinical Tuesday, and this was my best day at clinical yet. It was also our last, so it was really convenient! On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to start an IV, and I got it in the vein on my first try, EVER! So I got bragging rights. That’s all I could think about! I mean, I took care of my patients, and I kept busy, so time flew. But again, all I could think about is how I got that IV stick in the first try. I can’t wait to be a nurse!!!

WEDNESDAY: Wednesdays are usually the worst, in that I start at 8:30 in the morning and go until 5:00 pm. So my Wednesdays go like this: wake up, shower, eat, class, chapel, lunch, class, and class. Looks so eventful, doesn’t it! I wish I could say more about  my Wednesdays, but I can’t. Haha!

I have chosen more questions for my last “Dear Abby” post of the semester, so keep out on the lookout for that post! If you haven’t already, make sure you follow me on twitter at @HopeMarvin15 and check out my Instagram at MarvSolberg. I like to post pictures of the campus buildings 🙂 Have a great Thursday everyone!

The Final Days

Oh my goodness, just one more Monday after this one. It’s crazy to believe that the school year is finally winding down. When you, the new admitted students, come to Hope, your time will fly by. Make every second count! It’s hard for me to believe that I’m going to be a senior nursing major really soon. Being a senior just really seems like a foreign concept to me! But I am just so excited and ready!

If you were here this past Saturday, thank you for coming to Admitted Students Day! It was such a blast to be able to start your morning as an emcee. Yeah, isn’t that a weird spelling for emcee? I always thought it was “MC…” Back to the point, I hope you were able to attend you academic session and see how academics work at Hope College. I also hope you had fun enjoying the social aspect of Hope. Now I know a lot of you had fun. But just imagine, that will be YOU having fun EVERYDAY starting this August! It was so great to meet some you as well, and I can’t wait to see you around campus next year!

Anyways, this weekend was eventful and busy, but a good busy. On Friday was the Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance. What a cool thing to go to! A bunch of my friends had research to present, so I attended for moral support. It was also SO AWESOME to see how much Hope College invests in undergraduate research. Not many schools do this, but Hope does and it’s evident because we’re ranked in the top 10 for undergraduate research! Afterwords, a bunch of friends and myself went to some dunes here in Holland to appreciate Mother Nature. And it was a perfect day because it was warm and sunny. I forgot that there was sun and warmth, thanks Mother Nature! At the dunes, we watched the sunset and enjoyed the company of each other. After, we went to get some frozen yogurt, because who doesn’t like frozen yogurt? Then, we watched a movie after. To say the least, I actually had a social life Friday!

Then, Saturday was Admitted Students Day, and I was able to emcee for that which was awesome. I definitely want to do that next year! Working for Admissions is seriously a blessing. Being a part of admissions is just very rewarding! Then, I had a 3-hour CPR renewal class. Following this class, I went to a sorority formal with one of my great friends! Saturday was very busy and eventful!

Sunday was a day for catching up on work and just relaxing. Believe it or not, I started packing my stuff already! Because this Friday is Good Friday, there is no school, so I get to leave Thursday. I’m just going to bring a lot of my belongings home, so when it’s actually time to part for summer vacation, I won’t have that much! I just can’t believe I’m already packing. This just means I’m one day closer to a summer of a lifetime! Alrighty friends, that’s it for now! Keep posted, I’m going to post soon! Thanks!

Dear Abby #3

Can you guys believe it’s almost April? As in tomorrow will be April. That means that we Hope students only have 1 month or less left of the spring semester! It’s pure madness. Honestly, it’s crazy to believe that I’m almost done with my junior year. I registered for classes this morning, and it said that my registration purpose was for “Senior.” Maybe Hope made a mistake? I’m not ready to leave this place. Pretty darn soon, Hope 2018 will be here! SO EXCITING!!

Anyways, here is the third “Dear Abby.” You guys ask great questions, and I enjoy answering them because I can too reminisce!

Dear Abby, food. Is the food good at Hope? What do you do for meals?

Great question. Hope has 2 dining halls, Phelps and Cook. Phelps is primarily for underclassmen, and Cook Hall is for upperclassmen. The majority of the students eat at Phelps. Anyway, I absolutely don’t mind the food. I need to eat! I mean, some days are excellent, and some days are so-so. We also have the Kletz snack bar! Here, you can use Dutch Dollars to get food, of use your meal plans if you have over 70 credits I believe. That’s what I usually do. I find the Kletz very convenient because it’s fast, and closer to my apartment. But for me, I like to change things a bit when it comes to food. If i’ve had a long day, or its the weekend, I will treat myself by going to a restaurant with my buddies (PF Changs, Applebees), cook on my own (I actually do a good amount of cooking), or get fast food, oopsie. Ultimately, the food at Hope is great! It has to be because you are paying good money to be here, so you only deserve the best. Hope also has a great meal plan program, so you have flexibility in meals! Hopefully, this helps!

Dear Abby, during my tour and visit at Hope, they said you can have your car on campus. Should I bring mine?

That is correct. As freshmen, you can have cars on campus, which is really convenient. Here’s my take. If you live a good distance from campus, a car is almost necessary so you can drive yourself home. But, if you know others from your area that are going to Hope, you can carpool with them. That way, you are saving money, and it’s cost effective. When you come here, you will meet a good chunk of people who have cars, so driving in Holland won’t be a problem. But because parking is survival of the fittest here, finding a parking space is always a competition. Sometimes, I get really upset because the same car is parked in the same spot for an extended period of time. If you have a car on campus, use it! I use my car all of the time, whether thats going to Grand Rapids for clinicals, running errands, attending community events, buying groceries, or going out to eat. Lastly, if you have a car, your parents won’t have to pick you up! That was my logic when I told my parents I wanted to bring my car to college, and hey, it worked!

Dear Abby, it’s obviously going to hard to pay for school, so I would like to get a job. What is your take on this?

Awesome awesome awesome question. I totally agree with you with in regard to the difficulty paying for school. My financial aid package deemed eligible “Federal Work Study.” This was great, because these students get the priority for jobs on campus! There is a huge work fair at the beginning of the year, and you can apply to as many as you want, then several departments will be in contact with you regarding positions. From there, all you have to do is pick! If you’re not on Federal Work Study, don’t fret! There are still many job opportunities. During my freshman year, I decided not work. Reason? I wanted to establish myself a student, and take time to establish a great friend group. Those two things in itself is a full time job! I don’t regret not working my freshman year. I am very happy with my choice, otherwise, I wouldn’t have my core group of friends! So, I started working my sophomore year, and my jobs truly have fluctuated just based on availability. Right now, I’m loving my jobs, and can’t wait to continue with them next year! If you feel like you want to wait a year, or a semester, go for it! If you want to get into work ASAP, go for it! Just make sure you prioritize school first, always!

Last but not least!

Dear Abby, it’s obvious that you are very involved in student affairs at Hope. How did you get these student leader positions?

The simple answer to that question is through the grace of God, honestly. Since being at Hope, I have been presented with so many student leadership opportunities, whether that’s 2 years of doing orientation, being an immersion trip leader, or being involved in SAC. I work very hard in what I do because I want it to have true meaning. In terms of these positions, they do not come to me. You have to go to them. One big this college students may have difficulty doing is stepping out of their comfort zone and try something new. In high school, I was one of those quiet kids if you didn’t know me, but if you did know me, I was full of energy. I can tell you for sure that its changed; I’m always the loud one now! 🙂 To get into these positions, I merely applied to them and showed my advisors my potential. I know I have potential, it was just a matter of executing it. By being accepted into these roles, I continue to show my hard work and my potential. It’s always a learning process. Essentially, if you want student leadership positions, work hard and prove to others AND yourself that you are high capable! Be self-aware! Hopefully this helps!

Thanks again for the questions, friends! Keep asking them. I honestly love answering them. You can either send me a direct message on Twitter at @HopeMarvin15 or talk to me on Hope on Facebook! Thanks for reading!!

The Crazy Weeks Are Upon Us

You betcha. Crazy weeks are upon us here at Hope, but I’m sure they’re at your high schools, too. For some, it may be your spring break, and for others, this is the homestretch. If you’re on spring break, be sure to take advantage of your relaxing time. After spring break, everything is going to happen FAST.

This week has been hectic to say the least, and unfortunately, the remaining weeks look the same. But it’s okay, the days may seem like they drag on, but the weeks will fly by. That’s usually what happens (I sure hope that happens!) For me, the next few weeks might be stressful and hectic, but I have something to look forward to afterwards that make it so worth it, EUROPE! That’s all I can think about, EUROPE EUROPE EUROPE. Only 39 more days. I merely cannot wait.

In the present moment, this week has been packed. Monday and Tuesday were clinical days. Tuesday afternoon, I conducted interviews with my fellow directors for SAC next year! It was so exciting to get interviews rolling! Wednesday, I had class from 8:30 a.m. until around 4:00 p.m. I had some time to relax before TAing for a nursing lab. From Monday-Wednesday, I also studied for my first Adult Nursing Theory exam. Thursday, I woke up early to conduct more interviews, followed by an exam, lecture, and more interviews. And today, my day was packed with interviews from 10a-5:30p. I know that it may not seem a lot in words, but living that life was just stressful. But now, I am so glad I can chill for a little bit. This weekend is going to be a precursor to my next week, which is as intense. If not, MORE CRAZY!

Here is a prelude to next week: 2 exams, 2 nursing process worksheets and nursing care plans (you have no idea, these take a solid 8 hours for quality), 1 research critique, study guide questions, meetings on meetings, and I have to fit in sleep somewhere. To prevent stress and being overwhelmed, I am mapping out my weekly plan. Yes, I do use my planner, but this next week, my planner simply cannot handle my workload.

Before I finish, a couple of exciting things happened that ended my week well; SAC interviews are complete, and my leadership team will be making decisions soon! AND My flights to Rome and Prague have been booked for this summer so I AM PUMPED! Alright, that’s all for now, but look forward to “Dear Abby #3!”

Rooming 101

Ok #Hope2018! As seen on the Hope Facebook app, people are committing to this wonderful school and are making their deposits. Naturally, the next thing to do is… find a roommate! Well, as students, we make make this a priority, but it’s important to remember a few things when it comes to rooming. Before I speak some more, here is a REALLY GREAT VIDEO on roommates I found on YouTube. Seriously, watch it. I watched it, and even made my apartment-mates watch it. This video is definitely worth your time, especially if you want to live in a good living situation!

Okay, so now that you’ve watched that, here are the requirements for Rooming 101 (RMG 101).

  1. Acceptance to Hope College
  2. Be in the class of 2018, or a transfer student!
  3. Have an open mind

Now that the cheesy part is out of the way, lets dive in right away. I have noticed that people want to get to know each other, which is super awesome. This is the first step in finding a roommate, I guess. As many of you know, Admitted Students Day (ASD) is April 12th. This would be a GREAT time to meet up with potential roommates, but more importantly, new friends! I strongly encourage you all to meet up over coffee, or just even chit chat for a little. A simple conversation is where it starts!

In rooming situations, it is important to look into the future, as having a roommate is a long-term kind of commitment, unless there is a pressing issue. This is why you should get to know potential individuals that could be your roommate. In my own opinion, choosing a roommate for your freshman year is just a little less adventurous. Given that you want to be surrounded with people you like and are comfortable with, you should take the time to explore!! I chose to go in “blind,” which is what many college students do. This entails that housing, based on your criteria, will match you with a roommate. And guess what, my roommate freshman year, Austin, and I are very close friends. You never now what might happen!

What I am saying is that when you are looking for a roommate, you should be picky to the point in which you know you can find someone. Second, if you do find someone to room with, make sure you communicate with each other. Talk about your interests, hobbies, and such, but also talk about the hard stuff – expectations, ground rules, etc. Another important thing to remember is that you are starting afresh. Be open! Step out of your comfort zone. Hope College housing does a phenomenal job with pairing you up with a roommate. It’s really awesome. If things are meant to be, they are meant to be. If not, then they’re not! Make sure you are flexible in your thinking. If a rooming situation does not work, it’s not the end of the world.

Lastly, as the video stated, stress between roommates is a critical issue. Stress in college is bound to exist somewhere, but trying to prevent this stress can really help you in school.  So, if you have met people trough Hope on Facebook for rooming, great! Make sure you make an effort into communicating and meeting them sometime soon. If you decide to go in blind, an adventure awaits!

I just wanted to post on rooming, because I felt that it was important to! If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to ask! Shoot me a DM on Twitter at @HopeMarvin15! Or if you like using the Hope on Facebook page, shoot me a message that way! I hope this helps and prepares you for rooming!