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!

Destination: Cameroon

Alright alright alright. Here’s that anticipated post about the Peace Corps! People requested me to talk about my journey throughout the Peace Corps application process, so here it is! Many of my friends have only seen pictures, so here’s the real story. I hope you enjoy it all!

Since my sophomore year of college, the Peace Corps was always a thought, an idea. But I really never pursued it then and just put in the back of my head. The application process was tedious and exhausting, so why even try if a limited amount of people get accepted, right? So, sophomore year went by, and so did junior year.

But senior year. Wow. It’s time to start thinking about what I want to do in life. Graduate school? Take a leap year, or two and work? PEACE CORPS. What perfect timing it was because the Peace Corps recruiter for the west side of Michigan was the Hope’s “Gap Year Fair.” Naturally, I went to learn more and bombard my recruiter with questions. I wanted to make sure she knew that I am REALLY interested in it. But people ask, why Peace Corps? What would you do? Seeing as I’m a nursing major, all I want to do is care for those who may not have means to care for themselves. And I can do that though the Peace Corps while learning about new cultures.

Anyway, after that Gap Year Fair, I went back to my dorm and filled that application out. Here’s the great news about it, the Peace Corps made the application simpler and quicker, so it would take under 1 hour! But because it was me who was filling out the application, I took my sweet time to make sure everything was perfect. After 2.5 hours of reviewing and making sure everything was perfect, I hit that submit button.

Then I waited.

And waited.

AND WAITED.

Until I received an email that would determine my journey with the Peace Corps. The wait is finally over! I took the next step forward and was being considered for a placement in Cameroon!

At this point, I didn’t know what position I was being reviewed for, but all that matters is that I am being considered. I AM BEING CONSIDERED! Finally, I have a destination, and it’s to CAMEROON! This is exciting because they speak French, and I speak French. They have a rich culture, and just the thought of being a part of that makes me want to pack my bags and fly there! I’m glad I made it to this point, but there are still many steps ahead. As great as this news was, I had to do more as part of the application process. Then once this was complete, they would review that to choose candidates to interview. A very intimidating sentence in that email states, “Please note that only competitive candidates will be interviewed.” Yeah, that made me uneasy, but let the waiting begin.

The email that started an amazing journey!
The email that started an amazing journey!

So I waited.

And waited.

AND WAITED.

Another email came only a few days later saying I was chosen to be interviewed. I had heart palpitations, I wanted to vomit, I screamed. Why? BECAUSE THIS IS A BIG DEAL! I am a competitive applicant, that gives me so much ease! Now, I’m onto the next stepping stone in my journey. First, I was being considered, then I was selected to interview. Who wouldn’t be excited!? I scheduled my interview, and that was yesterday! It was 1.5 hours long, but I killed it! Well, at least I think I did. Where am I headed next? This is the biggest step in the journey, it determines if I’m going to serve or not. Weirdly enough, I am very confident and look forward to this email. The latest I will know is March 15, two months from today.

I did it, again!
I did it, again!

But don’t worry, folks. I will keep you updated. To my friends and family, I cannot thank you enough for your love and support. I am so happy to have the support going through this long process! Stay tuned for more news about the Peace Corps by following me on Twitter at @HopeMarvin15 and Instagram at @MarvSolberg!

Back To School, Snowpocalypse, Africa Oh My!

Well, the first week of the spring semester is finished. To top it off, it finished on a great note because we have a SNOWDAY TODAY! For those of you who don’t remember, the weather was like this exactly one year ago. It was so bad that people coined the term, “Snowpocalypse 2014.” I definitely think it’s safe to say that it can be carried over to this year. But in comparison to last year, my gut tells me that its worse this time around. In less than 24 hours, Holland accumulated 1 foot of snow, and more is expected. The wind gusts are so strong that it shifts the snow making it very deep in some places. This snowday is for a good reason,

The text message that brought the best news of the week.
The text message that brought one of the best news of this week.

Despite all of this cold weather, the winter and Mother Nature make Hope look very pretty, making this week back to school that much better. Personally, I’m not a big fan of the winter except that I can go skiing. Other than that, snow is only pretty from the inside. My plan for today’s snowday is to stay in my sweats, eat food, watch Netflix, and stay in bed. Oh, and maybe do some of that thing called homework.

Okay, enough about the weather. Classes are going swell. I just can’t believe this is my last undergraduate semester, so everyday counts. Before I know it, May 3rd will be around the corner. It feels great to be back and go on a routine. Seeing all of my friends is also a plus! Back to the weather one more time, even though today’s snowday is a highlight, I have better new for you. In October, I applied to the Peace Corps in hopes to serve our country abroad in the health field. This past week, I have been notified that I am being considered to serve in Cameroon for the Child and Maternal Health Volunteer Program. To top it off, I RECEIVED AN INVITATION FOR AN INTERVIEW NEXT WEEK! To be considered for a program and to have an interview is such an honor in itself. I am looking forward to my joinery with the Peace Corps. I will keep you all updated!

Well, that’s it for now my fellow readers! Enjoy these two beautiful pictures of Hope I took this week, and make sure to follow me on Twitter at @HopeMarvin15 and follow me on Instagram at Marvsolberg to get a feel for what life is like at Hope! Stay warm!