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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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!

Lots of “Lasts”

Well, this past month has been packed with so many fun events so I thought I would just show some of the highlights with pictures. Second semester senior year is filled with a lot of “lasts.” Last Spring fling, Chapel, Gathering, Classes, etc…. Even though it is sad to think that we will all be leaving this place in just a few short days it makes me want to soak everything in and love people I am around. I want to embrace my last week here at Hope and treasure these valuable experiences, because I know life will be very different after college. I think it is safe to say I will miss the people and community most about Hope. I absolutely love my friends, and we always seem to have a great time when we are together. It was a lot of fun seeing Hope College at Spring Fling in the Pine Grove and enjoying some sunshine, food, music, rides, and friends all in one place.

Well I’m off to the Last Gathering! I’m ready to soak in my last week at Hope College with the people I love.

Went home for Easter and hung out with my dog :]
Went home for Easter and hung out with my dog :]
Spring Fling with Lydia and Jannessah
Spring Fling with Lydia and Jannessah
Concert outside the dorms
Concert outside the dorms
Girls Night Out in Saugatuck
Girls Night Out in Saugatuck
Love these friends
Love these friends
The "Lincoln Land Saloon"  at Monique's Bridal Shower
The “Lincoln Land Saloon” at Monique’s Bridal Shower
Celebrating Susan's 22nd Birthday!
Celebrating Susan’s 22nd Birthday!
Bike To Uganda for Building Tomorrow, which helps build schools in Uganda
Bike To Uganda for Building Tomorrow, which helps build schools in Uganda
My housemate Amy teaching me to hug...
My housemate Amy teaching me to hug…

Senior Wisdom and Insight

Wow one week from today I will be graduating from Hope College! I’m currently writing this post from JP’s Coffee downtown and thinking back on all of the memories I have had here. Hope College has been one of the biggest blessings in my life. I have met some incredible people and lifelong friends. I asked some of my senior best friends for their wisdom and insight for upcoming freshmen. They have brought so much wisdom, joy, perspective, and encouragement into my life so I hope you find some their wisdom useful for you…

1) Remember that God is the only one that will stay the same. So much will change in your time in college: your relationships, dreams, fears, plans, and circumstances. Yet, He will remain the same no matter what, faithful until the end.
2) Don’t let expectations guide your experiences. Don’t have the pressure of these years being “the best years of your life” or immediately having the most incredible friends on the planet or finding the love of your life in the first week! Your experience in college may be amazing but will likely be different than you currently picture. Try to be expectant and hopeful without pressured by specific ideas.
3) Try to live free from comparison. You will meet absolutely incredible, talented, attractive, wealthy, intelligent people. Celebrate how great they are, but don’t try to be just like them. You don’t have to change yourself for the people around you, and will develop much better friendships if you do not let comparison rule your relationships.

-Monique Meck

Find your identity in Christ. Do not compare yourself to others and do not try to seek affirmation from others. Seek affirmation in The Lord and be you. Never stop challenging yourself. Do not put God’s abilities in a box because you have no idea what The Lord has in store for your life. 

-Sarah Zielinski

Take advantage of the many activities and traditions Hope has to offer. College is a time to explore and find what interests you and helps you grow in positive ways. If something if not influencing your life in a positive way, find another activity to participate in. If a friend is no longer building you up, start spending more time with people who do. You want to make memories with people you love doing things you love to do. 

-Hannah Boshoven

Never be afraid to embrace a place and its people so much, that it hurts to leave. Time is a valuable thing; get to know what it’s all about as much as you can. Pursue your dreams, pursue this life, and smile at the little things. “Both faith and fear ask you to believe something that has not happened yet, choose faith.” Always choose faith.

-Lydia Wathen

Try everything. Talk to everyone. Join any student organization. Study abroad. Go on May Terms. Have adventures. Have the time of your life. Don’t let fear, comparison, doubt, negativity, judgement, or any other wonder killer stifle you out of what will surely be a wild and beautiful season of your life. 

-Kimberly Collins

Be who you are, and only you. If you are not sure who you are yet, be the person you want to be and the journey along the way will be ultimately fulfilling. 

-Lauren Kokum

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Pure Beauty in Holland, Michigan