Finding Your “Thing” at Hope College

Whether it’s friends, clubs, or a major, finding your “thing” in college can be a daunting task. With about 80 different clubs and student groups at Hope College, you have plenty to choose from! Here are some tips that will hopefully help you determine what “thing” is right for you.  

  1. Think about your interests.

Are you an athlete? You don’t have to be on a Hope varsity team to play sports here; there are many intramural options. Maybe trying to make the world a better place is more your style? There are community service organizations on campus that can help you do your part for the world.

It doesn’t have to be something you did in high school or something you’ve tried before. It could be something you’ve never even heard of before, like this thing we have called “The Pull.” You think you know what a tug-of-war is? Think again. The Pull is a whole new level of tug-of-war, and one of the nation’s oldest standing college traditions!

  1. Try, try, and try again!

There is no better time than college to step out of your comfort zone and try something new! Remember, if you try something and it isn’t working out for you, you don’t have to stick with it. Part of the college experience is exploring things you may not have had the opportunity to do before. Try it out and if you don’t like it, if it doesn’t fit in your schedule, or if it simply isn’t for you, don’t be afraid to step away from it. That’s okay.  

Currently, I am involved in YoungLife, Greek Life, Nykerk, and I have an on-campus job. But my “things” didn’t come right away. My freshman year I was involved in a handful of other activities like intramural sports, Habitat for Humanity and Ski & Snowboard Club. Do I play intramural badminton anymore? No, but it was a great experience to explore and I met some great friends! It’s important to figure out what fits best for you and your schedule.

  1. Hope has many resources to help you find your place.
  • At the beginning of each year there is an Activities and Volunteer Fair. This is an exciting opportunity that allows you to explore all the organizations Hope College has to offer.

    Hope College students hold their annual Activity Fair in the Pine Grove on Hope’s campus.
  • The Student Activities Committee (commonly referred to as SAC) is an awesome organization on campus that plans fun student activities for everyone on campus.
  • Stuck on which major to choose? Stop by the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career. They can help you identify your strengths and find which educational or occupational path may be right for you.
  • And, don’t forget to check out this list of all the clubs and organizations Hope has to offer! 
  1. Try not to worry about finding your “thing” right away!

You may find the activity, club, major, etc. you love to do right away, but it may take a year or two. Take the time to explore different options and don’t be afraid to ask for help, I promise you will find your “thing” eventually!

Helping Myself, Helping Others

For my Developmental Psychology class, we’re required to participate in a field placement. I chose to visit Freedom Village, a senior living community located in Holland. While I don’t envision myself coordinating events or changing the beds for the elderly in my future, it has been quite gratifying. I’d like to share a few of my experiences.

There’s a man on the second floor in temporary care due to multiple sclerosis. He has trouble with fine and gross motor movements because of his disability, and I’m sometimes assigned to spend time with him upstairs.

One day, we were bored.

“Well, what should we do?” I asked him, tired of crossword puzzles.

“How about we send an email to my lovely wife.” He didn’t move at all to gesture toward a device from which we could send the email, of course, because he couldn’t. I had to ask him where his phone was.

Upon finding it and pulling it out, I opened his email and found his wife’s name in his contacts. At his own pace he detailed to me the email he wanted to send, and I copied it down accordingly. When he was finished, I asked him if it looked good and he agreed. I sent the email off to his wife.

“Let’s do another one…this one is going to be to Brooke,” he said. I raised my eyebrows in surprise, to me? He nodded. I shrugged and began typing in my email address in a blank email.

“Dear Brooke,” he began, “Thank you for helping me to send an email to the woman that I love the most. Your friend, {I omit his name here for confidentiality}.”

My blush felt a million times hotter than it probably looked, but I was truly filled with a dense gratification. I didn’t send the email to myself, but I kept his words in my heart.

In another instance, I was yet again reminded of how much we’re needed by those in our community.

“It’s time for me to go now, maybe I can come visit you next time I’m here,” I told an old woman who had suffered from a stroke and was mostly limited to her bed and walker.

“I would like that very much,” she told me, and gestured for a hug. I leaned into her frail arms, her smell of soap and oatmeal, trying as hard as I could not to break her.

Pulling back, she smiled at me, and I found it hard to walk out the door. I vowed to return to her room in the future for more conversations.

Hope fosters an environment that makes it imperative for the students to realize that they’re needed in the community and the world. My experience at the senior living center is a small one compared to some of the other experiences going on around campus. It’s truly invaluable, the work we can do for others. It’s experiences like these that shape us.

Matthew 5:16
Matthew 5:16

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!

Time to Serve

Today marks just over a month that I have lived in this beautiful place called Hope College. Reflecting, I amazed by all that has happened in such a short amount of time. One of the many wonderful happenings was on my second Saturday here – Time to Serve.

During Orientation weekend our small group leaders passed around a signup sheet for something called “Time to Serve.” They said it was a really fun opportunity to get out into the Holland community and serve. So, I thought I’d give it a try and put my name down.

The following weekend I got up, walked over to Phelps and found a dining hall full of college students excited to be up on a Saturday morning to serve their community.

My group contained 8 girls and our site was Nuestra Casa. Nuestra Casa began as an abandoned home in Holland’s Westcore Neighborhood and became a collaborative project of Nueva Comunidad/Fourth Reformed Church, Good Samaritan Ministries, Women’s Service Day and the Westcore Neighbors to create a gathering place for the neighborhood.  Over the last three years these groups have been hard at work renovating and we were lucky enough to get the chance to help out. We spent the day painting primer and helping complete the access ramp. It was so much fun to get out into the community and help some amazing people get closer to achieving their goal. You can read more about Nuestra Casa here. 🙂

Nuestra Casa
Nuestra Casa

Time to Serve is just one of the amazing opportunities Hope has to promote growth and to gain service and leadership experience while getting acquainted with the Holland community. Over 400 students served at nearly 40 different sites in the Holland/Zeeland area. For more information you can read the story in the Holland Sentinel and check out the photo gallery from the day!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
~Erin

You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram for insights and pictures about life at Hope through my eyes 🙂