Help me! I’m just a freshman!

The ever-familiar words to me this year are “Help me! I’m just a freshman!” as I have used some variation of them many times.

Although Hope’s campus isn’t very difficult to get around on and classes aren’t always super demanding, there are some things that enevitably Freshman won’t know about or how to do.

For instance, NEVER PICK UP A FROLF DISC. Ever. Seriously. This is always warned about and many people have shared their accounts with me about the repercussions of disrupting someones game.

There are also commonalities and lingo often used here that can rarely be understood in other settings such as, “Yeah she’s in my cluster,” “I’m waiting for the gathering,” etc.

You can become quite quickly accustomed to what most call “The Hope Bubble,” otherwise known as the culture that arises from the 3200 students in attendance here.

Luckily, your transition is eased by the wonderful programs and practices here at Hope College. As a first year student, you are ushered in with Orientation (mentioned in my first post). This also occurs at other schools, but after talking to many freshman friends, Hope Orientation is one of the only programs in small student groups (10-12 students) that have Hope student “Orientation leaders” that befriend you and guide you through the week before school begins. Every first year student is also required to take a “First Year Seminar” in the fall semester. The professor becomes your advisor and helps introduce you to college classes by focusing on a unique topic of your choice and incorporating important ideas like time management, giving presentations, paper-writing, and most prominently: Scheduling.

As November is only days away, it will soon be time to make the decision that will CHANGE OUR LIVES FOREVER. Okay, not really. But we do have to select the classes for Spring semester 2012. As freshman, it splits us up into three groups. There are:

  • the students that already had a detailed plan of every class they were ever going to take walking onto Hope’s campus (an estimated .001% of the freshman class)
  • the students that have some semblance of what they’d like to do for the rest of their life, or maybe just the subject they’d like to study (an estimated 15 % of the class)
  • and of course the students that have no idea what will happen tomorrow, let alone what they want to study the next four years and continue using in a career (100%-what is listed above)

No matter which of the three you are, each academic department has had pre-registration meetings for the past two weeks to double check (or decide) that you will be taking the proper classes for your Major.

Career Services also provides an amazing amount of information and guidance when it comes to internships, career counseling for those that don’t know what they want to do, graduate school information, and speed networking among other things.

So, I’ve spent the last week determining what classes I need to take, what second (and third) options I should have lined up and this week my dreams were shattered(okay, again–not really. I should really be a drama major!). I was so confident in my plan after the many hours it took to formulate. This week, I had a quick meeting with my advisor (my FYS teacher) and told her I had a few schedule conflicts. I couldn’t figure out how to fit all 4 labs into my schedule when three of them were offered at the same time. She overviewed my schedule and realized that actually, according to the classes I was going to take, I would have 5 labs. So I definitely couldn’t fit all 5 into my schedule. She also told me that I’d need special permission to enroll for three of my classes and I had to have signed forms before I went to the registrar. Back to the drawing board. But, fortunately, I have another scheduled meeting with her next week to iron out any other problems I may have.




Everyone is always looking out for you. What would I have done if I had showed up with my glorious plan and there had been so many flaws? The registrar would have likely taken great care of me, but as a “newbie” I don’t have to go through anything alone. My professors are always asking how I am, making sure I’m sleeping and getting things done. If a student begins to slip in class, the professor meets with them individually and tries to find a resolution.There are so many little things that can be done to make a person feel welcome and accepted, and I am so thankful for the community that I have chosen to be a part of.


 So, Hey. I may just be a freshman, but I’m priviledged to be one of around 900 of the “newbies,” adjusting to the “Hope Bubble” and learning new things about others and myself everyday.


More soon!




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Published by Amanda Porter

Hi! I'm Amanda. I'm from Traverse City, Mi and I'm a Junior Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major. I do research for the Fraley lab on the gut bacterial ecology of Pekin ducks and I work for the Chemistry department! Aspiring Neurosurgeon and LOVE to learn in all situations. Follow me on Twitter! @hopeamanda15

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