One thing I absolutely LOVE about Hope College: Professors CARE.
Going to smaller school really allows you to get to know your professors and your fellow classmates a lot better. There are always new people to meet, but I can always return to my same group of people. Also, because we are liberal arts, you are bound to meet a non-major in your classes. For example, I’m a biochemistry major, but I am taking a cognitive psychology class this semester for my psychology minor. I am in a class with almost all psychology majors that I have never interacted with academically (I have seen a few around socially). This has really allowed me to branch out.
BUT, not the point of this post. Back to professors caring: a lot of the time, students finish their undergrad degree and have no idea what is next. Talking to a few of my high school colleagues who have finished their undergraduate degrees, they don’t always have a next step. However, ALL of the professors that I have had throughout my three years at Hope have prepared me in some way or another for life after Hope College. Here are some examples:
Example 1) Dr. Aaron Putzke (a Bio Professor) offered a trip to Van Andel Institute a few weeks ago. I jumped on the experience because I have presented at VAI a couple of times and really wanted to learn more about their doctoral (PhD) program. My plans currently are to go for a MD-PHD, but plans can always change, right? (BTW – VAI does have a joint MD-PHD program with MSU). So, I was able to go with 8 other Hope students, accompanied by Dr. Putzke, to explore VAI on a Tuesday morning.
Now, let me tell you, field trips in college are never convenient. Whether you do a job shadow, you participate in an athletic event, or you look at grad schools, you will most likely always miss a class or two. I was going to miss my cognitive psychology class, which only meets twice a week. Example 2) I emailed my professor, Dr. Lorna Hernandez-Jarvis (also the chair of General Education at Hope), and apologized that I would have to miss her class to visit VAI. She replied these exact words: “Great opportunity! Enjoy it! Dr LHJ”
WOW. I shouldn’t have been surprised, because professors are always over-the-top compassionate here, but I was still shocked.
When I returned to her class on Thursday of that week she pulled me aside after class and asked how my visit had gone. After I had told her that although it was a nice facility, I couldn’t see myself in their joint program with MSU, she instigated further conversation. Example 3) She asked where I’d like to go to school, what was I looking for in a school. She proceeded to offer a few suggestions of schools I should check out for my MD-PHD. This conversation and interest in my future would NOT have happened had I gone to a big public school, and probably wouldn’t have happened at even some smaller schools.
Example 4) That Thursday afternoon I had a midterm art review in my Basic Drawing class (another liberal arts ability — to take art classes as a science major). I sat down one-on-one with Bruce McCombs, my professor, and we went through my pieces. Before he commented on my work he asked, “What are you planning to do after Hope?” After telling him my plans, he told me of a few MD friends he had had in school and where they went. Though he tried to persuade me to be a medical illustrator (and tried to steal my artwork), he still offered great advice at finding the next-step school that would be right for me. THIS WAS MY ART TEACHER. – mind boggled to say the least.
Example 5) My research professor, Dr. Fraley, is always poking at his lab students about what they will do after Hope. He was actually the one to SUGGEST an MD-PHD, before I had even told him my ideas. He offered to connect me with a few students who had been in his lab and had successfully completed an MD-PHD program. So, soon I will be in contact with them to get the inside scoop!
I have a hundred trillion other examples of this, but this was just the past two weeks of professor-future interaction. Looking back at deciding where I would go to undergrad: it was a HUGE decision. I didn’t have helpful high school teachers who took the time to introduce me to possible schools that would fit me and meet my individual needs. But here at Hope, I DO. I am blessed to have chosen such a great institution with faculty that always have my needs and future as their top priorities. Now to find a medical school-graduate school that can do that as well……….
Questions about your Hope Journey? Science-major probs? What a day at Hope looks like?
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