Oh, prospies! Do you know how much I've enjoyed this three-year journey blogging for you? What a blast and a blessing it has been to chronicle my entire Hope experience through words and pictures on Life in Orange and Blue.
As a working woman and December-grad about to don my cap and gown from Hope on May 5th, it's time to move on and leave the blogging to the current students.
Over the last three years I've talked to hundreds, maybe thousands, of you over the phone (through my other admissions job - calling!), emailed dozens of you, met you at visit days, met you over coffee, met you on Twitter. A few of you slept on the futon in my dorm room when you visited Hope! You've commented on blogs and retweeted Tweets. Thank you for all your interaction - it's been so much fun!
I took this job because Hope is special to me, but the decision to attend Hope was ridden with questions and doubts. Like you, I waffled. Like you, I laid awake at night envisioning myself at three different schools - which one was it to be?
When I finally called Hope my home, I sensed a calling to journey alongside others who were battling the same kinds of questions and doubts. The decision to attend a college is no light decision, my dears. Like you, I felt pressure, and like you, I wanted to make the right choice. I understood the weightiness, the difficulty, of this choice.
After I came to Hope, I saw that Hope wasn't perfect. No college is perfect. At the same time, I wholeheartedly believed it was worth my investment. I came to see Hope's uniqueness among college institutions. I increasingly understood the benefits of a Hope education - immersion in a passionate, intimate community, quality academics, spiritual searching and growing, dedicated professors and mentors, career shaping through incredible resources on and off-campus, caring friendships, and inspiring classmates.
Attending Hope proved to be one of the greatest blessings of my life.
I believe God guides our every step, and I know He guided me to Hope. Over and over again, He affirmed my decision to attend Hope - through my friendships, classes, mentors, experiences that shaped my career direction, off-campus travel to Philly for a semester, spiritual awakening, and incredible opportunities both academic and extracurricular that made college a rich experience.
I believe if I had gone somewhere else, God (being God) would have blessed me just the same, but I know that He works all things together for good, and my years at Hope were filled with His goodness, His grace, and His constant working.
If I were to list an exhaustive compilation of the ways Hope changed my life, I'd be writing a book (maybe I'll do that someday :-)) Let me share a couple:
Attending Hope taught me that the world is the Lord's, and he is actively redeeming it - we can enter into the resurrection life he makes possible with joy (the "wide open country of salvation" - oh, Trygve!).
Attending Hope opened my eyes to the need for true, honest community, that life cannot be lived alone, that life alone is miserable, and that a life lived alongside and for others is the only way to truly live.
Attending Hope, I discovered how to seek truth in academics, to give my best, to think critically and attempt answers and when in doubt, to always keep learning. I learned how to learn well.
Attending Hope gave me the confidence to pursue my dream of writing, the tools and practice to improve, and the mentors to encourage my forward motion.
Attending Hope exposed me to over three thousand incredible people using their God-given talents for his glory in academics and extracurriculars; in short, it immersed me in the body of Christ, in all its imperfection and extravagance. This in itself is one of the best gifts a school could ever give.
Thank you for reading my blog and sticking with me!
Wherever you go in life, whether life takes you (be it Hope or somewhere else), I pray that you have peace about your decisions and that you receive the kind of wise, helpful counsel I had during my high school years that propelled me towards Hope. I dearly hope you choose Hope. But ultimately, I hope you find a college where you can learn, and love, and be loved... because that's the mark of a truly great college.
*** This blog post is dedicated to Garrett Knoth, my Hope admissions counselor who helped me decide to call Hope my home. During my 2008 visit to Hope, Garrett welcomed me to campus with personal attention and authentic, sincere interest in my future. His honesty about Hope's strengths and weaknesses, and his complete willingness to delve into all of my questions, amazed my family and me.
Even after I became a Hope student, Garrett stayed in touch. His passion for his job always inspired me. In December 2012, Garrett went to be with the Lord after battling cancer for years. I know Hope is thankful for the deep, abiding legacy he left and all the lives he touched.