Class of ’22 takes on orientation

Abuzz with the excitement of the start of a new chapter, this year’s incoming freshman got their first taste of life at college as they moved in and went through the process of new student orientation, with many parents in attendance as well.

From August 24 through August 27, freshmen participated in a variety of activities – from icebreakers to convocation – to get students excited for and acclimated to student life here at Hope College. Throughout the weekend, we took time to speak with some of Hope’s newest students and their parents by asking them to share some of their thoughts and feelings as they geared up for the current fall semester. We interviewed three new students on their way to orientation events: Anya Potter, Hiely Sparitch, and Emmie Herman. All three expressed interest in Hope’s creative arts programs, and all three seemed to agree that they still were not completely sure what to expect for this first year of college.

We asked the group what their biggest struggles and surprises had been since arriving on campus; buying books and the costs that accompany them seemed to be another strong point of agreement among those in the group.

“Yeah, [buying books] has definitely been my biggest surprise. I had no clue that they cost that much!” Emmie Herman explained, “My pockets definitely still hurt, but it’s fine, I’m fine.” The group continued on to share that even though they had their uncertainties, they still felt that the orientation process had been very helpful. In the midst of a weekend that can be filled with apprehensiveness, it was nice to meet a group of freshmen that at least seemed to be keeping their cool.

While move-in weekend is virtually entirely focused on students, it is often easy to forget that move-in weekend is also a large adjustment for parents as well, many of whom are sending children off to college for the first time. Although this was not the case for John and Anne Potyraj, who are already the parents of an upperclassman, they were still able to lend a bit of perspective regarding what it’s like for parents in the situation.

When asked how they originally handled sending off their first child, Mrs. Potyraj, who graduated from Hope herself in 1990, responded, “Yes it was hard at times, but we knew they were in good hands here at Hope.” Later on in the interview, when asked why she thought her children were drawn here, she claimed that her daughter “felt Hope was right for her all along” due to the “friendly atmosphere”, a sentiment that seems common to incoming students and graduating students alike.

Orientation weekend is almost always filled with unanswered questions and sometimes even a slight amount of fear. It is a time of large adjustments for everyone involved. New students getting
used to their dorms, parents preparing themselves to adjust to life with their children away from home and so many more.

However, despite all of this, Hope’s class of ’22 looked poised and ready to take on this new chapter in their lives. From the Pull to Nykerk, and everything in between, these students will have plenty of opportunities to make their mark. As the years pass and this year’s freshman become the sophomores, juniors and seniors of the future, it will be interesting to see what they can accomplish during their time here at Hope, and the impact that they can have on the world as a whole.

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