The month of January brings with it a new year and new beginnings, but for the seniors on Hope’s campus it also brings a bittersweet finality. As their last semester of college begins, those graduating this coming spring begin to shift their mindset toward what life will look like outside of Hope’s campus. For many, this arouses a mixture of excitement for what’s to come and sadness for what’s being left behind.
This last semester will be full of reflection, planning and accomplishments for these seniors as they prepare to cross over from current student to college alumni. Lachan Jaarda, a member of Hope’s dance department, will have a very busy semester as she prepares her advanced composition piece. This is a project fully choreographed and directed by Jaarda, who says that her goal this semester is to produce a successful product to be seen by Hope’s students and faculty. This experience will provide her a great perspective of the world she has considered pursuing after graduation: teaching dance to those who hope to pursue a career in the subject. In another pocket of Hope’s campus, a senior by the name of Miranda Craig has goals and dreams of her own for the next few months as well as life after graduation. In her time as a student, Craig has pursued her passion for songwriting and poetry.
She has made it her goal this year to write poetry every single day, an aim in which she says she has so far remained successful. Craig hopes to continue presenting her skills as a songwriter at Pillar Church, a platform on which her songs have already been featured and where she will continue to share her talents. When asked to reflect on their time at Hope, each of these seniors had something they wish they could have said to themselves four years ago. To her freshman self, Craig shares a comforting word, saying, “Everyone is just as anxious to make friends as you are. Don’t sit around waiting; just open the door because no one will ever shut you down.” Jaarda also shared some advice she would tell herself as a freshman, “Get more involved. Don’t worry about over-committing; you’re underestimating yourself.” With that in mind, Jaarda also recommended not over-correcting your involvement sophomore year, something she found herself doing in an attempt to solve her freshman self’s mistake.
In a moment of reflection, Jaarda said Lanchan Jaarda “college is the time for mistakes.” Hope is a safe and encouraging place to learn how to function in the world, a benefit that these seniors will be able to experience for one last semester before they take off into the world with the knowledge and skills they’ve gained as a student. Hope College seniors will finish exams on May. The Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremony will take place on May 5.