As an immensely busy college student at Hope College who tries to be involved in a wide variety of activities that span different corners of campus, I almost always say yes to people. This includes study meet-ups, extra tutoring sessions, helping with wedding planning, leadership roles in clubs or crazy adventures that bring me across the United States. The saying “work hard, play hard” is cheesy, but it is still one of my favorite mantras, one that echoes in my head daily. I attempt to apply it to every facet of my life.
Even though I try to make appearances across campus for different events or be part of organizations across many disciplines, my academic interest has always been in the STEM field. However, I strongly believe that people should also lean into their other interests outside their majors. Hope College’s liberal arts education helps to cultivate this idea on a broad scale. It forces students to get out of their majors—whether that be communications, physics, music, art, etc.—and further their education while they still can. Now you may wonder why I say “while they still can”, and it is because I emphatically believe that your undergraduate education is the primary time in your life where you can invest time in multiple disciplines without any major detriment to your future. In graduate school, you are focusing on a niche within a broad topic, but during your undergraduate education you can major in something like chemistry while also taking philosophy and political science classes. Once you leave school and go out into the real world of nine to fives or 60 hour work weeks, we lose the ability to easily explore other disciplines intellectually. Students should say yes to expanding their own education in areas where they have true interest and passion when they have the chance.
Another facet of college life is being involved in a multitude of activities within campus. This can be anything from political groups and religious life to Spikeball club or intramural sports. I say do what you love and nothing more. Say yes to being a part of anything that makes your heart beat faster, but do not put time and energy into anything that you don’t truly care about. Make sure you know why you are doing what you are doing. Life is short and time is our most valuable asset. Use that precious resource wisely by jumping into the unknown and saying yes to things that you care about, even if you think you may not have room for it. We are young and full of energy to do what we feel impassioned to do. At what other time in your life can you do that?
Along with obtaining a full, well-rounded education, college students should also say yes to craziness. That means sacrificing sleep or increasing the stress levels a bit so that you can embrace a bit of one’s wild side. This can be driving across a few states just for one concert, or going to a sick event that you fully support on a weekday at the expense of your daily obligations. I’m not saying abandon all your responsibilities and live recklessly, but I am saying jump out of your comfort zones and into the uncomfortable. Make sure that when you reflect on your college experience, it isn’t just filled with endless homework assignments and long lectures, but also fun memories of staying out late with your friends going on adventures that will serve you for the rest of your life. Say yes to the spontaneous experiences that come your way, especially if they fall straight into your lap.
Here on campus, I am somewhat infamous for being crazily busy and always on the move. This attribute, in all honesty, is one of my favorite qualities that I see in myself. I think it is important to give into all the absurd adventures and opportunities that come my way. That’s why I am calling out to you, students of Hope College, to challenge yourself to just say yes.