Hope College: College Visit #5

Here is the next college visit post promised from yesterday. I made a visit to Hope College in Holland, Michigan several weekends ago. This was my first overnight visit, and I FELL IN LOVE with yet another college.

Despite having to park half a mile away from the admissions office (and making that trek countless times…), sore feet, a dying phone, eating lunch alone, and being low-key sick…it was a successful visit. I was able to talk with faculty in the kinesiology department, take a tour, and then stay overnight with student hosts.

My talk that I had with the kinesiology professor…I found out that at Hope I can no longer major in Athletic Training as a pre-med student (which was my plan). The athletic training gods in the sky have deemed it right to require that students go to grad school in order to become certified athletic trainers. Previously, students could get certified with a bachelors degree in Athletic Training. This rule takes effect in 7 or 8 years, but Hope is implementing it now to make it easier on their students in the long run. So I realized that I would have to major in exercise science in order to get the courses in anatomy and physiology and nutrition and such that I was looking for when I was considering athletic training. After I came to that realization, I had to then decide (or rather start the process of deciding) if an MD was in my future or athletic training instead. Obviously, I still have plenty of time to make that decision…however I am leaning towards majoring in Bio or Chem as a pre-med student and still pursue that medical degree and become a doctor.

Overnight visit…I had an amazing visit with these girls. There were three of them in a triple dorm, all sophomores and all friends from the previous year. They were all science majors too. They were the sweetest girls and took time to talk about school and life and answer my questions. They had a big group of friends that were all in a “science majors dorm” last year so there were a few extra girls that hung out with us for the weekend. They took me to downtown Holland (super cute!! Lots of shops, cobblestone streets…). We went to a volleyball game (I can’t remember who won…) We watched a movie and ate popcorn and made a late night donut run to a kind of sketchy donut shop on the edge of campus (a Hope College must-d0). Oh and we ate cereal for dinner (after eating being responsible and eating real food:)

Okay, on to the college itself…it is a small, Christian, liberal arts college about 10 minutes away from Lake Michigan. I found the people to be welcoming and friendly. The academics are high quality. The campus is beautiful with gorgeous facilities. Students are engaged with each other and their professors. Fun fact: the president of the college and his wife live in a house in the middle of campus. Actually live there! And they have fun events like donuts and cider on their back porch. Or the president will email students and invite them for dinner. Or his wife will invite students to bake cookies with her. How cool is that?!

So Hope is definitely high on my list, and I can see myself as a student there. I have successfully applied, and I should get my decision the week of Thanksgiving!



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Just a quick update

Hello to everyone reading this:)

School has taken over my life once again.

It is a little bit crazy around here right now!

What were we doing...

What were we doing…


First day of school:)

I really enjoy my class schedule and professors this semester so even though it’s crazy, those are college classes for ya. And even though school is a big priority, I have been able to spend time with my counselor friends (who are another big priority) several weekends since school started. We have had great times hiking, eating food, playing Apples to Apples, and talking at various people’s homes.

It has been a fantastic senior year so far, in large part because of the time I get to spend with them. Camp people are special people<3

This coming weekend, I have the opportunity to visit my Ann Arbor friend on Friday. On Saturday we are going to a college visit together. After the visit we are driving down to Columbus for yet another camp party:) I think this is the most I have seen camp people outside of camp, ever. Pretty soon though we won’t see each other quite as much as life has a way of living. So we are taking every opportunity we can now.

I am still enjoying riding lessons and volunteering in the ER. I hope to start piano lessons again this week after summer break. I am also trying to spend as much time with family as I can. My school year life has begun–busy, stressful, exciting–and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Tips for the SAT

First of all, the best feeling in the whole entire world is riding a horse. Especially riding a horse on a hot day outside and getting dirty and then giving the horse a bath. Can’t top it:D So I highly recommend you do it at least once in your life.

Moving along, this past Saturday, I took the SAT for the second time. I think I did significantly better than the first time I took it which was last spring. Two factors that I think will bump my score…okay three. 1) It is my second time taking it and that usually means your score goes up. 2) I have taken two semesters of college English and college math so I am a bit smarter than I was last spring:) 3) I used a study program to get me ready. It is called College Prep Genius and it truly works wonders!! The lady that made it has done a lot of research about the SAT and the new SAT and knows the little tricks that the test writers use. It also works for studying for the ACT. She doesn’t teach the subject material. She teaches ways to answer each question quickly without being a master of the subject. For instance, every math problem can be answered without a calculator, quickly, even if math isn’t your strong suit. I should have started studying earlier, but it definitely helped me.

So these three factors take me to my first three tips:

  1. Take the test more than once unless, by some outstanding feat, you get a perfect score your first time.
  2. Make sure that you are actually ready to take the test school wise.
  3. Find a study program or method that works for you and stick to it. I recommend College Prep Genius, but there are many wonderful programs on the market like Kaplan Test Prep.

And here is the rest of my test day advice:

  1. The night before, go to bed at a normal time-not too late and not too early.
  2. Don’t study right before you go to bed. Just relax and let whatever studying you did sink into your brain. Don’t tired yourself out the night before because you will need your energy for the test.
  3. Set out your clothes, calculator, pencils, snacks, etc. before you go to bed so you don’t have to worry about it the next day. Better yet, put it all in the car!
  4. Don’t wake up too early. Wake up at a time that will give you just enough time to get dressed, eat breakfast, gather your things and go. This is a personal strategy of mine. I find that if I wake up too early then I have extra time that I spend just worrying. If I can wake up just on time, then I can focus on getting ready and not on the upcoming test.
  5. Eat a good breakfast, but not a large breakfast. I ate eggs and toast because that is what fills me up. But I didn’t stuff myself. I know that if I eat too much food, I will get really sick, and I did not want that distraction.
  6. Take good snacks and water. At every break make sure you get out of the testing room to eat a bite and take drink and stretch your legs. If you have time, go to the bathroom-even if it is just to wash your hands. Any bit of break from sitting and reading you can get will help you in the long run.
  7. Wear comfy clothes. You don’t want to be sitting there constantly adjusting your clothes during the test. Wear sweatpants, a t-shirt, and a sloppy ponytail if you want to. This test is about you and your future, not how well dressed you are 🙂
  8. Above all, don’t psych yourself out. Yes, this is a very important test, but it is just that–a test. If you have prepared well, and done what you can, then you will do fine. And if you don’t get the score you want this time through, you can take it again.
  9. Finally, when you are registering, don’t put down colleges to send your score to unless you are confident that you will do well. When I took my ACT in December, I put down three colleges to automatically send my scores to, and I wish that I hadn’t done that. You can always send your scores after the scores come out. That way, if you don’t want a college to see a score, they won’t.

I am taking the ACT this Saturday, and hopefully I get a good enough score that I won’t have to take it again. I have one more piece of advice: DO NOT SCHEDULE EITHER TEST DURING FINALS WEEK and if you can NOT DURING SCHOOL AT ALL. I made that mistake with my ACT. It was at the end of my finals week, and I was so busy studying for them that I didn’t have time to study for the ACT. Never again will I make that mistake:)

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The Past 5 Weeks

A few more than five weeks ago I posted a post with some pictures that perfectly described my state of mind at the time:). Since then, I went and returned from Spring Camp, started volunteering, went to school and studied whenever possible, and…FINISHED SCHOOL.

Let’s get into it shall we?

Spring camp turned out to be more of a soaking wet, freezing cold Winter Camp. However, we did get to have campfires and cook over a fire amid the snow hikes and near-ice fishing so I guess it all balances out. Despite the arctic temperatures, I was able to have a fantastic weekend with my camp friends.

It doesn’t look like it, but there was a lot more snow on the ground!

Then, the next weekend, I actually got to start my volunteering in the Emergency Room! I love it so very much. I volunteer every Friday in the afternoon, and every time I leave to go home, I am just so happy. it has made me want to be a doctor even more than I ever wanted to. I love interacting with the registrars and the patients/visitors.

Oh! I turned 17!! 😀 I  had a wonderful birthday day-day and weekends on either side of it:) The Sunday before, my family and I went out to dinner and then the weekend after we actually did presents and cake/ice cream.


Age of Adeline...my absolute favorite movie:D

Kaitlyn made me this beautiful photo album

Kaitlyn made me this beautiful photo album. I also got a Fitbit from my parents! But I didn’t have a clear picture of that.

Cake was really good...

Cake was really good…


And then came final’s week.

And then I wasted time taking pictures.


My mom showed me this video when she was helping me study for my Bio final. It is perfect for anyone in final’s week.

But I made it through…with all A’s. What a relief!

And then I finished school.


google images 🙂 School’s out, let’s scream and shout!!

google images :)

google images 🙂

I had an appointment with my guidance counselor the week after I finished, and he told me that the only classes I need to graduate would be Modern American History, Economics, and Physics. That is really exciting because now I can fill the extra spots in science!!

My classes for next semester: Anatomy and Physiology 1 (A&P), College Algebra 2, Computer Science, Modern American history, and Latin 3. Then I am hoping to take A&P 2, Econ, Physics, and Sociology in the Spring. I have been waiting to take A&P for several years now, so I am really excited–for all of my Senior Year classes!

I have applied to one college so far, I should get that decision this summer. The rest of my colleges are on the Common App which doesn’t come out until August 1.

I have a busy summer up ahead:

*Studying for my second, and hopefully last round, of the ACT and SAT.

* Camp Med: This is a three day camp in June for Juniors and Seniors. We get to stay on the college’s campus and work in their cadaver and Physiology labs, and work with faculty from Biology, Chemistry, Kinesiology, Physics, and Psychology on topics that have to do with Cardiology. We also get to attend sessions about college and medical school admissions to figure out how to better prepare ourselves and our applications. Plus, I get college credit for this!

*Visit from Grandma Rychener!

*Summer Camp: I will graduate CILT and become a camp counselor! Lots of work between now and then to make sure that I will actually graduate, but finally all of this work is paying off.

So anyway…I took this past week to be on Summer vacation for real, and I will start the work for real this week:)







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Fun Weekend Ahead

Hello all! First off, I am loving this weather today. Rainy and close to 50 degrees outside (I just made that number up…I have no idea, but it feels like it!!) We had a lot of rain last night and a lot of wind. Just the kind of weather I like to fall asleep to:p However, I do wish that we would get snow, it being February and all.

Anyway, this weekend (Thursday-Saturday) is my Model UN convention! It snuck up on all of us, our faculty advisor included, and I think we all kind of wish we had more time to prepare, but I feel ready to go. I’m also really nervous! But that’s okay because I am more excited:)

I had my first Bio exam on Monday. I think I did alright on it. No one in my class is really confident about it…maybe we all just did a lot better than we think?! *Wishful thinking*


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CCP- Don’t Underestimate

Hello to all my CCPers out there.

Well, this is my 2nd week of school, already complete! Already, this semester is harder and busier than last semester! I’ll get right to the point: please, please, please DO NOT underestimate how much work you will have taking college courses. For me, last semester was fairly easy. Granted, I did have some moments that I melted into a sad little puddle, but the work load was only slightly heavy.

But this semester?? No way. I was lulled into a false sense of security going into Spring semester. (Am I saying ‘semester way too much? :D)

This term, 3/7 of classes don’t have homework, just exams over a ton of information every several weeks. The rest have weekly homework submissions, which means they are in depth and require a bit of research. The classes without homework are actually hard because of that because it is up to me to keep up with studying even though I don’t have anything to really study for yet.

Now, I am not complaining at all because I actually do love the workload that I have right now. But I want to warn those of you who aren’t mentally prepared for this! Remember, these final grades that you get never go away. These are the grades that colleges, med schools, law schools, etc. will see when you apply to them. So be prepared to be swamped.

Going along with that…don’t overburden yourself with extracurricular things. Choose the activities that you are truly interested in.

In my case, I have a volunteer position (almost), I have an academic activity, and a physical activity as my primary things to put on that resume, among other small things.

I am going to start volunteering soon at a hospital near my town, I participate in Model UN with my college, and I take horse lessons. Along with music and the occasional run. That is just something to think about when you are deciding what ‘extras’ to do. Think about what you are interested in and then think how you can get involved in good ‘college resume type’ activities. But again, colleges are always looking for unique people with unique experiences so don’t try to shove yourself into a box just for college.

And my last tip for today: find a good study space. … outside of school or your house. At least for me, I can study at home or at school, but I am constantly distracted. When I’m at home I ‘have to go clean something or pay attention to the dog’. When I am at school ‘I really should be getting home before it gets dark, and I have to drive. Voila! in comes the hospital cafeteria:) My favorite study space is my town’s hospital café. For several reasons: the food (lol), the setting, and the pace. {Uhoh this sounds like a 3 point expository paragraph!!} Anyway, cheap, super yummy food. Ginormous windows with lots of natural light. And it is noisy but not that noisy, and it’s in a hospital!

My choice of words in that last paragraph weren’t the best, but you get my point. Find somewhere that you can really concentrate, and that you feel very comfortable to put in the long hours of studying.

So now that I am out of excuses…I had better get to my studying.


Well, off I go:)



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Shadowing a Physical Therapist (and assistant)

Today, I woke up early (5:55am. Guys, this time change is so ridiculous! I am still not used to it.) and scheduled my classes for next semester! All of them show me as enrolled so I made it before they filled up.

After that, I drove with mom over to her school. Then I drove myself to my shadowing appointment at the hospital near the school. Today I shadowed a physical therapist who is a dad of two of our school’s students. I met him their at 8:30 and we started his busy day:)

He is the head of inpatient PT so I was briefly able to see an ICU patient. We ended up not staying long though, doctor’s orders:) Then we saw several patients in their TCU–Transitional Care unit– and he did lots of paperwork, as I had expected. Then around 11:00, he was finished with patients for the day so I switched over to an outpatient PTA–physical therapy assistant. He was fun to shadow as well, and he answered all of my questions.

Both of them were easy to talk to, and it was probably the most relaxed shadowing I have had. The whole staff joked with each other and included me, and if you know me, I like to laugh a lot, so they made me feel very at home.

I did learn, though, that I do not want to go into physical therapy. When we went up to the ICU patient, the whole ‘Care Team’ was outside the room, and I was so impressed. They all worked so well together even though it was a highly stressful patient. I didn’t want to leave! I would have rather stayed and watched the doctors work.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I would rather have the medicine part of it. Now, PTs impress me with how much they know, but it is just not the type of work that I want to do. I am glad that I shadowed this PT and PTA so that I could find this out.

Now I have to try to sort through my feelings on ‘MD versus PA’ and the wheels are constantly turning on that one:)

Have a good weekend.

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Fall Break

This past weekend was my fall break. Ahhh, the perks of college:) But what made this extra special was a visit from my grandma who lives in Idaho. She came to our house on Friday and left yesterday. We had a wonderful time with her, but, as always, she left too soon:)

On Saturday, my mom usually has her bible study at a local coffee shop, but this week no one showed up except for her so Kaitlyn, my grandma, and I went with her, and we had a very interesting conversation. We talked about the essentials of salvation compared to what it important for growth in your salvation compared to what is incorrect. We used a list of various beliefs that I got from a course I am going through for CILT. I enjoyed it.

My dad got home on Sunday, and we had a relaxed afternoon of sitting and talking and reading ending up with pizza.

Then on Monday, Grandma wanted to visit my campus and I had a guidance appointment so we headed up to a diner near campus to grab lunch. I showed Grandma and my family around to my classrooms and different parts of campus. Then I scheduled my classes!

*I am so excited about my classes next semester–Political Science, Biology II w/ lab, College Algebra, University (a career search class), GSW (a writing class), as well as Latin and another writing class (my online classes). I will be extremely busy next semester and I do not look forward to Algebra…but it is a good mix of classes.*

Anyway, after our ‘campus tour’ we headed home and over to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for dinner and our mini piano recital. We played a few songs for Grandma (from Idaho) including a fun duet between Grandma (not from Idaho :D) and me. Kaitlyn got to play an organ piece for her. Tuesday, Grandma came to school for lunch before leaving for her flight.

This morning, I got up early and went to the high school to take the PSAT. I met the guidance counselor at his office and he walked me back to the field house where the exam was being proctored. It was slightly awkward to be there, but it was alright. I think I did OK on the Reading and Writing, but I do not think I did well at all on the two math sections. UGH! Oh well…the only thing that I have to gain from a good score on this is the National Merit Scholarship. OK, that is a big something to gain, but the scores don’t go to colleges. 🙂

This week is flying by, and so far I am keeping up!! Have a good week.

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Girl’s Weekend

Sorry that I missed my post last week! Nothing too crazy happened, so you didn’t miss much:)

This past weekend we had our ‘Girl’s Weekend’. We–meaning Kaitlyn, Katy, another friend, and I– do these occasionally, especially now that we don’t go to the same school. What do we do?? We eat junk, play games, and watch movies. I have a few ‘junk food’ recipes for you and some fun pictures:)

We started the weekend off by going to ‘our’ school’s Harvest Party. Then we went home and kind of just crashed. The next day, I headed over to my school for a Tutor Fest. I got some help in stats and talked to my history teacher for about 21/2 hours about lots of different things but with the focus on my big research assignment. I finally decided that I am going to do a paper on five things we don’t really know about the Constitution. It sounds interesting so we will see where that goes.

While I was gone, Katy and Kaitlyn and Hannah went shopping for our food. (By the way, Saturday was rainy and cold! Perfect day for this.)

When I got home, we started making food. First we made caramel grapes.

grapeI thought they would be SO GROSS, but they aren’t!

First, wash your grapes and dry. 

Next, chop up peanuts.

Then, melt your caramel.

Finally, stick each grape with a toothpick, dip each grape halfway in caramel, and roll in the peanuts.


Then we made Soda Cracker Candy.


First, line a baking sheet (with foil and spray it) with a single layer of saltine crackers.

Second, partially melt 2 cubed sticks of butter in a saucepan.

Next, before it is all melted, add 1 cup brown sugar. Stir constantly. When it comes to a boil, let boil for 2-3 minutes.

Next, when finished boiling, pour it over the crackers and spread evenly.

Then, take the foil off of the pan, and set it outside (if cold enough) or in the freezer to harden.

Once hardened, break the candy up into pieces.

(You can also spread chocolate on the cracker before the butter mixture. Even better!)



The last thing that we made was Koolaid Meringues.

I just had to catch our first expressions with a picture.

"It tastes like playdoh."

“It tastes like playdoh.”

I was the only one who was disgusted by these:)

I was the only one who was disgusted by these:)

Here is what you do…

(Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.)

First, put four egg whites into a bowl and beat them until they are frothy.

Second, slowly add 1 cup of sugar.

Once mixed, add 1 tsp of cream of tarter.

Then, beat the mixture until stiff–like for a lemon meringue pie. We had to add a little bit more cream of tarter to get the meringue to stiffen. It will take awhile though!

Next, split your mixture into as many bowls as flavors that you want.

Add 1 tsp of each Koolaid flavoring and stir.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray it.

Place spoonfuls of the mixture about an inch apart. (I am just guessing here…not really sure.) The smaller the better.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

Eat! (Wayy to sweet and sugary for me, so I can’t say ‘enjoy’  :D)


We watched some movies as well–Pirates of the Caribbean and Harry Potter and My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  Correction–they watched the movies. I basically stayed in my room and watched Castle. 🙂

And so ends our weekend. It is back to school today. I have a guidance appointment today to schedule my classes for next semester. Yay!! Can’t believe that I have almost made it to midterms of my first year at ‘college’.

Have a wonderful week!







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My Meeting with the Career Lady

Like I said in Part 2 of What do I do first?! I said that I had met with my college’s career counselor. We’ll call her Dr. Z. She encouraged me (a lot) and gave me next steps, which I so desperately need:D

First off, she let me know that this appointment wasn’t a one time deal for me. She said that when she meets with medical minded students, she normally meets with them once a semester, including through the summer, to keep up with each other and make sure everything is falling into place.

(A little background info-she actually worked at a medical school that had an MD, DO, and PA program. She really knows what she is talking about!)

There is a medical conference at a local university in October that she said that I should attend. She will be there as well so I will have someone who can help me navigate the event. There will be doctors and med school advisors and faculty and admissions counselors and current/recently graduated med students at the event. I will be able to sit in on panel discussions and things such as that. I am really excited and hope that I will benefit from it.

She led me to the AAMC database. This is a summer internship database that is very useful. Dr. Z asked me a lot of questions about school and my shadowing experiences. She asked me what I liked/disliked about each of my shadowing times. I basically told her everything that you can find on my Shadowing page.

From my answers, she told me that I need something that will challenge me each and every day so that I don’t get bored. That sounds awful, but I agree with that:) She also thinks that research won’t satisfy me long term, but would highly benefit me right now, hence the summer internship suggestion.

Dr. Z also gave me a link to a certain episode from a podcast. Have you every heard of Slate’s Working? I never have before, but there is an episode about a medical resident. Basically the interviewer asks the interviewee about a normal day, challenges in the job, how they chose that job, etc. I really enjoyed listening to it.

That basically sums up what the meeting was about. She wants me to schedule another meeting in November. She will help me with my summer internship applications, college applications, and talk about the medical conference.

I just wanted to update you on where I am right now:)


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