Shadowing a Surgeon…again

Hi friends! I haven’t posted at all during this semester, I’ve been more active on my Instagram page, but I wanted to write a bit about my experience shadowing another surgeon last week. Quick “get to know me”: I’m a pre-med student at Albion College, major: exercise science, future plans: pediatric surgeon!

I shadowed quite a few health care providers in high school from doctors to PAs to nurses. I wrote about all of them as well…go check it out!

So this surgeon is a friend of my mom’s from her camp counselor days. I shadowed him one other time about a year and a half ago. Now that I’m in college, I decided to shadow him again so that I could actually observe in the OR as well as office hours. I got to the hospital at 6am, and we immediately started the day.

I got to wear scrubs! They are hospital issued scrubs, and I couldn’t find the right size so they weren’t the most comfortable things to wear all day, but it was worth it.

We started by rounding on his post-op patients and seeing some new consults. One of the chief general surgery residents rounded with us! She was so smart and gave her opinion/asking him questions. He wanted to know her opinion on lots of things. There were several times where he took her advice and changed his plan. It was interesting to see that dynamic and to know that one day I’ll have all of that knowledge and be able to make those decisions!

*One thing that stood out to me was the male-female ratio. I didn’t see any female surgeons. There were female surgery residents, and female surgeons in other specialties (Ob/Gyn), but not general. I don’t really know what I was expecting, but I was still surprised.*

Then, he started surgery. I got to see two operations. He was the head surgeon and the same resident was his first assist. He talked to me during the operations, showed me the anatomy, and made sure that I understood what he was doing. The scrub nurse talked to me too. Of course, she was trying to convince me why nursing is the better option…which I’m used to. More on that later in the post:)

Then we did office hours. I was able to see a lot of variety. I saw two in office procedures, several post-op patients, and several new patients. It was a long day, 19 office patients in total. I was exhausted at the end, but I absolutely loved it. I loved the comraderie and collaboration among the surgical attendings and residents. It was an amazing atmosphere that I can see myself thriving in.

After talking to the scrub nurse, though, I really took the time to think why I want to be a doctor instead of a nurse. Something that the surgeon told me at the end of the day really helped me put my feelings into words. He said, “There isn’t a day that goes by that I feel insignificant. When I sit here and think about what I did just today, that’s incredible. I can walk around here (the hospital) and have all of this knowledge and know that I make a real difference in someone’s life.”

That being said, I know that nurses are incredible health care providers, and they have the most direct patient care in relation to doctors. I know that they are very smart, and make real differences in patients’ lives. However, my view of my future life lines up more with being a doctor. I want to be the person that sees a patient and is able to diagnose and then treat that person. I want to be able to collaborate with other providers and advocate for what I think my patient needs. I think that surgery, whether that’s pediatric, general, Ob/Gyn, neuro, etc. is really for me. I would get that mix of OR time where I have to think on my feet and put all of my knowledge to work and office visits where I get to put patients at ease and create a personal connection with them.

A huge consideration that I need to think about though is work-life balance. I want to be a surgeon. I want to be married and have kids. I think I can have it all. Sure, there will be sacrifices and long hours away from a family, but it can be done.

I’ve spent some time thinking about advice I would have for people looking to shadow, a surgeon specifically.

Tips:

  • Get a good night of sleep the night before
  • Know where you are going before you get there or give yourself plenty of time to figure it out
  • Are you going to be able to change into scrubs? Then wear comfy clothes there so that you can be comfortable at the end of a long day. Or no scrubs? Then wear the appropriate business type clothes. Ask the person you are following to be sure!
  • ASK QUESTIONS. And then ask a few more. Typically, if a doctor or nurse is letting you shadow them, they are going to be more than willing to answer any question that you have. That being said, know when to ask the question. Unless your doctor specifically asks if you have a question during a direct patient encounter, I would say keep your mouth shut. But when it’s just the two of you, go ahead and speak up. You will have a much better experience if you do this…not to mention you’ll make a better impression on the person that you’re following. At the end of my day, my surgeon told me that he would be happy to write any letter that I need, and I’m welcome back anytime. Interact with your doctor! It will be more fun; I promise.
  • In the OR, don’t be too sensitive. If they tell you to move here, do this, or stop doing that, just listen to them. They aren’t mad at you, but they do have a person’s life in their hands, and they are responsible for you. Just listen to them and move on.
  • In the OR, if you start to feel sick or worried about anything, please step back from the table or go sit down. It is better to miss something than to pass out onto the sterile field. I promise you that the doctors and nurses aren’t going to think any less of you. They know it is one of your first times in the OR and seeing a surgery. They remember how they felt in your position. Also, don’t get discouraged if you get sick or something. I know from other experiences that I get nauseous fairly easily just watching something (which didn’t happen this time!!). But when I am hands on and doing it myself, everything else just disappears and I’m completely focused. I talked to my surgeon about this later after surgery, and he said the same thing. The 2nd surgery he had that morning was a 3 and a half hour surgery. He told me that he wasn’t tired, hungry, or sore during surgery. As soon as he was done, his back started to hurt, he was starving, and really needed to go to the bathroom.
  • Remember that basically everything you see is confidential. One doctor I shadowed told me that anything about the doctors or nurses was open for discussion. Anything with a patient though is off limits.
  • Have so much fun! It’s an honor to shadow doctors/nurses/etc. Treat it as such!

Now. I didn’t go home after I was done at the hospital. I had planned on it, but lo and behold a snow storm hit and hit hard! I drove for about 20 minutes before I had to stop. I called my mom, and she said that the roads at our house (about 2 hours away) were even worse than where I was. So I stopped at a hotel, but they told me I had to be 21 to get a room. I went to get dinner, and my mom called around to other hotels to see if there was a place that I could check in as an 18 year old. She finally found one, thank goodness. So she reserved the room for me. BUT then my phone died! So I was stuck in a hotel in Columbus, no phone, no charger *note to self: always take a charger with you everywhere*.

It was fine though. I took a shower and crashed at about 9:00. The next morning, I went out to my car and tried to turn on my GPS…but it wouldn’t turn on for more than 30 seconds at a time. My phone wasn’t charging enough for me to use it either. So, I got myself home with no GPS and no phone. Now, coming from a very directionally challenged person, I was very proud of myself!

One more note: my waitress at the restaurant that night and the manager of the hotel the next morning really made my trip better. At the end of the day, I was exhausted. Then this whole thing happened, and I just wanted to go home. I was on the verge of tears probably from being tired and hungry and a little scared. But the waitress was so nice to me. I ordered a mocha, and then she offered to bring me another free one. She did a lot to make sure that I was okay, and she was so sweet. Then, the manager the next morning, as I was checking out, acted like a grandmother, and made sure that I was okay and told me to be careful on the way home. This is just a reminder to remember to be kind to everyone you meet. Those two women probably have no idea that they helped me that much. We probably don’t realize the impact we have on people either.

So there you have my first solo adventure. It was a success:) If you made it this far, thanks for reading!! Have an amazing day and a Merry Christmas. If you have any questions, email me or DM on Instagram!! I’d love to hear from you.

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Home from Camp

Hi friends. It’s been awhile. Over a month in fact since I’ve posted anything. I’ve been away at camp as a camp counselor! We have limited access to internet so there was really no way for a blog post to happen. But that’s okay.

This summer was one of the best summer’s I’ve had at camp. It was also one of the hardest. Camp is such a special place that I can’t really put it into words. I’ll try anyway:) I decided to collect some of my favorite camp counselor quotes and create a few of my own to try to express how amazing and unique this experience is.

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“Three and a half weeks flew by. I already miss being called Elf, the basically non-existent water pressure in the showers, laughing with my co (counselor) until we cried by the end of the week because our children were just that crazy, fighting to get my girls to sleep, carrying my sleeping campers back from campfire, starting one match (more likely one box) fires in the rain. I miss the family I have at camp and pigtail Thursdays. Now it’s back to real life where socks with crocs aren’t actually fashionable and sleep is  an actual thing (until college starts).”

“My backpack could rival Mary Poppins magic carpet bag.”

“Silent conversations across the table with my co are the key to survival.”

“Chocolate and Jesus get me through most of my days.”

“Camp has taught me more than I could learn from anywhere else.”

“Camp breaks you down farther than you ever thought you could go, but somehow you always leave refreshed.”

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This summer, I was a mother, a teacher, a cook, a firefighter, a nurse and a doctor, a friend, a confidant, a cleaning lady, a horse wrangler, a student, a singer and an actor, an author, and so much more. Where else could I go to get the same experience? And why would I want to?

 

Fitbit Charge 2 Review

Hi friends! So we are in vacation down in Virginia! I meant to write this two days ago, but Monday ended up being a pretty lazy (much needed!) day so now I am finally getting around to it.

I’ll probably try to get a vacation post up sometime next week with all the pictures, but for now, I have a review of my new Fitbit Charge 2! I got this about a week ago, and I absolutely love it. I got one of the special edition colors, lavender and rose gold, which are two of my favorite colors/color combination. I am very glad that I went ahead and spent the little bit of extra money to get this color.

I have been charging it every other night, but it could probably go every three nights before needing to be charged.

Things that it measures: 

  • time
  • steps
  • heart rate
  • miles traveled
  • flights of stairs climbed
  • active minutes per day
  • sleep
  • water intake

Other features:

  • tracks exercise/different kind of exercise
  • stopwatch
  • guided breathing
  • “silent” alarms
  • bluetooth connection to your phone

 

This is what the app’s home screen looks like. It’s very user friendly.

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I don’t know what it’s thinking with the weight tracker. I haven’t put my weight in…

 

Okay, so I think I will walk through each of these features and give a run down of sorts about what I like about it and what I wish would be different.

Starting with the time…the Fitbit app gives me several different options for how the clock face can look. This is how I chose to have mine:

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Since my “main goal” is steps, that is what appears on my clock screen. That number “48” is the number of steps per hour. Maybe I should get up now if I’ve only walked that in 45 minutes:)

One thing I really like about this Fitbit is that one of your goals is to get 250+ steps every hour. I have mine set to send me reminders if I haven’t reached that goal 10 minutes before the hour. And it sends reminders from 9am-6pm. You can change both of those settings, but I have found that it really works for me like this. Right now, my goal is 8,000 steps every day. I haven’t reached that goal yet, but I’m hoping that once I get home from vacation, I’ll start hitting it most days. I know that I will for sure get over 10,000 every day at camp and once I get to college I will also be doing a ton of walking.

Like most Fitbits, it also measures heart rate. In the app, I can see my averages for just sitting and also working out. I’m pretty sure that it uses heart rate to calculate my “cardio fitness” a.k.a. how fit I am.

I am still trying to figure out how/what Fitbit counts as a flight of stairs. For instance, it doesn’t count me going down a flight of stairs, which makes sense. But sometimes it doesn’t count me going up the stairs either. I have to figure out how to move my arms in order for it to count the stairs I guess. I have my goal set to 14 flights each day right now, and I have been reaching that goal most days!

The active minutes per day. It counts the minutes that you are “moderately active for more than 10 minutes at a time.” My goal right now is 30 minutes every day which is the recommended amount. This is fairly simple to reach the goal every day for me. If I do a 30 minute workout along with a warm up and cool down, I’m easily at 40 minutes every day.

This is probably the coolest part of the Charge 2. It measures sleep! Every morning I wake up and look at my stats from the night. I set my goals: 8 hrs of sleep every night, bedtime 11pm, wake up 7am. I also set it to send me a “bedtime” reminder at 10 pm every night. It shows me how much sleep I got, time awake, time in REM, time in light sleep, and time in deep sleep. It also tells me if I met the sleep goals that I have set. Here are my stats from last night.

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I had a Fitbit Charge HR before the Charge 2 and from what I can remember, the Charge HR didn’t have an easy to use button for tracking workouts. With the Charge 2, I scroll to the workout screen and tap through the options such as “running, elliptical, biking, intervals, or treadmill” to name a few. I just have to press and hold for the workout timer to start. I can click the button once to take a rest, and press and hold again to stop it. By doing this, it will track the time, the steps, and the calories I burned for that workout. Then when my Fitbit syncs to the app, I can see charts with all of that information.

The guided breathing is pretty cool! Options for 2 minutes or 5 minutes. Once it “recognizes your breath” you have to inhale and exhale along with a circle that gets bigger and smaller. When you breathe to the right rhythm, you get sparkles! If you don’t breathe to the rhythm, you don’t get sparkles….and I love my sparkles:) I haven’t used this yet (except to test it out), but I think that it will be very helpful when my life starts to get stressful again.

The silent alarm option just means that it vibrates on your wrist so it won’t wake anyone else up. I loved this with my Charge HR, and I love it with the Charge 2. I don’t know about you, but hearing that same song come on my phone every morning gets obnoxious very fast. It’s loud and repetitive. If you’re like me and leave it on snooze and then leave your phone upstairs, it is frustrating to go find your phone to turn it off. Anyway, I love the vibrating alarm!

When I had a Charge HR, I didn’t have a smartphone so I’m not sure if it had bluetooth, but now I have one so I connected my Charge 2 to my phone. It gives options for everything. You can turn on/off whether you want calls, messages, and calendar events individually. For instance, I have messaging and calls connected, but I decided that I didn’t want calendar events coming to my Fitbit. With the messages, I can choose from getting notifications of my text messages, hangouts (not even sure what that is), or Facebook messenger. I chose my text messages since that is my main communication.

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I also started playing around with the community part of this today. You can add friends for a little competition and join groups of all different kinds. For example there are weight loss groups, healthy sleep groups, and healthy eating groups. There are also groups in the major cities like Chicago, NYC, Sacramento, etc. So many options!

One more thing. The Fitbit actually detaches from the wrist band to charge which also means that I can get other fun bands!

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Overall, I would definitely recommend this Fitbit to a friend. It is perfect for me, and how I want to use it.

Here is the one that I bought from Amazon. I got it in a size large. I have pretty small wrists, but I wear it comfortably on the first hole.

Have a good Wednesday friends!

 

 

Music Monday *All the Feels*

It is still Monday for 12 more minutes so I’m taking advantage of it! I wanted to give you a look into the music that I listen to. I decided to start with one of my Spotify playlists called “all the feels:)” Weird name? Maybe. But it perfectly describes the type of songs I have on it. Enjoy!

*Update: my internet decided to take a nap and it posted literally right as it turned June 6th. I’m still going with Music Monday though*

Paint the Town Green- The Script

Castle on the Hill- Ed Sheeran

Lord, I Need you- Matt Maher

Hall of Fame- The Script

Hey Pretty Girl- Kip Moore

Hallelujah- Pentatonix

One Call Away- Charlie Puth

All of Me- John Legend

Story of My Life- One Direction

Messiah/You’re Beautiful- Phil Wickham

Life Flies By

Happy late Friday night! Well, I am FINISHED with my classes. I have finished high school. Eep!! I took my last final (Econ, bleh) yesterday *I had a window seat, and it was raining, and the curtain was open, and it was great* I think my finals went pretty well, but I will get all of my grades by next Wednesday.

I can’t even put into words how happy I am to be done with this part of my schooling career. Just…well…15 more years minimum. >4 years undergrad (at Albion College!), 4 years of med school, 5 years of general surgery residency, and 2 years of pediatric surgery fellowship< That’s my plan for now at least.

So here’s a picture from the beginning of finals week…

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If I look exhausted…it’s because I was

And a picture from the end of finals…

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#treatyourself

 

This morning, I was super lazy and watched TV all morning before I had to venture out into the down pour to go volunteer at the hospital. But it’s okay because I haven’t done that (well at least guilt free) for awhile. Starting Monday, I have A LOT to do, at least it feels that way.

Let’s see…finish Albion placement tests, schedule out some blog posts and *hopefully* get some written, clean my room, organize all my school stuff from the last four years, clean out my clothes and see what I need to get, make a college supply list…

Okay, okay that’s not all happening on Monday, thank goodness. But I do feel like I need to get it all down on paper and really organize it in my mind to see what I need to get done this summer. I am also really excited to be able to workout consistently now that school is done. That should feel good.

Even though I have finished my classes, I have to wait until June 3rd to graduate. Oh! That brings a whole other list of things I have to work on: plan decorations for grad party, find dress for graduation, plan food for party, finish learning my piano pieces for my senior recital.

So yes, I will probably be just as busy if not more than when I was in school, but I love, love, love this kind of stuff so I am ready to get started!! Also, it has been raining almost nonstop for the last two days and is supposed to keep raining the entire weekend. IT’S PERFECT!!!

Also (final “also”, I promise), I wanted to say congratulations to my cousin who graduated from college today!! (Even though he doesn’t read this:D)

Have a safe weekend, friends ❤

 

DSP- Part 3: My final college decision!

 

Hi friends and happy Friday! Today, I have my final college decision for you. I wrote about my weekend at Albion college this week. Monday I posted about my day in general and Wednesday, I posted about the other sessions I went to. Go check them out!

That day was one of the biggest factors in my final decision. Everyone made me feel so welcome and at home. I learned about all of the amazing opportunities offered to me, and I feel like I will fit right in.

Needless to say, I have officially committed to Albion College! Class of 2021.

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#Albion2021

 

Here are the areas that I want to get involved in:

  • Honors program
  • Gerstacker institute
  • Healthcare institute
  • Equestrian team (either western or hunt seat)
  • Christian campus ministry
  • Greek life (sorority)
  • and other student organizations/clubs

 

My major: exercise science

My minor: ???

My track: premed, with plans of going to medical school and becoming a physician (right now, I want to be a pediatric surgeon, neonatologist, or Ob/Gyn)

I’ve been talking to a lot of people in my class, making friends and finding potential roommates. I have 9 weeks left of high school. Eep! I want to enjoy this as much as I can and get the best grades possible.

Senioritis is a real thing guys:p

But it’s Friday, I’m finishing up my Spring Break, so I’ll be back at it again come Monday.

#GoBrits!

Model UN 2017

Good Saturday evening!

Last weekend, I had my Model UN convention. I think I said this, but I represented the Kingdom of Norway on the Committee on Narcotic Drugs. Last year, I was Spain on the Simulation Security Council. I wrote a post with some tips for Model UN delegates then too!

This year was just as amazing, if not more. We had 5 delegates on our team this year. There was only one other person, besides me, who had gone last year which means the other three were kind of lost for the first little bit. But, I have to be honest, I felt way out of my league too! The other delegates just knew so much and knew how to talk and write the position papers and negotiate.

I was able to actually write several clauses in a few papers, which was something I hadn’t done last year, so I was proud of that. But if I do it again, I know that I will research my country better. For example…I had been working on this one paper (in support of  the decriminalization of certain drugs, mainly for the decriminalization of women and girls who were forced into the drug trade through drug trafficking.) After about five hours of work on it, I was researching Norway’s views on a particular law, and realized that Norway wasn’t exactly in support of most of the paper…I had just thought that they were. I went with it, and made sure that I got some of our policy in there, but it wasn’t a very good feeling! Long story short, I’ll do better next time.

Clothes wise… I wore the same thing as last year:)

And we took our “traditional” (if it can be called that after only a few years) picture in front of the water wall.

 

That one is really blurry though…

So that’s it! I have another week of school ahead of me:)

Just another week in the life…

A new day, a new week, a new month. It’s already February 2017. I feel like I will be saying this every single month this year…it’s just crazy to me.

Tomorrow, I will be leaving for my Model UN convention!!! I’ve been preparing for this for several months so I am ready to get together with the other delegates from the other schools to start thinking about and “resolving” world issues. And, of course, I love the whole dressing up and acting all professional part…pictures to come:)

This past Sunday, I had one of my last piano recitals:( We had a good time though.

 

Other than that, it has been a normal week of school: eat, study, sleep, repeat. I’m getting closer and closer to graduation. T-minus 13 weeks.

Purdue University: College Visit #7

Happy Tuesday to you all! I have been meaning to write this post for several days, and I am just now getting around to it:) A few weeks ago, I think I mentioned this, I visited my friend at Purdue. It was just supposed to be a “friend trip”, but…I ended up loving the school itself…for a lot of reasons, but most importantly, it seems to have almost everything I love about all my other schools. Before I looked into Purdue, I wished that I could find a school that had every aspect I was looking for, and in came Purdue.

Things I loved:

  1. Equestrian team
  2. Renowned biological sciences department
  3. Variety of biology majors
  4. Big school (it’s Big10)
  5. Quaint college town
  6. Football (and other sports)
  7. Close to Indianapolis (!)

Things I didn’t love:

  1. Not a big city like Indi or Columbus or Chicago

I really can’t think of things that I didn’t like about Purdue…if I think of anything, I’ll add it:)

Also a bonus but not completely reasons to go here:

  1. My friend Megan is a student
  2. My friend Heather is also applying (potential roommate…!!)
  3. The honors dorms are brand new and feel like a hotel 😀

I applied a now I just have to wait for a decision! Not sure when they come out though.

I had an amazing visit with Heather and Megan, and now I just miss them more:)

 

 

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We were in camp mode: no makeup, no doing hair 😀

 

And then I came home and had a fun visit with Aunt Emily and Phil and celebrating Noni’s birthday.

So I have applied to all the schools on my list: Purdue, Albion, BGSU, OSU, Wittenberg, Butler, Hope, UChicago. I decided to apply to UChicago because it does offer me a lot, and I liked the school when I visited. The only reason I didn’t want to apply at first was because I didn’t think I could get in with my ACT score–>which is NOT a good reason, ha ha.

In other college news, I’ve been accepted to Albion as well!!!! I couldn’t believe it when I got the letter. I actually got home from Purdue and found it in the mailbox. That is the best thing to come home to after a long, sleepy drive. Three decisions in, five more to go.

In A&P we are learning all of the muscles. We just finished all of the bones and bony landmarks/muscle and nervous tissue. Now we are onto the muscles and nerves and joints. In two weeks, we get to take a trip to the cadaver lab! My friend and I can’t wait for that.

It’s just another week of school–45 days to go!

 

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!