Student Post: How a Pre-dental Student found Environmental Studies

Freshman year I thought college was just like any other school experience; all I had to do was take the classes that would get me to the point of applying to dental school. I never anticipated falling in love with a field, which seemed to have nothing to do with dentistry.

It all started with my Honors freshman sequence, Food For Thought. I signed up for the class because it seemed like fun! Who wouldn’t want to talk about food for an entire school year? I quickly found out it was much more than just talking about food. I learned the different ways food is grown and processed and how these details have massive impacts on our planet. Not only did I learn all the ways that we impact our planet, I learned how the planet also impacts us.

I learned the benefits, physically and mentally, of being outdoors, as well as the health benefits of eating certain food groups and avoiding others. We learned all of this through a variety of teaching techniques, ranging from readings to classroom discussions to watching documentaries.

My favorite part was getting to apply our learning out at the Sustainable Agriculture Project (SAP). At the SAP there is no passive learning. Unlike other classes where you might be able take notes all class without actually knowing what you are taking notes on, at the SAP you learn something and apply it right away. You can develop your interpersonal and problem-solving skills by working with the interns, farm manager Youssef and classmates on projects there.

It is safe to say that after Food For Thought my eyes were opened to an entirely different way of viewing the world, and there was no turning back. I found a passion for the environment and for sustainable food production that drove me to pick up a minor in Environmental Studies and also work towards a Certificate in Sustainable Food Systems.

Now, three years after Food For Thought, I have had countless classes out at the Sustainable Agriculture Project and it has not only helped me grow as a student but has also taught me a few things about myself. Beyond discovering my passion for taking care of our planet and knowing where our food comes from, I also learned the importance of disconnecting.

As a biomedical sciences student, my mind is always on the move and it is easy to get stressed out with to do lists running through my head all day long. However, when I went out to the farm it forced me to set aside my phone, computer and to do lists and just let go. Whether I was digging up the soil to prepare a garden, or out weeding, or harvesting, being out at the farm was meditative to me. It taught me that no matter how busy life may become it’s important to take time for you and connect with nature a little bit.

You may be wondering how this ever connected back to dentistry. Well, it turns out that the food we eat can greatly impact our health, I know, shocking. I hope, as a dentist or orthodontist someday, that I will be able to share my experience with my patients and spread the importance of knowing where our food comes from. So, come graduation I will not only be graduating with a degree in Biomedical Sciences, and a minor in Environmental Studies, but also with a completely different view of the world and I think that is exactly what college is all about.



Alyssa Schutzenhofer is a senior here at Grand Valley. She is a Biomedical Sciences major, Pre-dental student and an Environmental Studies minor. In her free time she enjoys hiking, kayaking, and gardening.


5 Tricks to Mastering Registration

Now that the third week of classes are starting and everyone has gotten somewhat comfortable with their classes, it is time to focus on the future. Yes, that inevitable but dreaded time of the year: registration.

Although registration isn’t fun, it can be bearable if you get prepared and start early, so here are our best tips for registration season:

1. Check out your myPath. You can find this by logging into MyBanner, going to student, student records and then myPath — Degree Planning and Evaluation. MyPath is helpful to see what classes you’ve taken and what is left before graduating. Thinking of changing majors or adding a minor? Hit the what if tab and you can see how that changes the rest of your college schedule!

2. Meet with both your academic and honors advisor. Make your registration morning easier by planning out what classes you need to take for the next year and double check that you aren’t missing any requirements before graduating. Check out some walk-in advising hours for every discipline here. You can call our office to make an appointment or watch the announcements for walk-in advising hours. It is also a great time to ask about any career or major changes!

3. Figure out what day you can register for classes and set an alarm. Class registration is determined by the number of  credit hours that you have completed by the end of this semester. You can find the registration calendar here. Don’t know where to find that number? Use myPath to see how many credit hours you have by looking at the credits applied number.

4. If you’re taking Honors classes, check out their course descriptions around March 1. Honors courses don’t put their class descriptions in myBanner, so head over to our website and find the course descriptions here on March 1.

5. Create a sample schedule for registration day. Remember that you register for spring/summer 2018, fall 2018 and winter 2019 all at once. Lay out on an excel spreadsheet or sticky notes to ensure that you remember the course numbers and alternate options so that your registration goes as smoothly as possible!

Now that you’ve set yourself up for success, go out and register!

Student Post: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

We all know the story of the tortoise and the hare, but do we always follow the lesson? If I have one regret from college, it is that I rushed college and completed my degree in 3 years.

If you were like me and came into college with a bunch of credits from either AP, IB, or dual enrollment, you quickly saw that you could finish your degree in less than the typical 4 years. This sounds great: you save money, you save time, and you can start your career earlier. However, I will argue that it is more beneficial to spend at least 4 years at Grand Valley.

In a blink of an eye college will be over; if you complete your degree in less than 4 years, it feels more like half of a blink. The most important lesson I have learned in college is that most of your learning happens outside of the classroom. It is the activities you become involved in, opportunities you take advantage of, and people you interact with that truly enhance your learning. The material you learn in the classroom is important, don’t get me wrong, but I believe that no matter what your major is, there is so much more you can learn from being involved on campus that will help you develop socially, academically, and professionally. For example, my involvement on campus as a Resident Assistant (RA) has taught me how to interact with a diverse group of people and handle tough situations. I truly do not think I would be the person I am proud to be today if I was not an RA.

Now, I said that rushing college was my one regret. However, I would also like to argue that every mistake is an opportunity, and that there are ways to turn regrets into positives. As my undergraduate time at Grand Valley began coming to a close, I felt like I was not finished. I felt like there was more to learn, more to experience, and more to accomplish before I started a new chapter in my life. However, I felt like it was too late to change anything because I was almost finished with the classes I needed for my degree. So essentially I felt stuck, and I felt that by rushing college I was missing out on a whole year of being involved in other activities.

After much reflection, I recently decided that I am going to delay my graduation and study abroad in Norway for a year. Rushing college was my one regret, but I am now able to turn that into a positive because I have the time and space to study anything I am interested in and immerse myself in a different culture for a whole year. This is an experience of a lifetime, and I am beyond excited for it.

So, my advice is simple: be the tortoise and do not rush college. Take advantage of your time at Grand Valley to learn and experience as much as you can. I believe you should go through life without any regrets, but if you do have any regrets, view them as opportunities to create something positive. If you rush college, consider other educational opportunities you can take advantage of. The possibilities are endless, so make sure you get out there and get the best education you can!



Patrick MacDonald is a senior majoring in Accounting. He plans to study abroad in Norway for a year, and then go on to graduate school for either Accounting or Student Affairs. On campus Patrick was an RA, a Student Assistant for the Honors College, and an Accounting Tutor. He enjoys working out, exploring the ravines, and watching Netflix.

5 Tips to Ring in the New Year

Welcome Back!  We hope you had a restful break and enjoyed your time with family and friends.  Sometimes a break can do us a lot of good and now that a new year has started we can all take some time to be intentional about how to start the new semester off on a good foot.  Here are five tips to do just that!

Top 5 Tips to Ring in the New Year in the Honors College

  1. Set Some Goals!

Choose one goal that is academic in nature, one that is related to your social life, and one for your personal growth.  For instance, I might consider 1.) Getting my required reading done before class 2.)  Making a new friend and 3.) Using my free GV Rec Center membership.

Harry Potter / via giphy

     2. Visit Your Faculty!

Make it a point to visit each faculty member in the first three weeks of class.  This helps your professor get to know you and for you to break the ice and start asking questions.  The more you get your professors involved in your learning, the better off you will be in the long run.

The Office / via giphy
  1. Visit Your Advisors!

Registration will roll around sooner than you think!  Take the time in January and February to get a plan in place by visiting your major and Honors advisors.  You can ask questions, get a map for next steps, and start planning ahead.  Stay tuned to the Honors Newsletter for weekly updates regarding walk-in and Honors advising appointments.  Also, check out this link for information regarding major advisors:

The Big Bang Theory / via giphy
  1. Dig Deeper!

Now is the time to really begin taking advantage of all the opportunities at Grand Valley.  Look into that study abroad option that has been on the back of your mind.  Consider investigating internship opportunities or talking to a professor about research.  Have you thought about your Honors senior project yet?  Each step you take will help you build your resume and get experience in the things that you enjoy the most!  It’s a WIN-WIN!

giphy (14)
 via giphy
  1. Try Something New!

Get out of your comfort zone and take a walk on the wild side!  Join a new club or try a new kind of food.  When we go out on a limb and test out our assumptions we can be pleasantly surprised!  Allow this New Year to bring in some positive change and growth.  The opportunities are endless!

Keeping up with the Kardashians  / via giphy

Basically, this is your ballgame and you will get out of it what you put into it.  Seize the day and remember that we are here to support you. Make 2018 your best year yet!

Student Post: Honorable Transfer

Winter is fast approaching, and with it, memories of the time when I first arrived at Grand Valley State University. For most freshmen, the winter 2016 semester would be their second semester, but I’ve always liked to differentiate myself from others. This would be my first semester at any university. It is common to feel slightly anxious on such an occasion, and I was no different; I was in a foreign country, with no prior experience within higher education. I did not know what to expect in terms of the classes I would be taking (I thought 17 credit hours seemed like a reasonable course load), and I would be living with someone whom I had never met. Also, the grocery line at Meijer was atrocious.

Thankfully, things went well. I could not have asked for a better roommate, and I somehow managed to emerge relatively unscathed from my classes. Some aspects of American culture were still confusing to me (it’s an ongoing process), but I was no longer concerned about whether I belonged at Grand Valley.

A great deal of the credit for the alleviation of my fears goes to the faculty, who were willing to go beyond what was expected of them in order to ensure that their students thrived. I was first made aware of the Honors College by one of these faculty members, namely Professor Coeli Fitzpatrick. I had taken MES 201 with Professor Fitzpatrick, a class I thoroughly enjoyed, and recommend to anyone wishing to learn more about an oft-misunderstood region. Her office is located in the Honors College, and due to the absence of any comparable institutions in Norway, I lacked a frame of reference with which to understand the significance of an Honors College. Once I realized what membership in the Frederick Meijer Honors College entailed, it was clear that this was something worth inquiring about.

I sent in a few questions, and was pleasantly surprised by the response; the then-Director of the Honors College, Dr. Jeffrey Chamberlain, wrote back. He answered my questions with the utmost consideration, and was instrumental in my decision to submit an application. I was informed that I was an internal transfer student; that is to say, a student who is already attending GVSU. Due to this, my first-semester grades were emphasized more than my (lacklustre) high school grades. Dr. Chamberlain has since become the Dean of the Hicks Honors College at the University of North Florida, but I was astonished that someone of his stature would involve himself in my application process.

I was admitted into the Honors College for the fall semester of 2016, and entered into the year-long Foundational Interdisciplinary Sequences. There were a great deal of fascinating courses to choose from, but I eventually opted for The Middle East Beyond the Headlines (taught by the aforementioned Professor Fitzpatrick and Professor Majd Al-Mallah). Additionally, I enrolled in various classes which were exclusive to members of the Honors College; one of the many benefits associated with membership.

As a result of becoming a part of the Honors College, I was able to establish and nurture relationships with faculty which have sustained my academic aspirations thus far. I consider a number of these professors as my mentors—whether they feel similarly is debatable. Without the guidance of these individuals I would not have the opportunities which I possess today. My advice to students, Honors and non-Honors alike is to not neglect the greatest resource any university has to offer: its faculty and staff.


Jorgen Reberg is currently a sophomore at Grand Valley State University. And although Jorgen’s major is Psychology, his main interests lie with his minors; Middle East Studies and Human Rights. Having spent most of his life in Norway, he arrived in the United States in 2014. Since then, he has been involved in the long and arduous journey to acquire a Green Card. Jorgen is currently an RA in South Apartments, and has yet to be ousted by his residents.

6 Things to Remember During the Last 6 Weeks

As we wind into the final weeks of the semester, tension grows as students become more stressed. Class projects that were assigned in the first week of classes are finally due, as well as papers, speeches and of course, final exams. As we wrap up the semester, take advantage of these 6 things in your last 6 weeks.

  1. Stress around finals becomes inevitable, but that doesn’t mean it should go unnoticed. Remember that the University Counseling Center is always available, even if you just want to go and talk out everything that you need to do. Students get 10 free sessions a year, so take advantage of them. Their website even has self-help tools that give tips and tricks to combat stress and help you relax.


  1. Assigned a speech and extremely nervous about it? Don’t worry, the Speech Lab specializes in speech delivery and is one of 16 communication centers with a nationally certified training program. A tip that many people don’t know is the speech lab goes beyond class assignments, but will also help with wedding toasts, sales pitches or award presentations!


  1. Although everyone is avoiding thinking it, this time of year is when the dreaded group presentations begin. The Knowledge Market specializes in presentations, helping to select topics, organize information efficiently and practice delivery.


  1. On top of helping with presentations, the Knowledge Market also specializes in research. Their research consultants work to gather peer-reviewed and scholarly articles, while helping to focus the topic and set you up for an awesome paper! Pair them with the writing consultants from the Writing Center, who brainstorm ideas, organize content and integrate research, and you’re sure to get an A. For your convenience, you can even work with a writing consultant from your own bed thanks to their online consultations.


  1. Although pushing final exams out of mind seems ideal, they’re right around the corner. Test taking skills are important to brush up on, and the Student Academic Success Center is here to help. They offer tutoring, academic coaching, academic skills resources and academic strategies. Need a quiet place to study or a room to study with others? Reserve a room at the library early to guarantee a whiteboard to study with.


  1. Although it can be extremely easy to forget to have fun, though getting out and about can be amazing for self-care. Starting on November 24, Rosa Parks Circle opens for ice skating at only $3.00 per adult, including skate rentals. While you’re downtown, check out the Grand Rapids Griffins, single tickets can be as low as $19, though many student orgs sell them at a discounted rate on campus. Grand Valley also has an event on Monday, December 4 with French Music for the Holiday season that you don’t want to miss.

Although there are only 6 weeks left until the end of fall semester, take advantage of campus resources and downtown Grand Rapids before heading home!


Alumni Post: What Adulting is Actually Like

Being a recent graduate of the Honors College, I knew that if I had survived my Honors sequence, I could survive anything–not really, but those are tough! What I wasn’t ready for was the transition from college to being an adult. Everybody always says “adulting is hard,” but I always thought that the statement in large part was sarcastic. What I wasn’t ready for was how very true  it  was. Although the transition from being in college to working a full-time job and other adult responsibilities has its challenges, I’ve learned in my six months of being a college graduate that it’s important to keep the same good habits that we learn in college.

In July I went through a lot of life changes: I began working at Whirlpool Corporation in their Internal Audit area, moved to a new city, moved into an apartment for my first time (I was a Resident Assistant in freshmen dorms for three years at Grand Valley), and have been attempting to do other adult-like things. In addition to all of these changes, starting in Internal Audit was an unfamiliar department for me as I had never studied it while in the Business College.

Yet even when I felt like I was in over my head, my college habits seemed to always come in handy. My Honors Sequence always challenged me to ask questions and further my curiosity, so why couldn’t it apply here too? I found myself diving into areas that I had never seen before, and asking the really tough questions, because that was what Honors had prepared me to do.

While I may not feel as though my skills are fit for the Internal Audit function for forever, Whirlpool is a large enough corporation that will allow me to grow and adapt within it. One thing that my time at GVSU taught me is that you have to take advantage of opportunities that come your way. If I hadn’t said yes to joining the internal audit function itself, I would not have had the opportunity to travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma or Atlanta, Georgia. Without saying yes to my co-worker inviting me to attend a Young Professionals Meeting, I wouldn’t have made many of my friends or had the opportunity to plan an event for our Young Professionals Network.

The habit of saying yes is something that took me very far during my four years at Grand Valley, and has continued to take me a long way in my three months of working in “the real world.” The transferable skill I learned in the Honors College is that it’s okay to be challenged and not always know exactly what you are doing. While we may stress out in the moment about what the outcome of the challenge will be (mainly whether or not we’ll get an A), we become talented in the mentality of faking it until you make it. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch this Ted Talk.

While it is frustrating at times, it’s important to accept the challenge and learn as much as you can from it. If you make it a habit, it is a skill that will benefit you for the rest of your career, trust me.


Ella Fritzemeier graduated in April 2017 with a degree in Business Administration (majored in Economics and Finance) and a minor in Spanish. She was able to travel for two weeks around Europe before starting at Whirlpool Corporation in their Finance Development Program, starting in the Internal Audit Department. Ella enjoys reading and exploring new places.