I never planned to be an Assistant Director (AD) for Orientation. That may sound strange being that it’s my second year in this position, but it’s true. At the beginning of last summer, I had no idea what this would look like or what it would involve, but despite the uncertainty, I decided that it would be a great experience and a chance to impact incoming students. Choosing to accept the AD position was one of the best decisions I have made in college. I have had an absolute blast, made some incredible friends, and even had my eyes opened to areas I may want to pursue in the future.

I couldn’t be more grateful for the Orientation program for helping me to believe in who I am and showing me what I am capable of doing.

While being an AD has been and continues to be an amazing experience, I would be lying if I said it didn’t come with its challenges. One such challenge was my lack of experience with Orientation in general, especially from an organizational standpoint. The only experience I had with Orientation was when I had gone through it as an incoming freshman. 

I was put into a position where I had to lead and advise others on a job that I had no prior experience with. It was hard and more than a little stressful at times. However, I was determined to not let it overwhelm me to the point that I could not do my job. I had been chosen for this position, and I would not let my team down. So, I stepped up. Playing a part in a program that offers so much to new students gave me a new level of confidence. Being able to help new students, as well as OAs with their questions, helped me to not only believe in myself, but reminded me that I was meant to be there and that I had an important role to play despite the doubts I had previously believed. 

I couldn’t be more grateful for the Orientation program for helping me to believe in who I am and showing me what I am capable of doing. As someone who is generally content standing to the side or at the back of the room, this was an experience that really helped me realize my own confidence. I gained invaluable skills that have helped me grow as a student and will continue to help me for years to come.

Hi, my name is Gabe Swanson, and I am a senior majoring in psychology with a minor in religion. I am from Elgin, IL. After graduation, I plan on taking a year off before going on to grad school to get my master’s in social work. Throughout my time at Hope, I have been involved in theater and Nykerk Play as a coach. This is my second year being a part of Orientation, and I am excited for it all to start!

Published by Student Orientation

Hope College New Student Orientation strives to create a smooth and welcoming transition to college for students and their families.

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