Asking for help is not a strength of mine. In fact, it might have been the most challenging thing for me to work through freshman year. When I was asked to write about one of the 5 messages of Orientation, “Ask for Help,” I almost laughed out loud. This is the one value that I struggle with the most. I have been, and always will be, horrible at mustering up the strength to ask for help when I need it.

To most people, this sounds, well… pathetic. This struggle extends back to when I was a kid. A fiercely independent child, from the day that doing something on my own was an option, that’s all I wanted to do. “Let me do it,” and “I can do it by myself,” were the two most important phrases in my toddler vocabulary. This independent mindset transferred to high school, where I became the girl who did the group project all on her own. Whether it was asking for help from my teachers, parents, or even my peers, the thought of having to rely on someone else felt like failure.

What makes asking for help so hard?

This is exhausting, but I didn’t notice exactly how so until college. I felt so incredibly welcomed by my professors and friends that it seemed there could never be a time where I would ever feel uncomfortable asking for help again. This, however, is easier said than done. After breezing through the first month of classes, my first college midterms, and ¾ of the semester, final exams lurked ahead of me and I knew I wasn’t ready. In one of my more challenging classes, there was a topic that we had learned early on that was pivotal to the rest of the content of the semester. If I could just understand this one piece of material, I could connect the dots for the rest of the semester’s work. But I didn’t want to budge. I consulted google, I nonchalantly wondered about the topic out loud to my friends, yet everyone seemed to know it but me.

 So much value can be added to your Orientation experience when you ask for help when you need it.

 I finally decided there must only be one way to really answer this: going to my professor’s office hours. So there I went, sweating in fear of disappointing my favorite professor or sounding dumb. I swear it took me three breaths to even pull up the courage to knock on the office door. But I left with a smile and a complete understanding of the topic, plus a deeper relationship with a professor who I knew I would never disappoint with a question. 

2019 Assistant Directors

This is just one of the many instances where asking for help is difficult, but it strengthens character. At Hope, no faculty member wants you to walk through something alone, especially if you’re struggling. And that goes for Hope staff and students as well! So much value can be added to your Orientation experience when you ask for help when you need it. Remember, even if you haven’t met them yet, you have a whole cheering squad just waiting for you to arrive on campus. I can’t wait to meet you in August!

My name is Grace Purdue and I’m a rising junior from Grand Rapids, MI, studying Chemistry with an interest in becoming a science communicator or researcher. I’m involved in Student Congress, Nykerk Song, Dance Marathon, Campus Ministries, IM sports, and a job in the ticket office. Orientation is my favorite weekend of the fall semester, so I can’t wait to see you on campus!

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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