During Orientation, there are five messages we like to focus on, reminding ourselves of the bigger picture and helping to stay outside of our own bubbles. One of those is the concept “Mindset Matters.”

When considering what we can actually control in our lives, the list gets real short, real fast. However, something that is always in our control is our mindset, or how we think about a situation. By maintaining a positive (or at least level-headed) schema, we can make a potentially overwhelming situation quite manageable!

Mindset Matters and College

College is the literal definition of a “potentially overwhelming situation.” The combination of a new environment, with new people, professors, classes, and a newfound freedom, can be pretty intimidating. I know it was for me. But, by maintaining a positive mindset, I was able to settle in at Hope, learning to deal with the newness and find joy in it. Honestly, that is the beauty of any new experience, but it can be a bumpy road in the process, and that’s where mindset truly comes in. As much as we might claim to love normalcy, progress does not operate on such terms. It requires a change, and we usually find ourselves better off for it. But it is not doable without taking control of our mental approach.

Not only did I gain an appreciation for the challenges of school, but it was also a reminder of the importance of maintaining a positive attitude through it all.

My freshman year was interesting. Classes were tough, but friends were awesome. Athletics were challenging, but ultimately rewarding. Living so far from family was difficult, but I found myself valuing time with them more.

Reflection can help change your mindset!

After the year ended, I had the benefit of a 20-hour drive home to reflect on everything that had happened throughout my first year. When I rolled into my driveway, I had a new appreciation for the challenges that I had faced. It had given me an opportunity to grow tremendously through the difficulties and the frustrations. Not only did I gain an appreciation for the challenges of school, but it was also a reminder of the importance of maintaining a positive attitude through it all.

In my experience, it is hard to keep a positive mindset if I let myself believe something isn’t worth it (aka first semester Bio lab). But, by accepting that something (a class, extracurricular, acquaintance) isn’t valuable from the start, you are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. A positive mindset ensures that your experience is as full as possible, without tainting something that could be great. To put it succinctly, mindset matters.

Jacob Woodford is a senior at Hope, studying Political Science, Psychology, and Kinesiology on the pre-law track. Outside of school, he is a goalie for the Hope Hockey team, a senior class representative for Student Congress, tour guide for admissions, participated in Nykerk Play (odd year every year, baby), and am involved in Campus Ministries. He is originally from Colorado Springs, CO, and is hoping to attend law school following graduation.

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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