Welcome back to the Orientation blog! Today, an Assistant Director, Abigail Pineda, is sharing some words of wisdom on one of our five messages: Value Differences.

Let me be one other person out of many to welcome you to one of the most exciting seasons of your life. Your time at Hope College will be unlike anybody else’s experience and there’s something really cool about that. Yet, you should know that you do not walk alone because we are all in the same place at the same time. With this in mind, our Orientation community encourages you to value the differences you will undoubtedly be a witness to. 

I have always appreciated the use of mnemonic devices because of the practicality they provide. For this reason, I wanted to share my Three L’s to Valuing Differences.   

The first L is for ‘Listen more’. Meeting people where they are with a listening ear often will make a greater impact than you can imagine. Showing genuine interest for the stories of others is such a compassionate way of honoring everyone’s differences. To listen more in a way that is meaningful, it is incredibly helpful to invite people in that space with vulnerability, when appropriate. Many of my favorite memories that these last three years have gifted me with include just that; opening up to people and having the opportunity to walk alongside each other. All someone ever wants is to be seen and heard. Give others that same gift whenever possible. 

Another L that I think is also imperative to valuing differences is to ‘Learn always’. Having the ability to seek understanding and knowledge to empower others is such a privilege. Learning can look more than one way and guess what, it’ll take time and effort but it is beyond worth it. Read that book. Engage with that podcast episode. Seek to know more and be a part of something bigger than yourself. Participate in the student organization or group that challenges you in efforts to educate yourself.   

Finally, the third L is for ‘Lean in’. It is perfectly okay to admit that you will never fully know or understand what it is like to be in someone else’s place. Sometimes, that is more than enough and just the right thing someone needs to hear. If this is the case, still pursue with validation and affirmation. Valuing differences is an active journey without a destination. And one that is not always easy. When it gets uncomfortable, lean in even more. 

Valuing differences is an active journey without a destination.

Abby Pineda

Along with the other five core messages you will be exposed to during Orientation, I hope these Three L’s to Valuing Differences have served you well. Orientation is just the start to what I hope will be the most incredible and blessed chapter of your life. 

Abigail Pineda is a rising Senior from Texas studying for a Business Major with a Communications Minor.

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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