May 25, 2017

GCSA President Jamie Shore: A little advice from the student body president

Jamie Shore (Photo courtesy of Jamie Shore)

Welcome to Gordon! I hope the craziness of Orientation hasn’t completely overwhelmed you yet (It definitely overwhelmed me!). My name is Jamie Shore, and I am the Executive President for the Gordon College Student Association (GCSA), which is made up of Student Government and over 50 organizations and clubs. These clubs include everything from bee-keeping, to Ultimate Frisbee, to Advocates for Cultural Diversity, to the Social Work Student Advisory Committee, and much more.

I know you are currently bombarded with more advice about “how to make the most of college” than you know what to do with and how incredibly annoying that is, so thanks for bearing with me.

On the first day of classes my freshman year, my professor for The Great Conversation (TGC) told my class we know nothing and as we learn more, we will only come to see more clearly how much we do not know. I still carry that idea with me. We are all at Gordon to learn concrete skills for the rest of our lives; but, it is also the time to push ourselves to ask questions we may not know the answer to, even when they make us uncomfortable (and to never stop doing so). In Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke writes: “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

This quote has helped open my mind to tensions and learning as a fluid process. However, one of the major themes from my time at Gordon has been the paradoxical tension between concrete action and asking more questions/learning more. I now know some of the ideas I believed before college were completely wrong, and I am sure that I currently hold beliefs that may be hurtful to those around me. Sometimes the fear of operating from an incorrect belief does/should stop me and force me deconstruct and rebuild my beliefs. However, this tension cannot paralyze us forever. You must engage as much as you can.

As GCSA President, I obviously think you should join clubs and organizations here at Gordon. You should try new things and pour your hear into what you are passionate about.

However, you have to engage beyond Gordon too. Write letters to your local and state representatives to advocate against laws that criminalize homelessness. Show up to the next Black Lives Matter protest. Listen to and advocate for LGBTQ people. Let what you are learning change how you engage with the world around you. As the Lord’s Prayer says, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.” As we pray that, let’s put our feet on the ground and ask the hard questions that make it possible. I am excited to do this alongside you this year.

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