When I was a junior in high school, Goshen College’s Prevention Intervention Network (PIN) came to give a brief presentation/workshop about how to be a bystander. Seeing as my step-sibling Christi was going to be a presenter, and I considered myself “socially attuned” to the issues with which PIN works, I was excited to go.
I went into the period thinking that the presentation would tell me things that I already knew, and that we would maybe do some team building exercises or something to boost our skills.
However, when it began, it became apparent to me that I knew literally nothing about what Christi and the others were sharing. Not only that, I felt as if every other Goshen High School student in the workshop was significantly more knowledgeable than me. They offered insights and ideas that blew me away, and I left that workshop disappointed in myself for not knowing more of the presented information. Looking back, it doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense to put yourself down for not knowing the information you’re going to a presentation to learn. I was in high school, so I think that deserves some slack.
As cheesy as it sounds, I left the presentation feeling determined. I read a little bit more using some of the resources that PIN had talked about in their presentation, and I kept my eyes and ears peeled for an opportunity to learn about sexual assault and how to be a good bystander.
Flash forward to my first year of college, and I was ready for the presentations during ICC. At that point, I considered myself an expert on what I thought would be presented. I remember how confidently I walked into ICC that day, ready to wow the presenters with my insight, much like some of my classmates had done when I was in high school. Much to my dismay, the presentation was almost completely different. However, I was fascinated by the possibility of joining PIN. My presenters, Emily Hilton-Nickel and Isaiah Friesen, invited us to be a part of the group.
Although I was horribly nervous, I joined PIN — not because I knew what I was going to be talking about, but because I wanted to learn more about how to create an equitable culture on GC’s campus and throughout my community. Needless to say, being in the group has stretched my thinking and brought to my attention new ideas and topics.
It’s a little scary to think about presenting information that I have only been dedicatedly learning for less than a year, but I think that’s part of the beauty of PIN. You don’t need to be a knowledgeable person coming into PIN to be a valuable member of the group. I definitely wasn’t.
What matters is that you’re willing to learn and educate others about the issues of sexual assault and that you’re passionate for creating a equitable culture on campus.
Plus, you get a rad T-shirt.