A Friendly Place
Written by Gordon Behr
Hillsdale has always been a friendly place for incoming freshmen, but it can be difficult to adjust to life without your family in a community of people you don’t know. Luckily for me, my basketball teammates played a huge part in my integration into the college life.
At the start of freshman year, I was shy as I attempted to find my place at Hillsdale. The upperclassmen on my team stepped in to help me figure it out, and they quickly became my best friends and first mentors on campus. I went to them with questions about how to do well in classes, what professors to take, and what there was to do on the weekends.
These days I’ve transitioned from a clueless freshman to one of the older guys on the team who answers questions for the new players. I realize that I’ve repeated a lot of the same messages that my older teammates told me, like telling them to get to practice early or reminding them not to skip classes. While these little reminders don’t seem like much, they were vital to keeping me on track freshman year.
Our desire to have intentional relationships on the team is driven by Coach Tharp’s encouragement to treat one another like family. The upperclassmen taught me how to do this by making sure to invite me to anything they were doing after practice and making themselves available whenever I needed help with something. Now, I see my teammates and I following their lead when we all shake the hand of a new recruit or invite the freshmen to hang out at our house.
The tight-knit relationships in our basketball family might be uncommon compared to most colleges, but they are not unique to Hillsdale. The small student body lends itself to an inclusive atmosphere in which students intentionally pursue friendships with others. In basketball, our team understands that greatness can’t be achieved alone. The student body knows the same lesson. The Hillsdale challenge to pursue excellence can only be achieved alongside a community.
Gordon Behr, class of 2019, studies politics and economics. He also plays for the Hillsdale College Men’s Basketball team.