Fitting In

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Fitting In

Danielle

Danielle

Danielle

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Dear Danielle and Derrek,

I live far outside of Utah/Idaho/Nevada and the general western part of the United States. I try to be involved in WA but I am really busy and taking a lot of classes. I don’t share the same religious views as it seems like 99% of the students do. How can I connect better?

Anonymous Burger

Danielle: We’re actually in the same boat. I don’t live in Idaho, Utah, or Nevada. Crazy, right? When I first started going to school at WA, I kinda felt left out too… LANV and LAU have these cool events that I just can’t go to because I don’t live close by Nevada or Utah. That said, I’ve met people who attend Williamsburg Academy who are from all over the United States. Some even attend class while in other countries! If you don’t know Mr. Denning, he’s been all over the world while teaching classes. The winner of this year’s SBP election, Savannah Lorcher, has been abroad in Europe. My point is, one of the blessings of going to an online school is that you can meet great people who are unique and live in different parts of the world, but are still kind and want to know you.

I can also tell you that the difference in religion may seem like a huge gap (when I first started attending WA, I was surprised at how many Mormons could go to one online school). But, it’s really not. Another blessing of Williamsburg is that everyone treats each other really well and respects them and their religion, no matter what it is. In fact, teachers encourage discussions on the topic in class, and coming here has allowed me to freely talk about my religious views and who I am while learning about other religions and other people’s views in an academic setting.
I’ve never met Derrek in person, but we get along famously (when he’s not being annoying). It just does not matter with us because when it comes down to it, even though he makes terrible grammar errors and tends to spam me with emails, we’re friends. It doesn’t matter that we live hundreds of miles away from each other.

My advice on how to fit in? Simple. Private chat a classmate next time you’re in class. Just say “Hey, what’s up?” Talk on chat and mic, get on webcam. Just be involved. You’ll be surprised at how quickly people will accept you for who you are. At Williamsburg, we call it “A Culture of Belonging.”

And if you ever want to hang out with a Burger in real life, start going to Huzzah Parties! If there isn’t one in your area, try hosting one! Go to Elevation if you can afford it; it’s a life-changing experience.

Derrek: About 99% of the people reading this aren’t going to be in the same position as the person who asked the question. So, I’m going to answer a different question. How can the 99% make the 1% feel welcome?

For me, the first step to making someone feel welcome is to realize that regardless of one’s religion and location we’re all human. We all want that car, or that grade, or that new video game! We have a tendency to think “Oh, someone has a different viewpoint than me. I guess I can’t hang out with them.” That is totally the wrong point of view! Some of my best friends are people who think differently than I do. A relationship isn’t just built out of two peoples’ similarities. It’s also built out of differences.

We all need to reach out to those people who are different. Maybe it’s just sending a private chat to a stranger in class. Maybe it’s working hard to talk to different people in class because this is a two-sided problem. If we don’t mend our side than we will forever be a “99%” and “1%”. Let’s work together to create a 100%!

 

Don’t forget that you can send your own wacky, crazy, serious, sobering, or laughable questions to Danielle and Derrek! Just send an email to: theburgergazette@williamsburglearning.com. Make sure to put ADVICE in the Subject Column.

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