By Melanie Haid
When you enter a library, do you realize the expanse of knowledge and perspective standing before you? Each of these books has its own story and information to consider, featuring ideas that you could potentially learn from.
Have you ever considered just how interesting it really is to be facing all of these books and how much information and culture you could absorb from them, even if you only had time to look at the back covers?
You have been surrounded by one genre of people for probably the majority of your life, up until now. College is a mass gathering of different kinds of people from all over the world – places you’ve never even heard of before – with cultures you knew nothing about. And it’s the perfect time for you to burst your own one-genre bubble.
In the minute three-week span that I’ve been here, I’ve come into contact with Democrats, Republicans, immigrants, first-gens, transfers, the religious and non-religious, members of the LGBTQ+ community and so many other people that I’ve yet to meet, all with overlapping, unique genres just waiting to be discovered. College is not just higher education and getting a degree – it’s exposure, and you won’t get anything quite like that anywhere else.
Picture your life as you’ve always known it and imagine someone sitting next to you in class with completely contrary beliefs to anything you’ve ever seen in the whole of your existence. It’s going to make you lose your balance a little, but it also presents you with an option: go broader or stay narrow. And that is the easiest of the difficult choices you can make.
Say for example you’re a Democrat and the person beside you is a Republican. By definition, you’ve got a lot of differences. If you start a conversation about politics with them, it could get very heated – or on the other hand, you could both choose to be thoughtful and really listen to the points and perspectives the other person has to offer.
This is only one example, but if you judge a person less on how they define themselves and rather focus on their actual content, you’ll not only learn a great deal about them, you might be exposed to something you’ve never encountered before yourself.
Whether you agree with someone’s beliefs, lifestyle and attitude or not, it’s vital to be open to at least listening. Regardless of your level of agreement with the people you’re probably going to encounter, it’s important to at least open the book, even if you only read a few pages; pop your bubble and get some other perspectives.
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