It’s time to broaden our horizons.
A new year and new students give us an opportunity to meet new people. With a cavalcade of activities and events, interacting with a wide variety of people is easy.
The problem is, we don’t. Instead, we gravitate toward people just like us. We settle into groups of like-minded comrades.
We live in the same dorm or are the same age. We have the same major or are on the same sports team. We share the same interests in Doc Marten shoes, white polo shirts or Pearl Jam.
This isn’t always a healthy thing.
Easing into college life by surrounding ourselves with similar people may be comfortable and safe, but it does not allow for growth of any kind.
One of the goals of college is to grow, not just intellectually, but also emotionally and spiritually. College should be a time of intense maturing, a time when we get in touch with the world and become able to interact with that world.
That doesn’t happen when we aren’t challenged, and we aren’t challenged when we spend our time with people just like us.
Maybe crossing the ethnic boundary and eating lunch with someone of a different nationality from you will help you learn how you can ease racial tension. If you’re not a pacifist, maybe hanging out with one will make you more sensitive to the horror of war. If you are a first-year, maybe watching a movie with an upperclassperson will give you insight into how to survive college.
Learning more about new and different ways of thinking can in turn open doors and unlock ideas within our own minds that we never thought were there.
These new ideas may be scary and even life-changing. This is all part of growing.
It may not come easily or feel natural, and leaving our comfort zones can sometimes be unsettling. We might even, at times, feel rejected if some we reach out to do not want our friendship.
However, the alternative is to become increasingly narrow-minded and afraid to change. Shutting ourselves in, after all, means shutting the world out. It means failing to become whole people because we refuse to look at the whole world.
On the other hand, branching out means expanding our thinking. It means learning more about ourselves and the world. It means making close friends who will continue to challenge us. It means, ultimately, becoming a person attuned to the world and to other people.
Our goal this year should be to meet new people, hear new ideas and avoid getting caught up in uniformity. It’s for our own good.
Inquiring Minds is the collective opinion of the editorial staff and not necessarily representative of the entire staff. It is written by the managing editor and the editor-in-chief.