In my life I have come across various types of people. People who have been raised under strict, traditional ideas, people who are closed to anything but what they know, and those who just can't seem to change with the times. As someone who lives in a generation where expressing yourself and blooming true is trending, I value my open mind and all that it helps me to consider, understand, and appreciate.

There is nothing wrong with being afraid of the unknown or what's different. As humans we are naturally fearful and confused by ambiguity, so often, we don't assess it. Before college, I could say that this held a bit true for me. Innocently, I was naïve and used to the life I lived for the last 18 years. Since coming to college, I have had to opportunity to learn. I have learned more than academics, more than independence, and more than what my future looks like. I have learned to open my eyes to those around me.

Its truly beautiful what an open mind can do. Once you can remove judgment and can accept others for who they are, it sets you free. A large piece of opening one's mind is education. If you're unsure about something, or the idea of someone, dive deeper. Refrain from assuming, and justify your opinion, or find yourself dumbfounded for poor judgment. We are so quick to believe what we hear on the news or what we see on Twitter, but why not do some research for yourself?

At the end of the day, everyone you see daily is going through something. Big or small, we all have our baggage, and all have those things that make waking up in the morning a little difficult. So why do we judge? Is it out of spite? Is it jealousy? I believe that its because we're fearful of the unknown. And with that, it's unfair to judge someone if you don't know why you have such a feeling.

Open your mind. Research, listen, and try to understand those that may be different from you. There is nothing to lose from learning and becoming more knowledgeable than you were yesterday. There is no answer to whether your learning will change your opinions, but at least you can say that you put effort into understanding.

The next time you come across something or someone you find fearful, check yourself. Reflect and consider why you feel the way you do and assess it. An open mind only leads to a positive, open heart and a future of blossoming and growing in this ever-changing world.