The Value of Learning from Those Around You

The Value of Learning from Those Around You


Over the past four years that I’ve been in college, I have had the privilege to learn about so many different concepts, people, ideas, etc. I have had awesome professors who have taught me to see different sides of issues and look at things objectively. While I’ve learned a lot in my classes, I have to say that most of the ideas and viewpoints I have adopted have been shaped by the knowledge I have received from those around me. College has given me the opportunity to meet so many different types of people with different backgrounds and ideologies. I am influenced every day by my peers. This has by far been my favorite thing about being a college student, and something that I think everyone should get the chance to experience.

Coming into college, most people have established some core values and ideas that they live their life by. Often, people are very passionate about these views, and this sometimes prevents them from being open to views that may differ from their own. While this level of passion is admirable, closing yourself off from new things is detrimental. It inhibits learning, stifles progress, and promotes ignorance. Now, there is nothing wrong with ignorance in itself. It is simply a state of not knowing or being uninformed. Most people are ignorant about a variety of things, and if you think you’re an exception, I’m sorry to tell you that you are not. I am willing to admit that I am ignorant about quite a few things, but I am always seeking more knowledge. Where ignorance becomes harmful is when you are unwilling to learn. So many people put their metaphorical blinders on and ignorantly go about their lives reluctant to receive any new information that does not align with what they believe. Some people even go so far as to judge and persecute others because of these differences in mindset.

When we see people exhibit hate against someone solely because the person is different from them, this can almost certainly be attributed to ignorance and/or being highly misinformed. Even though we have come so far, we still see so much hate towards the “other”. For example, our treatment of Muslims in this country. There is still such a strong sense of hate and distrust for these people, and it is exhibited far too often. I will bet that about 90 percent of the people that have these attitudes are incredibly ignorant about Islam and many of the cultures connected to it. I cannot tell you how many times I have witnessed people mistake being Muslim as an ethnic identification rather than a religious one. Most people also assume that being from a Middle Eastern country automatically makes you Muslim or that you have to have ancestry from that region to identify with Islam, which is also incorrect.

It’s amusing, actually, to see people react so passionately about something that they don’t have a clue about. But even more than how amusing it is, is how sad and discouraging it is. Just imagine how many stereotypes and negative attitudes could be debunked if everyone just made a conscientious effort to talk to those different from them.

So much can come from doing our own research and relying on our own experiences/interactions with other people. We can learn something from everyone around us. Even if someone’s views don’t agree with our own we can still learn from them. We might even learn enough to change our own views.

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Removing Toxic People From Your Life

You do not, and I repeat, do not, owe others an explanation for doing something for the betterment of your own well being.

Unfortunately, toxic people are always going to be present and coming into your life. There are many ways to deal with them and they can be represented by several characteristics. However, it is your personal choice when deciding what to do with them. Do you let them stay in your life and keep taking more than they give? Or, do you cut them out of your life?

Toxic people look just like any other person on the outside, but they are usually narcissistic and overbearing on the inside. They can appear to be friends, family, peers or even college roommates. Toxic people are typically greedy and manipulative. They make you think that they care about you when really, the fact is that they only care about themselves. They are not going to be there to congratulate you on your personal victories because inside they just want to see you fail to make themselves look better.

Toxic people never apologize for what they have done that was wrong, especially if it is something that hurt somebody else. Sometimes, they tell fibs about what happened and they are far from the truth. Finally, toxic people bring back irrelevant information to arguments and hold everything that you have ever said against you.

All of these characteristics are those of a toxic person or somebody that you hopefully do not want in your life. Now, the question remains, what do you do with them? My advice to you is to cut them out of your life and move on. Eventually, you realize when enough is enough with somebody and you cannot handle them mistreating you any longer.

Always remember that you are allowed to leave those who have hurt you. You are allowed to be selfish sometimes when it means taking care of yourself. You do not, and I repeat, do not, owe others an explanation for doing something for the betterment of your own well being. What some people have a hard time realizing is that it is okay to want to make yourself happy.

You should not have to quietly sit there and smile while other people are walking all over you. You are a human being, and you have a right to let someone know that they are hurting you and that they need to stop doing so. You are allowed to set boundaries when people are overstepping and making you feel uncomfortable.

Whether you take my advice or not, I am confident that you will make the right decision in regards to dealing with toxic individuals. However, just trust me when I say that once you can, and choose to recognize and erode the toxicity of these awful beings, you will see an array of positive changes in your life and overall well being.
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The National School Walkout Day Is Important Because Staying Silent Is Not The Best Option

We must make our voices known.

Protests are usually controversial. There's really no way around it; that's kinda the whole point of protests. But the National School Walkout Day is important because we, as students, no longer feel safe in our classrooms. With all the armed robberies happening in Eugene currently, I don't even feel safe walking around NEAR campus. Even walking alone on campus has become slightly terrifying.

But I don't enjoy living in fear. Maybe it's my resilient spirit, but living in fear is one of the things I hate. I chose to participate in the walkout for that specific reason. I should feel safe sitting in a classroom while trying to learn new material. I shouldn't have an added layer of FEAR to the classroom environment.

How are we supposed to learn when we're worried about being the next victim in a list of school shooting victims that is already way too long? Even though I didn't have class at the time of the walkout, participating in it still was extremely powerful for me. Seeing so many fellow students united in our fear and resilience is incredibly powerful.

Many people disagree with this walkout, and argue that walking out of our classes for seventeen minutes won't change anything. My problem with this mindset is that these kinds of people don't think ANYTHING can make a change. However, most of our actions have the potential to majorly affect more than we realize. Staying silent about this issue won't create any positive change, so why not protest and show the country and government how unhappy we are about this current situation? We must make our voices known.

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