The Value of Learning from Those Around You

The Value of Learning from Those Around You

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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.

Cover Image Credit: theworldcafe.com

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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