Although I grew up in a semi-conservative family, I’m a naturally open-minded person. My family rejected most of my ideas and perceptions about the world, but I was determined to hold onto my beliefs.
I attended a liberal Christian university.
Their slogan, “A Christian university like no other” definitely rings true. The university highly encouraged us to embrace the uncomfortable in nearly all of our classes. The professors encouraged us to reflect on ourselves and strive towards making this world a better place for all. They taught us to love one another without bias because we are all a member of the world’s community.
I spent my entire college career reflecting on who I am and how I fit in this huge world, observing my own biases and others’ judgments. I learned that in our communities, individuals’ struggles actually affect the entire community. We are all connected through the universe, whether we are aware of this phenomenon or not.
As I reached my last few years of college, I experienced so much hardship. In my sophomore year, I lost my mom. A year later I received a few chronic illness diagnoses. I felt lost and unintentionally projected my feelings onto other people. I tried to find the bright side, but as soon as I was alone, doubt overwhelmed me.
For my senior seminar project, my group selected “courage” as our theme.
We each interviewed someone we connected with and felt would fit the concept of the project. I interviewed a professor, and something they said changed my life.
“Courage is doing the hard work to unearth our implicit bias so that we can perceive… [others’] ways of doing and being as valid and meaningful.”
We all hold preconceived biases about everything; our minds process information that way. Therefore, it is our duty to put in the hard work to change and remove our false biases in this ever-changing world. Therefore, I constantly reflect on how I treat others. I consider what I can do in the future to listen, respect, and help others.
If you feel uncomfortable, check the facts.
If you are in a safe situation, then work to change your perspective. Do the hard work: Reflect and change your worldview. Treat others how you want to be treated because we are all here together.
College was an amazing experience in so many ways.
Without that professor’s wise words, though, I may have never had this eye-opening moment that changed my entire perspective on life.
Featured Photo via Good Will Hunting