“College is a pivotal time in your life,” said everyone ever.
Before coming to Chapel Hill, I heard many accounts of how college is about finding yourself, how your beliefs will be challenged, how you will be exposed to people unlike you. These remarks are repeated so frequently that they have almost fallen prey to semantic satiation. Yet as my first year comes to a close, I can wholeheartedly say that they are true.
Coming from central Charlotte, I had a distorted sense of diversity. I attended a large high school, but I was confined to the perspectives of predominately white middle to upper-class students in International Baccalaureate courses.
The experience I got from my suite this year was much different. We came from a wide variety of not only socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, but also had different fundamental beliefs and opinions. We learned of these differences in an intimate setting. The diversity in my suite created a delicate environment, readily unveiling the underlying tension. I couldn’t ignore the views that conflicted with mine. I had to learn to live with and accept them.
Before living with these young women, I was self-assured and finitely open-minded. I could be very dismissive of others’ opinions. Since then, I have learned the importance of treating others with compassion and refraining from snap judgements. Out of the conflicts that arose in my suite, I was forced to reflect on the insensitivity I was showing to other people.