When you come to college, you are probably not very familiar with others who are different from you with respect to race, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and family background. For many, college is a time when you are first exposed to how others live and think and what they value.
At first, these differences may lead to conflict. Some conflicts will be silly. Students have gotten into fights over music tastes, favorite sports teams, and clothes. Some may be more serious especially when differences lead to taunting, bullying, or demeaning another.
The rest of your life you will be working with others who are different from you. College is a time when you can begin to value the contributions of others. Here are some ideas you may want to consider:
- Reach out to those whose backgrounds are different from yours. An easy way to do this is to share meals in the cafeteria or join them in a study group.
- Become observant of how people with different backgrounds think about issues. You’ll start developing an appreciation for multiple perspectives. Your thinking will become more informed as a result.
- Take classes in subjects that explore diversity. Most campuses have a variety of these courses.
- Take advantage of diversity events on campus. There are generally a number of these that encompass entertainment, culinary, political, sociological, or any number of other dimensions of diversity.
- Go to clubs that cater to students from different backgrounds than yours. This could be a good way to support a friend.
Over time, you will come to see diversity as an important part of your educational experience..