For some, transitioning to college can be a natural process, especially for those with an already broad worldview.
However, for others, it can be a struggle, particularly for those coming from small communities and entering much larger ones.
Universities are known for their convergence of differing backgrounds, and this can be a jarring experience for many incoming freshmen.
When coming from small, predominantly white towns, some students are shocked by the diversity that is custom to college campuses.
The importance of having a broad worldview shines through in the academic world.
As students learn more and more about the world outside their own perspective, having a more open mind can assist in understanding this new, highly relevant content that they are exposed to.
In today’s ever-changing, increasingly diversifying world, younger generations will be the ones to change society’s image, and it begins with understanding the perspectives of people from different backgrounds than their own.
College is the perfect opportunity for the blending of these varying identities, and the opportunity to share and listen to a variety of different experiences is abundant.
Understanding and developing a broad worldview begins with simply listening.
Oftentimes, being introduced to an entirely new world of identities and perspectives can be stressful, even overwhelming, but students can ease their anxieties by merely interacting with the campus around them and listening to everyone they are introduced to.
More often than not, incoming freshmen might find that these other students become some of their best friends, especially as they come to understand them through listening and discussing.
Understanding somebody’s personal background is a very intimate, personal way of getting to know them.
While listening to them can be beneficial to broadening one’s worldview, it is important to not pry too deeply and push too far right away.
Many people may take time to open up about who they are, and pushing them to reveal more than they are ready to can be incredibly invasive.
It is crucial to keep in mind that nobody has an obligation to share their background.
While friends of different identities can be an excellent resource when developing a broad worldview, they should not be the only source of learning.
In fact, a diverse group of friends is not meant to educate you as an individual.
They can support and assist you as you interact with a new world of diversity and inclusion, but you should be independent of them as you interact with the larger community around you.
Visiting and experiencing the world outside your small-town community is an excellent way to broaden your worldview.
While reading and watching media meant to educate people on other communities is helpful, there is nothing quite like a first-hand experience.
It does not happen overnight, but stepping out of the world you are used to can make you so much more comfortable with and understanding of other people, especially those who are nothing like you.
While any college student is bound to meet all sorts of people on campus, it isn’t the same as actively engaging with individuals from different backgrounds, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Students benefit the most from meeting others in person, but current events have severely limited the possibilities for this.
However, the shifting societal and political climate of 2020 has proven that students need to understand each other more than ever.
With the international explosion of COVID-19 came widespread racism, particularly directed at Asian communities.
While this is nothing new, especially when reflecting upon the Japanese internment camps within the United States during World War II, it should never be something that society adapts to.
Here, a broad worldview glides to the forefront of students’ minds, an ever-present concept that should be aimed for, in order to assist our friends and family all over the world who are challenged by this bigotry.
The aforementioned listening skills became increasingly relevant in the early summer of 2020, following the murder of George Floyd.
An emphasis was placed upon the voices of people of color, who had been silenced for too long.
By simply listening to marginalized communities, more privileged white individuals, especially from today’s youth, can put forth more educated efforts to help their neighbors.
For college students, developing this broadened worldview is critical, especially for those coming from small communities who might not understand the experiences of minority groups.
The world shifts a little with each generation, and the future will be shaped however today’s young people choose to.
It is vital to include people of all identities in this evolving world, rather than pushing them into the dark as past generations have.
It simply begins with one’s worldview, with opening up and listening to the stories of people you might have never met before.
Through this, college students have every opportunity to grow and nourish a world that is far more inclusive and caring than the previous one.