Last Friday, I attended the Literacy Around the World (LATW) event hosted in Westlake Hall. At this event, Bradley University invited students from Whittier Elementary School to learn about the value of diversity and the power of education. Not only did I get to take some powerful photos, but this event was especially meaningful to me because it was indicative of a dramatic internal change I’ve made since I came to Bradley.
As a high school student, I would describe myself as not only ignorant, but as lacking empathy for others. Coming to Bradley has exposed me to a wider range of ideas, cultures and values than ever before and fundamentally changed the way I interact with the world.
Being invited to attend LATW and being involved in helping children learn the importance of their differences was a huge milestone for me. Several years ago, I would have never seen the value in such things, let alone encourage third-graders to do so.
As a political science major, I liken the rationale for the value of differences to the rationale for true democracy: only through the vibrant conflict can there be a healthy democracy that produces the most universally inclusive society.
The more differences encountered, the stronger an idea becomes. To this end, we can all benefit from exploring differences to better forge our own beliefs.
As students, ignorance should always be our enemy, and opening ourselves up to experiencing diversity can be an enlightening experience.
I believe that in order to derive the greatest value from life, we have to indulge in diversity and adversity wherever we go. Over the past two years, being at Bradley has broadened my perspective on so many things, principal among them is my improved-willingness to pursue change and differences.
My favorite thing about Bradley is the opportunities I have to explore an eclectic student body and see what I can learn. Listening to opposing views and participating in events like LATW have challenged my beliefs and forced me out of my comfort zone. It took me time to realize that college didn’t just bring me out of my shell, it made me outgrow my shell.
Now, the broken pieces are all that remain of who I used to be. Adversity has been the most supportive friend I could hope to have and forces me to be a better person.
Change can be scary, but hardly anything worth doing is ever easy. Adversity has shaped who I am today, and I’m proud to be an advocate for embracing differences. I couldn’t be more excited to see what this new paradigm will bring out of the rest of my life and I’ll continue seeking out new ways to experience diversity in the future.