By: Noel Hrnchir
Growing up in Hastings, Nebraska, I was very sheltered and only exposed to the opinions of my immediate peers who had the same Catholic, family-oriented values that my immediate family of 10 possessed. It was only when I left Hastings and was exposed to diversity my freshman year of college that diversity was revealed to me as necessary and an opportunity for growth and mutual understanding. Now, I find differences beautiful and find enjoyment in having friends who come from a variety of backgrounds.
Coming to college was a real eye-opener for me. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln brought me friends with a variety of beliefs, thoughts and opinions. Everyone came from different cultural, social and religious backgrounds. I was able to meet people who were 3,000 miles away from home while others were only 10 minutes away from the home they grew up in. Some people knew exactly what they wanted to do with their lives, while others had absolutely no idea. Not everyone was like me, and understanding how to communicate and learn from people different than me was a definite learning curve.
Through a variety of college experiences such as sorority life, classes, and Jacht, I have also learned how to hold my own opinion around those who disagree, while understanding where others opinions stem from. I have come to realize that understanding is important for career life in particular. The workforce throws a diverse group of people into a company which is essential for creativity and growth. However, in order for people collaborating in groups to get along, there has to be a mutual respect and understanding.
My experience at Jacht has taught me so much about collaborating with various types of people. It has brought me so much joy to learn from those around me. I have learned that listening to other people’s perspectives provides an opportunity for growth while learning from those around you also sparks creativity. Being able to become friends with people who are incredibly different than me has become one of my biggest passions.
If you feel like you are not challenged by the people around you, I encourage you to find friends who think differently. We need friends who challenge the way we look at the world. It will open you up to a variety of viewpoints and help you understand why you believe what you believe. You don’t have to compromise your own opinions - share them with others, and listen to the opinions of those around you. I have grown in unthinkable ways, and I know you will, too.
“The opinions of others are important. They are the yardstick by which we measure our perspective of the world.” - Stewart Stafford