Xenophobia is the irrational sensation or fear because of a person, group of people or situation perceived as strange or foreign. It’s the fear of anything beyond your comfort zone. Going outside of your comfort zone is obviously challenging, but it’s a necessary part of everyone’s lives.
Branching out and experiencing things out of the ordinary opens your mind up to so many new things. Being a close-minded person does nothing but cement you to one spot and prevent any type of personal growth. Fear of the unknown is something that can be overcome by anyone, and it’s easier than most people are lead to believe.
As young people, the world is ours to learn and live and be a part of. There have been so many technological advances in the world it’s almost impossible to not take notice in all the resources available. It’s easier than ever to have access to information about different cultures, foreign countries, history, art, science and countless more topics on anything you could think of.
This generation has the world at their fingertips, yet they still fear what lives beyond their closed bedroom doors. They fear people who don’t look like them. They fear cultures unlike their own. They fear places they’ve never been.
One reason behind these fears is ignorance. People stroll through life ignoring the bad stuff and only seeing the positives. Some people are afraid of what they don’t know or quite understand, whether it seems like a rational fear. When these people experience something out of their normal routine, they react without sensitivity because they simply lack knowledge, but that can change.
Every person, no matter what age, has a certain appetite to learn and expand their knowledge, and college is the perfect time to start if you haven’t already. College campuses are hotspots for diversity, and it’d be a mistake to pass up such a golden opportunity to learn and grow.
Being a college student gives you the opportunity to learn about anything you could ever want or need to know. One way to expand your mind is by forcing yourself to experience new things.
A lot of people learn by doing, which means physically getting out of your room and trying something you’ve never done before or something that has intimidated you in the past. This may be difficult, but it ultimately pays off when you can suddenly hold an intelligent conversation with peers and know what you’re talking about.
Pushing yourself to learn and having a desire to learn is the best thing a person can do. I’ve recently been reading through a ton of old Rolling Stone issues, and I’ve learned so much about not only groundbreaking artists and producers, but important national and global issues such as assault on college campuses, laws on abortion and political debates.
Doing something as easy as reading through a magazine or newspaper once a day can increase your knowledge on worldly issues and help you to better understand how people live throughout the world, not just in your hometown. Attend a meeting for a new club or a forum hosted by an expert on some topic. Events like these will force you to open your eyes to what’s out there past your hometown or college campus.
Fearing the unknown is a surefire way to ensure a pretty boring life. Being curious and thoughtful and adventurous when you’re young will pave the way to a well-rounded and intelligent adulthood. Spend time reading books that inspire you to climb mountains, and listen to professors who encourage you to follow your biggest goals.
Use your time wisely, and fear nothing because the world is yours for the taking. Believe it or not, you’ll never have as much time to lounge around as you do in college, and it’s your responsibility as a student and person to want to learn and experience all that life has to offer.
Email Laura Schmidt at firstname.lastname@example.org