Keep an Open Mind During College

Undergraduates can get away with many things that they wouldn’t be able to get away with in the real world. Enjoy it while it lasts.

I am not referring to the drinking and parties. In fact, I was relieved to get away from that nonsense when I graduated college. What I do miss is being surrounded by people who are open to new ideas.

College is the only time in your life when it is socially acceptable to change your mind on issues concerning politics, morality and spirituality. This is because undergraduates have the rare combination of being open to new ideas and actually having the experience to test their beliefs.

As children, we all start out as kids who are open to new ideas. But children lack experience.

College is the first time in your life when you gain exposure to the real world. Unlike children, college students are able to test their beliefs in real world situations.

You would think that since aging gives you more experience, you should be more open to new ideas when you get older. This is not how things work.

Something about you will change in your mid-twenties: you will no longer be open to new ideas.

The beliefs you hold at this time will be your beliefs for the rest of your life, whether they make sense or not (and they rarely make sense).

This change will happen so fast that you will not even realize it is occurring. You will notice this change in your friends, but will somehow trick yourself into thinking that you are different.

College is an important time; it sets the stage for the kind of person you will be for the rest of your life. Do not waste this time feeding your mind garbage.

In college, you will be surrounded by older people who are trying to mold you into their image. Do not let them do this. They are trying to seize your open-mindedness for their own purposes.

Undergraduates, you are too young to have your minds made up. You should spend this time of your life listening to as many viewpoints as you can.

This is especially true for viewpoints you disagree with. If you get the chance, try debating these people.

You will find that debating has the tendency to make you notice flaws in your own beliefs. You may even learn something from your opposition.

There are some viewpoints that universities try to censor on the grounds that they are “offensive hate speech.” You should definitely listen to these viewpoints.

Maybe they are hate speech. Then again maybe they are not.

Do not take your university’s word for it, figure it out for yourself. If you are not smart enough to do this, then you do not deserve a college degree.

One Reply to “Keep an Open Mind During College”

  1. This article made me think of this other article by the NY Times.
    It’s a good read.
    On it’s own, one close-minded student is only the problem of that one student. The issue only spirals out of control when some ideas are censored by the university. Because when that happens, then no one will have access to the marketplace of ideas.
    But you may wonder, “What about hate speech? Surely that can’t be tolerated.”
    Ages ago, the supreme court ruled that neo-nazis had the right to protest through a majority Jewish neighborhood. Hate speech is very much protected free speech.
    Keep in mind that many universities have been successfully sued for their restrictions on speech.

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