What was the first thing I learned in college? That not everyone in the world is just like me!
I grew up as an only child and had never had that sibling thing experience. Boy was I in for a surprise! The first day, while unpacking and making my bed, in walked my roommate. She promptly looked in our shared closet and said “Oh, this is great! We wear the same size. We can share all our clothes!”
Needless to say, I was really taken aback. I mean, I had worked hard all summer to buy some new clothes and had carefully shopped and chosen just the right things that would mix and match and make my college wardrobe turn heads. (This, of course, is as opposed to my senior year when my two roommates and I did laundry every other week and once lost our iron and a typewriter, which is an ancient writing tool for those who are under 30, somewhere in the living room of our apartment!)
A few days later, I sat in my first class at a small Christian liberal arts college and looked around the room, wondering what I had gotten myself into. There were people who didn’t look at all like me. For the first time in my life, I experienced multi-cultural living with every race represented. Since this was the early 70’s the clothing and hairstyles were a sight to behold…everything from sandals in the snow to Afros that expanded the head by 18 inches! And to top it off, my professor was from China and still had a thick accent so I needed to strain to understand every word he was saying. We weren’t in Kansas anymore, Todo.
As the first few weeks went by, I was exposed to Christians who had a variety of views about living a Christian life while still maintaining the basic tenets of the Christian faith. My eyes were quickly opened to the fact that not everyone had come from a small Baptist church in the middle of the Midwest. It was the best of times, the worst of times.
However, what I quickly learned, the first item on my personal syllabus, was that college is a place to meet people who are not like you and you are glad that that is true. It is a place where the great ideas of life, of history, are debated and honed. As a Christian, I believe these things ought to be discussed and addressed from a Biblical worldview, of course, but that is for another blog entry.
Oh, and after a couple weeks, my own wardrobe doubled in size as my roommate shared her clothes with me!