This I Believe

Ned - San Luis Obispo, California
Entered on February 10, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe in keeping an open mind. My college experience has been extremely successful and enjoyable because I have kept an open mind. Rarely do I accept others’ criticism, but my roommate has managed to elude me from my impregnable stubbornness.

I always thought I was an intelligent and mature adult, but I’ve learned that I am merely an inexperienced and self-centered youngster. My visions prior to my openness were narrow and I only accepted what was right according to my mores and principles. I had countless friends in the past whom I admired and appreciated at the beginning of our friendships, but grew less and less tolerant of their “flaws” and “inadequacies” as I got to know them better and expected more and more of them. My roommate noticed this about me. One night we had a long discussion about this arrogance of mine and I said to her, “I can’t stand my friends making bad decisions. They are weak and I want nothing to do with such powerless beings.” My roommate then responded to me, “I’m friends with all the bad kids. Even though they do stupid things they are still good people and I am friends with them because I can guide them towards the right path.”

One aspect of college that I’ve never had to encounter before is compromise. Living with 23 other people in the closed and confined concrete fortress of Yosemite forces me to respect and understand all my floor mates’ differences. At home, I’m the youngest of two children, one boy and one girl. My parents spoil me to death and almost always yield to my wishes; I rarely see outside my own tiny little bubble. At Yosemite though, I have to learn to get along with my floor mates even if I don’t agree with their beliefs and actions. I’ve expanded my narrow visions and not only gotten along with my peers, but come to truly appreciate them for who they are. Edward may be a computer geek, but is a kind and funny person. Circus may be cryptic and cynical, but humorous and insightful. Lark may be loud and weird, but sensitive and understanding. I would not be able to see beyond my own egocentric scope of vision and discover such great personalities without an open mind.

More importantly, I recently noticed that one of my friends needs help. She is lost and needs direction. I was on the ledge between keeping and losing a friend. I almost felt disgusted and fed up with my friend’s behavior, but remembered what my roommate said: “Have sympathy. Don’t look down upon them as if being their friend degrades you, but give them the help that they need and pull them out of their suffocating discomfiture. The irony is that I am just learning to be a good friend after dismissing people for being a disappointment for far too long.