Breakaway from the Old to Discover the New

Amber - Gladewater, Texas
Entered on May 5, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I am originally from a small town with a population of less than four hundred people. I would compare living in this small country town to living in a bubble. Everyone knew everyone else and we all had a similar way of doing things. The sixth graders to twelfth graders were all in the same building which consisted mainly of white students and all white teachers. The one African American student that attended my school acted and dressed similar to all the white students. As I went through school I can remember having a couple of new students of other ethnicities, but for some reason they always transferred out. I never really thought much of it though because it never affected me. Although we had some minor differences, all of my friends were brought up the same way and we all had experienced many of the same obstacles, such as drugs, sex, and alcohol. We all had similar curfews, rules, and expectations from our parents.

My bubble was popped whenever I attended my first year of college. On move in day I was in awe at all of the different shades of skin tones that were walking around my new home. There were very few Caucasian people and many people with a brown shade that I had never seen before. When I met my new roommate, she had the brown shade that was foreign to me. Little did I know that my perspective of the world was about to change. I later found out that my new roommate was from India. She grew up in Texas too though, so I assumed that we had similar experiences. Wrong. Her parents had rules that I thought were absurd such as: no talking to boys, no telephone or internet, only go out with girl friends during the day on Saturdays. I soon came to a realization that there are different cultures and religions that directly impact every person’s personality. To these people they do not feel that their rules and expectations are weird, that is just the way they were brought up and what they are used to. When talking to people who have different cultures than me, I have realized that they are shocked by some of my ways of life, and some even disapprove of things that were widely accepted in my bubble.

Moving away from home has brought me to believe in the importance of getting out of my “bubble” and experiencing new things. I have learned many new things since I moved away about other cultures and traditions. I believe in the importance of trying new things and learning about the differences I share with the people around me. I believe it is important to know the differences in order to accept others for who they are, not who I assume or think they should be. This allows me to recognize and appreciate the dignity and worth of all people despite the differences.