Look around. Who do you surround yourself with? Are they people just like you? Do they just so happen to be involved in the same activities, enjoy doing the same things or look similar to you?
It’s not necessarily a bad thing to surround yourself with people who are similar to you, but it’s not necessarily a good thing either. Are you welcoming and inviting to other people if you are always surrounded by a large, intimidating group?
Diversity is emphasized greatly on AU’s campus, but maybe the focus should be a little deeper than the color of one’s skin or their cultural heritage. Maybe we need to embrace diversity on an entirely different level.
Look around. Who do you see eating lunch together? Are certain majors only surrounding themselves with one another? Are the athletes hanging out with only their team?
It is completely “normal” to hang around like-minded people, but have you ever thought that maybe we can’t truly grow if we are consistently boxing ourselves into our group? Can you love others to the best of your ability if you never step outside the comfort zone of your own little, protected bubble or inner circle?
Look around. Do you have the same skin color as every person you come in contact with—more than just a casual, passing conversation— on a daily basis? Are you sticking to your core group of those who somewhat resemble you? Do you even realize you do this?
Of course, you didn’t mean to. Yes, it might have just happened that way. Now, what are you going to do about it? How are you going to learn about other cultures, experience joy and truth from a completely different perspective or gain a little insight into someone else’s life?
Look around. Do you watch people bend their heads and whisper to their friends when you pass? Is it easy for you to talk poorly about others and complain to your closest circle of friends? Are some of your relationships built off of mutually making fun of people?
Everyone does it, see? It’s not really harmful, huh? We’re in college—bullying doesn’t happen anymore, right?
It does, but it needs to change. Stand up for different people, for other groups. Words, looks and segregation hurt, even if it’s in the form of dynamic and unintentional cliques. Yes, college is full of cliques—still. Similarities are sometimes more harmful than differences.
Look around. Who do you want to surround yourself with? Diversity starts with breaking out of your mold.