I'm not going to lie to you--coming to MIT has been a continuous series of shocks for me. I expected what your average prefrosh would, but I did not realize that schoolwork here would be incomparable to high school work, that living without Mom's dinners would create such a void in my life, and that it's a good 25 degrees colder in Boston than I'm used to. But if there was one big thing I was looking forward to in college, it was diversity. The high school I went to is 90-something percent Caucasian. The wonderful World Wide Web showed me that I had a drastically different racial diversity to look forward to at MIT.
I should tell you why I was looking forward to diversity. As an Iranian-American who grew up in a primarily Caucasian district, I learned to value my culture and who I am. It's not that I was at all uncomfortable at my high school--on the contrary, I had a fantastic time and made friends I love like family. It was obvious, though, that the kids at my high school were in their own bubble. Every day my peers were surrounded by people more or less exactly like them. They weren't exposed to any way of life other than what they were experiencing. No one cared to learn about other cultures or peoples from other walks of life because they thought these people simply didn't affect them. Because of this homogenous bubble, news from the "outside world" rarely penetrated my peers' lives. The desire to reach out to something beyond themselves was absent from their minds.
I don't blame the kids I went to high school with for not looking outside themselves. They weren't exposed to diversity and were too ignorant to learn about it. I differ from them, though, in that I d...
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...ts will perhaps encourage people to reach out of their bubble and into someone else's. College is a place where people of all backgrounds, strengths, and weaknesses come together in hopes of getting a higher education and preparation for the real world. If we cannot establish the basic ability not only to coexist but also to excel with everyone--regardless of ethnicity--here at MIT, can we expect ourselves to be able to do so in the years that follow graduation, throughout our jobs, and in our personal lives? We are most subject to personal re-evaluation when we are out of our comfort zones, as so many of us find in college. MIT provides unlimited opportunities for exploration--not only from an academic point of view but from a 'real world' perspective as well. Here, expectations are exceeded regularly; hopefully the standards of coexistence will be, too.
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